Well, for those who like their transportation to come with a healthy injection of adrenaline and high-speed thrills, there isn’t one.
‘Moto-taxis’ (yes, you guessed it – that translates as motorbike taxis) are one of the cheapest and most time efficient ways to get around in Rio de Janeiro, but don’t expect the drivers to have a Western-style attitude to health and safety.
Moto-taxis first became popular in Rio’s vast, sprawling hillside favelas, where the steep and often unpathed paths mean that traditional cabs are rarely an option.
Today, they are popular with anyone who wants to get from A to B as quickly and as cheaply as possible, and moto-taxi ranks can be found everywhere from the hills of Santa Teresa to the beaches of the Zona Sul. A ride in a moto-taxi typically costs arounf one third of the price of a standard cab, so you might expect to pay about R$5 for a 5km journey.
But before you start planning a city-wide tour, it’s worth pointing out that the hair raising nature of Rio’s roads mean moto-taxis are best reserved for short distances.
Every Brazilian driver likes to think they have a least a little in common with the country’s racing driver legend Ayrton Senna, and moto-taxi drivers are no exception.
Zipping around hair-pin bends and weaving through traffic, moto-taxis aren’t exactly a relaxing way to travel, but if you want to cover a short distance in an equally short time, they merit the adrenaline rush.
Grabbing a moto-taxi is easy – you just turn up, state your destination (you might need to be persistent if you want a safety helmet…), hop on, and hold on for dear life.
Photo: Moto-taxi in Santa Teresa, courtesy of Marla Guttman