Getting around Rio de janeiro

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Welcome to one of the most beautiful cities of this planet!!!!

When travelling to Rio de Janeiro you will probably struggling to understand and find all the possible available information.The truth is: transportation network in Rio can be very handy and easy to deal with from the moment you understand how it works. Among taxis, buses, bikes, metro and trains there will always be a tip that can make your life easier, considering the fact that communication in English might be rare. But don’t worry, there will always be people interested in helping you, even if they don’t speak any English.

TAXIS

Let’s start with our yellow cabs with a blue stripe which are around 33 thousand circulating in Rio today in assistance for its 6.4 million habitants. They are definitely the best option if you are in a hurry but also very expensive as a single option.

First thing to know is that there are 2 types of taxi fares called: bandeira 1 or 2 (or in English flag 1 and 2) The first fare or bandeira 1, goes from Monday to Saturday from 6 am to 9 pm. Every day, after 9 pm, the METER that calculates fares automatically turns into bandeira 2 that goes from 9 pm to 6 am, this fare has an increaseof a couple of reais as the meter goes faster than normal. During the weekends bandeira 2 runs longer: From Saturday 9 pm to Monday 6 am. Sunday is bandeira 2 regardless of time.

Note: During some special holidays (such as carnaval and other National and local holidays) the City Hall authorizes taxis to run only with bandeira 2. Also the whole month of December is bandeira 2 due to the Christmas and New’s year eve.

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This meter is ALWAYS set at 5.20 reais (UPDATED on Jan 03rd 2015) to begin any ride around the city (sorry, couldn’t find a pictures with the updated amount).

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The table below represents fixed prices that coordinate with the Taxi meter. If the meter reads 14.20 Reais then the chart will instruct a final payment of 15.70 reais to the driver. HOWEVER, THIS TABLE IS ONLY USED WHEN THERE IS A CHANGE ON FARES, WHICH IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN WHENEVER IS ESTABLISHED BY THE TAXI DRIVER’S SYNDICATE.

The table is normally located on the back window of the car.

The table is normally located on the back window of the car.

How can you know if the meter is not running faster than it should? You can’t, BUT having a slightly idea of how much the ride would cost, can be helpful. Which is why I recommend using two sources I use myself:

1) The website PREÇO DO TAXI is very handy and gives you the price for both bandeiras.

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The green dot is the departure point and the red dot is the destination. The more complete the address is the better accuracy for the fare (Bare in mind this only gives you an idea about fare, the traffic and the route the driver takes can also be an influence).

2) For the smartphones users, the app TAXIMETRO is another option and works exactly the same way. You select the city and then it ready to use (That was the only fare calculator I found on apple store. However i prefer the website listed above as I think they have fares that are more consistent).

TAXIMETRO app

TAXIMETRO app

Very important thing to know if you are getting a taxi on the streets: they can NEVER charge you whatever they want, that’s FORBIDDEN AND ILLEGAL! Taxi drivers must use the meter as their base for calculation always. So a word of advice: Never (N-E-V-E-R) ask how much he is going to charge you because how much it will cost will be indicated on the table and never given by the driver.

The only EXCEPTION are the following:

Taxis cooperatives that have a stop in the airports and bus Station (Rodoviária Novo Rio) follow a different scheme with their own table of fares. That means, they don’t use the meter.

– There are also red, white or gray taxis around the airport and bus station that work the same way, with a fixed price and no meter.

READ MORE HERE!!!!!

If you get a taxi on the streets and he refuses to use the meter you can denunciate by calling the number 1746, a direct channel with the City Hall for complaints. Unfortunately, they don’t have English speakers but you can use a Brazilian for that. Have the car plate number and if possible the name of the driver (usually his identification is located on the front window).

CALL 1746

CALL 1746

How safe are taxis in Rio? Although I never had problems with a taxi in Rio we have two types of cars: one from registered Cooperatives and individuals drives. The difference? If there is a name and telephone on the back side that means this driver belongs to a cooperative. These cars can be ordered beforehand on the phone. Those taxis are said to be safer than the ones without the sign on the side.

