The Beginners Guide to Catching The Bus: Part 3 – The journey’s end!

Previously in Part Two, we looked at what to do when getting on the bus, so now you’re almost at the point where it is time to get off the bus as your stop is approaching!

Hopefully you’ve already done your homework and know which stop to get off at – if you’re on one of many buses now that have next stop announcements (NSA), you just need to listen out for the audio announcement, or keep an eye on the interior displays.

When planning your journey, especially on an unfamiliar route, I find it helps to make a note of the stop name BEFORE yours, then if you’re paying attention and looking outside, once you see that stop then you know that yours is next!

The ‘stop’ bell

The familiar STOP button

To let the driver know that they should call at the next stop to let you off, the first thing to do is press the STOP button, which will be located on many handrails dotted around the vehicle.

Just press it once! The driver will hear the ‘ding’, or whatever sound that particular vehicle makes, and they’ll also see an indicator light up on their dashboard.

There’s no need to press this button repeatedly, and if someone else has also pressed it before you, then you don’t need to press it again!

Unfortunately bus drivers are not mind-readers and are usually pre-occupied on the road ahead and driving the vehicle safely, so don’t be surprised if they don’t stop at the next stop if you don’t press this button.

Make your move

Unless you are elderly, frail, infirm or disabled, it is a massive help now to get your belongings together, and make your way towards the front of the bus, do remember to hold onto the hand rails as you go!

By doing this, you help to minimise the amount of time the bus has to wait to unload and pickup, as you’re already there by the door ready to alight from the vehicle when it comes to a stop and the doors open.

It’s almost infuriating when some people decide to only get up from their seat once the bus has stopped, especially when they’re sat near the back of the upper deck and just casually stroll through the bus.

Buses often have to run to tight schedules, and while it may only be a ‘few more seconds’, sometimes those seconds make all the difference when it comes to keeping a service running on time.

Show a little courtesy to your driver

I’ve been catching buses since a very early age, and one thing I picked up on, and still do to this day, was how passengers would give ‘thanks’ to the driver as they disembarked – everyone else did it, so did I.

While it’s probably true that some drivers don’t care, I do know a lot of drivers do appreciate a little bit of gratitude. It’s a bit of a thankless task these days being a bus driver, especially when so many people are happy to complain about the slightest grievance, but forget that bus drivers are human beings too and trying to do what can be a difficult job at times.

Manners cost nothing, yet sadly I see so many people nowadays just ignorantly walking off the bus.

Now you’re a ‘veteran’!

I hope people found this series of articles either useful or interesting! Was there anything I missed?

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or feedback, and do share with anyone else you know who might find this of help.

Believe me, it doesn’t take long to become a ‘savvy’ bus traveller, and I’m sure there’ll be a number of ‘veteran’ bus users who find all I have written a bit ‘patronising’.

But at the end of the day, while there’s a lot of encouragement to get more people using buses, often there is little information on what new intending passengers can expect or have to do. So I hope this has all been of benefit to someone!

Happy travelling!


About WMBU

Stu is the founder of this West Midlands Bus Users website.
He is not a bus enthusiast, but as a regular passenger takes an interest in public transport related matters, having relied on buses to get around for over twenty-five years now.

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