Carris: Companhia Carris de Ferro de Lisboa and the
Museu da Carris (Carris Transport Museum)
Carris is the main public transport undertaking of Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. The company has its own excellent Web site in both Portuguese and English. Carris was founded in 1872 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Its first horse-drawn trams, known as 'americanos', ran on 17 November, 1873 between Sta Apolónia railway station, a mile east of the city centre and Santos, a similar distance to the west along the river front.
Its electric tram services were introduced on 31 August, 1901 on a route to Ribamar (Algés) from Cais do Sodré. Although five buses were acquired in 1912, these were withdrawn in 1915. Buses did not make a return to Carris's fleet until 9 April, 1944, although six vehicles had been acquired in 1940.
Today the company operates bus, elevator and funicular services.
Recent indicators include..
In 1998, 383.5 million passengers were carried, compared with 385.7M the previous year and 376.18M in 1996, 379.2M (1995) and 381.2M (1994). However, 2000 saw an 8.1% drop in passengers to 326M and a loss of €75M. In 2004 256.6 million were carried and by 2008 this had declined to 234.4M. The losses were largely attributed to Metro extensions and increased car usage.
Carris's headquarters (above, left) are in the Rua 1 de Maio, no.101, at Santo Amaro which lies on tram route 15, about 15/20 minutes' ride from Praça da Figueira. At Santo Amaro, too, is its tram shed and museum, situated almost directly beneath the enormous Ponte 25 de Abril suspension bridge across the River Tagus. Its other tram depot, Arco do Cego, on the Avenida Duque de Ávila, was vacated and converted into Lisbon's main coach station but that facility has now moved to Sete Rios; for details, see the Lisbon Suburban Bus and Coach page.
At one time, Arco do Cego housed the entire fleet with Santo Amaro being chiefly a repair depot. Arco do Cego has now been turned into a covered car park with an adjacent garden. Another former depot, at Amoreiras, opened in 1937 and closed in 1981, is now the site of a major shopping centre. New Carris bus depots were opened at Pontinha (1975) and Musgueira (1981), whilst a large complex was opened by the President of Portugal at Miraflores in June 1983.
The museum's fleet comprised the following trams at the time of opening: #260,283,329,330,506,508,535,549,741,777,802,904 and trailer #101. Since then tram #747 and works-car (zorra) #68 have been added. All of the trams are beautifully restored in period liveries and in running order. Indeed, numbers 283,330,508,535 and 802 were all put into service on 18 September 1999 to coincide with use of the museum for a function to celebrate the 126th anniversary of Carris services.
Also housed in the museum are AEC double-decker buses #217,301 and 486 and single-decker #76. Daimler double-deckers #837 and 851 are also displayed.
Once inside the museum, you are able to wander freely in Núcleo 1, although Portuguese-speaking guides are sometimes on hand. Here there are interesting exhibits of tram tickets, photographs, uniforms, models, maps and other artefacts. All are accompanied by English as well as Portuguese labels. Once you have finished there, you are escorted through a door at the back of the room to the waiting tourist tram for the short ride through the depot yard to Núcleo 2 where the trams and buses are housed.
The second building comprises two adjoining sheds of historic trams and buses as well as an interesting display of the former print shop. A guided tour is sometimes given in Portuguese and photography is quite explicitly allowed but often you may be just left to wander round at will.
There are also some exhibits from the former Carris power station and of some track-laying equipment. Some interesting historic photos adorn the walls, including depictions of accidents.
During its first year of operation the Carris museum welcomed 15,473 visitors (to 31 December 1999).
In 2005, 220 new buses were acquired including 20 powered by natural gas. The vehicles were Volvo B10L series 2 (2005), Mercedes Benz OC 500 LE (2005-06), Volvo B7R LE (2005-06) and MAN 18.280 HOCL (2005-06).
These were followed in 2008 by 40 vehicles. These were MAN 14.240 HOCL (2008-09) and M. Benz Citaro G 1.ª serie (2008). Sixty standard vehicles arrived in 2009 comprising 40 diesel Euro 5 and 20 natural gas vehicles; Volvo B7R MK3 and MAN 18.310 HOCL GN.
2010 saw the arrival of 30 flexi-buses (M. Benz Citaro G ).
The average age of the fleet at the end of 2012 was 7.58 years.
The fleet as listed on the Carris website in 2010 comprised:
The articulated fleet comprised:
The midi-bus fleet comprised:
The mini-bus fleet comprised:
The fleet for disabled users comprised:
The tram fleet comprises
By comparison, at 31 December 2005, Carris employed 2,787 staff, comprising 1598 drivers and 165 tram drivers. Its fleet comprised 785 buses, 58 trams, 3 funiculars and 1 elevator.
The Carris fleet of trams has traditionally been painted in yellow and white but advertising liveries which once made any plain yellow and white vehicles a rarity have now largely disappeared. The new articulated trams were all totally covered by advertising liveries which in most cases also covered the windows but many have now been restored to the plain yellow livery. Buses are now yellow with green trim, having been orange and mushroom coloured for some years previously. That livery replaced a dark green and ivory livery prevalent into the 1970s.