Whenever I have time I order taxis by the phone, but to be honest most of the time,I don’t, and just raise my hand to a taxi that can be or not be from a cooperative (if you are in the middle of a street you don’t actually have a choice and will probably grab the first you find).

Taxis from registered Cooperatives and individuals drives.

Taxis from registered
Cooperatives and individuals drives.

It can be handy to use your smartphone to call a taxi through 3 of my favorite apps: 99 taxis, Easy Taxy or Taxi beat. It is very easy to manage, fast to get a taxi and safe.

Taxi's app

Taxi’s app

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- Some drivers can charge extra for your luggage.

– Is forbidden to smoke in most of the taxis.

-Although some drivers are taking English classes you will face some problems in regard to communication. Try to have in hand the address you want to go and have small changes such as R$ 10, R$ 20 and maximum R$ 50 (depending on how far is the destination) to avoid being cheated.

– As said before the meter MUST ALWAYS be turned on (unless if it’s one of the exceptions mentioned before), so demand this to the driver if you note it’s not on. Just say: Taximetro! And he will understand.

– Bear in mind this city is likely to be chaotic during the World Cup as it is an event expected to held a great amount of people. So, it can be hard to get a taxi during this period.

– Here are some examples of phrases to indicated where you want to go when speaking to the driver:
I need to go to… PRECISO IR PARA / POR FAVOR ME LEVE AQUI….
Please, adress… POR FAVOR, ENDERECO…

– It is still not confirmed how the fares will work during the World Cup, with the meter + table or only the meter amount. But definitely don’t accept any ride with fixed prices.

BUS

There is a new model of bus stops in Rio called BRS. They are numbered from numbers 1 to 5. Each bus line corresponds to a BRS number. Each bus stop has a sign that indicates the BRS line that stops there.

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All buses are identified WITH A SIGN indicating which BRS line it belongs to.

It seems complicated but it’s not. If you know which bus to take, then you need it’s corresponding BRS line number in order to locate the exact bus stop. I strongly recommend to use the app BRS Rio, which contains a list of each BRS separated by neighborhoods with their respective guides, lines and stops.

BRS app

BRS app

The website will show many suggestions BUT give special attention to the first ones as they take you direct to your destination.

The website will show many suggestions BUT give special attention to the first ones as they take you direct to your destination.

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The website will show many suggestions BUT give special attention to the first ones as they are direct to your destination.

The website will show many suggestions BUT give special attention to the first ones as they are direct to your destination.

Select one and the website will show the fares as well as a step by step guide in how to get there after getting off the bus

Select one and the website will show the fares as well as a step by step guide in how to get there after getting off the bus

Press english or spanish in all new screens otherwise the whole page will turn back to portuguese.

For the app-addicted, you can use the app BUSS. Just choose the city you are in (1) and it will be shown the closest bus stops around (2), then, a map will show (3) you where are you and how far are the stops from you (last time I tried the gps really finds the stops according to the BRS scheme).

BUSS app

BUSS app

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- Fares: 3 reais, try to have small changes for it. Usually buses with air conditioning are more expensive.

– Unfortunately the bus card called RIO CARD is only available to those who have a CPF (Brazilian identification number).

– Here are some examples of phrases to help you when you get a bus:
I need to go to… PRECISO IR PARA…
Do you pass by... VOCÊ PASSA PERTO DE…
Do you stop close bla bla… VOCÊ PÁRA PERTO DE…
Can you please let me know when I get closer to (show the address)… POR FAVOR, ME AVISE QUANDO CHEGAR AQUI…

BIKE

Luckily this health and environmental friendly mean of transportation is getting more popular in Rio. However is still not a cultural thing to ride a bike here for long distances simply because most of the paths are concentrated in the south zone of the city. It’s easy to see bikers closer to the beach where paths are well preserved and widely used but unfortunately the same is not seen in other parts of Rio.

Nowadays, a program for the creation of new paths can stimulate biking as a very cheap and fun way to see the city but be careful with the time and areas you are planning to go. Also, get ready to get into a competition with cars for space on the streets, bike paths are still non-existent and believe me, some drivers can really be unfriendly.

