Transportation in Sao Paulo

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.

CPTM Sao Paulo

The CPTM trains are quite comfortable and got aircon

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:

  • Line 7 (Ruby): Luz ↔ Jundiaí
  • Line 8 (Diamond): Júlio Prestes ↔ Amador Bueno
  • Line 9 (Emerald): Osasco ↔ Grajaú
  • Line 10 (Turquoise): Brás ↔ Rio Grande da Serra
  • Line 11 (Coral): Luz ↔ Estudantes
  • Line 12 (Sapphire): Brás ↔ Calmon Viana
  • Line 13 (Jade): Engenheiro Goulart ↔ Guarulhos International Airport [under construction]

Metro in Sao Paulo

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.

Metro Sao Paulo

The metro is the best way to get around in various areas of the city

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:

  • Line 1 (Blue): Tucuruvi ↔ Jabaquara
  • Line 2 (Green): Vila Madalena ↔ Vila Prudente
  • Line 3 (Red): Palmeiras-Barra Funda ↔ Corinthians-Itaquera
  • Line 4 (Yellow): Butantã ↔ Luz
  • Line 5 (Lilac): Capão Redondo ↔ Adolfo Pinheiro
  • Line 15 (Silver): Vila Prudente ↔ Oratório
  • Line 17 (Gold): São Paulo – Morumbi ↔ Congonhas / Jabaquara [under construction]

Buses in 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.

Bus Sao Paulo

Some of the buses are quite modern, while others don’t look very promising

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).

Taxis in Sao Paulo

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.

Taxi Sao Paulo

Taxis in Sao Paulo can be quite 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.

Other means of transport in Sao Paulo

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.


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