Transport tips on getting around São Paulo like a local.

23 de Maio Avenue, view of Obelisco in Ibirapuera Park

23 de Maio Avenue, view of Obelisco in Ibirapuera Park

The best way to go around the city and avoid traffic is to use the metro and surface trains. São Paulo Metrô is considered modern, safe and fairly clean, although it still has problems with overcrowding especially during rush hour, as underground and railway lines carry over 7 million people on an average weekday.

The lines reach almost all desired destinations, including tourist areas. Up-to-date routes can be found on the SP subway website, in tourist information stands or nearby metro counters.

Public Transportation

The São Paulo subway system, the Metrô, is the largest rapid transportation system in the country. Its lines cover most of the inner city.

The suburban train service called Companhia Paulista de Transporte Metropolitano (CPTM – website only in Portuguese) extends the transit system into the suburbs and peripheral regions of São Paulo.

Together, the Metrô and the CPTM transport almost five million passengers every day, which ranks them among the busiest metro systems worldwide.

Despite this high number of passengers, the São Paulo transit system has retained its reputation as a reliable and fairly safe means of transport – especially when compared to its counterpart in Rio de Janeiro.

Another large chunk of São Paulo’s immense passenger traffic volume is handled by a fleet of more than 15,000 buses (2014 figures).

The inner city’s bus lines are operated by SPTrans, while Empresa Metropolitana de Transportes Urbanos de São Paulo (EMTU) is responsible for buses within the Greater São Paulo Area.

Both websites have schedules of all bus routes. However, quite a few expats currently living in São Paulo have reported that mastering the art of using the local bus system is not easy for foreigners. Maps of bus lines are rare, and bus stops are not always marked as such.



São Paulo has an excellent metro system. The metro is a safe, cheap and efficient way of exploring the city.

Timetable: 4am to Midnight


Bla Card is the Leisure Card, which provides discounts on the use of the Metrô and the CPTM trains on Saturdays, from 06:00pm until the close of operations on Sundays. The Leisure Card is also valid for all commercial operation lines of the Metrô-Rail system on national and São Paulo state holidays.

Bla Card can be purchased and recharged in all Single Ticket recharging Stands located on the Metrô stations. 


Yhe Fidelity card provides discounts on the use of the Metrô and the CPTM trains. It may be purchased and recharged in the “Bilhete Único” (Single Ticket) Recharge Booths, located in the Metrô Stations.

More information about tickets and cards here .

You can download a subway pocket map from here.

Bus system

Jumping on a local bus is one of the best ways to get to know a city. With a map and a few reais you can get an overview of the town.

Local bus services tend to be decent. Since most Brazilians take the bus to work, municipal buses are usually frequent and their network of routes comprehensive.

In most city buses, you get on at the front and exit from the back. Usually there’s a money collector sitting at a turnstile just inside the entrance.

Bilhete Único (Unified Ticket)

It is the name of the São Paulo transportation contactless smart card system for fare control.
All cards are pre-paid, and recharge cannot be done on board.
Bilhete Único users pay R$ 3.80 for up to four bus rides in a three-hour period. Boarding the Metro or the train costs R$ 3.50. An integration between the Metro/Train systems and Bus allow for up to three bus rides and either a metro or train ride in a three-hour period for R$ 5.92, provided that the user boards the metro or train in the first two hours.

The bus operates from 4am to midnight, connecting more information in the website but just in Portuguese.

The Night bus timetable: 12am to 4am, more information in the website , but just in Portuguese.

The Airport Bus Service is an air-conditioned bus service each-way between Guarulhos and Congonhas Airports to the Central São Paulo bus terminals and other important points in the City.

Taxis and UBER

Taxis and Uber are a relatively comfortable and safe way of getting around the city, and are reasonably priced even for longer distances.

For the taxi, there are extra at night time and the ride for other city has a surcharge. For example, the GRU Airport is in Guarulhos city, so for a taxi ride to São Paulo you need to pay 50% more from the final value calculated in the taximeter.

The most commonly used app to taxi is 99 Taxi and you can get a ride from there.

Uber is a reliable, newer service, and there are always clean cars, polite drivers and it is safe!

All Uber X and Uber black drivers offer candies and water, they always had a few cold bottles in a thermal bag, and that they use Waze application, the traffic optimizing app, if you didn’t have objections to it.

If you need some help please contact us.
Some information is from Internations

About the author

Caroline Domanoski

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