SAO PAULO -- Chests squashed flat against backs, hours a day, every day. That's the daily commute for the 8 million citizens who ride the subway and bus lines in Sao Paulo, South America's largest city.
Exhausted workers often travel two or three hours each way, crammed into tightly packed buses and subways. And that's if things work as planned. Commuter train breakdowns are common, and enraged commuters have clashed at times with police after being stranded.
Such experiences helped spark the biggest revolts to hit Brazilian streets in a generation. A bloody police crackdown roused sympathy for demonstrators who were protesting a 10-cent hike in bus and subway fares. That brought millions into the streets across the country, protests that came to encompass other frustrations, such as corruption, pitiful schools and poor health care.
Officials rolled back the fare hike. But Sao Paulo workers still pay a relatively stiff $1.30 fare for each miserable trip. That means the poorest people, who often must changes buses and subway lines repeatedly to reach work from distant slums, can wind up paying 20 percent of their pay on transportation.
President Dilma Rousseff recently announced $4 billion in public spending in Sao Paulo, much of it earmarked for new infrastructure for bus lanes and the subway.
But officials acknowledge it will take years to expand the subway, create more dedicated bus lanes and beef up public transportation fleets.
Here's a gallery of images showing some of the chaotic conditions that Brazilian commuters can expect to endure on public transit in meantime.
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