By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With almost half a million tourists expected to visit Rio in little over one month, city officials recently released the new Rio 2016 RioCard transit card which will allow unlimited travel on the city’s public transportation. The Rio 2016 RioCard will be available in one, three, or seven-day periods with the unlimited travel feature only valid for a period covering the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics, from August 1st to September 18th.
The Rio 2016 RioCard is a non-transferable card that will allow unlimited travel on Rio’s public transportation system including city buses, BRT, trains and metro.
The card will be accepted at two of the city’s more recent public transportation projects, the TransOlímpica BRT line, which links the two largest Olympic sites, Olympic Park in Barra da Tijuca and Deodoro, and the much delayed Metro Line 4, which will connect Ipanema to Barra da Tijuca.
As to whether the unlimited card would be valid on the city’s newest transportation system, the light rail transport, the VLT, city officials were undecided as of writing.
The card will not be valid on business-class or executive buses (Frescão), intercity buses, ferry boats, vans or cable cars.
“The card is multimodal and will allow citizens to travel to all the [Olympic] venues in a safe and comfortable way, without bothering to purchase additional tickets,” said Rafael Picciani, executive secretary of Government Coordination. “This was a product ordered by the organizing committee just to give more comfort to the population, since the only way to access many of these areas will be pubic transportation.”
Purchasers of the Rio 2016 RioCard have the option of three different time periods, with the one-day card costing R$25, the three-day, R$70, and the seven-day, priced at R$160.
The three and seven-day cards are for consecutive days only. A single day of use begins at the card’s first use until the end of that day at 11:59PM. City officials indicated that since some Olympic events may end past midnight, on the last day of the card’s period, a two-hour tolerance is in place after the end of the day extending the period until 1:59 a.m.
To avoid misuse of the unlimited cards, there will be a minimum wait period of thirty minutes between trips on the same form of public transportation or bus line.
Secretary Picciani explained, “This card is unlimited, but has safety features exactly to prevent the misuse of those who want to wrongly take advantage without penalizing the good person who needs this service.”
Sales of the Rio 2016 RioCard began last week through the card’s official website only. Starting July 15th, the card can be purchased in person at some eighty different points throughout the city, including BRT, train and metro stations, and at RioCard shops.
The card also comes in three different designs, the Christ the Redeemer statue, Sugar Loaf, or the official mascots of the 2016 Games, Vinicius and Tom.
After the Olympics and Paralympics, although the Rio 2016 RioCard will no longer act as an unlimited card, it will still be valid as a rechargeable card similar to the RioCard Express cards.
The Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games are from August 5th to the 21st, followed by the Paralympic Games, from September 7th to the 18th.