Bus stop

Last updated
Bangkok New bus sign 2019 is informative.jpg
A bus stop with information and routes of Bangkok Bus service
People waiting at bus stop.jpg
Moments before the bus arrives, riders wait at SUNY Purchase
A Highway Bus Stop in Visakhapatnam, India NH5 on a rainy day at Zoo Park in Visakhapatnam.jpg
A Highway Bus Stop in Visakhapatnam, India
View from a bus stop in Haukilahti, Espoo, Finland Bus stop on Toppelundintie.jpg
View from a bus stop in Haukilahti, Espoo, Finland

A bus stop is a designated place where buses stop for passengers to get on and off the bus. The construction of bus stops tends to reflect the level of usage, where stops at busy locations may have shelters, seating, and possibly electronic passenger information systems; less busy stops may use a simple pole and flag to mark the location. Bus stops are, in some locations, clustered together into transport hubs allowing interchange between routes from nearby stops and with other public transport modes to maximise convenience.


Types of service

For operational purposes, there are three main kinds of stops: Scheduled stops, at which the bus should stop irrespective of demand; request stops (or flag stop), at which the vehicle will stop only on request; and hail and ride stops, at which a vehicle will stop anywhere along the designated section of road on request.

Certain stops may be restricted to "discharge/set-down only" or "pick-up only". Some stops may be designated as "timing points", and if the vehicle is ahead of schedule it will wait there to ensure correct synchronization with the timetable. In dense urban areas where bus volumes are high, skip-stops are sometimes used to increase efficiency and reduce delays at bus stops. Fare stages may also be defined by the location of certain stops in distance or zone-based fare collection systems. Sunday stops are close to a church and used only on Sundays. [1]


From the 17th to the 19th century, horse drawn stage coaches ran regular services between many European towns, starting and stopping at designated Coaching inns where the horses could be changed and passengers board or alight, in effect constituting the earliest form of bus stop. The Angel Inn, Islington, the first stop on the route from London to York, was a noted example of such an inn. A seat in a Stage coach usually had to be booked in advance.

John Greenwood opened the first bus line in Britain in Manchester in 1824, running a fixed route and allowing passengers to board on request along the way without a reservation. Landmarks such as Public houses, rail stations and road junctions became customary stopping points.

Regular Horse drawn buses started in Paris in 1828 and George Shillibeer started his London horse Omnibus service in 1829. running between stops at Paddington (at a pub - The Yorkshire Stingo) and the Bank of England to a designated route and timetable. By the mid 19th Century guides were available to London bus routes including maps with routes and the main stops. [2]

In the UK National National Public Transport Access Node database of all UK stops, developed by the Department of Transport in 2001, stops are classified as marked or custom and usage (i.e. unmarked stops where the driver will stop the vehicle on request). Use of a marked stop may be changed - the bus will always stop, or by request only.


Bus stop sign in Hamburg with line numbers and major stops Haltestellenschild Jungfernstieg retouched.jpg
Bus stop sign in Hamburg with line numbers and major stops
In many places, bus stop infrastructure includes bins for litter. Pictured is a rural bus stop in York Region, north of Toronto. YRT bin.jpeg
In many places, bus stop infrastructure includes bins for litter. Pictured is a rural bus stop in York Region, north of Toronto.

Bus stop infrastructure ranges from a simple pole and sign, to a rudimentary shelter, to sophisticated structures. The usual minimum is a pole mounted flag with suitable name/symbol. Bus stop shelters may have a full or partial roof, supported by a two, three or four sided construction. Modern stops are mere steel and glass/perspex constructions, although in other places, such as rural Britain, stops may be wooden brick or concrete built. [3]

The construction may include small inbuilt seats. The construction may feature advertising, from simple posters, to complex illuminated, changeable or animated displays. Some installations have also included interactive advertising. Advertising may be the primary reason for the shelter and the advertising pays for the bus shelter. [4] Design and construction may be uniform to reflect a large corporate or local authority provider, or installations may be more personal or distinctive where a small local authority such as a parish council is responsible for the stop. The stop may include separate street furniture such as a bench, lighting and a trash receptacle.

Individual bus stops may simply be placed on the sidewalk next to the roadway, although they can also be placed to facilitate use of a busway. More complex installations can include construction of a bus turnout or a bus bulb, for traffic management reasons, although use of a bus lane can make these unnecessary. Several bus stops may be grouped together to facilitate easy transfer between routes. These may be arranged in a simple row along the street, or in parallel or diagonal rows of multiple stops. Groups of bus stops may be integral to transportation hubs. With extra facilities such as a waiting room or ticket office, outside groupings of bus stops can be classed as a rudimentary bus station.

