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Topic: How to Take the Bus  (Read 20718 times)

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How to Take the Bus
« on: May 15, 2006, 05:18:07 PM »
A subject that comes up time and time again on here is fear of public transport.  A lot of us arrive here completely clueless about how to take the bus or train. I written out a basic guideline, but others should feel free to chime in with other hints and tips.   :)

Buses:
*go to the station and ask for a time-table.   Then you can find out which bus goes near you and what time. 
*The general rule is that you stand on the side of the street in the direction you want to go.
* Every bus has a number.  On the sign next to the stop it'll say the bus number, where it stops and what times.  The number is on the front of the bus.  Anyone at a bus stop should be able to tell you what number you need to get where you're going.
*When you see your bus approaching, wave your hand to let the driver know to stop. 
*If there is a line of people, let the people there first get on first.
*Be aware that not everyone is getting on the same bus, so watch for yours and be ready to signal him.  It's perfectly acceptable to ask the other people if this is their bus.
*Let the people on the bus off first and then get on.
*Tell the bus driver where you want to go and he'll tell you how much. 
*Single means one way.   Return means round trip. 
*Watch for your stop and ring the bell  when you want him to stop.
*Say thank you.
 
Trains:
 *Go to the station get a time table. 
*If you're there, look at the big signs it'll tell you where the train goes, where it stops, what time it leaves and what platform to wait on. 
*Let the people already on the train get off before you get on. 
*Keep your ticket handy for the conductor to look at. 
*Keep an eye on what stop the train is at so you know if yours is coming up.  A lot of trains have digital signs, most SHOULD announce Next Stop is........... and there are BIG signs on all the stations' platforms. 
*Be ready to get off when your stop is coming up.



It's no big deal if you make a mistake.  Just ask for help.  I promise people will help.  And if you do get on the wrong train or bus, you can always turn around and get one going back.  Plus, it's a good way to find your way around by getting lost a few times. 


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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2006, 05:22:50 PM »
It's no big deal if you make a mistake.  Just ask for help.  I promise people will help.  And if you do get on the wrong train or bus, you can always turn around and get one going back.  Plus, it's a good way to find your way around by getting lost a few times. 

Excellent post, Mindy.

Also, bus drivers are generally very friendly people. If you're not sure if the bus is going where you want to go, just ask him/her.

If you become a regular bus rider (particularly if you're going at the same times every day or every week), you'll even start to recognise other people and possibly even make friends. Someone on another thread mentioned that taking the bus in the UK is not the same as in the US, and I have to agree. A lot more people in the UK use public transport -- not just in big cities. I'm out in the country, and you'd be surprised at how many people there are who don't drive at all!
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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 05:34:05 PM »
If you are in London, bus, train, tram and tube timetables, maps and information are downloadable from www.tfl.gov.uk

Vicky


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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2006, 12:29:17 AM »
When I first arrived here I sat at the bus stop for over 30 minutes wondering why the buses never stopped at the stop.  ???  In my home town if you're standing at the bus stop the bus will stop.  Didn't realize you needed to flag them down until someone else showed up at the bus stop and did just that.  Felt like a complete boob  :o . My boyfriend laughed his head off when I called to tell him.  The joys of moving to a new place!! 
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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2006, 07:53:04 AM »

*Single means one way.   Return means round trip. 
*Watch for your stop and ring the bell  when you want him to stop.



There may be slight regional differences to some of Mindy's excellent instructions...
 
On buses, you dont generally buy a return ticket... unless it's a coach (like National Express or Citylink) rather than a city or corporation bus.
But you can sometimes get all-day tickets, which can be really good value if you are going to be using the bus more than once that day.  The other advantage with these is that you dont have to tell the driver where you're going (like if you're just riding around to get the feel of the place)... you just ask for the all day ticket (whatever they call it locally) or just show the ticket if you've already bought one.

Also, it might be an idea to watch what other people do... in Glasgow, the general custom is that you dont ring the bell on the bus.  When your stop is approaching, you get up from your seat (holding on to everything along the way!) and make your way to the doors and stand there.  The driver will stop at the next stop.

I rang the bell once, and the driver screamed at me and told me i could have caused an RTA!  ::)

Quote
  It's no big deal if you make a mistake.  Just ask for help.  And if you do get on the wrong train or bus, you can always turn around and get one going back.  Plus, it's a good way to find your way around by getting lost a few times. 

The best advice yet! 
Just experiment, and see what happens!  Unless you're on your way to a job interview, it's not going to be the end of the world if you get off at the wrong stop or get lost.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2006, 08:03:54 AM by Quarter-Gill »


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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2006, 07:57:57 AM »
We have a pretty good local bus system where I am. There's a bus going to Tenby (5+ miles to the east) every hour on the hour, and a bus going to Pembroke (5+ miles to the west) every hour on the half hour. Those are our two nearest towns. You definitely do ask for a return when you get on.

