Community Bus Stops Transform Brazil

Thousands of bus stops in Brazil completely lack signage to indicate which buses actually stop there. The nation-wide inconvenience has finally been tackled by one of the biggest community projects in the world.

‘Que Ônibus Passa Aqui?’ (‘Which Bus Stops here?’) is a resident-led initiative which has taken Brazil by storm. Most bus stops in the country do not list which buses stop there, meaning widespread confusion and inconvenience for people wishing to take a bus from somewhere they are unfamiliar with. Waiting at a bus stop only to find out that the bus you want doesn’t actually stop there is a huge waste of time.

Que Ônibus Passa Aqui? Que Ônibus Passa Aqui?

Financial and organisational issues hindered authorities from solving the problem, so residents of Porto Alegre took matters into their own hands to find a solution. Initially, with limited resources and funding, the plan was simple: residents who knew which bus stopped where would write it on the bus stop itself. The project engaged all members of the community and directly benefited residents and tourists alike.

The idea soon caught on, and graphic company All Signs stepped in to provide a simple design which could be mass produced, making 50 colourful adhesive stickers to be pasted on each bus stop. The sticker asks ‘Que Ônibus Passa Aqui?’ and locals collectively write down exactly which routes pass that stop.

Que Ônibus Passa Aqui? Que Ônibus Passa Aqui? Que Ônibus Passa Aqui? Que Ônibus Passa Aqui?

The ideas did not stop here, however. The Porto Alegre EPTC, the public transport company, joined the project to produce an entire sticker pack, with colourful information about all the bus lines. Then the idea spread to the whole of Brazil. Being a problem faced not only by rural villages but also big cities like Basília and Rio de Janeiro, demand for the simple sticker packs was high. The next step was to take the initiative viral.

The team launched a video calling on as many people as possible to take the project to their respective cities, making Facebook events to spread the word. The initiative spread to over 20 cities within a matter of days, with over 6000 stickers being printed to put up around the country. Sticker packs can be downloaded from the project’s website, meaning its scope is infinite, being able to reach people across the entire country, wherever and whenever.

The power of the project lies with the residents themselves, utilising their knowledge and their ability to spread, both online and on the streets, their know-how through the simple sticker packs.