Atlantic Cities

Brazilians Spend as Much as 26 Percent of Their Income to Ride the Bus

Brazilians Spend as Much as 26 Percent of Their Income to Ride the Bus
Reuters

A $0.09 hike in the price of a single bus fare in Sao Paolo ignited the biggest protests to hit Brazil in over 20 years. As we noted earlier today, the bus fare hike was merely the last straw in a long list of public grievances about the shaky Brazilian economy.

But it’s worth noting that Sao Paolo’s bus riders are being majorly squeezed by fares. A fare price that sounds pretty minuscule in dollar terms actually takes up a huge chunk of Brazilian incomes for those at the bottom (and presumably, those who most need to use the bus).

The $0.09 hike brought the price of a single bus fare in Sao Paolo up to $1.47. Assuming Brazil’s city dwellers ride the bus twice daily—to and from work during the week, and to and from anywhere during the weekend—that’s $82.46 a month. For Brazilians making the minimum wage of $312.33 a month, that’s a whopping 26% of their income.

In Brazil’s lopsided economy, public funds are propping up a public transportation system that the public can’t afford.

Top image: A bus driver looks at demonstrators during one of the many protests around Brazil's major cities in Sao Paulo. (Nacho Doce/Reuters)

This post originally appeared on Quartz, an Atlantic partner site.

Roberto A. Ferdman is a reporter at Quartz, where he focuses on Latin American business and economics. All posts »

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