Public Transportation In Sao Paulo

By | January 26, 2015

Sao Paulo and its Transport System

What is the public transport in Sao Paulo like? Are people required to get around in ferry, subway, buses or trains? Do they have special passes that the users can benefit from? Are taxis the best way to travel around? If so, what is the best means of hailing a taxi? If you are looking for answers to such questions regarding transportation in Sao Paulo, the following article will help you in every aspect.

Public Transportation In Sao Paulo
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Public Transportation In Sao Paulo



Although there is a significant lack of infrastructure about the public transport system in Sao Paulo, it still plays a key role in the daily lives of the people of this city. The city boasts of a large bus system that operates a fleet of as many as sixteen thousand buses managed by SPTrans. There are also numerous train systems such as the EMTU-SP, Sao Paulo metro and CPTM apart from numerous other connecting lines. Bilhete Unico or Unified Ticket is a non-contact smart-card solution that is used for control and fare collection on the various modes of public transport in the city. Users are offered discounted prices on using this card when they take multiple rides and also allows easy transition between the various transit systems.

Here we take a look at the various public transport systems in Sao Paulo that will help you get around the city with ease.


Buses in Sao Paulo

  If you are looking to get around Sao Paulo by bus, you can visit one of the four bus terminals in the city that offer good travel rates and excellent connectivity to the various places. While they are a good travel option by day, during the night hours it is recommended that you use a taxi for travelling within the city limits. Although they boast a frequent and plentiful service, navigating a Sao Paulo bus can be immensely tricky. As you board from the front of the bus, pay the driver before moving inside. You need to flag down a bus in order to make it stop else it will simply pass you by.There are as many as sixteen thousand buses in the city out of which around three hundred are trolleybuses. The fleet that is managed by SPTrans, which is the majority with only a small number of buses being run by EMTU, is uniformly colored. While some are white, others are colored to represent the particular non-central region that they service: buses plying in the northern area are dark blue while while the ones serving the northwest region are light green. Although there were numerous informal vans on the city streets until a few years ago, they have been brought under complete registered and authorised control of the city council.

Railways in Sao Paulo and the Sao Paulo Metro system

The railway network of Sao Paulo comprises surface trains as well as the subway system and is the means of transport that tourists are most likely to trust. While the subway system is efficient, clean, modern and safe, there is no consistency about the quality of the surface trains although the ones in the more touristy areas can surely give the metro a tough competition. ViaQuatro, CPTM and Sao Paulo Metro are the three companies in charge of operations of the rail network. As a tourist to Sao Paulo, out of the twelve lines running around the city these are the ones that you are likely to find most useful.

  • Line 1 or Blue line: Running in a North-South direction, this was the first metro line ever built and passes through the famous Historical Center. The Jabaquara and Tiete bus terminals are also close by when you travel on this line. It is managed and operated by Metro.
  • Line 2 or Green line: The Green line runs along the East-West direction and passes through the Avenida Paulista. This is another line that is under operation of Metro.
  • Line 3, the Red line: To the north of the Green line and running in the same direction is the Red line, possibly the busiest of all railway channels in the city of Sao Paulo. It is more expensive compared to its southern counterpart and also passes through the Historical center. To the west end of this line you can find the Barra Funda bus terminus. Metro is in charge of operations on this line.
  • Line 4, Yellow line: This line serves as a connection between the Historical Center and, for the most part, runs south of the Green line. Fully operational only in 2012, this line passes through Avenida Paulista and is operated and maintained by ViaQuatro.
  • Line 9 or Emerald line: The Emerald line is situated to the West of the Blue line and runs parallel to it in a North-South direction. It crosses over the entire western half of the city of Sao Paulo. This line is operated by CPTM.

Cab or taxi service in Sao Paulo

For those looking for an alternative to driving in Sao Paulo, taxis are the best option. They are also the best choice among all the transport systems in the city for travelling after nightfall. Taxis can either be hailed from the streets or from one of the many stands that you can find in busy areas and at main intersections. You can also book radio taxis advance by calling the numbers of the service operators. For disabled people, they can avail the services of the wheelchair-friendly minivans that are owned by Taxi Pro-Def. Irrespective of the time of day, you are sure to find a taxi to take you to your required destination.

Hiring cars in Sao Paulo

Driving around the city streets of Sao Paulo is not a recommended means of travel in the city. However, if you are altogether determined about driving your own vehicle, then it is advisable that you take note of some of the traffic rules. Traffic in Sao Paulo is extremely bad, especially during the monsoon season when rainstorms can cause water to flood the streets. It is difficult to find a parking spot and even if you manage to find one, it can be pretty expensive. The citizens of Sao Paulo seem well versed in the principle of “Every man for himself” so you will be required to be extra attentive while driving on the streets.


Getting around in Sao Paulo

One of the most fun-filled and exciting ways to tour the city is on foot. You will be surprised to note the extent to which some of the localities and neighbourhoods can be pedestrian-friendly. Moreover they are compact enough, allowing you to explore all of it via a long yet easy stroll. The Jardins and Centro are among the few popular areas that can be easily traversed on foot. Although walking around the streets of Sao Paulo is safe during the daytime, be careful about venturing out at night. Stay indoor as far as possible and if you simply must go out, call a taxi to take you to your destination. After all, it is better to be safe than to be sorry!



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