OK, so the photo is from Diadema, just outside São Paulo city centre, but it gives an indication of what a bus stop looks like here. It’s just a marker for where the bus will stop.
There is no information on which buses go past this stop, or where they go, or how frequently they run. Just a marker that says ‘this is a bus stop’.
I’m used to the spider map system in London, which is just great. You can get onto a bus you are not familiar with and know exactly where it will go because the stylised maps depict the entire route of the bus. People in London still complain that the spider maps for buses don’t integrate well enough into the tube and rail maps, but at least there is an excellent mapping system for every bus that runs through London.
I spoke to someone about this a few days ago, another foreigner who has made São Paulo his home, though he has been here since the 1980s. He said that it’s because only poor people use the buses and they will mostly know which bus they are taking so have no need for maps, and if they wanted to complain then they have less of a voice and less knowledge of how to organise an effective campaign to improve matters.
Well here in Brazil, I’m supposed to be one of the class A – the elite members of society – and yet I use the bus almost every day. I would really appreciate some way of knowing where the bus goes. It’s fine for me to go from home to a central point like Paulista Avenue, but the moment I want to figure out how to get to somewhere new, like Brooklin, I have no way of planning a route or checking where buses go. I just have to aim north, south, east, west on a bus I don’t know and hope for the best.
Surely it’s time to give the people of São Paulo some more information on the 1,000 or so bus routes here, and secondly, wouldn’t it encourage some more of the middle classes to use the bus if they knew where it was going?