To make your life easier in this sense, there is a very nice initiative from a Brazilian bank, Itau, to sponsor bike stations all around Rio in a scheme very similar to what we can see in Europe and US. If you want to ride for the day is just necessary to go to one of the stations and follow the procedures listed there for the daily pass or if you prefer, register to get the monthly pass.
Get to know more about BIKERIO here!!

itaubikes

You can also use the app to start using a bike now!

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If your intention is only to see the best spots on a bike, choose for companies specialized in bike tours like Bike in Rio or Rio by Bike, both very well rated on Tripadvisor and with a very organized structure of programs and tours.

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- During the weekends Aterro do Flamengo is closed to traffic and the entire street turns into a communal avenue foR roller blades, bikers and joggers.
– Its allowed to embark with bikes weekdays after 9 pm. However, you must always board in the last car of the subway (This is a requirement).
– During weekends and holidays its allowed to embark anytime with bikes and surfboards on stations of both line 1 and 2. Always board in the last car of the subway (This is a requirement).
– Beware, beware!!! Try to avoid going too far from your starting point after 6pm.
– The stations Pavuna, Colégio, Irajá, Vicente de Carvalho, Inhaúma, Triagem, Estácio, São Francisco Xavier, Catete, Siqueira Campos, Cantagalo, Glória and General Osório have free bike racks.

CAR

This might be a challenging mean of transportation in Rio if you are not used to like traffic jam, stressed drivers, non english speakers policies, disrespect to traffic light, thousand of horns at the same time and a GPS not sensible enough to tell you when are you about to enter in a high risk zone.
As rhythm of drivers in Rio can literally drive you crazy, unless you are able to turns into a stressed and unfriendly person, remember that a lot of things are still to be done around in terms of sings (especially in English) so renting a car here can be an unforgettable experience you should think twice.

Anyways if you are aiming for this, it’s easy to find car rentals around the city. The most popular can rents in Rio are Localiza, Movida, Hertz, Avis, Unidas, Mister car, Budget, Locar Alpha and Thrifty and most of them can also be found in the airports.

carros

If you want a deep research for best rates go to RENTCARS and check the wide range of options. By the time I wrote this article the website did not have an English version, however it’s easy to manage as you only need to inform where and when are you taking the car and when it will be returned.

METRO

UPDATED ON NOV 13TH 2014!!

The best way to get around Rio is by Metro. Although the lines seems to be limited, special schemes such as combination with bus enables us to reach a lot of parts in the city faster and safer.

How to choose the best ticket for my journey?

There are 6 different types of tickets:

updated

1) Prepaid card: As the name says is a prepaid card where you can put money on it. This credit in cash doesn’t correspond necessarily to a journey fare as the minimum recharge is 5 reais and there are tickets that cost 3,5 reais. That means, you should always have enough money on your card to cover the chosen fare. You can use this ticket in all stations (line 1 and 2) and on the schemes: subway + subway bus (Metro na superfície, 4) and subway + express bus ( 3 and 5 to Barra).
PRICE: When you buy the card the minimum amount is 5 reais, minimum recharge 5 reais and maximum 500 reais.

2) Single trip: Can be used on lines 1 and 2, for a single journey and is valid for the next 2 days after it is bought. In case you miss the dead line you can return the card in any ticket office for recycling and get 1 real back.
PRICE: 3,50 reais

3) Barra Express: This ticket takes you to/from Barra via General Osório (south zone station). When leaving General Osório station, look for the buses that takes you to Alvorada, in Barra (Bus number 525).
PRICE: 4,55 reais
UPDATE: This ticket is no longer available. You can still reach Barra via General Osorio but now you must pay for the prepaid or single trip card until General Osorio THEN get the bus to Barra (Yes, That means you now have to pay two different tickets: metro and bus!)

4) Subway bus: is an extension of the subway to some neighborhoods that are getting ready to have their own station. Depending on where you want to go, you can choose to get the bus both from General Osório or Botafogo Station and reach places like: Humaitá, Jardim Botânico,Leblon and Ipanema. Check below the map to know where the buses stop. The last station for both is Gavea, close to PUC University.
PRICE: 3,50 reais

superficie

5) Single trip + Barra: This ticket takes you to/from Barra from Nova América shopping/ Del Castilho. When leaving the station, look for the buses that takes you to Alvorada, in Barra (Bus number 614). In this case you will get 2 tickets: The card should to be used on the metro and the small yellow ticket given to the collector in the bus. From Barra you must go to Alvorada, get the bus 614, ask for the ticket “Barra expresso Via Nova América” and as soon as you arrive in Del Castilho, get the metro.
PRICE: 4,55 reais
UPDATE: This ticket is no longer available. Now you must pay for the prepaid or single trip card THEN get the bus (Yes, That means you now have to pay two different tickets: metro and bus!)

