São Paulo introduces Internet-enabled buses as part of transport overhaul

New vehicles also feature surveillance and fraud-proof ticket validation gates.

The government of São Paulo has introduced yesterday (2) a fleet of new Internet-enabled buses as part of a wider scheme to improve the public transport network at Brazil's largest city.

New Wi-fi enabled bus in São Paulo Image: Fabio Arantes/SECOM

As well as Wi-fi, the new buses have travelcard validation gates equipped with cameras with facial recognition features that match the ticket holder's face with the photo registered with the city bus authority. This is to prevent fraudulent use of temporary or travelcards reserved for older or disabled passengers.

The buses are also equipped with additional seven surveillance cameras: six for door monitoring and one next to the bus conductor.

In total, 20 new vehicles have been introduced, with four vehicles undergoing the Internet access trial, in addition to a handful of older buses that already featured Wi-fi. According to the city transport body SPTrans, 200 more buses with the same spec have been ordered.

"We are creating a more favorable environment to public transportation," said São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad. "All we want is to make people feel increasingly better using public transport, with the amenities of modern life. The new buses will add quality to people's journeys, which in addition to being faster [São Paulo has recently adopted dedicated bus lanes], will be more useful," Haddad added.

This follows the roll-out of free Wi-fi in 120 public areas across the São Paulo city center and suburban areas, a project that was launched in November and has been delivered earlier this year.