Adjacent: Viva Viagem tickets look identical at first glance but differ according to the alphabetical prefix on their front. The reverse of the same tickets generally indicates more clearly which transport system has issued them. For a fuller explanation, see below.
Lisbon has an excellent ticketing system employing "Viva Viagem" and "Sete Colinas" (7 Hills) electronic "proximity" passes, which are similar to London's Oyster Card. (The title of 7 Colinas is an allusion to the belief that Lisbon is built on 7 hills, like Rome).
The original electronic pass was the "7 Colinas - Bilhete 1 Zona”, introduced on 9 September 2006 to replace the old BUC pre-purchased transport ticket. A one-zone ticket is valid for one hour after its first validation. A"2 Zonas" version allows travel in two city zones for up to 2 hours. The card is validated inside vehicles by holding it about 5cm from the validator. As of summer 2016 the cost of buying a single ticket on board a bus or tram was 2.80 euros, so the current daily charge of 6.00 euros for unlimited usage in the city area is good value. But there is no longer a multiple ticket for more than a day e.g. weekly.
Viva Viagem passes are the most common though the earlier Sete Colinas pass still seems to be interchangeable with it. Viva Viagem cards can be loaded with journeys or with passes for a full day by using any Metro station machine or by visiting any of the numerous outlets around the city. Tickets for one-day are valid for 24 hours i.e. you could buy one midday on day one and it remains valid till the same time on day two.
These electronic passes have replaced the old Tourist Pass (bilhete turístico) which could be acquired for either a four or seven-day period and were better value. The Viva Viagem/Sete Colinas passes cost half a euro and is valid for a year.
Although the VV tickets issued by all these operators look identical i.e. they are green and bear the Viva Viagem logo, they all have prefix in front of the pass's number, viz:
ML=Metro Lisboa and Carris (valid on metro, Carris buses, trams, funiculars, elevator), TT=Transtejo (valid on river ferries), FT=Fertagus (valid on Fertagus train services), MST=Metro Sul Tejo (valid on MST services) and CP=CP railways
ML is the most common types and can be charged either with a single or more journeys or with a full-day's validity. A recent (2016) innovation is the "Travelling All Lisboa" pass which can be loaded onto a VV pass and allows unfettered travel not only on the Metro, and Carris but also on the suburban CP rail network's as Cascais, Sintra, Azambuja and Sado lines. As of 2016 this cost ten euros, compared with six euros for the day pass on Metro and Carris only.
To recharge your card follow the simple instructions (in various languages) on the two-tone blue ticket machines at every Metro station. You can pay with notes as well as coins and credit/debit cards.
Because of the limited inter-operability of VV cards, you can end up with four or five seemingly identical Viva Viagem cards each only usable on one of Carris/Metro, TransTejo, Fertagus, MST or CP. If you look carefully at these you will see that the ticket number has the above prefix denoting the system for which it is valid.
All vehicles and Metro turnstiles have card readers. The card need only be held over the sensor to register and, indeed, can even be left in a wallet when doing this.
(NB Also publicised to tourists is the Lisboa/Lisbon card, which is much more expensive as its main benefit is to give discount admission to tourist attractions - see below).
There are also many combined passes available to locals; these permit travel on Carris services as well as those of suburban bus firms such as TST; other combined passes cover Carris routes and suburban railway services to Sintra, Azambuja, Cascais and the Sado area near Setúbal. There is also a combined ticket covering the river ferries and Carris services.
All tickets should be cancelled on boarding trams and buses, using the on-board machines. On the articulated trams, tickets can also be bought from on-board machines near the rear of the vehicle, as the driver does not sell tickets or check passes. Coins are required for the machines. Viva Viagem passes must be validated by the automatic readers on all bus and tram services. Fertagus/CP tickets should be validated on the platform before first use.
Transporlis is a useful portal covering all modes of Lisbon transport which contains timetable and fares information.
As of 2016 fares were:
Tickets bought on board for a single journey - buses € 1,80, trams € 2,85, funiculars (up & down return) € 3,60, elevator (up & down return) € 5,00
Tickets charged onto a Viva Viagem/7 Colinas pass for a single journey - for Carris/Metro € 1,40
Tickets charged onto a Viva Viagem/7 Colinas pass for a 24h pass on Carris/Metro € 6,00, on Carris/Metro/Transtejo (Cacilhas) € 9,00, Carris/Metro/CP € 10,00
VV cards can also be uploaded with cash.
An alternative for tourists who wish to Lisbon's museums is the Lisbon Card, which gives unlimited use of Carris services (except the Aerobus, tourist bus and tram-tour route, as well as free use of the Metro and of the Cascaisrailway line from C. Sodré to Belém. In addition it provides free entry to 26 Lisbon museums and monuments. Amongst the museums covered are the Maritime Museum, Coach Museum and Air Museum. The Card may be purchased in City Tourist Offices and other outlets.
A map of the Carris transport
system may be found on their Web site. Further details of their bus, tram, funicular and
elevator services may be found by clicking on the appropriate link
Other Lisbon Museums
Other museums (most of which are closed on Mondays) which are well worth a visit include:
Compiled by John Laidlar