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With the introduction of new information technologies and, recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, we are experiencing a moment of intense changes in the consumption habits of people all over the world, both for products and services. Thus, a discussion that arises naturally is that of the potential for alteration and evolution of public transport by bus.

The Beginning

The starting point for Brazilian public transport is the establishment of the Centro – São Cristóvão line , in the city of Rio de Janeiro, where two animal-drawn buses (each with two floors and for up to 24 people) started serving in 1838, under the initiative of the French entrepreneur Jean Lecoq, who created the Companhia de Omnibus.

In the same year, on October 17, Martin & Cia was authorized to operate 5 lines in the same city, creating Gôndolas Fluminense, operating from 1842.

Here, however, the effects of these operators’ economic situations on their services were present, both negatively, with the viability of Gôndolas Fluminense operating only 2 lines at the beginning of its concession, and positively, given the strong demand derived from the low price of Gondolas in front of Omnibus.

From trams to electric vehicles

Thereafter, services evolved into trams, animal traction, steam and, finally, electric vehicles, starting in 1892. Concession contracts began to adopt the same practice as railroad concessions in the period, still without bids, but with rights and demarcated duties.

In 1908, the gasoline bus was introduced, but it was only in the late 1940s that it began to gain relevance in relation to trams. In 1926, the city of São Paulo created the first regulation of public bus services in Brazil.

Service of common interest and the emergence of municipal transport companies

Thereafter, services evolved into trams, animal traction, steam and, finally, electric vehicles, starting in 1892. Concession contracts began to adopt the same practice as railroad concessions in the period, still without bids, but with rights and demarcated duties.

In 1908, the gasoline bus was introduced, but it was only in the late 1940s that it began to gain relevance in relation to trams. In 1926, the city of São Paulo created the first regulation of public bus services in Brazil.

Urban Mobility Program

Thereafter, services evolved into trams, animal traction, steam and, finally, electric vehicles, starting in 1892. Concession contracts began to adopt the same practice as railroad concessions in the period, still without bids, but with rights and demarcated duties.

In 1908, the gasoline bus was introduced, but it was only in the late 1940s that it began to gain relevance in relation to trams. In 1926, the city of São Paulo created the first regulation of public bus services in Brazil.

Thereafter, services evolved into trams, animal traction, steam and, finally, electric vehicles, starting in 1892. Concession contracts began to adopt the same practice as railroad concessions in the period, still without bids, but with rights and demarcated duties.

Thereafter, services evolved into trams, animal traction, steam and, finally, electric vehicles, starting in 1892. Concession contracts began to adopt the same practice as railroad concessions in the period, still without bids, but with rights and demarcated duties.

Thereafter, services evolved into trams, animal traction, steam and, finally, electric vehicles, starting in 1892. Concession contracts began to adopt the same practice as railroad concessions in the period, still without bids, but with rights and demarcated duties.

New remuneration model?

There are already discussions about alternative revenue searches less influenced by fluctuating demand, such as city tolls, taxes on car-on-demand services and fuel taxes, inspired by international success stories.

If consolidated, this new model should face the challenge of determining how to distribute this revenue among the operating companies, which should increase the relevance of controlling operational indicators that will be used to condition these transfers.

It will be interesting to follow the evolution of this story – and understand how the whole story so far will be taken into account for the decisions that will define public transport going forward.


Kim Emmerson
Kim Emmerson. A woman with dark hair wearing a black turtleneck stands with her arms crossed, smiling.
Kim Emmerson
Kim has been in the industry for 16 years and as part of the Modaxo team, she is responsible for Modaxo’s global marketing and branding and engaging with its businesses on S&M best practices.

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