‘CARRIS’ is a Public Transport Company – founded on the 18th September. Over time, it has been providing transport to the resident and commuting population of Lisbon satisfying their mobility needs, contributing in this way to the development of the city.

On the 17th November 1873 the first line of “Americanos” was inaugurated between ‘Santa Apolónia’ and ‘Santos’.

On the 31st August 1901 the electric tram service began.

The following years were marked by the complete electrification of the existing network and the start of new routes. The fleet grew with vehicles that were bought at first in the United States and, since 1924, were built in the company’s workshops.

In 1940, to bolster transport for visitors to The Exhibition of the Portuguese World, which took place in ‘Belém’, ‘CARRIS’ acquired its first six buses. On the 9th April 1944, the bus service was officially opened.

In recent decades, there were significant changes in the tram fleet, due to traffic conditions and to its economical and social viability. This led to a gradual decrease in the number of vehicles and routes.  In the meantime, the bus fleet was renewed to suit the demand and specific requirements of the routes. 

After the 1950’s and 1960’s, when company decisions led to considerable cuts in the Tram Network, new ideas for its improvement were made, which included new technologies (for higher commercial speed), capacity increase and better operational conditions (bus lanes and specific traffic signs).

Carris headquarter in 1872

1872 - The Foundation

On 18th September 1872 the ‘Companhia Carris de Ferro de Lisboa’ was founded in Rio de Janeiro. It gave Lisbon a public transport network using the ‘Americano’ system (carriages pulled by animals moving on rails).

image of a carriage pulled by an animal

1873 - The First Line

On the 23rd January, the writer Luciano Cordeiro and his brother Francisco Cordeiro de Sousa, a diplomat, acquired the rights to implement a Transport system similar to the ‘Americano’ in Lisbon. On the 14th February, the City Hall approved the concession to ‘Companhia Carris de Ferro de Lisboa’. On the 17th November the first "Americano" line was inaugurated. The route that was opened to the public was ‘Santa Apolónia’ to ‘Santos’.

Creation of Santo Amaro station

1874 - The Success

The success of the network expansion, the fleet growth and the increasing number of traction animals, led to the need for new permanent premises. In 1874 they purchased a property that belonged to the ‘Condes da Ponte’ and it was possible to build ‘Santo Amaro’ Depot, which was soon followed by the ‘Arco do Cego’ Depot.

image of an American, a vehicle pulled by animals
1877 - The ‘Americanos’

Although ‘Companhia Carris’ had started its activity with vehicles pulled by animals, the company soon decided to replace it by a more efficient system. In 1877 they started searching for information about the use of steam locomotives in urban public Transport, which ended with the implementation of temporary lines between ‘Cais do Sodré’ and ‘Algés’.

Construction of an electricity factory

1900 - Generator

Other studies and experiences were made in the following years (namely the subterranean traction cable). By the end of the year, ‘CARRIS’ decided to adopt electric vehicles and acquired the exclusivity for using the electric system within the city’s perimeter. In 1900 the implementation of the new system started with the new rails, the aerial network and the construction of an electricity factory to provide the needed energy for its normal functioning. It was known as the GENERATOR, and occupied an area of 6.102 m2.

first power-driven line

1901 - Speed

On 31st August 1901, the first electric power-driven line stretching from ‘Cais do Sodré’ to ‘Algés’ was switched on. Quoting a newspaper of the time "the inauguration of the power-driven tram line met with the people’s approval who had gathered to witness the great improvement, the luxury and elegance of the carriages, the comfort provided for the passengers and the speed at which they travelled”. By 1905 the whole network was electrified and the ‘Americanos’ had been removed from Lisbon’s streets.

Carris tram image

1937 - Trams

In the following years, Lisbon saw more trams appearing, acquired in the United States and built in the company's workshops. Worthy of note are the following: the building of the ‘Graça’ line, considered as impractical due to the landscape, the ‘Amoreiras’ Depot inaugurated in 1937 not only to serve tram network, but also the bus network, which was inaugurated on the 9th April 1944.

first Carris buses

1958 - Buses

The three lines which ‘Companhia Carris’ started with, were the first steps towards a service which took over from the trams and became the most important Public Transport in Lisbon. In 1958, the ‘Cabo Ruivo’ Depot was established to provide the logistic management of the service.