However, we have nothing as high-tech as bells!! When you get on, you just let the driver know where you're going and he'll stop for you. He'll usually shout to you that your stop is coming up to remind you to stand up and go to the door beforehand. Other passengers will help you, too, if you have questions. The bus is a very friendly place!
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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2006, 11:47:59 AM »
When I first arrived here I sat at the bus stop for over 30 minutes wondering why the buses never stopped at the stop. 

Many cities make the distinction between points at which all buses stop and request stops where they stop only if you flag them down or a passenger rings the bell (or says "Next stop please driver," or whatever local custom and style of route dictates). 

In London, the convention grew up that "obligatory" signs at which all buses stop are a white square with the London Transport roundel in red.  Request stops use the reverse color scheme, a white roundel on a red background (and with "Request" below). 

I assume that's still the convention, although I haven't set foot in the capital for a good few years, so I wouldn't be surprised if "Ken" has decided to change it!

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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2006, 02:00:20 PM »
I was always afraid to ride a new route for the first time, because of course you do not recognize the stop where you'll need to get off the bus, or know where to ring the bell before hand. Every single driver I have explained this to has always been nice enough to stop at the correct stop and make sure I know it's time for me to get off. Now I'm less afraid to just wing it!


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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2006, 01:29:45 AM »
Other passengers are also sometimes willing to help.  I just look for someone who seems approachable, and ask nicely!  :)
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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2006, 03:30:14 AM »
Quote
*Watch for your stop and ring the bell  when you want him to stop.

It may be worth mentioning you should ring the bell slightly BEFORE you want him to stop, as in give him enough time to react, change lanes etc. If you ring the bell when he's already passing your stop, you'll either get yelled at or it won't stop at all. Or so has been my experience.

I have to say, I've never heard of this 'don't ring the bell or they'll scream at you' thing. Is ringing the bell a faux pas in the countryside? I'd imagine that just standing up and walking to the door doesn't work in big cities (although I've only taken buses in London, Coventry, Birmingham and Edinburgh, so my knowledge isn't very extensive).


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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2006, 03:38:31 AM »
It may be worth mentioning you should ring the bell slightly BEFORE you want him to stop, as in give him enough time to react, change lanes etc. If you ring the bell when he's already passing your stop, you'll either get yelled at or it won't stop at all. Or so has been my experience.

Good point.  Honestly, for every 100 times I'm on a bus, I have maybe one negative experience to 99 neutral or positive experiences.  Practice makes perfect...it will eventually become habit and you won't have to even think about it anymore!
« Last Edit: August 21, 2006, 03:49:55 AM by crabbit.expat »
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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2006, 12:36:31 PM »
On buses, you dont generally buy a return ticket... unless it's a coach (like National Express or Citylink) rather than a city or corporation bus.


On our local buses, it's much cheaper to buy a return ticket - assuming you want to come back, of course!   ;)  A single ticket from the end of my road into the town centre is £1.60 each way, but a return ticket is £2.50.

Ringing the bell - here, you have to ring the bell when you near your stop, or you'll be stuck on the bus forever.   ;D  That said, it's true that in many of the larger cities (London, Birmingham, Edinburgh etc) there are many stops where the driver will always stop regardless - this is especially true in London.


Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2007, 05:44:22 AM »
I have to say, I've never heard of this 'don't ring the bell or they'll scream at you' thing. Is ringing the bell a faux pas in the countryside?

It was in Glasgow, not the 'countryside'.
No one rings the bell in Glasgow... you just get up and stand near the door when your stop is approaching.

As i said before... regional differences!
But in general, ringing the bell is the correct way to do it... and you will be made aware if that's not the local custom.



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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2007, 08:51:47 AM »
Something I learned on a recent visit to London is that there are some bus stops in London where you have to purchase a ticket from a machine at the bus stop before you get on the bus. (Didn't realise this until after I'd got on the bus expecting to pay with cash.)


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Re: How to Take the Bus
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2007, 10:40:23 AM »
Quote
Something I learned on a recent visit to London is that there are some bus stops in London where you have to purchase a ticket from a machine at the bus stop before you get on the bus. (Didn't realise this until after I'd got on the bus expecting to pay with cash.)

That's a really good point!
They are usually marked, but if you don't know to check, you wouldn't check!

For people unfamiliar with London, a good rule of thumb is if you see a big machine for buying tickets, you more than likely have to buy your ticket beforehand (most everywhere in central London). They won't make you have a ticket beforehand if there isn't a place to do so.  They are also marked with "Buy your tickets before boarding" but like I said, if you don't know to check for that they are easy to miss. 

Another option in London is the Oyster card - you can buy them at every tube station and also many other random places around London (and you can now order them online or get them at the airport for people coming from overseas!).  It is a £3.00 deposit to get the card and then it holds however much money you want to put on it.  Kind of pay-as-you-go travel.  It saves you money in the long run because it's cheaper to use your Oyster card than a ticket (£1 vs £2 for bus I think).  To use it, lay the card up against the big yellow circle thing as soon as you get on the bus and wait for the beep.  Easy Peasy!  (unless you're an idiot like me who tried to give the card to the bus driver when I first used it ::))
(FYI: you can also use your Oyster card on the tube, but must touch in at the beginning and ending of your journey)
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