There has been major investment in public transport to help make fans’ journeys to venues cheap and convenient. A new tram service, the VLT, has been built to link the domestic airport, Santos Dumont, with Rio’s main bus station, and will run from 6am to midnight during the Games. The VLT stops at two metro stations – Cinelandia and Carioca – which in turn can connect passengers to venues in the Copacabana and Maracanã zones.
Visitors can also reach the other two clusters, Deodoro and the Olympic Park in Barra, with either a train or a bus transfer. Meanwhile, those travelling between Barra and Deodoro can use the new TransOlimpica BRT bus service. The 26km route connects the TransCarioca and TransOeste BRTs, and as well as ensuring people get to the Games, the network also leaves an important urban mobility legacy for Rio.
“We always dreamed of making this city fairer and more modern,” Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio, says. “With the Transolímpica BRT, a big part of the population will travel more quickly and conveniently during their commute. This was one of the main legacies from the Olympics.”
To help speed up connections between venues, a single travel pass can be used on bus, metro, train and BRT networks. The RioCard can be bought for single day, three-day or seven-day use and while the cards expire at midnight on the day of expiry, there will be a two-hour grace period for those at events that finish after 12am. Olympic visitors with a RioCard will get exclusive use of the TransOlimpica and Line 4 on the metro, which opened yesterday and will be operational for Olympic visitors.
An Olympic Route Network for athletes, the media and other Olympic groups came into force from 25 July and during the Games, the roads around the Olympic Park will be closed to accommodate a special traffic system. A team of 380 highway staff will oversee the operation.
The authorities are also prepared for the demands of spectators going to and from the Opening Ceremony at the Maracanã on 5 August. More than 2,000 staff took part in a training exercise, assessing the movement of 250 buses to and from the event. “We can’t deny that so many people traveling around on 5 August will impact the city,” says Leonardo Maciel, Director of Operations of the Municipal Olympic Company. “Our job is to make sure everything runs smoothly in spite of that. The simulation has fully met our expectations.”
Around 3,300 public security staff will be on duty around the Maracanã as the Games begin. And Rio will also count on the 24-hour Integrated Command and Control Center to monitor traffic flow around the city.“We’re confident that we’re ready for the opening ceremony,” Felipe Seixas, security coordinator of the Games Ceremonies with the Ministry of Justice, says. “We successfully escorted athletes from the Olympic Village to the Maracanã under National Security Forces and ensured the safety of heads of state and Brazilian authorities. There wasn’t any kind of inconvenience when they arrived at Palácio do Itamaraty, just like there wasn’t any problems at Maracanã or when returning to Itamaraty.”