Carris buses from the sixties

1960 - Changes

The 1960’s brought profound changes to the overall picture of Lisbon’s surface Public Transport system. The company policy was to phase out the trams within a short time, replacing them with buses. The increased use of private transport and the inauguration of the ‘Metro’ were decisive factors for tram reduction from many parts of the city. The bus network improved with the creation of new lines and changes.

Carris orange bus
1974 – ‘Laranjas’

By 1974 the fleet needed urgent renovation. A tender was opened to supply the fleet with 200 new vehicles. The first buses were delivered in the following year and were orange in color and called ‘Laranjas’ (orange in Portuguese).
Pontinha Carris station

1981 - Construction

In 1981 the Amoreiras Depot closed. The renovation and the increase in the Fleet meant that new premises had to be built.

The resulting Depots were built at ‘Pontinha’ (opened in 1975), ‘Musgueira’ (1981) and ‘Miraflores’ Complex (June 1983).

Carris articulated tram

1990 - Renovation

In recent years, new types of buses were brought into service (standard, articulated and minis) and there was also renewed interest in the Trams. This led to the acquisition of 10 articulated vehicles which combined state-of-the-art technology, a high level of comfort and excellent passenger-carrying capacity. There were also 45 traditional trams which were renovated: the original trams were still kept and equipped with up-to-date electro-mechanical technology.

new Carris buses

2004 and 2005 – Fleet Renovation

In the bus fleet renovation plan, which was part of the reorganisation of the Company, ‘CARRIS’ intended to replace its public service vehicles until 2006, in the following way:

- 2004 - 166 buses (40 minis / 106 standard / 20 natural gas)

- 2005 - 142 standard buses

This operation reduced the average age of the fleet to 7,4 years.

The reorganisation process meant a significant drop in pollutant emissions, since all the models mentioned above complied with European Directive Limit on exhaust emissions. ‘CARRIS’ is therefore playing its part in the improvement of environmental quality in Lisbon. Besides this, the new buses had air conditioning and brought about innovations which would have a great impact on safety and comfort, on operational procedures and in maintenance costs.

APCER certification

2006 – Certification

‘CARRIS’ is a Certified Company.

‘CARRIS’ received Quality Certification from APCER (Associação Portuguesa de Certificação) according to ISO 9001:2000 in January 2006. Since then, the Company has the commitment of respecting the norm requirements and maintaining its system efficiency. The attribution of this certificate was the result of a strategic decision to have "continuous improvement of the supply of quality " as one of ‘CARRIS’ main purposes. 

The Board of Directors of ‘CARRIS’ defined Certification Quality Policy:

- To improve the service quality, based on more regularity, reliability, comfort and safety of the transport, investing in new information technologies, renewing and modernizing the fleet and training to Human Resources.

CARRIS defined commitments to customers such as:

- Network Development;

- Bus and Tram schedules adapted to the demand;

- Simple information availability;

- Customer safety promotion;

- Sales Network expansion;

- Human resources quality;

- Adherence to legal pollutant emissions requirements;

- Evaluate customer satisfaction;

In 2006, 100 new standard buses were acquired. This purchase reduced the average age to 6 years.

European Road Safety Charter

2007 – European Charter

‘CARRIS’ signs the European Road Safety Charter.

18 bus lines Certified.

18 other bus lines pending Certification. 

In 2007 ‘CARRIS’ joins the Business Council for Sustainable Development

More than 80 enterprises that operate in Portugal take part on this Council, whose principles are of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

‘CARRIS’ has now access to important information related to the BCSD mission whose main purposes are:

- Spreading sustainable development principles;

- Promoting articulation between enterprises, governments and civil society in order to induce sustainable development;

- Developing training activities which communicate sustainable development principles;

- Defining projects and selecting case studies that stimulate Sustainable Development;

APCER logo

2008 – Climate Responsibility Ranking

CARRIS was the 8th in the Climate Responsibility Ranking: ACGE Index - by EURONATURA.

