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Brazil Transportation Dialogues

Buses - Travel by bus in Brazil is a common form of transport.. Cabs and automobiles are not used by the majority, with higher costs that don't fit into tight budgets. Traveling by car in Brazil will try the nerves of most. Brazilians have a fondness for Formula One Racing, and you will immediately notice this the minute you step out on the street. To be a pedestrian in most cities in Brazil, you will find to more difficult to what you are used to, as even crosswalks are not respected and by all means use the crosswalk. Accidents are all too common on Brazilian streets, so use extra caution. Things happen fast on Brazilian streets.

City Buses will be a real challenge for a non-native, although it can be done with some courage and practice. First of all, you need to know the route number for your destination and your bus stop. 1) Brazilian bus drivers are running fast so you need to be on your toes to see yours approaching and jump up to flag it down. They don't stop without being flagged, and you have to be prepared to jump literally on, as they don't stop for long. 2) You enter in the back of the bus on most, pay the collector (cobrador) before entering the turnstile. Small change (exact better) is necessary, as change is very hard to come by in Brasil, and the collector has a $10R bill limit to accept. 3) To find your stop, you can ask the collector (best) or another passenger to give you notice before you arrive, pulling on the cord above to advise the driver (motorista) to stop. 4) Exit through the front door, carefully watching out for moving traffic. 5) It is not advisable to use city buses after 8 PM, when they become a security risk. There are air conditioned buses, usually smaller, easier and safer, but not as frequent.

Long Haul Buses - English is not spoken within Brazilian bus companies, so be prepared. With that being said, Long-haul Brazilian buses are comfortable, run ontime, and clean. There are 3 classes of fares and videos can be watched on most all long-haul buses 1) The conventional (convencional) is the least expensive and stops at every town and many rest-stop restaurants, which adds on a substantial travel time, most with air conditioning. 2) The next class is executive (executivo), all with air conditioning, complimentary mineral water and coffee and stop much less if at all. They also have more space between seats. These only operate between the large cities. 3) The third class is the sleeper (leito) which is double the price of the conventional, with a few extra freebies that the executive and a seat that fold out into beds and operate on the fast schedule. A good idea on the executive and leito buses is to bring some snacks and a jacket on all over night trips, as they can get chilly at night. If you leave the bus at any of the designated stops, take any carry on baggage with you, as it not a good idea to leave your items unattended. You aren't allowed to occupy seats (poltronas) other than those designated.

Below are the largest 10 Brazilian Bus companies and links to their websites. Your gate is known as plataforma meaning platform. On departure, you will load your baggage under the bus and the crew will give you a/some baggage claim tickets. Don't lose them.

1) ITAPEMIRIM - the largest in Brazil and South America, covering almost all of Brazil, out of Cachoeiro do Itapemirim, Espirito Santos.    www.itapemirim.com.br  Tel. 0800-723-2121      

2) NS PENHA - belongs to the Itapemirim group, based out of Curitiba, Parana, and covering various regions of Brazil.            www.nspenha.com.br  Tel. 0800-723-2122

3) SAO GERALDO - based out of Caratinga, Minas Gerias, and covers 13 Brazilian states in every region of Brazil.            www.saogeraldo.com.br   Tel. 0800 311 312

4) EXPRESSO BRASILEIRO - based out of the capital Sao Paulo, covering the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. www.expressobrasileiro.com  Tel. (11) 5061-7566

5) COMETA - based out of São Paulo, covering the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerias and Paraná

6) UTIL - based out of Minas Gerais, covering Minas Gerais, and the states of Rio de Janeiro e São Paulo.                                     www.util.com.br  Tel. (21) 3907-9000

7) TRANSBRASILIANA - based out of Goiânia in Goias, connecting the south-east region with the north.                      www.transbrasiliana.com.br  Tel.  0300 789 1015

8) GONTIGO - based out of Belo Horizonte, covering various regions of Brazil.                                                                         www.gontijo.com.br  Tel. 0800 311 312

9) AGUIA BRANCA - the company covers the states of Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, São Paulo, as well as Espirito Santos, where it is based. www.aguiabranca.com.br  Tel. 0800 725 1211

10) ANDORINHA - based out of western São Paulo state, and connects various regions of Brazil, southeast, north, and the northeast. www.andorinha.com  Tel. 0300 21 03 900


Airlines are the most expensive, but overall the best value and safest way to arrive at your destination. The two big Brazilian domestic carriers are Tam and Gol, with the highest number of daily flights and available destinations. Varig, Ocean Air and Trip airlines also serve domestic flights in Brazil. Airline companies in Brazil have great customer service, not having been affected with the lack of it as in the US. They speak English and generally run ontime, so one hour before your domestic flight is necessary. Always allow extra for traffic time to get to airports in Brazil. Excess baggage is expensive, so pack light. 

Below are the links to the domestic Brazilian airline companies.

1) TAM AIRLINES - based out of São Paulo capital, covering almost all of the national territory of Brazil and serving other countries.       www.tam.com.br  Tel. 0800 570 5700

2) GOL AIRLINES - based out of São Paulo capital and covering almost all of Brazil.                                                                www.voegol.com.br  Tel. 0300 115 2121

3) VARIG AIRLINES - based out of Rio de Janeiro capital, Varig covers most regions of Brazil and various international destinations.  www.varig.com.br  Tel. 4003-7000 in the principal capitals

4) OCEAN AIR - based out of São Paulo and serving many regions throughout all of Brazil.                                                   www.oceanair.com.br  Tel. 4004-4040 in the principal capitals

5) TRIP AIR - based out of Campinas, São Paulo and serving the south, the central west, and the northeast regions of Brazil.                    www.airtrip.com.br  Tel. 0300 789 8747

English Phrase  

 Translation and Pronunciation (P)

Where is the bus station/airport?     Onde fica o rodoviaria/aeroporto?
     ohn-dgee fee-kah oo hoh-doh-vee-ah-ree-ah/ah-eh-roh-pohr-toh?
What time/s do you depart for _____?    Qual/quais horarios parte/m para ____?
     Koowahl/koowahees oh-rah-ree-oh/s pahr-tchee/m pah-rah ____?
What classes are available?    Quais classes ficam disponiveis?
     Koowahees klas-sehs fee-kahm dees-pohn-nee-vehees?
How much does it cost?    Quanto custa?
     Koowahn-toh koos-tah?
How long does it take to arrive?    Demora quanto tempo para chegar?
     Deh-moh-rah koowahn-toh tehm-poh pah-rah shay-gahr?
Where is my gate?    Onde fica meu portao?
     Ohn-dgee fee-kah meh-oo pohr-tahoo?
The bus departs from platform __ at __ o' clock.    O onibus parte da plataforma __ das ___ horas.
     Oo oh-nee-boos pahr-tchee dah plah-tah-fohr-mah ___ dahs __ oh-rahs.
Your flight departs from gate number ____.    Seu voo parte do portao numero ____.
     Seh-oo vohoo pahr-tchee doh pohr-tahoo ___.
Your seat number is ____.    Sua poltrona e' numero ___.
     Soo-ah pohl-troh-nah eh noo-meh-roh ____.
Here are your baggage tickets    Aqui sao suas comprovantes.
     Ah-kee sahoo soo-ahs cohm-proh-vahn-tchess.
Do you have your baggage tickets.    Tem suas comprovantes?
     Tehn soo-ahs cohm-proh-vahn-tchees?

* Te and ti in many places in Brazil in pronounced like tchee.

* De is pronounced in many places of Brazil like dgee.

 *The notable exceptions to these pronunciations are in the Northeast and interior of Brazil.

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