Oporto Buses - Autocarros do Porto
21 June 2015 (partly)
Double-Decker buses, from MAN, returned to Oporto's streets in early 2011 after an absence of some 20 years.
Compiled by John Laidlar
The city's municipal bus operator is STCP (Sociedade de Transportes Colectivos do Porto), whose web site is an excellent resource for the visitor. STCP grew out of the CCFP (Companhia Carris de Ferro do Porto) in 1946. STCP's first buses were delivered in July 1947 at a time when they were seen as an improvement on the ageing STCP tram fleet. Moreover, the electric power supply for the trams was unreliable in the 1940s. With just two vehicles at its disposal, the company started bus services on 1 April 1948 on service "C" between the Avenida dos Aliados and Carvalhida.
The best bus route for the tourist in Oporto is the 500, which is largely but not wholly operated by double-deckers. It runs from Bolhao (though some services terminate at Praca Liberdade), goes down the Avenida dos Aliados, past S. Bento station to the waterfront, which it follows all the way from Porto to Matosinhos market. It therefore runs alongside tourist tram 1 as far as the latter's terminus at Massarelos. The buses have each stop announced automatically and displayed electronically on board.
The image above shows a 500 service waiting at the Matosinhos Mercado terminus and Metro station.
Until the late 1990s STCP ran both trolley-buses and conventional motor-buses. Indeed, the trolley-bus fleet comprised both single- and double-deckers. The bus-fleet includes gas-powered vehicles and in 2001 there were trials with three hydrogen-cell buses as part of the 10-city wide CUTE (Clean Urban Transport for Europe) programme; the buses cost 1.2 million Euros each, nearly five times as much as conventional vehicles.
Above: Left to right; 1: A double-deck Trolley bus waits at Valbom. Trolleybus operation has now ceased completely. 2: a 1981 scene, showing a Leyland Atlantean in the orange STCP livery waiting to depart for the Castelo do Queijo. 3: STCP Mercedes, no.1633, 4: MAN Duplex double-decker.
Right: Hydrogen-cell powered buses were operating in June 2005. Water vapour is exhaled from the vehicles above the rear window, as is clearly seen in the adjacent photo.
The STCP fleet comprised (summer 2011), 217 diesel-powered vehicles and 255 powered by natural gas. The list below, which will be updated, includes buses in use in recent years, some of which are now withdrawn:
The Andante Tour tickets cover the whole Porto transport system so you can even travel as far as Póvoa de Varzim, 30km north of the city centre - on such a ticket. Likewise, they are valid to and from the airport. Andante Tour tickets may be bought conveniently from the city's various Lojas Andante (Andante Shops), one of which is sited on the platform at Trindade Metro station, or from the Tourist Office (Rua Clube dos Fenianos, at the side of the town hall). They can be revalidated there, too, so once your day or 3-days are up, you can buy another day or three days of validity. You cannot currently buy Andante Tour tickets from the automatic ticket machines but you can buy Andante one-day passes; however, you have to be careful to buy one with the correct zone coverage for your journey(s).