Why do I love thee, bus system? Let me count the ways:
1. I almost never have to wait more than 5-10 minutes. If I do, it's usually because I just missed the previous bus.
2. The buses stop on the shoulders of the highway. The safety of this practice is questionable, but it's very convenient when you live right by the highway (like I do). Don't worry, it's not a crazy California freeway or anything.
3. The city has a website that can help you plan your trip -- well, sort of. I think the interface is from 1995, and it craps out inexplicably sometimes, but if you can learn its crazy quirks, then you can get some use out of it. It's certainly better than needing to ask people on the street.
4. The city bus system utilizes a little card (like in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and kind of like in San Diego, CA). I can put credits on it so I don't have to carry cash around, and if I transfer buses within a certain amount of time, I don't have to pay again, even if I take a bus from a different company.
5. My bus riding requires a lot of walking. This is a bad thing on very hot or very cold days, but in general it's really nice. It gives me a bit of extra exercise every day, and it also results in "me time", if you will -- 10 to 15-minute walks that I can spend just thinking about random stuff. (This is also a great way to see new birds. :)
6. I don't have to drive! Driving around here is stressful and, at times, terrifying. Talk about road rage! It's like playing Crazy Taxi.
7. The bus is usually relaxing. Because I rarely take the bus at rush hour or to very popular places (like downtown at 8:00am), I almost always get a seat and people are generally mild-mannered. Of course you get the occasional weirdos or annoying people trying to sell pencils or Halls cough drops, but I'll take them over an aggressive douche or drunk driver any day. (FYI, aggressive douches and drunk drivers are all too common on the roads around here.)
8. I don't have to pay for a car! Holy hell! Cars are expensive in this country. The car itself would cost about a year's salary for me (and that's if I chose something basic, and American basic is not Brazilian basic when it comes to cars). Car registration is also excessively expensive in Brazil, and then there's still insurance, gasoline/ethanol, and maintenance. I think I would easily have to spend about 25% of my monthly income on a car. With my bus pass, I keep my costs down, and there are no surprises! Oh, and I still haven't gone through the extensive and overpriced process of transferring over my driver license, which includes paying for an official translation and taking a psychological test (?), or so I've heard. That's a whole new bureaucratic beast that I don't want to deal with. So Alexandre and I have an agreement that he pays for the car, but he gets priority over it and drives me around sometimes, and I only drive when I really, really need to.
9. I see more cool things and interesting people that I probably wouldn't have noticed had I been driving. I also learn alternative routes to places, which is helpful on days when roads are under construction. I'd argue that I know the city better than Alexandre does
10. Of course, there are the environmental benefits! Buses are greener and all that.
So hooray for the buses! I'm lucky enough not to work at rush hour, to live in a neighborhood where enough buses go, and to not need to get around town late at night by myself. All of that, combined with my list above, makes my trips on the bus quite enjoyable.