With routes covering over 4,500 kilometres, the Brazilian bus company Nossa Senhora de Penha is investing in the comfort of its passengers. Some 4,530 kilometres separate the city of Pelotas in Brazil’s far south from the city of Fortaleza in its north east. The bus journey between the two urban centres is one of the world’s longest and requires passengers to spend more than three days on the road. So, is it possible for travellers to undertake such a journey in a comfortable and safe way and to arrive feeling refreshed? Brazilian coach company Nossa Senhora de Penha sees achieving this goal as an exciting challenge. The company undertakes the journey – the longest in its schedule – once a week. A Scania bus chassis and bodywork by Marcopolo, featuring folding seats that can be converted to beds, ensure total comfort for passengers.
Long journeys are Nossa Senhora de Penha’s bread and butter. The company started operations in southern Brazil in 1962 and today its fleet of 100 buses – half of which are Scanias – covers 11 Brazilian states.
“We transport about 30,000 passengers a month, with a significant increase in numbers at the end of each year,” says Penha’s CEO Celso Alda. Most of Nossa Senhora de Penha’s bus routes are long enough to be in competition with domestic flights within Brazil. “Because prices for air tickets have fallen in recent years we need to invest in our strengths – comfort and safety – in order to hold on to customers,” Alda says.
Brazil’s road network has improved considerably in recent years and Alda believes it no longer presents a major problem to the company’s long distance operations. “On the other hand, we have had problems with robberies south of São Paulo, but this is something that can simply be solved by having more police on the roads.” Since 2007 Nossa Senhora de Penha has been a part of Golden Group which operates some 11,000 buses. Nossa Senhora de Penha is named after a 15th century saint and the design of its buses is based around her habit.