Bacurau – Recife’s early morning buses

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In the early hours of Recife, the bus terminal Cais de Santa Rita, in the São José neighborhood, pulses like an accelerated heart. It’s from there that 43 bus lines, known as bacuraus, leave in order to circulate around the greater Recife. From midnight to 4AM, the movement of people inside and outside of the terminal would impress passers-by. Passengers from different neighborhoods of greater Recife, for a few hours, breathe the same air. They have the same desire. To arrive home after a long day of work or a night of fun. The kitchen helper Rosivaldo Facundo, 31 yrs old, is part of a universe of 5,360 people that use these buses in the early hours to get home. “Every day I get my bacurau after waiting a bit. It’s the only way to get home outside of using a taxi, which would be way more expensive”, comments Rosivaldo.

In first few hours of the morning last Wednesday, the Cais de Santa Rita felt like a party. Besides the hundreds of workers that awaited their buses, the terminal still housed the people returning from the Pátio de São Pedro, after the end of the Terça Negra event. Bean soup, mingau de cachorro (not sure how to translate this one), espressos and large cans of beer are among the most consumed products by those that use the early morning buses. To orient them and guarantee their safety, inspectors, private security guards and military police stick around until the sun comes up. “Here inside there’s no problems but those who leave the terminal run the risk of being robbed or assaulted”, said a driver on standby.

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Waiting is a common verb for those who use the bacurau. That’s because the buses leave the terminal once an hour. According to the director of operations of one of the terminals, the bacuraus function more as a social necessity rather than a financial one. “Profit on thise bus lines doesn’t exist.”

According to the director of Operations in the greater Recife area, the bus service was created to attend to those who need it at those hours. “It’s important to maintain the service, even during hours of low passenger demand.” – Source (PT)

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