Transportation in Sao Paulo is comparbly well organized. There are several different systems including a metro, commuter rail and an extensive bus network.
If you are travelling to Sao Paulo, you’ll most likely arrive by plane or car as there are no real long-distance trains in Brazil. Yet, you might commute between Sao Paulo and some small cities around by train.
The so-called Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) comes with six lines, which connect Sao Paulo with its suburb and thus makes it easy to get from one point to another. The system is known to be reliable and safe.
Lines of the CPTM:
Even more important than the CPTM is the Sao Paulo Metro, which comes with six lines at the moment. There are further expansions including six totally new metro lines planned at the moment. As of now, there are some underground stations in the city center, but mainly overground stations outside of the immediate center of Sao Paulo.
The metro system is quite reliable, but due to pickpockets, safety is a real issue in the metro. You should also be aware of the fact that the metro in Sao Paulo is only a good option in some parts of the city as the coverage is quite weak in several areas. This might change when the planned constructions and developments are finished in some years.
Lines of the Sao Paulo:
Sao Paulo also comes with an ultra-extensive bus systems with more than 15.000 buses. A few hundred of those buses are so-called trolleybuses, which mainly operate in high-density areas. These buses are also more modern and comfortable. While the general bus system is relatively well developed, the timetables are not very reliable.
Also, it might be tough to use the bus system as a tourist as getting to know the system can be challenging. Yet, the system is well-connected with the metro and CPTM system, making connections not only possible, but also easy. Tickets for buses, as for the metro and the CPTM trains, are quite cheap. As Sao Paulo uses an integrated system, you can use the buses and the metro with a single ticket for 5.92 BRL (~ 1.60 Euro / 1.80 US-Dollar).
Another option to get around in Sao Paulo are taxis. Those are cheaper than in Europe or North America, but still not a really cheap option to get around. While all taxis come with meters, there are differences in the type of taxis. Some premium taxis are more expensive.
Generally, you should always look for official taxis in Sao Paulo to enjoy a safe and reasonably priced ride. Usually, the fare for a taxi ride starts with a base fare of 4.50 (~ 1.25 Euro / 1.40 US-Dollar) and comes with a charge of an additioanl 2.75 BRL (~ 0.75 Euro / 0.85 US-Dollar) per kilometer.
While officially banned, you can still make use of Uber in Sao Paulo. There are dozens of drivers on the street and the prices tend to be 30 percent lower than the prices for taxis. All rides I did with Uber in Sao Paulo were quite enjoyable. The drivers are easy to find, friendly and helpful. While not all speak proper English, you generally don’t have problems communicating. Besides, you might also enjoy some touristic modes of transport, which are mainly available in the city center.