Public transportation in São Paulo

Hi all,

What do you think about the means of transportation in São Paulo ?

Is the network of means of transportation well developed?
What modes of transport are available?

Do you use them?

How much is a fare?

Are they relatively safe?

What is the mean of transportation you use the most in São Paulo?

Thanks in advance for participating!

Hi mate.

IŽll answer your questions based on my everyday life here, ok?

What do you think about the means of transportation in São Paulo ? I thik we could have a better developed trasportation infra-structure considering how big the city is.

Is the network of means of transportation well developed?
Not as good as it should be. So your experience will pretty much depend on where youŽll be living. If you live near a Metro Station youŽll probably be fine.

What modes of transport are available?
Taxi, Metro, Train, Buses, cars, etc.

Do you use them?
I do use one of them. The Metro. It is by far the best way to go around the city and theyŽve been expanding the network so, we will soon have access to loads of different areas of the city using the Metro.

How much is a fare?
R$2,90 - You can buy individual tickets (one way). IŽm not sure whether they still have a 10-trip ticket available or you can buy a card and charge it with whatever amount you feel like and travel around using it (itŽs the way I do it).

Are they relatively safe?
The Metro is the safest one. To my mind the buses are the least safe.

What is the mean of transportation you use the most in São Paulo?
The Metro.

Enjoy your time in Sampa.

Hi ViniSP!

Thanks a lot for you help :top:
It is much appreciated ;)


Hello Armand,

As a long time resident of São Paulo who uses public transportation on a daily basis going to a number of different destinations each week I can tell you that if you know a few basic tricks it really isn't too terribly bad. Unless you board your bus at one of the local bus terminals you will likely have to stand during the trip since during peak hours most buses are jam packed. I am fortunate enough to live a very short distance from one so I'm ok.

During rush hours both the Metrô (subway) and CPTM (commuter trains) are filled to bursting. Just trying to get on or off the trains can be dangerous because of the crowds so be very careful in the push and shove and keep your hands well away from the doors while they are in motion. I almost got my hand pulled into the space between the door and car one time when I got jostled and almost fell. I escaped with only some minor cuts and scrapes, but one could easily lose a few fingers or hand.

The most important thing to remember is to go out and by a Bilhete Único (bus pass) and always keep it topped up with sufficient credits. This will allow you to use four different buses during a two hour period on weekdays while paying only one R$3,00 fare. When paying cash fares you pay on each bus since there are no transfer priviledges. On Sundays and holidays the period is extended to three hours. The Bilhete Único also permits transfer onto both the Metrô and CPTM with a small additional fare and may also be used as your fare payment for both systems, by paying cash you must remember that tickets purchased for the Metrô and for CPTM cannot be used in the other system's turnstiles so this is another advantage of the pass. Cash fares for both CPTM and Metrô by themselves is RS2.90.

Planning your trip is always very important too and can save you lots of time if you know what you are doing. The most helpful tools for this purpose are both Google Maps and the SPTrans website. For instance from the bairro where I live using CPTM and the Metrô to get to Av. Paulista (Consolação) takes an hour and a half, sometimes more. Yet if I take the 847P-10 Itaim Bibi and transfer on Heitor Penteado to any passing Metrô Vila Mariana I can make the same trip in an hour. So you can see it really pays to get to know how to hunt out the shortcuts.

Whenever possible plan to travel outside of peak hours, you will avoid crowded buses and being stuck in the bumper-to-bumper traffic which makes up part of daily life here in São Paulo by doing so. It is even better still if you are traveling in the opposite direction to the rush hour flow, both buses and trains are almost empty.

Public transportation is a long way from being perfect in this city and people complain a lot, but it is a world better than it was five years ago, it has improved greatly since the creation of new bus corridors and terminals over the past years. Now after many years of delays and disaster Linha 4 - Amarelo is almost fully operational, well at least from Luz to Butantã and integrates with CPTM at Luz and Pinheiros this should also improve things considerably over the next several months.

The singlemost important recommendation I can make for anyone who uses public transportation regularly is be very patient and leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination. I routinely build an extra half hour into my travel time. By catching that earlier bus then I can sit and relax when unforseen delays happen (and they usually do) without getting stressed out because I have built a safety cushion into my trip. The other advantage is that once I arrive at my destination by doing this I have time for a leisurely cup of coffee before I start a class.

Thanks very much wjwoodward!

That's a brilliant post :top:

That's a helpful post.
What are the rush hour times during the day?
How are the CPTMs&Metros at 12pm during the day and 7pm?
I'm wondering here why don't they run longer trains and in lesser intervals during the rush hour time.


For the CPTM trains, depending on the line those heading into the city run with full loads starting from the first trains until around 09h30 - 10h00. The Metró starts to get really packed around 06h30 until 09h30 heading toward the city center.The afternoon peak starts around 16h00 and can go until after 19h00 when loads heading out of the city center begin to taper off.

There are not longer compositions for trains and subway because the infrastructure simply does not support it (especially platform lengths) and neither CPTM or Metrô have a fleet sufficient to be putting on more trains. As a frequent user of the CPTM one sees abandoned rail cars stockpiled at many of the stations. I has always struck me as quite odd that the São Paulo government has not forced the CPTM into adopting some kind of program of refurbishing those cars and placing them back into active service. Obviously this would be a much quicker and cost effective means of increasing the fleet and improving service than waiting for the funding and construction time of new trains.

Thank you for your post....I hope it will get better in the wake of 2014 World cup and 2016 Olympics. Not sure they intend to further improve it though.