Metrô Rio

Metrô Rio

Metrô Rio is a mass-transit underground railway network that serves the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The network covers a total of 41 kilometres, serving 35 stations, across two lines. Line 1 covers 16 kilometres and Line 2 serves a 30.2 kilometre stretch, with a total of 30 stations. Metrô Rio has the second highest passenger volume of the metro systems in Brazil, after the São Paulo Metro.


Line 1 (orange line) serves downtown Rio, tourist areas in the South Zone, and several neighborhoods in the North. It is a semicircular line, and is fully underground. It runs from Uruguai Station to Ipanema/General Osório Station.

Line 2 (green line) serves working-class residential neighborhoods extending toward the north. It is a northwest-to-southeast line, and almost completely above-ground (mostly at ground level and partly elevated). This line started as a light rail, but due to increased ridership, has gradually changed to rapid transit or metro.

The extension works of Line 2, called Line 1A, ended the need for a transfer at Estácio Station; allowing for the direct connection from Pavuna Station to Botafogo was completed in December 2009. With this extension, the 250,000 passengers that circulate daily on Line 2 no longer needed to change trains to get to the South Zone. This work meant a 13 minute reduction in journey time from Pavuna station to the city’s downtown, the final destination for 83% of Line 2’s passengers.

Map MetroRio

Line 1

All line 1 stations are underground. Cinelândia and Central stations have island platforms. Carioca, Saens Peña, Botafogo and General Osório stations have both side and island platforms, while Saens Peña consists of two island platforms and three tracks. All other stations have side platforms.

Central, which is a major interchange point between the Metro, local and longer-distance bus lines, and the SuperVia urban train network, is the busiest station on the network. The Uruguai Station opened in March 2014, becoming the new terminal station of Line 1 in the North Side of Rio de Janeiro.

Line 2

Line 2 is fully above-ground, except for the stations on the new Line 1A stretch. It is elevated from Irajá to Colégio and at Cidade Nova and Triagem stations, with the rest of the line at ground level. Interchange to line 1 is possible at Line 1A stations on weekdays, and at Estácio on weekends and holidays. Bus interchange is possible at Nova América/Del Castilho, Coelho Neto and Pavuna.

Line 4 Project

The new Line 4 (blue line) of the Rio de Janeiro metro is under construction and will open in 2016. It will link Ipanema to Barra de Tijuca in the west and is expected to carry over 300,000 people per day and to take almost 2,000 cars off the road during rush hour. The plan is to keep the standard fare for all journeys.

There are 6 new stations planned: Nossa Senhora da Paz (Ipanema), Jardim de Alah (in between Ipanema and Leblon), Antero de Quental (Leblon), Gávea, São Conrado and Jardim Oceânico (Barra).

The estimated time to travel between Barra and Ipanema is 15 minutes and between Barra and the centre is 34 minutes. As of August 2015, Rio de Janeiro Secretary of Transport Carlos Roberto Osori described the project as 75% complete.

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VLT Project

The first section of the network is due to enter service in April 2016 in time for the Olympic Games, which Rio is hosting next year, with the second phase following towards the end of 2016. In total, the network will have three lines totalling 27∙5 km, serving a total of 32 stops located 400m apart.

The network will be operated with a fleet of 32 air-conditioned Citadis LRVs, 27 of which are being built by Alstom in Brazil. The light rail network will be fully integrated with Rio’s public transport network including metro and commuter rail.

The BNDES will provide 42% of the R$1∙77bn cost of the light rail network under construction in Rio de Janeiro, making R$746∙5m available to concessionaire VLT Carioca. Funding includes R$35∙3m from the bank’s Climate Fund, as the new light rail network is forecast to avoid 410 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions during the 25-year concession term.

Rolling Stock

Both lines are served by old metro rolling stock of A TYPE. Line two includes A TYPE and the new B TYPE rolling stock. As line two is a conversion from light rail to metro, its rolling stock includes trains that have been converted from light rail to metro.

The entire rolling stock is fully air-conditioned and the trains comprise four to six passenger cars. Constructed in stainless steel, the monoblock passenger cars have the capacity to accommodate up to 378 passengers. In a typical six-passenger car train, the maximum number of passengers that can be accommodated is 2,214.

The coaches have horizontal as well as vertical seating arrangements. Where the horizontal seats, parallel to windows, are fitted on to the left side, the right side features vertical seats, right-angled to the window. This can also be vice versa.

To facilitate easier standing and backside facing, every vertical seat is equipped with a handle. Ceiling to floor vertical rods are also fixed in front of horizontal seats and in middle of the coach to assist standing passengers.

Over the past few year’s,Metrô Rio has also acquired 114 new cars from CNR (Chinese Railway Vehicles). These cars have an improved layout, which will provide an improved passenger experience.

The new trains feature a new air conditioning system, which is 33% more powerful, improved internal circulation within the cars, modern passenger information systems and can accommodate an increase capacity of over 500,000 trips per day.

Fares and Payment Methods

Single Journey (Unitário) tickets cost R$3.70, regardless of distance travelled. It is also possible to purchase a single journey ticket, with a bus extension or express bus extension, which can be used to pay for a metro journey followed by a bus journey.

Prepaid Card’s (Cartão Pré-pago) are also available, and can be used on the metro and on metro owned buses. These can be purchased at metro stations, with the card free of charge but dependent upon an initial of R$10 prepayment.

Tickets (a disposable contactless card) are purchased from a cashier in a booth. Prepaid tickets can be topped up at the vending booths, or at automated ticket recharging machines at select stations. Cards cannot be bought at the machines, and no change is given. Cash is the only accepted means of payment on any of the sales channels.

Management and Operations

The Metrô was began service on 1979, with five stations operating on one line. Between 1979 and 1997 the network was publicly operated and managed, but in December 1997 the network was privatized.

The management and operation of the company passed into the hands of the Opportrans Consortium, with a concession of 20 years, leaving the responsibility for expansion of the network in the hands of the state government of Rio de Janeiro through the company Rio Trilhos.

The operational concession was renewed in 2007 until 2038, with a sharp increase in investment. The shareholders can be seen below.Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 11.50.33 AM

Metrô Rio are very proud of the expansion and restructuring that has taken place since privatization, which has meant operations have now become profitable and operations are no longer heavily reliant on state subsidies.

Metrô Rio was granted a 20 year concession to operate Line 1 and Line 2 of the cities metro system in December 1997. On December 27 2007 the concessionary agreement was extended until 27 January 2038.

Since privatization in 1997, Metrô Rio has extended from 25.3km to 40.9km with 35 stations now in operation, as opposed to 24 at the start of the concession. In addition, the number of trains has increased from 21 to 49, with ridership more than doubling from 308,000 to 650,000 trips per day. Weekly hours of operation has increased from 102 in 1998 to 130 in 2013.

Change in corporate strategy has meant a significant reduction in bureaucracy and increased investment in technical personnel. The number of administrative employees has been reduced from 3,500 in 1998 to 304 at present, while the number of operational experts employed has increased from 1,500 to 2,137. While in 1998 the company received a significant state subsidy to support operational costs, this is no longer necessary and Metrô Rio is now a profitable organization.

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Presentation by Metrô Rio Director Joubert Flores, at Total Rail 2012.