Convention is usually for the bus to draw level with the 'flag', although in areas of mixed front and rear entrance buses, such as London, a head stop, and more rarely a tail stop, indicates to the driver whether they should stop the bus with either the rear platform or the drivers cab level with the flag. [5]

In certain areas, the area of road next the bus stop may be specially marked, and protected in law. Often, car drivers can be unaware of the legal implications of stopping or parking in a bus-stop. [6]

In bus rapid transit systems, bus stops may be more elaborate than street bus stops, and can be termed 'stations' to reflect this difference. These may have enclosed areas to allow off-bus fare collection for rapid boarding, and be spaced further apart like tram stops. Bus stops on a bus rapid transit line may also have a more complex construction allowing level boarding platforms, and doors separating the enclosure from the bus until ready to board.

A large suburban bus stop in York Region, near Toronto WardenVIVA6.JPG
A large suburban bus stop in York Region, near Toronto
Bus stop shelter in Chandigarh Bus stop in Chandigarh.jpg
Bus stop shelter in Chandigarh


Bus stop info poster in Vancouver, British Columbia also shows rapid transit routes 98b-line-sign.jpg
Bus stop info poster in Vancouver, British Columbia also shows rapid transit routes
A worn-out "totem" of the ITB near the old town of Bucharest, 1986 Bulevardul Ion C. Bratianu a Piata Sfantul Gheorghe (Piata 1848) mellett. Fortepan 32011.jpg
A worn-out "totem" of the ITB near the old town of Bucharest, 1986

Public facing information

Most bus stops are identified with a metal sign attached to a pole or light standard. Some stops are plastic strips strapped on to poles and others involve a sign attached to a bus shelter. The signs are often identified with a picture of a bus and/or with the words "bus stop" (or similar in non-English-speaking places).

The bus stop "flag" (a panel usually projecting from the top of a bus stop pole) will sometimes contain the route numbers of all the buses calling at the stop, optionally distinguishing frequent, infrequent, 24-hour, and night services. The flag may also show the logo of the dominant bus operator, or the logo of a local transit authority with responsibility for bus services in the area. Additional information may include an unambiguous, unique name for the stop, and the direction/common destination of most calling routes.

Bus stops will often include timetable information, either the full timetable, or for busier routes, the times or frequency that a bus will call at the specific stop. Route maps and tariff information may also be provided, and telephone numbers to relevant travel information services.

The stop may also incorporate, or have nearby, real time information displays with the arrival times of the next buses. Increasingly, mobile phone technology is being referenced on more remote stops, allowing the next bus times to be sent to a passenger's handset based on the stop location and the real time information. Automated ticket machines may be provided at busy stops.

Data model

Modern passenger information systems and journey planners require a detailed digital representation of stops and stations. The CEN Transmodel data model, and the related IFOPT data interchange standard, define how transport systems, including bus stops, should be described for use in computer models. In Transmodel, a single bus stop is modeled as a "Stop Point", and a grouping of nearby bus stops as a "Stop Area" or "Stop Place". The General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) standard, originally developed by Google and TriMet, [7] defines a simple and widely used data interchange standard for public transport schedules. GTFS also includes a table of stop locations which for each stop gives a name, identifier, location, and identification with any larger station that the stop may be a part of. [8] OpenStreetMap also has a modelling standard for bus stops. [9]

The United Kingdom has collected a complete database of its public transport access points, including bus stops, into the National Public Transport Access Nodes (NaPTAN) database with details of 350,000 nodes and which is available as open Data from data.gov.uk. [10]


Neglected bus shelter needing repair Pn-bus-stop-plesheevskaa-2000.jpg
Neglected bus shelter needing repair

Bus stops enhance passenger safety in a number of ways:


Sign marking a temporary bus stop in London Temporary bus stop, Saint Marks Road - geograph.org.uk - 1018734.jpg
Sign marking a temporary bus stop in London

Some jurisdictions have introduced particularised legislative controls to foster safer bus stop design and management. The State of Victoria, Australia, for example, has enacted a Bus Safety Act which contains performance-based duties of care [12] which apply to all industry participants who are in a position to influence the safety of bus operations - what is called the "chain of responsibility". The safety duties apply to all bus services, both commercial and non-commercial, and to all buses regardless of seating capacity. Breach of the duty is a serious criminal offence which carries a heavy penalty.

