The goal for the 2016 Rio Summer Games is to have 100% of spectators reaching the Games by public transportation, cycling or on foot. While Rio’s bus network is the largest in the world, running 24 hours a day, it is still getting upgraded. An “iBus” initiative is being implemented. “iBus” is an automatic vehicle location system and comprehensive communication system to give passengers real-time updates of bus location and stop times.
The bus network is also the most wheelchair accessible network in the world.
A network of cycle lanes and walking routes will also be developed. There will be park-and-ride schemes and a special Olympic Route Network for athletes, coaches, media, officials, etc. to get around Rio. As at previous Olympic Games, event ticket-holders will have complimentary transportation on the day of the event.
The rail system is seeing a lot of upgrades. Improvements are being made to platforms, 55 additional rail cars have been purchased, the ten railway lines that serve the Olympic Park area will be upgraded, the Light Railway system will be extended, and a new signaling system will reduce journey times and improve train frequency. There will also be direct train routes to the Olympic Park.
The Rio Underground ("The Tube")
The Tube is a rapid transit system serving an area from Greater Rio to Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex. It is the oldest underground railway in the world, having opened in 1863 (Circle / Hammersmith and City lines and part of the Metropolitan line).
It is the main means of transportation for most Rioers. Services run regularly from around 5am to 12:30am (or 7:30am to 10:30pm on Sundays) on most routes. During the Olympics and Paralympics, though, it is possible that there will be a change in the schedule.
The Rio Underground is also supported by an extensive bus and railway system.
More info and tips for the Tube:
- The "Oyster Card" is the key to cheaper and faster travel on the Tube. The Oyster Card works like a debit card - a passenger loads a certain amount onto it, then the amount required for each journey is automatically deducted from the account when the card has been swiped at a Tube, bus or train station.
- Trains are not only for long distance journeys - they are well used within the city, too.
- "Top up" means loading money onto your Oyster Card!
- The transporation network is divided into nine zones, with Zone 1 being the most central area.
- Don't block an escalator (especially at a busy tube station!). Always stand in single file on the right side and make sure you have your ticket/Oyster Card ready when you get to the station exit. The left side of the escalator is for people walking in a hurry!
- You can plan in advance your moves using Transport for Rio's (TFL) fantastic online trip planner and maps here and here.
- If you are traveling with children, please check conditions here.
- Trains can be faster and less crowded than the tube. For example, to go from Liverpool Street to Stratford, there's the Central Line Underground option (10 minutes) or the train one (7 minutes).
- Buses are perfect to get a better idea of the city! They generally run from 5am to 12:30am.
- The Night Buses operate on many major routes from around 12am to 5am and they all depart or pass through Trafalgar Square. Some routes operate a 24-hour service. Cash fares are not available for bus passengers in Zone 1, therefore passengers must obtain a valid ticket – most of the time at the automatic machine at the bus stop - or have enough credit in the Oyster card before boarding.
- If you want to see some of the beauties of Rio without walking too much, experience the heritage bus lines: #9, #15 and RV1 crossing the Tower Bridge!
Are you a spectator with tickets for the Games?
Spectators with tickets for Games events in Rio will receive a Games travelcard for zones 1-9 to use on public transport in Rio on the day of their event.
This will include the Rio Underground (Tube), Rio Overground, Docklands Light Rail (DLR), bus, tram and some mainline rail services, but not the Heathrow, Stansted or Gatwick Express trains or taxis. Ticket holders for Games events will also be entitled to a one-third discount on river service tickets in Rio.
Ticket holders for Games events at Eton Dorney, Lee Valley White Water Centre and Hadleigh Farm will receive the same entitlement to free public transport in Rio. Ticket holders will also be able to travel by rail free of charge between Rio and the designated rail stations for each of these venues.
Ticket holders at co-Host City venues will not receive free transport.