We are happy to report that we took only buses in Rio or walked to get around. We also took the Metro one day to Downtown Rio. Public transit is pretty plentiful in the city. Buses come one or two or three at a time, one right after another or simultaneously. The one metro ride costs R$3 ($1.50). The buses however all range in costs. It could be R$2.70-$3.40+ depending on the journey and if it has air conditioning (more expensive). We took the “Frescão” airport bus to get to Copacabana – takes about 1.5 hours and costs R$12 ($6).
The buses are a tad scarry. You have to flag them down semi-vigorously or they won't stop. There is a lot of congestion in Rio, so lots of cars, buses and taxis, so they try to “out run” each other, cut each other off, etc. You have to wave it down, and it might stop 20-30 ft away so you have to run up or down the street. There are 2 “dedicated” bus lanes, but other vehicles go in there too. They stop fast, so you have to jump aboard and stop only for a few seconds for you to jump off. During rush hour it can be bad or if you have a ill-tempered driver. Overall we were fine and had no issues. We even took the public bus to the domestic airport to fly out of Rio.
What is interesting is that there are 2 staff aboard: the driver (usually male) and a money collector (majority female). The money collector has a seat on the bus with a gray cash box and collects money from people without a transit pass. Well, might be inefficient but it works.