By Clara Cavour – Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Wi-Fi internet is now available on public buses traveling from Santos Dumont Airport to Barra de Tijuca. This month, Rio’s Mayor Eduardo Paes launched the new buses, equipped with GPS, security cameras, TV and digital displays informing passengers about the route and length of the journey.
City Hall invested R$15 Million in the services, which include police call buttons in case of robbery. Forty high-tech buses will be available to commuters traveling between Zona Sul, Ilha do Governador, Barra and Centro.
The services are being offered on the lines 2018 (Tom Jobim International Airport – Alvorada – Zona Sul), 2018.3 (Tom Jobim International Airport- Alvorada – Yellow Line), 2015 (Castelo – Leblon), 2014 (Praça Mauá – Gávea – Praia do Flamengo), 2017 (Novo Rio Bus Station – Leblon via Aterro do Flamengo), 2019 (Castelo – São Conrado – Praia do Flamengo), 2145 (Tom Jobim International Airport – Santos Dumont Airport) and 2145.1 (Tom Jobim International Airport – Santos Dumont Airport – Express Bus). At bus stops, displays will inform approximate arrival times and track the buses’ position.
According to Cláudio Callak, Director of Real, the transport company operating the lines, there will be 37 more vehicles circulating in September. Tickets for these buses will be more expensive. The route from Centro to Zona Sul will cost R$4 while the line from Barra to Tom Jobim International Airport will be a bit pricier at R$6.50. The express bus that connects both airports will cost R$7.
Callak told O Globo in a recent interview, “We intend to attract people who don’t use collective transport to buses equipped with Wi-Fi internet and security. The GPS system will automatically beep when approaching a bus stop, to alert both passengers and drivers.”
Mayor Eduardo Paes added, “The intention is to offer transport alternatives with comfort, entertainment, technology and security for those who only use cars, and also to improve urban transport in Rio.”
“City Hall supports this investment, and hopes transport companies will in turn improve the service they currently offer, as to date the majority of buses are old and cause chaos in Rio’s traffic,” Paes said.
The Mayor emphasized, however, that this is only the beginning:
“We know there is still a lot to do in terms of urban transport in Rio. We will soon publish a bidding request to solve the van problem, starting in Zona Oeste (West Zone). These alternative vehicles flourished because of inefficient policies, and we are now going to work out how to create a better quality of life for commuters.”