BUENOS Aires metro and Urquiza commuter concessionaire Metrovías has agreed a new contract with the federal government extending the 20-year term by four years to 2017 and abolishing the charges for use of infrastructure and rolling stock. Requiring approval from the parliamentary privatisation committee and the BA city council, the contract will see oversight of the Subte metro system pass to the city government (RG 3.98 p143).

Metrovías has agreed to an expanded investment programme worth over 1bn pesos, part funded by 520m pesos of public money. Fare increases in 1999, 2000 and 2001 will put up the cost of a Subte token by 20%, 16·6% and 7·1% and the average Urquiza fare by 9% in 1999 and 20% in both the next two years.

For Subte the concessionaire will buy 170 new cars (including 30 from Nagoya in Japan), refurbish 300 vehicles and extend Line E by 2·5 km from Bolívar to a new city centre terminus at Retiro. Other projects include a bus interchange halfway along Line D and system-wide station refurbishment. The Urquiza line will benefit from track renewal, level crossing elimination, signalling modernisation, and air-conditioning on all refurbished rolling stock. o