Travelling on Local Buses

3.a.  Getting information about the bus journey from bus stations or travel agents
3.b.  Buying bus passes and tickets
3.c.  Finding the right bus stop at a bus station (or in the street) and the right bus
3.d.  Getting off the bus at the right bus stop
3.e.  General strategies on local buses

It is worth finding out if you are eligible for a free or concessionary bus pass to travel in your local area because of your hearing loss.  What is available and the criteria needing to be met to obtain a pass varies in different areas.  You should be able to find out what the criteria are by contacting your local council.

1. Providing I know the bus numbers I find that this is the least stressful way of travelling. In my area the bus stops now have route maps as well as timetables and I find this enormously helpful.

Please note: A lot of the problems people have when travelling by bus are similar to those they face when travelling by train. When reading this section please also read the travelling by train section because only a summary of the train information has been given together with new information.

People have found the following helpful:

3.a. Getting information about the bus journey from bus stations or travel agents

See 2.b.i. in the train section for more detail. It can be helpful to find out as much information as possible using timetables first and then asking at the bus station and/ or travel agent. Explain that you are deaf if you wish. Use a Communication Card and/or display your special badge if you wish. Many do this and find it helpful.


3.b. Buying bus passes and tickets

i. Buying bus tickets before the journey

ear symbol
1. People who wear a hearing aid have said that if there are grilles, etc, they find a window with a window loop (these are usually indicated by the sign on the right) and ask if the loop is switched on. Some people explain their deafness and use their Communication Card and/or special badge. They are prepared to get them to write everything down. (See 2.b.ii in the train section.)

2. Some people find that if there is a grille, etc, it is helpful to ask the person they are talking to if they can move so that their face is not obscured by the grille. This means they can see their face better for lipreading.

ii. Buying bus tickets during the journey

1. Some people said that it is useful to have the bus fare ready if, possible, plus extra small change in case the fare has gone up. If you are not familiar with the route have lots of change as some bus service providers do not give change!

2. It helps to state the destination clearly.  

3. I write my destination on a piece of paper, especially if there is a similar sounding place name, or one I find difficult to pronounce.  Then if I think that I’ve not been understood I can show it.

4. In some areas you can buy weekly or season bus tickets. Some people find that this means there is less stress about finding out how much to pay. (However, do check that the ticket covers all the bus services you want to use – some only cover one service provider or within a certain area.)

5. I have paper and pencil “at the ready” in case I cannot understand.  Most people seem happy to jot things down for me.


3.c. Finding the right stop at a bus station (or in the street) and the right bus

The following is a summary of what people said about finding the right bus and/or the right bus stop:

· Check timetables, monitors and display boards.
· Look at information on the bus stop itself.
· Ask staff for the right bus stop and stand near helpful looking people.
· Ask if it is the right bus before getting on.
· Watch out for people rushing off somewhere else.
· Look at the destination board at the front of the bus.
· Allow plenty of time.


3.d. Getting off the bus at the right bus stop

See 2.b.iv. in the train section.

1. If you want to know where to get off, ask the bus driver/conductor to tell you when you get there. Some people find it helpful to explain that it is the first time they have used the route or that they do not know it very well as then the drivers are often more likely to help. It does usually help to explain that you have a hearing loss.

  • One person who uses the above tactic also said, “As the driver may forget or leave the bus I usually ask another person who looks helpful. Quite a lot of people enjoy helping and they may want to know more about deafness.”
  • Some people said that they like to sit as near the driver /conductor as possible as it may help them to remember to tell you. If they cannot sit near when they first get on, they move nearer as soon as they can.
  • Travelling downstairs and not upstairs may help the driver to remember to tell you when to get off if you have asked him/her.

2. Some people ask if and when they must change when they board the bus.


3.e. General strategies on local buses

1. One person said, “If I know where I am going I travel upstairs to get away from the noise.”

2. If it’s a route I’ve used before, I have the correct money ready before I board.  I also have extra money at hand in case the fares have gone up

3. I like to buy a return or day ticket when possible, so that I don’t have to worry about getting a ticket for other or return journeys.

4. When I know I’m going to be doing a lot of travelling, I buy a weekly bus ticket.  Then I can hop on and off the bus without having to ask how much the fare is. 

5. I always have the latest timetables with me for the buses I want to use that day.  That way if I need to get a later or earlier one than I had planned, I don’t need to ask about it.

6. I avoid travelling at times I know the buses will be full of noisy schoolchildren going to or from school.