Subway ticket prices more than doubled today to 2.50 pesos (58 US cents) from 1.10 previously.
The increase comes just days after the federal government turned over management of the subway system to the City of Buenos Aires.
The day-to-day administration of the subway is carried out by Metrovias, a private sector company which has had a concession to run the subway since 1994.
Prices had been frozen for years while the cost of just about everything else in Argentina has soared amid rampant inflation that economists say surpasses 20% annually.
The federal government had kept prices artificially low by dolling out millions of dollars in subsidies every year. But now that the subway is in the city’s hands, the federal government will stop paying for those subsidies entirely in 2013.
This year the federal government and the city will split the cost of paying for the subsidies, which total about $167 million annually.
The subway carries around 300 million passengers every year, according to Metrovias. That’s double what it carried when the company started its concession.
Metrovias has some 3,000 employees, unionized workers whose demands for higher salaries and better working conditions will undoubtedly put political pressure on the city government in the years ahead.
My colleagues, Matt Moffett, Ken Parks and I did a feature for the Wall Street Journal on the topic and the broader issues of utility rates and subsidies, which you can read here.