- 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
- Bilhete único (Unified ticket)
- BLA card
- 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:
- On Saturdays after 6.00 pm
- Sao Paulo state holidays
- 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.