The subway is one of the main means of transport in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Before the pandemic, the modal was responsible for the displacement of about 900 thousand people per day. Altogether there are 41 stations, three lines in activity and 14 integration points in 58 km of extension.
Despite being considered the best mass transit service in Rio de Janeiro, complaints from users about delays, service interruptions, ticket office closures and lack of professionals to assist in self-service during ticket purchases have become frequent.
Student Rafael Nascimento lives in the neighborhood of Paciência, in the West Zone, and always uses the modal to visit his father with his younger brother. The young man does not have a RioCard (a card for the electronic ticketing system in the state of Rio) and told the reporter that he had problems buying a ticket at a self-service subway station in Coelho Neto.
“The cashier is closed, so I don’t know what to do, I have to go to the machines to use the money. The machine makes me a little confused and there is no subway employee to help”, says Rafael, who does not have a bank card and depends only on money to buy the ticket, which costs R$ 6.50.
Read more: Rio Metro: Public Ministry goes to court to reduce the most expensive fare in the country
In addition to the difficulty in using the machine, passengers claim that, at peak times, there are long lines to buy tickets.
“Sometimes you don’t have time to stay at the machine and you’re already up to go to work, at the right time. It’s complicated and really annoying. Sometimes it’s crowded and doesn’t work. Opening the ticket office would make life easier for workers”, highlights security guard Alípio Melo, a resident of the Rocha Miranda neighborhood, in the North Zone, who uses the subway daily at the Coelho Neto station.
O Brazil de facto went to the subway and found that on Tuesday (5), in the late afternoon and early evening, at Flamengo stations, in the South zone; in Coelho Neto, in the North zone and in Carioca, in the center of the state capital, the ticket offices of Metro Rio were not working.
All three stations had signs reading “closed”. In Carioca, a company employee was instructed to go to the self-service terminal to purchase the ticket. There was an employee assisting passengers with the service at the machines. However, at Flamengo and Coelho Neto stations, there was no professional at the cash or card purchase terminals.
Another recurring failure pointed out by passengers during their trips is service interruptions. On Wednesday (29), users complained that between the stations of São Cristóvão and Cidade Nova, on line 2, the trains stopped on the grounds of lack of energy. The problem was reported on the subway’s social media.
MetrôRio informs that there was a power cut in the section between the Central and São Cristóvão stations and the circulation on line 2 is momentarily stopped. More information in a moment. pic.twitter.com/q6ZrnmKibc
— MetroRio (@metro_rio) June 29, 2022
Lucimar Pimenta is a domestic worker. She says that under normal conditions, it takes 1h20 from her home in Guadalupe, in the north of Rio, to her place of work in Leblon, in the south of the city, but that she has been late for work more often due to interruptions in the travel.
“Most of the problems are [o trem] to the branches and delay. Today  he even stopped in Triagem and was stopped for 45 minutes and it is difficult for people who have time to get to work. Most of the time I was late,” he says.
Read more: RJ: BRT works on Avenida Brasil consumed almost R$ 2 billion and are delayed for five years
O Brazil de facto contacted Metrô Rio for a position on user complaints. Through a note, the company informed that it has been following the world’s technological evolution, offering digital channels, such as self-service machines in all of its 41 stations, online recharges through its website and application and the possibility of acquiring tickets by approach, through NFC (Near Field Communication) technology, wireless technology for exchanging information by approach).
According to the concessionaire, “at times of high demand, the ticket offices of the stations work for customer service”.
Regarding the bike rack, Metrô Rio informed that it is permanently studying the strategic locations for installing the equipment according to the demand needs of each station.
Regarding the intervals between trains on line 2, the company highlighted that the operation is still fully operational with the maximum supply of the train fleet, at regular hours and with all stations open.
The Metrô Rio concessionaire is responsible for operating and managing lines 1 and 2 that circulate between the South, North and Center of the city and since 2016 it has operated line 4 that goes to Barra da Tijuca, in the West zone. The expansion of the subway network and the acquisition of new trains are the responsibility of the state government. In 2019, Metrô Rio profited around R$ 1 billion, in 2020 this number also dropped, to R$ 600 million.
Metrô Rio was part of Grupo Invepar – Investimentos e Participações em Infra-Estrutura SA, also responsible for the administration and operation of the Light Rail Vehicle (VLT) until November last year when Mubadala, the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi, took control of the Metrô Rio and Metrô Barra concessions.
The operation was valued at R$ 1.8 billion, and part of Invepar’s debt with Mubadala was exchanged. Control of the two companies has now passed to Hmobi, a holding company for investments in urban mobility, in which Mubadala holds 51.5%.
Source: BdF Rio de Janeiro
Editing: Mariana Pitasse