Updated on Feb.22, 2014
The whole stretch of coast between São Sebastião and Boraceia (the scenic Costa dos Alcatrazes) can be reached by a circular bus which runs daily on BR-101, the coastal highway.
The beach bus is one of several lines run by Ecobus (www.ecobus.com.br), a São Sebastião company thus named because the buses run on biodiesel and have opacimeters. The company also invests in water treatment and community initiatives, such as educational campaigns targeting elementary school children, and has been increasing the number of buses with elevators for wheelchair users in their central São Sebastião line (read below). Access for all passengers with reduced mobility is free.
The Beach Bus
Ecobus had long published a printed newsletter containing the beach bus schedule, which is distributed for free at restaurants, pousadas and other businesses on São Sebastião's southern shore. Then, in 2008, the company launched a website on which you can view and print updated schedules for the bus running between central São Sebastião and Boraceia.
Go to the Ecobus website (www.ecobus.com.br) and click on Tabela de Horários ("Schedule"). Under "Linhas" (Lines), the bus line you need is Cidade X Boraceia, which runs the full length of the coast south of São Sebastião to Boraceia, the beach on the border of Bertioga.
Click on "Cidade X Boraceia" under Dias Úteis for the weekday schedule; Sábados for the Saturday schedule; and Domingos e feriados for Sundays and holidays.
Some of the beaches on Costa dos Alcatrazes, such as Baleia and Juquehy, are not close to BR-101. On the beach bus schedule, the buses which detour from BR-101 to pick up and drop passengers close to those beaches are indicated by notes such as "Via Paúba / Juquey". In some cases the "via" is abbreviated ("V Juquey / Paúba").
Ecobus has been investing in buses adapted for wheelchair users and passengers with reduced mobility in general and have gradually updated a number of vehicles on the beach line.
As of this update, several buses with elevators (and drivers trained to help passengers) are running along the beach as well as in central São Sebastião.
When you click on "Linhas" on the Ecobus website, look for the word "Carro" at the top of the schedule, which indicates which vehicle is being used at any given time. According to the Ecobus traffic control department, the following buses running the beach line are adapted for mobility-impaired users: 1006, 1009, 1124, 1126, 1127, 1128, and 1130.
Passengers with reduced mobility have a free pass on the bus. São Sebastião is the leader in bus accessibility on São Paulo's North Shore, compared to other top destinations such as Ubatuba and Ilhabela. The free pass was granted by municipal law 1917/08 - a victory for Adef, the local association of people with disabilities and reduced mobility, who advocated revisions in a previous law.
Now the challenge which, once accomplished successfully, will find its perfect complement in the accessible beach bus is the expansion in São Sebastião of Programa Praia Acessível, the accessible beach program under the State Secretariat for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Secretaria dos Direitos da Pessoa com Deficiência).
Launched in 2010, the program is developed in a partnership with city administrations. In São Sebastião, it is already active on weekends and holidays year round, with amphibious wheelchairs and a support team, at Praia Grande - a beach less than a mile from the town center which has become increasingly inclusive in the design of its circulation areas. A broader program is renovating and adapting public spaces in the town center as a whole.