Getting around Sao Paulo

Public transport

The underground Metrô (tel: (0800) 770 7722 in Brazil only; www.metro.sp.gov.br) is modern and the quickest way to get from A to B. For sightseeing, the most useful lines are the yellow, blue and green routes. It operates daily from 0440 until about midnight. On Saturdays, it extends operations to 0100. These main lines integrate with the three key long-distance bus stations and connect to overground suburban rail services run by CPTM.

Tickets can be bought singularly or in batches: unitário for single journeys or more expensive combined tickets that include bus travel. Longer-stay visitors should purchase the bilhete único, which is a rechargeable smartcard ticket giving access to discounted journeys on all public transport.

With over 1,300 routes, the bus network operated by Transporte Público de São Paulo (tel: 156 in Brazil only; www.sptrans.com.br) takes a bit of getting used to. Bus stops infrequently display the routes, although these are marked on the buses. Travellers can pay either an onboard conductor or buy tickets from kiosks.

Taxis

São Paulo has over 30,000 taxis. There are four types: common, radio taxi, special and luxury. Taxis hailed on the street or at white taxi ranks are slightly cheaper. Meters start with a fixed standing fee that increases per kilometre with higher nightly rates between 2000-0600. Ligue Táxi (tel: (11) 2101-3030), Super Taxi (tel: (11) 3859 1100) and Cooper Taxi (tel: (11) 2095 6000) are recommended.

Driving

Endless traffic jams, confusing one-way systems, and constant lane switching renders driving tough. Parking in central São Paulo is privately run and expensive: look for assisted estacionamento (parking) manned by parking attendants.

Car hire

Recommended car hire companies in downtown locations include: Avis (tel: (11) 3259 6868; www.avis.com), Hertz (tel: (11) 3258 9384; www.hertz.com) and Sixt (tel: (11) 3669 5000; www.e-sixt.com).

Bicycle hire

São Paulo's bike-sharing scheme, Bike Sampa (tel: (11) 4003 6055; www.mobilicidade.com.br/bikesampa.asp), has hundreds of orange bikes available at stations around the city. Sign up online (under 'cadastre-se'). A small registration fee is payable by credit card and bicycle loan is free for the first hour and charged per hour thereafter. To check out a bike, you'll need a mobile phone; dial (11) 4063 3111 to unlock a bike, or use the Bike Sampa smartphone app. Private cycle hire can also be found in Ibirapuera Park.

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