Getting around Sao Paulo, Brazil, and using the Bilhete Unico

Getting around Sao Paulo, Brazil, and using the Bilhete Unico

Transport in São Paulo can be anything from complicated to hellish. Peak hours are normally roughly 06:00-09:00 and 16:00-20:00, but since city roads are constantly on the edge of their capacity, any little incident can cause major queues and delays. The solution for tourist is to use subway (metrô), train (CPTM) and trolleybuses (EMTU) as far as possible. Even these means of transport can be uncomfortably crowded during peaks, and only a very limited carry-on is recommended. You can check the SPTrans www....nOperWeb website, which is the city's transport administration department. There you can get itineraries using all the city's public transportation options.

The Bilhete Único is a contact-less smart card that can be used for paying the fares in buses, subways and trains. In essence, a single billing of the card grants a person up to four trips in São Paulo's public transportation system. You can get the card at no cost at many underground stations; charge them with the minimum amount required in newspaper stands, state-owned betting shops (known as "lotéricas"), supermarkets and other establishments - look for the red, round "Bilhete Único" logo. You can use the card to pay for your trips in the public transportation system as follows:

On buses: upon boarding a bus, you'll be charged R$2,30 and can board up to three other buses in a two-hour period without being charged a second time.

On the Metro or CPTM trains: for a single trip in the underground train system, you'll be charged R$2,55.

First Metro/CPTM train then bus: you'll be charged R$2,55 when passing by a Metro or CPTM station's turnstile. Once you board a bus, you'll be charged an extra R$1,20 and will be able to board two other buses in a two-hour period - starting from the first validation at the train station - without any further payment.

First bus then Metro/CPTM train: once you board a bus, R$2,30 is charged from your card. Upon entering the Metro or CPTM systems, you'll be charged a further R$1,45. It's possible, after leaving the Metro or CPTM system, to board up to two other buses without any further payment in the two-hour period that starts from the first validation, depending on whether you boarded one or two buses before entering a train.

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