How to use public transportation in Rio de Janeiro

Urban traffic - streets of Rio de JaneiroFor any person that is travelling to a town by themselves, knowing how to get around is very important. Renting a car can be very expensive and not always you will have a guide to show you around. This article will cover some basics about the public transportation in Rio, what you should and what you should not do. As well as giving you some very important information on how they work.


The bus is the most used method of public transport in Rio. You should try to avoid taking the bus in the rush hour. If you need to take a bus during the rush hour, try choosing a bus line that doesn’t pass through the city center. The combination of a packed bus and the summer heat is not a pleasant experience, you should try to avoid it. 

The bus costs 2,75 ( price based on the current date), the ones with air conditioning costs 3,10 (price based on the current date), there is also an “integration” bus with the metro line that costs 4,15 which gives you access to a bus ride and a metro ticket. There aren’t many buses with air conditioning, the estimated percentage is only 11%. There are some very useful tips and etiquette you should follow when using the bus in Brazil:

Tip 1

Always seat next to the exit door, this way it will be easier for you to get out of the bus if it’s too full.

Tip 2

Seats painted yellow are preferential (not exclusive) to pregnant women, elders, and people with special needs.

Tip 3

When standing on the bus, try not to keep your backpack on, either give it to a friend who is sitting or put it between your legs. It can make it difficult for people to move if your backpack is taking too much space.

Tip 4

Bus drivers are trained to only stop on bus stops. Do not expect him to open the door for you in a traffic light or similar.


Tram to Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro BrazilThe Metro in Rio is very limited. There are just 2 lines that do not go very far. Even though, tourists tend to take the Metro more than buses. The Metro is focused on the city center and the south zone. The area with the main tourists points and attractions.

Every station has a map and it is really hard to get lost since there are just a few lines. The Metro has air conditioning and it tends to have less people than the bus lines. Not to mention it’s way faster since it has less traffic.


Rio is a very busy and urban city. Just like any other metropolis, the public transportation and traffic is not very pleasant. Using public transportation can be a little expensive and confusing, if you have a little extra cash we advise you to always take cabs.

Note: Fixed Prices to one place in a Cab is ILLEGAL in Rio, do not take cabs that will charge you a fixed price for the ride!

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