The primary duty holder under the Bus Safety Act is the operator of the bus service, as the person who has effective responsibility and control over the whole operation. [13] However, the Act also contains a safety duty covering "people with responsibility for bus stops", including people who design, build, or maintain the stop, plus those who decide on its location. [14]

This duty was introduced in response to research showing that the most serious hazard associated with bus travel occurs when passengers, especially children, are crossing the road after alighting from the bus. The location and layout of a bus stop is therefore a factor in the level of risk. [15]

Safety duties are also imposed by the Bus Safety Act on a range of other people including -

All of these persons can clearly affect bus safety. They are required by the Bus Safety Act to ensure that, in carrying out their activities, they eliminate risks to health and safety if 'practicable' - or work to reduce those risks 'so far as is reasonably practicable'. This familiar practicability formula is borrowed from Victoria's Rail Safety Act (and a subsequent national model Rail Safety Bill) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004.


Many transit agencies have developed guidelines for preferred bus stop spacing. In most US cities, however, the typical bus stop spacing is between 650 and 900 feet (200–275 m), well below the optimal.[ citation needed ]

Bus stop capacity is often an important consideration in the planning of bus stops serving multiple routes within urban centers. Limited capacity may mean buses queue up behind each other at the bus stop, which can cause traffic blockages or delays. Bus stop capacity is typically measured in terms of buses/hour that can reliably use the bus stop[ citation needed ]. The main factors that affect bus stop capacity are:

Detailed procedures for calculating bus stop capacity and bus lane capacity using skip stops are outlined in Part 4 of the Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual, published by the US Transportation Research Board.

Transit agencies are increasingly looking at consolidation of possibly previously haphazardly placed bus stops as a way to improve service cheaply and easily[ citation needed ]. Bus stop consolidation evaluates the bus stops along an established bus route and develops a new pattern for optimal bus stop placement. Bus stop consolidation has been proven to improve operating efficiency and ridership on bus routes[ citation needed ].


A fake bus stop at Southend Hospital, UK. FakeBusStopSouthendHospital.png
A fake bus stop at Southend Hospital, UK.

Some nursing homes and hospitals have built fake, imitation bus stops for their residents who have dementia. [18] Some of these bus stops are even fitted with 30 years outdated advertisements and timetables to give a sense of familiarity. [18] The residents will sit at the bus stop waiting for a bus to take them to their imagined destination. [18] After some time, a staff member comes to escort the clients back to the home. [18]

Bus stops are common tropes in popular culture. In 1956 there was a Marilyn Monroe film called Bus Stop . A famous scene in the movie Forrest Gump takes place at a bus stop and almost all episodes of South Park series start by presenting the main characters in a bus stop.

In Japanese culture, the movie My Neighbor Totoro featured a bus stop, both for ordinary buses and a cat bus. The opening scene of the anime Air shows the main character getting off at a bus stop. The Japanese movie Summer Wars features a rural bus stop.

Renowned rabbis have taught lessons in Judaism from their interaction and experience with bus stops. [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24]

See also

Related Research Articles

Bus Large road vehicle for transporting people

A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry many passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type is the single-deck rigid bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses while coaches are used for longer-distance services. Many types of buses, such as city transit buses and inter-city coaches, charge a fare. Other types, such as elementary or secondary school buses or shuttle buses within a post-secondary education campus do not charge a fare. In many jurisdictions, bus drivers require a special licence above and beyond a regular driving licence.

Personal rapid transit Public transport mode

Personal rapid transit (PRT), also referred to as podcars or guided/railed taxis, is a public transport mode featuring small automated vehicles operating on a network of specially built guideways. PRT is a type of automated guideway transit (AGT), a class of system which also includes larger vehicles all the way to small subway systems. In terms of routing, it tends towards personal public transport systems.

Bus rapid transit Public transport system

Bus rapid transit (BRT), also called a busway or transitway, is a bus-based public transport system designed to have better capacity and reliability than a conventional bus system. Typically, a BRT system includes roadways that are dedicated to buses, and gives priority to buses at intersections where buses may interact with other traffic; alongside design features to reduce delays caused by passengers boarding or leaving buses, or paying fares. BRT aims to combine the capacity and speed of a metro with the flexibility, lower cost and simplicity of a bus system.

Share taxi Mode of transport which falls between a taxicab and a bus

A share taxi is a mode of transport which falls between a taxicab and a bus. These vehicles for hire are typically smaller than buses and usually take passengers on a fixed or semi-fixed route without timetables, but instead departing when all seats are filled. They may stop anywhere to pick up or drop off their passengers. Often found in developing countries, the vehicles used as share taxis range from four-seat cars to minibuses. They are often owner-operated.

