By Paul Osborne

The Transcarioca has officially opened operations in Rio de Janiero ©Getty ImagesRio de Janeiro's newest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) link, Transcarioca, has opened in the city as the country continues its preparations for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The expressway, which features 10 viaducts, nine bridges and three underpasses, has begun operating in time the FIFA World Cup, being held in Brazil from June 12 until July 13.

The new network connects the Barra da Tijuca neighbourhood, the main competition zone for the Games, to Rio's International Airport.

It is estimated the new expressway will reduce previous journey times by around 60 per cent, with approximately 320,000 people set to travel along the 39 kilometre route each day.

More than 120 buses, each capable of carrying 180 passengers, will operate on the BRT, which passes through 47 bus stations in 27 of the city's neighbourhoods.

An inauguration Ceremony was held in Rio de Janeiro on June 1 to celebrate to completion of the BRT's new line, Transcarioca ©Getty ImagesAn inauguration Ceremony was held in Rio de Janeiro on June 1 to celebrate to completion of the BRT's new line, Transcarioca ©Getty Images

The entire BRT network of Rio de Janeiro will include the Transolímpica, Transoeste and Transbrasil corridors by 2016, creating a total of 150km of BRT lines through the city.

The Transolímpica will consist of a 23km route that will link the neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca to Diodorus, catering primarily to athletes and visitors during the 2016 Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, the Transbrasil will be serve as a central corridor between Rio de Janeiro and the Olympic pavilions, spanning 32km with 25 stations.

The Transoeste was inaugurated in January 2012 and connects the district of Santa Cruz in the west side of the city to Barra da Tijuca, where the Olympic Park will be located.

Construction on the Transcarioca began in March 2011.

It began operating along a limited route from 10am to 3pm local time on Monday (June 2), serving the 19 stations between the Barra da Tijuca and Tanque districts.

Yesterday, a service running semi-directly between the airport and Alvorada Terminal also began operations, circulating between 5am and 11pm, and stopping at five stations.

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