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There are a number of public transportation in options in Rio de Janeiro, city buses, executive buses (Frescao), the subway (metro), mini buses known as vans a Ferry service. A seasoned traveler would consider Rio a very simple city to navigate, especially if you speak a little bit of Portuguese. In general the public transportation options are safe; crime in the subway (Metro) is almost unheard of; the executive bus known as the “Frescao” and taxis are very safe but not always honest. However, taking the regular buses at night is not recommended for tourists. Given that Rio is a cosmopolitan city the transportation prices for tourist are very cheap.
The train network like the metro is limited but resonably priced and is the best way to get to the olympic park at Deodoro.
Taxi and Uber
Taxi system works in Rio de Janeiro is quite good. There're rates which depends what time you get in taxi and how much luggage you have. From 9.pm till 9 am it's daytime night time tariff as from 9am till 8 pm it's daytime tariff. If you do not speak Portuguese and your taxi driver can not read, finding your destination is a problem. also the taxi run a fixed price scam the will not use the meter. from the airports and the interstate bus station. You can pay more than double the meter rate.
Uber is half the price, safer and all drivers are literate, unfortunatly they will not operate from or to the airports.
Here you can find a taxi route cost TO & FROM including with traffic variances.
City bus is the cheapest form of travel, tickets are R$3.80. Travel cards are available but difficult for tourist to get. In the past city buses suffered from criminals targeting the passengers, but now days they are safer, however it is still advisable to only take them during the day, and stay in the safer areas of the city. This video from Geobits is very well made & helps to understand how to get a regular bus or Metro (see below) in Rio. This Wikipedia page has more specific bus information for Rio.
Bus number and stations list.
The prices for an ordinary bus recently went up to R$ 3.80. If you have a CPF-number, very difficult to do and can only be done online) you can buy a card which allows you to change the bus once within two hours without an extra charge.
If you want to get by bus from Copacabana or Ipanema to the sights of Rio, you can have a look at this map.
Executive Bus (Frescao)
There is also another type of local bus called the Frescao. This bus runs on a route from Centro through Botafogo, Copacabana, Ipanema and to Leblon (and vice versa) neighborhoods. It is more upscale/comfortable and is air conditioned and costs R$3.80?. However, it is only available during the week. The buses also run more frequently during the rush hours in the morning and evening. Going in the direction of Centro , the bus can be flagged down on the beach road (Buses with plaques showing "Castelo"). Coming from Centro, the bus starts off from the Menezes Cortes garage and runs on a road parallel to the beach (but one or two blocks in). It runs on Barata Ribeiro through Copacabana, Prudente de Morais through Ipanema and Av. General San Martin through Leblon.
Well you do have the executive buses going everywhere in Rio de Janeiro and not just in the rush hours but all the time during week period. It is very easy and safer to get the executive buses than the regular one, especially if you are a tourist in the city. And the price does vary depending on the distance that it is going, for an example is not the same price to go Copacabana from the Downtown as to go to Barra da Tijuca or Recreio from Downtown.
Rio has a small subway and the stations can be hard to find. Travel cards are avilable in the stations and are worth getting but they only work on the metro and metro busThere are three stops in Copacabana ("Cardeal Arcoverde", in the beginning; "Siqueira Campos", four blocks from the beach and about one third of the way down; and "Cantagalo", in the end of Copacabana, near Arpoador). At "Ipanema/General Osório" station, you can take special subway-buses to Leblon, Gavea and Barra da Tijuca. At "Botafogo" station, you can take the subway-bus to Gavea, going through Jardim Botanico. In order to take these buses, you should mention, at the time of the subway ticket purchase, that you want to take the "Metro na superficie" and inform your final destination. The vendor will give you a ticket to the subway-bus along with your subway ticket, no cost added.
Also, a good point worth making is that the Subway system is safe. Below a great photo of the Metro in Rio:
Rio also has lots of vans which are generally privately owned. This is a very cheap option offering alternative routes. It is not advisable for tourists to use these as many are not licensed.
The sister city to Rio and on the other side of Guanabara Bay is Niteroi. There are thousands of people who live in Niteroi and commute to Rio to work. There are several ferry services that operate between the Rio Centro (Praca 15) and several points in Niteroi and one more toward the beach (Charitas). There are traditional boats as well as several "fast cat" hydrofoil boats. The price is about R$5or more. Ferry boat is specially good option to visit the famous MAC - Modern Art Museum at Niteroi.
Starting in 2011, a network of 6 gondolas will transport about 30,000 passengers from the hillside favelas into Rio.