FACTBOX: Sao Paulo's notorious traffic

Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:42am EDT

(Reuters) - As Brazil's economy booms, traffic in its largest city and financial capital is slowing to a crawl. Here are some facts about Sao Paulo, a sprawling metropolis of nearly 11 million people:

* About 6 million passenger cars, 650,000 motorcycles, 250,000 trucks and 32,000 taxis vie for space on the city's streets.

* On bad days, gridlock in jams across the city can stretch for more than 200 km (124 miles).

* On average, 800 new cars are registered daily, adding to the congestion.

* An estimated 120,000 motorcycle messengers, known as "motoboys," zigzag among the traffic, angering motorists even as they help keep the city's economy moving.

* The city has a bus fleet of 15,000, one of the largest in the world.

* It also has one the biggest civilian helicopter fleets in the world, with more than 300 helicopters and 260 helipads, as the rich use helicopters to move around the city.

* There are only 61 km (38 miles) of metro lines in the city, compared with about 200 km (124 miles) in Mexico City.

* To ease rush-hour traffic, motorists are restricted from using their cars one day a week from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The system is called "rodizio," or "rotation" in Portuguese.

(Reporting by Todd Benson; Editing by Kieran Murray)

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