Juan Hernandez
Written 32 briefs
I visit Brazil frequently.



Americas > Brazil > Sao Paulo > Useful Info
Submitted on Sep 06, 2020 Useful Info

How to pay for public transport in Sao Paulo

  • Sao Paulo has a vast public transport network made up of buses, metro, suburban rail, and a rapid transit system. Payment of fare is usually by means of smart cards, credit cards, or cash.

Payment by Transport Smart Cards

  • There are 3 transport smart cards you can use in Sao Paulo
  1. Bilhete único (Unified ticket)
  2. BLA card
  3. Fidelity card

How to use Bilhete Único smart card.

  • Bilhete Unico is the Sao Paulo version of the Oyster card or Metro card. You can use the card to pay for the metro, CPTM trains, and municipal buses.
  • Where to buy a Bilhete único card: Metro stations, Lottery shops, or online. You have to understand Portuguese and have a CPF number for you but the card online.
  • CPF numbers aren't available for non-residents.
  • You can either recharge your card online or at metro stations.
  • The best place to buy and recharge your bilhete Unico for non- Portuguese speakers is at the ticket vending machines at the metro stations. They operate using both English and Portuguese.
  • Bilhete Unico cards are especially useful if you have to catch several bus or metro-rail rides.
  • For instance, Bilhete Unico cardholders pay R$ 3.80 for 4 consecutive bus rides in a 3 hour period rather than R$ 4 for each ride.
  • Each metro and train ride costs R$4.
  • You can also buy a R$ 6 ticket that gives you 3 bus rides and a metro or train ride within 3 hours.

BLA cards and Fidelity cards

  • Bla cards are only used on the metro or CPTM trains for discounted rides.
  • Bla cards can only be used on these specific days:
  1. On Saturdays after 6.00 pm
  2. Sunday's
  3. Sao Paulo state holidays
  4. National holidays
  • Each Bla card allows for 10 metro or train rides for R$ 2.5.
  • Bla cards are purchased at the ticket vending machines at metro stations.
  • Fidelity cards also offer discounts on metro and train rides. Fidelity cards are bought and recharged as part of bilhete unicos.

Paying for public transport using credit cards

  • Credit cards and debit cards are quickly becoming a common way of paying bus fare in Sao Paulo. Currently, the only cards accepted are Mastercard, Visa, and Elo cards.
  • You can also pay bus fares using your mobile phone. Most locals don't use pay fares using their mobile phones, I don't recommend it either. Pickpocketing at bus stations is very common.

Paying Fare In Cash

  • Paying fare in cash is quickly being phased out in Sao Paulo. Only a few buses are still accepting cash, it's still a good idea to have loose change.