Monday, May 07, 2007

Buses are Argentinean. Read the History

“Did you know buses were invented in Argentina?” I would repeat proudly, with a bit of skepticism, while I traveled. Although I had never been able to find facts to back out this statement, I had always repeated it as a fact…until I found “De los colectivos” an article written by Federico Recagno for the 44th volume of December’s edition of Todo Contol, the magazine for Obra Social del Personal de los Organismos de Control, which confirmed that the bus actually IS an Argentinean invention.

According to the article, in 1920, a group of taxi drivers got together in a bar of Rivadavia Avenue to come up with a new system of transportation that enabled them to more a large number of passengers at the same time, to be able to offset the high cost of taxi-meters.

Recagno affirms that the first car-bus, with “capacity for four passengers sitting in the back, three on the sides, and one next to the driver” circulated through Buenos Aires for the first time September 24, 1928. The trip cost between 10 and 20 cents, and route stated in Primera Junta, passed through Plaza Flores and ended in Lacarra y Rivadavia, one way, and the inverse route on the way back.

As time passed by, this medium of transportation became more and more popular, businessmen started adding bigger cars to fit more people and they assigned new routes around the city.

The car-bus continued to evolve until it transformed into the medium of transportation that we use today, where in Buenos Aires it is impossible to travel without coins clinking in your pockets.

Curiosities about buses in Argentina:
Tulio Montaña = first bus passenger.
Corina Milianazzi = received the first printed bus ticket.
Bondi = name used by people from Buenos Aires to refer to the bus; the word comes from the word “bondinho” in Portuguese that means little bus.

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