London Buses Subsidiary of Transport for London that manages bus services within Greater London

London Buses is the subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL) that manages most bus services in London, England. It was formed following the Greater London Authority Act 1999 that transferred control of London Regional Transport (LRT) bus services to TfL, controlled by the Mayor of London.

Bus bulb

A bus bulb, also called a bus boarder, bus border, bumpout, bus cape, or a kerb outstand is an arrangement by which a sidewalk or pavement is extended outwards for a bus stop; typically the bus bulb replaces roadway that would otherwise be part of a parking lane. With bus bulbs or boarders, a bus can stay in its traffic lane to discharge and pick up passengers, instead of having to pull over to the curb.

Intercity bus service Public transport service using coaches to carry passengers significant distances between locations

An intercity bus service or intercity coach service, also called a long-distance, express, over-the-road, commercial, long-haul, or highway bus or coach service, is a public transport service using coaches to carry passengers significant distances between different cities, towns, or other populated areas. Unlike a transit bus service, which has frequent stops throughout a city or town, an intercity bus service generally has a single stop at one location in or near a city, and travels long distances without stopping at all. Intercity bus services may be operated by government agencies or private industry, for profit and not for profit. Intercity coach travel can serve areas or countries with no train services, or may be set up to compete with trains by providing a more flexible or cheaper alternative.


Marshrutka or routed taxicab, is a form of public transportation such as share taxi which originated in Soviet Russia and is still present in Russia and other countries of CIS, in Baltic states, Bulgaria, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Armenia. The role of the modern marshrutka is theoretically similar to the share taxi, which uses minibuses in some other countries. The first marshrutka was introduced in Moscow, Russia in 1938.

Request stop Type of transport stop

In public transport, a request stop, flag stop, or whistle stop is a stop or station at which buses or trains respectively stop only on request; that is, only if there are passengers or freight to be picked up or dropped off. In this way, stops with low passenger counts can be incorporated into a route without introducing unnecessary delay. Vehicles may also save fuel by continuing through a station when there is no need to stop.

Passenger Person who travels in a vehicle without operating it

A passenger is a person who travels in a vehicle but bears little or no responsibility for the tasks required for that vehicle to arrive at its destination or otherwise operate the vehicle. The vehicles may be bicycles, buses, passenger trains, airliners, ships, ferryboats, and other methods of transportation.

Passenger information system

A passenger information system or passenger information display system is an automated system for supplying users of public transport with information about the nature and state of a public transport service, through visual, voice or other media. They are also known as Customer Information Systems and Operational Information Systems. Among the information provided by such systems, a distinction can be drawn between:

Transport hub

A transport hub is a place where passengers and cargo are exchanged between vehicles and/or between transport modes. Public transport hubs include train stations, rapid transit stations, bus stops, tram stops, airports and ferry slips. Freight hubs include classification yards, airports, seaports and truck terminals, or combinations of these. For private transport by car, the parking lot functions as a hub.

In public transportation, schedule adherence or on-time performance refers to the level of success of the service remaining on the published schedule. On time performance, sometimes referred to as on time running, is normally expressed as a percentage, with a higher percentage meaning more vehicles are on time. The level of on time performance for many transport systems is a very important measure of the effectiveness of the system.

TransXChange is a UK national XML based data standard for the interchange of bus route and timetable information between bus operators, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, local authorities and passenger transport executives, and others involved in the provision of passenger information.

Journey planner

A journey planner, trip planner, or route planner is a specialized search engine used to find an optimal means of travelling between two or more given locations, sometimes using more than one transport mode. Searches may be optimized on different criteria, for example fastest, shortest, fewest changes, cheapest. They may be constrained, for example, to leave or arrive at a certain time, to avoid certain waypoints, etc. A single journey may use a sequence of several modes of transport, meaning the system may know about public transport services as well as transport networks for private transportation. Trip planning or journey planning is sometimes distinguished from route planning, where route planning is typically thought of as using private modes of transportation such as cycling, driving, or walking, normally using a single mode at a time. Trip or journey planning, in contrast, would make use of at least one public transport mode which operates according to published schedules; given that public transport services only depart at specific times, an algorithm must therefore not only find a path to a destination, but seek to optimize it so as to minimize the waiting time incurred for each leg. In European Standards such as Transmodel, trip planning is used specifically to describe the planning of a route for a passenger, to avoid confusion with the completely separate process of planning the operational journeys to be made by public transport vehicles on which such trips are made.

