The Sao Paulo metro area serves almost 17 million people and 39 municipalties,  the largest industrial in Latin America According to Metro, the system has the highest demand in the world. Santana and Se' Station have the heaviest traffic.

From it's opening in 1974 through the end of 1997, Metro carried 10 billion passengers. It also built and manages the Ring Road (a large circular expressway), the bus and trolleybus systems,  and 5 (270 km) commuter lines.  Part of the metro was constructed by CPTM (Sao Paulo Metroplotian Trains Company).

In 1997, the system carried 685.9 million passengers, with almost 328 million on the blue line.  The average headway was 118 seconds. At the end of 1997, Metro had 8,072 employees, most of which were in Operations. Users rated the highpoints of the system as speed, cleanliness, and operational safety.

In 1988, 17.6 km of Metro extensions were opened. Also opened was the METRO--TATUAPE shopping center, a large mall which earned Metro $2 million in royalties in just it's first year. Metro also enjoys revenue from stands and shops in the subway, integrated car parks, and billboard advertising

Metro also sponsors many activities, some relating to urban renewal, many cultural, such as art station events,  Christmas carolers, large outdoor concerts with a focus on Brazilian music, as well as many public safety and educational programs

Metro typically works with other subway authorities worldwide, including exchanges in technical information as well as profit opportunities. Metro has had cooperative agreements with Rio de Janiero, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Lyon, Barcelona, Recife, Porto Allegre and Lisbon. It has participated in bids for the construction of the Bogota Metro, and for transportation studies in Quito.


Metro Sao Paulo is described in Portuguese as an "empressa", an enterprise. Many empressas exist in Brazil and other Latin American countries. Other transit agencies worldwide, especially those here in the United States, could perhaps take a lesson or two from this "Third World" concept: A transit agency run like a business.  While some would take issue with this comment, I submit to you that private enterprise can and will always do a far superior job than any government. As transit agencies, as well as other government hydras, move more and more towards operating their concerns as businesses, their efficiencies will increase and so will services to us, their clients.

Here is a quote from the 1997 Sao Paulo Meto report:

"As a result of this financial surplus we were able to keep up the philosophy adopted by METRO of sharing the net income with it's employees."

As of 1997, the only state government subsidies received by this well managed private enterprise was for senior citizens, the disabled and students.