Tio! The City Bus

Ok, it’s official. Despite my comments to the contrary, I’ve kind of given up my daily challenge. I’m just too far behind now to imagine catching up.

However, I must say I did make it 233 days (if you count my days in Chicago, which I haven’t finished posting…). That’s about 63% of the way! Still pretty good right? Well, unless it were a grade, then it would be a “D.”

But I haven’t stopped doing Brazilian stuff! And I’ll keep writing about it, just not in this structure anymore.

For example, I’ve ridden the city bus!! That was on my list of Brazilian things to do.

I was getting quite tired of taking taxis every afternoon from Higienopolis, especially since each one took a different route home. So I figured we would try the bus.

My daughter was so excited. As if it were some kind of amusement ride. Of course, the first time we made a spectacle of ourselves.

Sao Paulo city buses aren’t like the ones in New York City. You don’t pay the driver when you get on. Instead, there is another person a little less than midway on the bus who manages the payments and sits in front of a turnstile. There are seats in the front and also in the back of the bus behind the turnstile.

So I paid the cashier guy the R$3 and pushed my daughter through the turnstile. But when I went to go, it wouldn’t move. I eventually caught on that the cashier guy was only allowed to move the turnstile with every payment. But my daughter didn’t require a fare so I only had one set of exact R$3 change.

So there I was stuck on one side of the turnstile and she on the other… and the bus started to move. The cashier guy just stared at me as I argued with him about the situation. Eventually, someone just picked up my daughter and handed her to me over the turnstile. Lesson learned. The other couple times we’ve taken it, we just stay in front. But I still have to go back to the cashier guy and pay him, and also push the turnstile around. Aye. I really didn’t understand the system.

Other than that, riding the bus has been a pleasant enough experience. And again, my daughter thinks it is a total treat.

Today, she noticed something interesting in terms of communication on the bus.  And a possible explanation for why there is seating in front of the turnstile.



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15 Responses to Tio! The City Bus

  1. Karina says:

    Children under 5 yo doesn’t pay for the bus, but you can’t push her through the turnstile.
    You could get a Bilhete Único, in case you need to take more than one bus (second and third are free). And if it’s going to be bus + 1 subway, then the second transportation will cost you only 1.65. But you have to have the Bilhete Único. Yours would be Bilhete Único Comum. Take a look here: http://www.sptrans.com.br/bilhete_unico/sobre.aspx

    It’s much easier when you have one of this so you don’t have to worry about money; also, you’ll never lose the credits. You can recharge the bilhete unico inside the bus terminals or subway stations.

    If you decide to stay in the front (you’ll also find some of those special seats with a yellow mark after the turnstile), you only need to tell the cashier (cobrador in Portuguese) about that and give him the money, so he turns the turnstile, and usually tells the driver that it’s ok. He has to turn it, or it’s going to be considered a ride, which is not allowed.

  2. Fat people get preferred seat (inseert question mark here!!! I can’t find it )

  3. I don’t see why fat people should get preferential treatment. So not fair. I am only willing to go along with this if treadmills are placed on the bus and they are obliged to use them during the ride. Not only would this improve public health but also provide the children on the bus something to occupy themselves with as they cheer on the fathletes. This in turn would give the mothers a breather, thus decreasing stress all around. I would also favor cameras and online betting focused on treadmill performance (speed, distance, stamina, etc). I just wouldn’t allow bookies and betting on the bus due to the presence of minors (we must always maintain our standards).

  4. My guess here is that it is not preferential treatment. It is the narrow turnstiles on the buses. This is the core elements of the Brazilian culture – totally OK to state the obvious.

  5. Lindsey says:

    I always found preferential seating for obese people funny and odd too! But I will say, I miss the preferential seating for pregnant women and women with kids… In Canada only SOME buses have it and they are not ‘preferred’, they are ‘courtesy’ seats.

    P.S. 63% is a ‘C’ in Canada, so feel free to use that grading system. You done good!

  6. Danielle says:

    So I take a lot of buses and I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out the system. Here’s what I’ve concluded — Brazilians, please correct me if I’m wrong.

    There are seats in front of and behind the turnstile partly because that’s the way the buses come, and that’s one of the only places where a turnstile can be installed.

    When you get on a bus at a bus terminal/station (where you pay outside, and not on the bus), you have to get on at the back of the bus so as not to pass through the turnstile.

    The drivers really don’t like it if you get off the bus through the door at the front, unless you’re really old or handicapped or overweight and have trouble passing through the turnstile or walking unnecessarily. Some drivers seem to count kids in this category, but others complain.

    That means you need to treat the seats BEFORE the turnstile as sort of temporary seats. For example, the back seats are full, so you can stay in the front until some back seats open up. You can sit in the front for the whole ride, but it’s best if you at least pass through the turnstile in order to get off the bus. That means you won’t pay until you get off. That’s apparently OK, and this system is possible since people aren’t supposed to get off through the front door.

    This presents a problem for you because of your daughter. What I see most everyone do is just have their kid slide UNDER the turnstile before they pay for themselves and pass through normally. Also, it seems that some people with the bilhete único cards can swipe the card twice in order to get their kids through more easily, but they aren’t charged the second time because it’s within the time limit.

    Anyway, that’s my interpretation (after many musings during long bus rides). Let me know what you think!

  7. anna says:

    i heard about this school in SP and thought u might be interested :
    Lumiar school
    office site : http://www.lumiar.org.br/?lang=en

  8. anna says:

    also this :
    “A escola certa para seu filho” http://epocasaopaulo.globo.com/vida-urbana/a-escola-certa-para-seu-filho/
    (sorry that its in portuguese)

  9. Julia says:

    In my city, Salvador, there is no Bilhete Único 😦 We have to pay R$ 2,80.
    And there is no seats before the turnstile (it is in the back of the buses), we have to pay and pass throught it to sit down.

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