Traveling around Rio de Janeiro is extremely easy, as the city is equipped with an extensive public transportation system that includes city buses and a subway system. Taking taxis to get around the city is also a relatively inexpensive and convenient way to get around.
Buses are a fast, efficient, and inexpensive way to maneuver around all of Rio de Janeiro. There are over 100 different bus lines that run throughout the city and their destinations are clearly displayed on the front of each bus.
Normal, non-air conditioned Buses generally cost R3.00 per ride (there are no free transfers between buses however, and you have to re-pay when entering a new bus). Air conditioned buses are more expensive and do not have as many routes as their non-air conditioned counterparts; also their prices can average from around R$9.25 to R$13.75 (airport bus).
Some bus stops list each neighborhood that a bus travels to (Ipanema, Leblon, Copacabana, Vidigal, etc.), some only list the numbers of the buses that will stop there (167, , and there are even some bus stops that only have a sign of a bus, with no further information. In that case, ask people standing at the bus stop which bus to take to the destination you are traveling to.
Catching, Boarding, and Exiting the Bus
Buses will not stop at a bus stop simply because you are waiting at the stop. Buses must be hailed as they are approaching the stop; you will see many people in Rio sticking out their hand to catch a bus as it is approaching, which signals to the driver that they want to get on the bus. Once you board the bus, you pay either the driver or the cash collector, who will then give you change and say ‘pasen’, which means to pass through the turnstile. When exiting the bus, you always go out of the last door (which may be either in the center of the bus or all the way in the back). The bus stops quickly, so make sure to be near the door when you are ready to get off.
- Rio Bus Routes – find the bus(es) you need to take to get from point A to point B
- Knowing Rio by Bus (Rio.com)
- Taking a Bus in Rio (Train BJJ in Rio)
The subway (metro) is one of the fastest ways to move around Rio because it completely avoids all of the traffic that plagues the city, however, it only covers a small section of the large city. The metro is also inexpensive, spacious, clean, and safe.
Taxis are a great way to get around the city and they are not very expensive. If you are unsure about your exact route, or a particular bus is taking too long, a taxi is a great option. Taxis are also great to take at night, as buses are said to be unsafe.
Taking a Taxi
Taxis are metered, however, you do not pay the fee shown on the meter, you pay a fee based on what the meter says. Your taxi driver will have a laminated print out of how much the ride will cost based on what the meter is showing. Some taxis take credit card, while others take only cash; if you are looking for a taxi that taxes credit, a sticker with the Visa/MC symbol will be displayed on the front window.