BUENOS AIRES - Argentina President Cristina Kirchner urged Buenos Aires' mayor not to retire on Saturday the historic cars of the "A" subway line - the oldest in the world still in use.
Mayor Mauricio Macri, an opposition leader and aspiring presidential challenger in 2015, has decided to replace the 100-year-old wooden train cars with new ones from China, citing fears of safety risks on the heavily trafficked transit line.
But the move has sparked protests from politicians and conservationists alike, who note that the A line has only ever seen one accident.
On Thursday, Kirchner weighed in favor of keeping the historic cars.
"We ask that these formations ... be refurbished, restored, because they are part of the cultural heritage, as this old elevator that is 100 years old, but still working," Kirchner said at a ceremony at the government headquarters.
The president also asked the mayor to rule against increasing the subway fare from the current 2.50 pesos (about $0.50) to 3.80 pesos. The president and the capital city mayor have clashed before ov er Buenos Aires' metro system.
In January, the federal government said it was turning over the management of the metro to the city.
But Macri has resisted taking it on, saying federal authorities must first turn over the funds necessary to improve the system.
The dispute ultimately led to a paralysing strike from metro workers demanding a pay raise, but unable to negotiate as neither the federal or city government would come to the table.
The Buenos Aires metro system, built in 1913 and the oldest in Latin America, spans 56.7 kilometers (35 miles) and typically attracts about a million riders a day.