Public transit in Rio de Janeiro is pretty inexpensive on a per trip basis, but it can add up quickly if you make a lot of short trips since, unlike most large cities, there is no such thing as a day pass or a weekly pass. This does however keep things fairly simple, especially if you are just riding the Metro. On the other hand it can get a little confusing when you are planning to combine the metro with a bus ride in which case the type of fare card you purchase is crucial. For example even though the Unitary Card and Metro Surface Card cost the exact same amount, only one of them can be used to extend your trip on a Subway Bus. We explain each type of fare card and its applicable uses below.
Metro and Bus Fares
The Unitary Card is simply a single use fare card that gives you one trip on the Metro, but does not facilitate extending your trip on any buses.
Cost: R$ 4,10
Metro Surface Card
Metro na Superficie or Metro Surface Card costs the same as the Unitary Card, but it lets you transfer to a special Subway Bus operated by MetroRio to continue your trip. See our page on buses for more information about the Subway Bus service. In order to use the Metro na Superficie card just tap at it the metro turnstile and then keep it with you to present when boarding the bus. Remember that even though a Unitary Card is the same price it does not give you any transfer privileges like this pass. When paying a fare on the bus for the return trip the fare collector will simple give you a special Unitary fare card that will allow you to board the Metro only at the station the bus serves within 120 minutes of when it is issued.
Cost: R$ 4,10
The Prepaid Card is a card you can purchase and top up at an automated vending machine and then use repeatedly to pass through the turnstiles until all of the value is used up. The initial fare purchase must be minimum of R$ 5,00 and top-ups are a minimum of R$ 5,00. There is no discount for using the prepaid card - it is simply a more convenient, as it saves you from having to buy tickets from the vending machine or ticket booth on every trip.
The prepaid card can be used for a transfer to the Barra Express Subway Bus or the Jacarepagua Express Bus which is also operated by MetroRio. Those trips will cost a total of R$ 4,95 each way
Although you can store up to R$ 500 on a Prepaid Card, we would advise you not to put anywhere near that amount on it at one time. If the card is stolen, lost or malfunctions you will be out by the full amount that was on the card. Malfunctioning cards can be refunded, but it is almost impossible for tourists as you need to complete paperwork and have local contact information in order to get a refund.
Cost: R$ 5 and up
Note that when you transfer between the Metro and a Subway Bus, you should do so right away (don't stop for lunch) as your ticket has a 2 hour total time limit.
You can check the Metro Rio Fares and Payments page for more information.
City Bus Fares
Rio is served by a copious number of city buses plying over 1000 different routes and operated by many different companies. Other than the special buses described above, if you wish to ride one of the city buses you must have a cash fare ready and pay the driver or the fare collecter seated behind the driver who will then permit you to pass through the turnstile (Yes, even the buses have a turnstile). Prices can vary but the majority of routes are $R 3,80. There are no tickets or transfers, so you must pay the fare each time you board the bus.
CCR Ferry Fares
The CCR Ferries have 4 routes that operate out of Praça XV near downtown Rio; 2 crossing and 2 going north up Guanabara Bay. The fares are purchased at the terminal and are as follows:
- Praça XV to Square Arariboia (Niteroi) R$ 5,60
- Praça XV to Charitas R$ 15,40
- Praça XV to Paqueta R$ 5,60
- Praça XV to Cocota R$ 5,60