By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – With the holidays now in full swing, millions are traveling by planes, trains, automobiles, and buses to around the city of Rio de Janeiro between now and the beginning of the new year.
A new study by Ecoponte estimates that between Wednesday, December 23rd and Monday, January 4th, approximately 1.8 million people will travel on the Ponte Rio-Niterói, an eight-lane bridge that stretches just over miles across the Guanabara Bay, connecting the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Niterói.
The city of Niterói is home to approximately 500,000 thousand residents with many commuting to the city of Rio during the week. Rio residents also commute to Niterói for work and to visit the city’s beaches, with some maintaining homes in both cities.
Traffic should be heaviest going for Niterói to Rio on January 3rd and 4th. One thing that should make travel on the bridge easier this year is the lower toll fare. The toll, which only affects those traveling from Rio to Niterói, decreased from R$5.20 to R$3.70 on June 1st of this year.
In terms of air travel, approximately 1.4 million passengers are expected to arrive or depart from Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão International Airport, according to RIOgaleão, the managing company of the airport. “Being a naturally busy period, due to holidays, the summer and the school holidays, it is imperative that we can ensure everyone a pleasant experience,” Herlichy Bastos, director of RIOgaleão operations.
Bastos adds, “The mobilization efforts, including those taken over the past year, were for travelers to arrive to find an airport prepared to receive them.” The airport is currently undergoing renovations with works scheduled for completion on April 30, 2016.
In terms of train travel within the city the SuperVia system confirmed special operations on December 24th and 31st with trains circulating from 4:10 AM to 9:10 PM. There will be four additional trains in operation running to the Central do Brasil station. On Christmas Day, the trains will run hourly from 4:30 AM to 8:30 PM.