A new app called SUBE launched Wednesday will let users add credit to their SUBE cards directly with a debit card or a digital wallet. In the near future, it will also allow you to pay for bus, train and subway fares directly with a smartphone without using a physical card.
SUBE is the system used to pay for public transport in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area known as AMBA and the biggest cities in Jujuy, Formosa, Misiones, Corrientes, Chaco, Santa Fe, Córdoba, Entre Ríos, San Luis, Catamarca, Mendoza, La Pampa, Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz, Tierra del Fuego and Buenos Aires province.
The app is different from the “Carga SUBE” app currently in use. While the latter allows users to put credit on their SUBE cards, users need to apply the credit manually by either hovering the card close to their phones using their NFC system, or using a SUBE terminal — a small machine usually found in train or bus stations.
Although the app is already available for users who have Android 6 or higher on their smartphones, the government said it will be readily available on Thursday. There is no information on when there will be a version for iPhone users.
A future feature of this app called “SUBE Digital” will also let users with smartphones with an Android 8 or higher and NFC system to pay public transport fares directly from their phone. A test run for this feature will be launched Thursday in Neuquén city. People who download the app and verify that they are currently there will be able to use it. There is no scheduled date for when it will be generally available.
This new app is being launched as a way of providing users with another option for adding credit to their cards. However, it will also prove useful given the SUBE card shortage that has been going on since the pandemic. This issue is not only related to SUBE cards, as there is a worldwide shortage of the materials used to make plastic cards.
A SUBE spokesperson told the Herald that the card is being normally distributed in different selling points across the country, adding that they are managing a monthly supply of 550.000 cards, “although some place may have run out of stock.” However, they admitted there has been a shortage in recent years.
On top of this, many kioscos have decided to stop offering the service of adding SUBE credit claiming that it was not profitable.
SUBE cards are available at certain kioscos, subway stations and stores that sell lottery tickets. If you’ve recently arrived in Argentina and need one, here’s a map of all the places that sell them. If you can’t find it anywhere, you can also buy one online here and have it sent to you paying for shipping, or retrieve it yourself at a SUBE point. The official cost of one is AR$670, but there’s a chance some places charge more.
With the new app, users can also check their travel history, as well as the location of a nearby charging terminal. They can also access a specific channel for any questions.