6) Subway + bus: Is a combination of tickets for the subway + bus. However, not all stations have this option, you can only get this bus from Botafogo, Cardeal Arcoverde, Largo do Machado, Estácio, São Francisco Xavier, Saens Peña and Nova América/Del Castilho station.
The list below show all numbers of buses and neighborhoods they take to (First: pointo of departure and then destination).
PRICE: 4,55 reais
UPDATE: This ticket is no longer available. Now you must pay for the prepaid or single trip card THEN get the bus (Yes, That means you now have to pay two different tickets: metro and bus!)

602 – Saens Peña TO Andaraí
603 – Saens Peña TO Usina via Rua São Miguel
604 – Saens Peña TO Usina via Conde de Bonfim
605 – São Francisco Xavier TO Vila Isabel
608 – Saens Peña TO Grajaú
626 – Saens Peña TO Muda
605 – Saens Peña TO Andaraí
609 – São Francisco Xavier TO Méier
209 – Estácio TO São Cristovão
133 – Largo do Machado TO Estácio TO Rodoviária
580 – Largo do Machado TO Cosme Velho
513 – Botafogo TO Urca
913 – Nova América/Del Castilho TO Fundão
616 – Nova América/Del Castilho TO Fundão

How can I buy the ticket? Ticket can be bought on the ticket offices or machines in each station from both lines 1 and 2. Payment can only be done by cash. There are no special fares for international students.
The subway works from Monday to Saturday from 5 am to midnight and Sundays and holidays from 7 am to 11pm.

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GENERAL MAP
Check here to see the map with more details!

MAP

MAP

You can also download the Metro Rio app and enjoy!

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- Pay attention to the preferred seats in the colors orange or blue. You are not forbidden to seat on it BUT pregnant woman, seniors, disable people and woman with small children have the preference.
– Women exclusive cars works from 6am to 9am + 5pm to 8pm and are identified with a pink tape.
– Its allowed to embark with bikes weekdays after 9 pm. However, you must always board in the last car of the subway (This is a requirement).
– During weekends and holidays its allowed to embark anytime with bikes and surfboards on stations of both line 1 and 2. Always board in the last car of the subway (This is a requirement).
– The stations Pavuna, Colégio, Irajá, Vicente de Carvalho, Inhaúma, Triagem, Estácio, São Francisco Xavier, Catete, Siqueira Campos, Cantagalo, Glória and General Osório have free bike racks.
– For the Lost and found (Achados e perdidos) officer go to Carioca Station and look for the “Atendimento ao usuário” (Customers service).

Here a small map from the city for your reference, and…. ENJOY!!!!

mapnhafofo

Source of images:

http://lifebushido.wikispaces.com/Driver

https://blogpontodeonibus.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/greve-de-onibus-no-rio-de-janeiro-e-adiada/

http://adesivosparataxirj.blogspot.com.br/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_de_Janeiro_Metro

http://frombrazil.blogfolha.uol.com.br/2012/02/15/sao-paulo-to-finally-get-bicycles/

http://mirellaiglesias.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/fique-atento-no-carnaval-e-obrigatorio-o-uso-do-taximetro/

http://www.falandodeviagem.com.br/viewtopic.php?f=326&t=2734

http://noticias.r7.com/rio-de-janeiro/noticias/taxis-adaptados-para-portadores-de-necessidades-especiais-poderao-trafegar-no-corredor-exclusivo-para-onibus-em-copacabana-20110216.html

http://www.metrorio.com.br/

Share here your experience on getting around Rio and leave your comments!!!

Need directions FROM AND TO the airport? Check here!!!

Do you want an unforgettable experience in Rio renting a local place?? See this beautiful apartment HERE!!

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12
Jun
2014