In April 2008 ‘CARRIS’ acquired the Environmental Management System Certification, with NP EN ISO 14001:2004. 

In the study “The State of Country in Sustainable Practices”, organized by Heidrick & Struggles and the Expresso Newspaper in partnership with the BES bank, ‘CARRIS’ was given 89.3% on the sustainability barometer, higher than the national average which registered 64,08%.

In the Customer Satisfaction study, ‘CARRIS’ was given 64,6%, which meant that the majority of the passengers were satisfied with the company’s service.

In June, at the European Mobility Fair in Paris, a CARRIS driver ranked 2nd place as Best European Driver in the Bus d’Or contest.

In 2008 ‘CARRIS’ bought 40 new vehicles, 20 standard buses and 20 articulated buses.

2009 - Fleet renovation and Certification

Two international public tenders were launched to furnish 60 standard buses, 40 of them Euro 5 Diesel compliant and 20 running on Natural Gas EEV. 12 more lines were Certified, bringing the total to 52 certified lines. ‘CARRIS’ has more than 50% of its lines certified.
‘CARRIS’ received the following awards:
- Sustainable Development Award, best public company
- 1st place in "Climatic Responsibility: ACGE Index", public sector;
- 21st Best Company to Work for in Portugal, of public companies;
- Sustainable Development Trophy, awarded by ‘Câmara de Comércio e Indústria Luso- Francesa’;
- European Sustainable Responsibility nomination awarded in Brussels, by CEEP;
‘CARRIS’ leads Euronatura ranking with 75,7%
‘CARRIS’ started web marketing approach, launching a new website and being present on social networks.
In this year the "One Less Car" movement was initiated.
2010 – “Always thinking of you” Campaign

Launch of new advertising campaign called "Always thinking of you", with TV spots, radio spots, presence in the Lisbon channel, media and web.
‘CARRIS’ obtained the certification of its security and health in the work management system and the certification of 12 more lines (total of 64 certified lines).
‘CARRIS’ was recognized by its Clients as a Superbrand and received an award once more as one of The Best Companies to Work for in Portugal (21st position in the ranking).
Also awarded as one of the most sustainable and family oriented companies in Portugal, awarded by Deloitte and AESE.
2011 - Hybrid

‘CARRIS’ and ‘Auto-Sueco’ tested a hybrid bus in Lisbon for the first time, proving a significant reduction of fuel.

2012 – “A Journey Which Unites Us”

‘CARRIS’ receives the Certification in Social Responsibility by Standard NP 4469, being the first company in Portugal to do it in alignment with the guidelines of ISO 26000, once again a pioneering process in the sector.
Beginning of the integration process between ‘CARRIS’ and the ‘Metropolitano de Lisboa’ with a common Board of Directors to achieve the objectives defined in the Transport Strategic Plan for Urban Transport in Lisbon Metropolitan Area.

2013 - Client Shops Network

Following the operational integration process, ‘CARRIS/METRO’ inaugurated the first "Client Shop" which, with its own identity combine a corporate image with visual references to the two operators.
A common call centre was provided.
‘CARRIS/METRO’ has joined the international campaign of the UITP - International Union of Public Transport, with the aim of contributing to the double market share of public transport by 2025.


The process of restructuring and operational integration of CARRIS with METRO continues, within the framework of the joint administration and management of the two companies.
Development, in collaboration with METRO, of a major anti-fraud operation with the implementation, among other initiatives and actions, of a global marketing campaign and enforcement action for the responsible and adequate use of Public Transports.
CARRIS continues to stand out as one of the key players in mobility in Lisbon during international events in the city, such as the UEFA Cup Final.
From 2014, the ‘CARRIS’ Museum began to integrate pieces of the ‘METRO’ collection.