There are several public transport options in the city, including city buses, executive buses (Frescao), and a metro. The metro is one of the more convenient ways of getting around. It operates from 5:00 to midnight on Monday through Saturday, and from 7:00 to 23:00 on Sundays and holidays.
The bus route system covers most areas of the city. It includes over 800 lines and can be confusing for travellers. It is recommended to avoid using public buses outside tourist areas. Be aware that many routes do not run in night-time, and even if they do it is recommended to avoid taking the bus after dark for security reasons. It is often safer to take a taxi. In order to get a bus to stop you should wave at the bus driver.
Some public bus routes that are useful for visitors include:
- 583 and 584, connecting Copacabana, Ipanema and Corcovado train station
- 464 and 435 between Maracana and Copacabana
- Cable cars leading to Sugar Loaf Mountain can be reached with buses 511 and 512
Pickpockets are known to operate on public buses. It is recommended to avoid carrying large sums of cash where it could be easily reached by pickpockets.
Minivans are an alternative method of transport. They are generally faster than regular public buses. When using such services it is prudent to call out “para!” when you want to disembark.
Rio de Janeiro also has a shared-bike scheme called Bike Rio with multiple stations. You will however need a local mobile phone number to gain access to the bikes at each station.
Road traffic problems
Brazil has a high number of road accidents, with around 3 times the number of road fatalities in relation to the number of road vehicles, and in comparison to a number of European and North American countries. Traffic rules are regularly disregarded.
Overcrowded roads and congestion are a problem in Rio de Janeiro. In a study of 146 cities across the world, using GPS measurements to study traffic saturation during rush hour and at other times of the day, it was concluded that the city had among the worst traffic problems in the world. The government has conducted major public transport investments in preparation for the Olympics and the 2014 World Cup before that.
Linked to the high level of road traffic are problems of air pollution. Plans to improve infrastructure, public transportation and pollution sanitation are currently behind schedule.
Getting to the Rio olympic districts
A large part of the events are taking place in the district Barra de Tijuca. It is considered one of the safest areas in the city and has a high standard of living. Other main olympic districts in Rio are Deodoro, Copacabana and Maracana.
The BRT Transcarioca rapid bus service connects the airport and Barra de Tijuca. Barra de Tijuca and Deodoro district are planned to be linked by the BRT Transolimpica, which is under construction.
The centrally located districts of Maracana and Copacabana, where several olympic venues are located, are interlinked by the subway services Linha 1 and Linha 2. An additional subway service currently planned for construction, Linha 4, will connect Copacabana and Barra de Tijuca with a connection through BRT Transoeste.
A convenient way to get from Maracana to Deodoro is through the Ramal Deodoro train service.