Public Transportation During the Olympics: How to Get to the Venues

A shot from above of people on a subway platform in Rio

Halley Pacheco de Oliveira / Wikimedia Commons

The 2016 Summer Olympics are set to begin this August, and the city is completing last minute preparations for the games. One of the biggest projects in Rio de Janeiro is the expensive expansion of the public transportation system, which will help to enable the huge number of spectators to reach the venues. The Olympic Games will be played at thirty-two venues in four zones in Rio de Janeiro: Barra da Tijuca, Deodoro, Copacabana and Maracanã. In addition, the following cities in Brazil will host soccer matches: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Manaus, Salvador and São Paulo.

How to reach the Olympics venues:

Rio2016, the official site of the 2016 Summer Olympics, has a detailed map of Rio de Janeiro with each of the 32 venues. Below the map is a list of the venues and events. When you click on any of these events or venues, a detailed description of the venue is given, including the following helpful information: transportation options, subway stations, parking options, walking times, and other tips. Therefore, if you plan to visit Rio de Janeiro as a spectator, you should use their updated information for each sporting event and venue to plan your transportation and schedule.

Public transportation in Rio de Janeiro:

Rio de Janeiro is a relatively small city in terms of area, and there are several options for getting around: metro, taxis, taxi vans, public bike sharing, buses and light rail. The brand-new light rail system just opened in downtown Rio de Janeiro; it is expected to increase transportation options for visitors from the city center to the new "Olympic Boulevard" waterfront area, where entertainment events for the Olympics will take place. This revitalized port is also home to the new Museum of Tomorrow.

Taking the subway in Rio de Janeiro:

Perhaps the most important transportation option for Olympics spectators is the city's modern, efficient subway system. The subway system is clean, air conditioned, and efficient, and is considered the safest way to get around the city. Women can choose to ride in the pink subway cars that are reserved for women only (look for pink cars marked with the words "Carro exclusivo para mulheres" or "cars reserved for women").

Rio's new subway line for the Olympics:

The subway's expansion has been one of the most anticipated developments in preparation for the games. The new subway line, Line 4, will connect the neighborhoods of Ipanema and Leblon to Barra da Tijuca, where the largest number of Olympics events will take place and where the Olympic Village and main Olympic Park will be located. This line was created both to reduce congestion on the crowded roads that currently link the city with the Barra area and to allow easy transport for spectators from the city center to the Barra venues.

However, budget problems caused serious construction delays, and officials have now announced that Line 4 will open on August 1, just four days before the Olympic Games begin. When the line is opened, it will be reserved only for spectators, not for the general public. Only those holding tickets to Olympic Games events or other credentials will be allowed to use the new subway line during this time. In addition, the subway won't actually reach the sports facilities themselves, so spectators may need to take shuttles from the stations to the venues.


New road from Rio city center to Barra da Tijuca:

In addition to the new Line 4 subway expansion, a new 3-mile road has been built which parallels the existing road linking Barra da Tijuca with the coastal areas of Leblon, Copacabana and Ipanema. The new road will have "Olympics only" lanes running during the Olympic Games, and it's expected to decrease congestion on the main road by 30 percent and travel time by up to 60 percent.

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