Answers to the most frequently asked questions about travelling by bus.


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General queries

  • There are various services that provide transport to Bristol Airport:

    • Services A1 (from/to Bristol) & A3 (from/to Weston-super-Mare) – Bus passes cannot be used for free travel to/from the airport. They can be used for free travel elsewhere on the route for local trips that don’t start or end at the airport (usual time restrictions apply).
    • Service A4 (from/to Bath) – Bus passes cannot be used for free travel to/from the airport, however, holders can travel at a discounted rate (visit Air Decker for more information). They can be used for free travel elsewhere on the route for local trips that don’t start or end at the airport (usual time restrictions apply).
    • Services 54 (from/to Clevedon) & 55 (from/to Hengrove Park, Bristol) – Bus passes can be used for free travel to/from the airport and anywhere else on the route (usual time restrictions apply).
    • FALCON (from/to Plymouth) – Bus passes cannot be used for free travel anywhere on the route.
  • If you need to make a comment or complaint about bus services, you should first contact the operator.

    If they don’t deal with your comment or complaint, we suggest contacting Bus Users UK or the Western Traffic Commissioner.

  • For information on how to report any issues, please visit our help centre.

  • Please follow the information displayed at the bus stop. We regularly provide information about major changes, you can find these on the bus service changes page.

Real time information

  • The real time information system retrieves information from the bus GPS unit. So in order for this to work accurately the bus has to have the GPS unit active, drivers turn this on at the start of their shift. 

    If a bus gets delayed in traffic, or has to divert for some reason, it becomes harder for the system to give accurate predictions of how long it will take for the bus to arrive. 

    Occasionally technical faults may arise within the real time information system which can lead to the real time information predictions not being available. 

    There are also rare cases where a bus that is no longer in service still has the GPS unit on and the system will read it as Service X arriving at Bus Stop X. The bus might pass the stop with the “not in service” message, or take a different route and the system will still try to predict an arrival time at the bus stop. 

    This is not a comprehensive list, and there may be other things that could interfere with an accurate prediction.

  • There are a number of factors that result in a bus journey not being shown on the real time information system, or website. The most common reasons for a journey not showing are:

    • A bus not equipped with a GPS unit being allocated to a service promoted as having real time information;
    • There is a fault with the OBU and/or the ETM that communicates with the central real time information system;
    • The bus driver has logged on to the ETM incorrectly, preventing the journey operated being ‘matched’ by the central real time information system;
    • Incorrect timetable and/or schedule data has been loaded on to the central real time information system, preventing information received from buses being ‘matched’ with information contained on the central real time information system;
    • There is a fault with the central real time information system, preventing journey matching and/or predictions from being calculated;
    • There is a fault with the communication systems for example, radio base stations, on-vehicle communications antenna etc, preventing information from flowing between buses and central real time information system to at-stop displays, website, etc.
  • From time to time due to operational reasons, following a road traffic incident for example, operators may have to cancel journeys on a service in order to re-position vehicles so that they can start the next journey on time. At the request of both operators and service users the real time information system has been enhanced to indicate to passengers when a specific journey has been cancelled. The journey that has been cancelled will appear on the real time information/website as follows:

    • 26          To Centre            12:00

    Followed a few seconds later by:

    • 26           Cancelled            12:00

    The cancelled message will show the scheduled time of arrival for the specific journey based on the 24 hour clock instead of a predicted arrival time in minutes. This enables passengers to make informed travel choices so that they can complete their journey.

    Please note that the cancelled message does not appear automatically – it requires the operator of the service to cancel the journey(s) from the real time information system as only they can decide whether or not a journey will operate.

  • For information on how to report any issues, please visit our help centre.

  • If you notice that a bus that has arrived at your bus stop has not appeared on the real time information display or website  you should report it to the relevant bus operator. In order to enable the bus operator to identify the vehicle, please provide the following information:

    • Date;
    • Time the bus arrived at the bus stop;
    • Service number;
    • Bus stop name;
    • Bus registration/fleet number if possible.

    Once the operator has received the information they will investigate to ensure that the on-bus equipment (OBU/ETM/communications antenna) is working and check that the driver had logged on correctly. If the bus operator is unable to identify the fault the real time information contractor will be contacted in order to identify/repair the fault.

    For information on how to report any issues, please visit our help centre.

  • Currently there are over 130 local bus services serving the West of England region on the real time information system (May 2014) provided by Abus, Bath Bus Company, CT Plus, First, Somerbus and The Kings Ferry.

  • Each bus used on a route that is included on the RTI system is equipped with automatic vehicle location (AVL) equipment that enables the bus to be tracked by global positioning satellites (GPS). The location of the bus is then transmitted to the central RTI system. In addition to the buses location, specific service information is also sent to the central RTI system either through a separate piece of equipment fitted to the bus, referred to as an on-bus unit (OBU), or the electronic ticket machine (ETM).

    The specific journey information received from the bus is then compared to timetable and service schedule data stored on the central RTI system. The data is then ‘matched’ and using system algorithms, journey arrival/departure times are predicted and communicated to on-street displays, web sites, Traveline (nextbuses service and SMS) etc.


  • Yes you can, provided you follow the mobility scooters on low floor buses Code of Practice.

    On 14 September 2011, and following discussions with the Department for Transport, Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) launched a Code of Practice for the use and acceptance of Mobility Scooters on low floor buses.

    This code introduced a permit system for the mobility scooter user that will make it easier for the bus driver to recognise that the mobility scooter has been approved by the Operator and the user has been trained on boarding and alighting from the bus. The permit will be accepted by all Operators who adopt the Code.

    More information can be found on the CPT website:

  • Yes. By law, all buses have to be accessible and allow space for at least one wheelchair on board. Do plan your journey in advance to make sure that your bus stop allows for wheelchair access. Many bus stops have raised kerbs, and many buses allow the driver to lower the bus to kerb height for even easier access.

    Our journey planner provides information about accessible bus stops. Just look for the wheelchair icon next to the bus stop name, either in the Live Arrivals tab, or the Routes and Timetables.

  • Many bus stops already offer shelter, and more and more shelters are being installed at bus stops each year. If you’d like to talk to your Local Authority about a bus stop shelter, please visit our help centre.

  • Many bus stops now have Real Time Information displays on them, meaning you can see when the next bus will arrive without having to read the timetable.

    If you have difficulty reading smaller text, our Journey Planner also offers an easier way of accessing timetables or check when your next bus is arriving at the bus stop in real time. You can use your computer or mobile phone browser to zoom in when using the journey planner and the text size will increase to make it more easy to read.

  • Our How To Catch the Bus page may just be what you’re looking for. There is also an Easy Read version if you need it.

Bus general information