Hail and ride

In public transport in the United Kingdom and Australia, hail and ride is boarding or alighting a mode of public transport by signalling the driver or conductor that one wishes to board or alight, rather than the more conventional system of using a designated stop. Hail and ride is used primarily in bus transport. The act of requesting a hackney carriage to stop is also termed 'hailing'.

Rapid transit High-capacity public transport generally used in urban areas

Rapid transit or mass rapid transit (MRT), also known as heavy rail, metro, subway, tube, U-Bahn, T-Bane, metropolitana or underground, is a type of high-capacity public transport generally found in urban areas. Unlike buses or trams, rapid transit systems are electric railways that operate on an exclusive right-of-way, which cannot be accessed by pedestrians or other vehicles of any sort, and which is often grade-separated in tunnels or on elevated railways.

Public transport bus service Road transport using buses

Public transport bus services are generally based on regular operation of transit buses along a route calling at agreed bus stops according to a published public transport timetable.

Public transport Shared transportation service for use by the general public

Public transport is a system of transport, in contrast to private transport, for passengers by group travel systems available for use by the general public, typically managed on a schedule, operated on established routes, and that charge a posted fee for each trip. Examples of public transport include city buses, trolleybuses, trams and passenger trains, rapid transit and ferries. Public transport between cities is dominated by airlines, coaches, and intercity rail. High-speed rail networks are being developed in many parts of the world.

Rainbow Bus Rapid Transit System

Rainbow BRTS is a bus rapid transit system in the city of Pune. The system is operated by the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML). The infrastructure has been developed by the Pune Municipal Corporation & Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Pune. The project currently envisages 113 km of dedicated bus corridors along with buses, bus stations, terminals and intelligent transit management system.


  1. Andrew-Gee, Eric (7 May 2015). "Sunday streetcar stops near churches to be shuttered in June". Toronto Star . Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  2. Reynolds, James (1853). Reynolds's Cab Fares and Omnibus Guide, ... with maps. London, England: James REYNOLDS, Bookseller.
  3. "Bus stop in Western Isles". wordpress.com. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  4. Keenan, Edward (30 May 2019). "This useless Toronto transit shelter makes a good point — but not necessarily the one the city wants". Toronto Star . Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  5. "Save BIG with $9.99 .COMs from GoDaddy!". Go Daddy. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  6. Nottingham city transport Archived July 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Bus Lanes and Bus Stops - what's the problem?
  7. "Pioneering Open Data Standards: The GTFS Story". beyondtransparency.org. Retrieved 2017-05-11.
  8. "stops.txt File | Static Transit | Google Developers". Google Developers. Retrieved 2017-05-11.[ permanent dead link ]
  9. "Bus Stop". OpenStreetMap. Retrieved 2010-03-25.
  10. "National Public Transport Access Nodes (NaPTAN)". data.gov.uk. Archived from the original on 2010-03-25.
  11. http://www.vestische.de/halten-auf-wunsch/articles/halten-auf-wunsch.html Archived 2016-04-19 at the Wayback Machine (Example for one such regulation, in German)
  12. Bus Safety Act 2009, Part 3.
  13. Bus Safety Act 2009, section 15.
  14. Bus Safety Act 2009, section 18.
  15. See Improving Bus Safety in Victoria, a discussion paper published by the Department of Transport in May 2009.
  16. Bus Safety Act 2009, section 17.
  17. Bus Safety Act 2009, section 16.
  18. 1 2 3 4 Paulick, Jane. "Bus-Stops at Old People's Homes Take Patients for a Ride". Deutsche Welle . June 6, 2008. Retrieved June 8, 2008.
  19. B. C. Glaberson (1 June 1999). The life and times of Reb Rephoel Soloveitchik of Brisk. Feldheim. p. 96. ISBN   978-1-58330-361-0 . Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  20. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Archived 2010-07-31 at the Wayback Machine , Yated Neeman
  21. Nisson Wolpin (2002). Torah leaders: a treasury of biographical sketches collected from the pages of the Jewish Observer. Mesorah Publications in conjunction with Agudath Israel of America. p. 243. ISBN   978-1-57819-773-6 . Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  22. A. L. Scheinbaum (February 1998). Peninim on the Torah. Peninim Publications in conjunction with "The Living Memorial", a project of the Hebrew Academy of Cleveland. p. 138. ISBN   978-0-9635120-6-2 . Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  23. Yonason Rosenblum (2000). Rav Dessler: the life and impact of Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler the Michtav m'Eliyahu. Mesorah. p. 66. ISBN   978-1-57819-506-0 . Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  24. "ArtScroll.com". www.artscroll.com. Retrieved 1 April 2018.