Bus Travel


1. BUS TRAVEL


Baggage safety

Travellers across the world have realised that there is a link between the quality of bus companies they took and the subsequent theft of their belongings – and also the length of the bus trip and theft of belongings. This is most common in more developing countries, but does occur in more established nations, like in Europe.

The website “guide to Thailand”
http://www.guidetothailand.com/thailand-travel-information/luggage-thailand-security.php details key security tips to ensure that belongings are there upon your arrival to the destination.

• Use locks and zipper locks on every compartment
• Opt for the quality bus companies (compare the bus providers on offer and look for reputation of safety)
• Keep your bag in the overhead rack within the bus, rather than the cargo hold below the bus.
• If possible, thread a carry strap around some part of the overhead rack, so that your luggage is easily identified.
• If you leave the bus temporarily (eg toilet or food), always take you bag- unless your are satisfied that security is reliable (this is why it’s ideal to pack light)

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Bus / Provider safety

As mentioned before, selecting a bus provider that addresses security but also personal safety is also very important. This is the case especially in developing nations where road infrastructure is not always the best and therefore requires a reliable bus driver and provider to ensure you arrive in one piece at your destination.

When selecting a bus provider, its best to ask independent locals (ones you feel are being impartial), Google the providers name and also on forums to see past travellers experiences and also look on the providers website. This will give an good picture of their operations and any past discretions or incidents (such as bus crashes). As usual you should never compromise your safety for a cheaper bus ride, always do your homework.

It’s been mentioned especially in developing nations if possible to travel during daylight hours. This is due to the poor road infrastructure that the country you are in may have. Using the case of Cambodia, there have been cases of buses at night colliding with cattle on the road and causing a big mess with serious injuries for travellers. You simply never know what’s on the road at night and with no street lighting (even with the buses high beam) it’s a recipe for potential dramas. What we did was travel on the earliest departure time of the bus during daylight hours, which may be 5am depending on your location.

More information on looking out for bus safety can be found here: Independent Traveler – Why you should take the bus on your next trip – http://www.independenttraveler.com/travel-tips/specialty-travel/why-you-should-take-the-bus-on-your-next-trip

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Staying comfortable

Ideally on the bus when travelling (like when flying) you can have a pack with blow up cushions and other useful resources to make your journey more bearable. The good thing about travelling by bus is that you might have pit stops where you can have lunch or freshen yourself – this is the case in places like Cambodia.

The Wikipedia page below provides good tips on having a more pleasant time travelling by bus:

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Arriving on time.

As with other modes of transport, arriving on time is paramount. When booking your bus transport, the company will advise you verbally or on the ticket when to arrive. If they do not, then you need to be proactive and ask this question of when you should be by the bus and also where the bus you need to take is located.

Far too often, bus terminals are very busy and have an assortment of bus platforms / bays. The bus company won’t be sympathetic if you miss your bus due to negligence on your part to check when your bus leaves and where to take it from. An exception is if the bus provider suddenly changes locations of the departing bus or the departure time changes without clear notification given – which would have the company liable for the next available service.

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Ideal seat

It’s often said that towards the front of the bus is the way to go and this would be the case. Not only will you be able to disembark quickly but also especially in emergency situations prove to be lifesaving. Also needing consideration is if you wish to sleep on the bus – in this case you would avoid an aisle seat, as the person next to you might interrupt. This is almost the same as selecting a seat on an aeroplane.

For more information on selecting the best seat on a bus when travelling see:

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Bus Classes

In certain countries (such as Thailand and within the Asia region in general), bus services may vary in the level of service provided. When planning to book bus travel, always check what type of classes the provider has on offer and what level of service is on offer at each level. Bus travel already an economical option in travel, its worth paying that little extra for first class or second class bus service – especially being in usually a developing country. The simple luxuries as air-conditioning, comfortable seating, safety and also a reliable bus justify the extra cost – compared to cheaper options.

More information on classes on buses and other modes of transport can be found here: Travel classes (Wikipedia) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travel_class

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Sleeping on the bus

So you’re travelling on an overnight bus and want some shut eye? This could prove to be a security issue in developing countries, where you will make yourself vulnerable to potential thieves. Taking into account the baggage safety tips and also the personal safety tips, there are tips via the below website specifically on night bus travel and sleep.

More tips on sleeping on the bus can be found here: Planetd – Night bus travel: 11 tips for safety survival and sleep – http://theplanetd.com/night-bus-travel-11-tips-for-safety-survival-and-sleep/

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Booking

Booking buses is pretty straightforward and with an assortment of choice, due to the frequency levels and also diverse providers in the market (in most cases).

In your city you wish to depart from, the day before you would approach the main bus terminal and pre-purchase your bus tickets (this is especially needed for longer bus journeys where demand can be high). Of course prior you would have done your research in regards to safety of the providers. If your bus journey is frequent on the timetable then you can simply keep in mind the departure timings and buy as you arrive.

Your hotel or accommodation can assist by providing guidance on timetabling and also recommended bus operators – where internet information on bus services in the city you are in, is lacking or unreliable.

For South-east Asia where bus travel is frequently used for smaller intercity travel and also a more economical travel experience, bus passes can offer value for money and choice.


Disruptions to travel / Passenger rights

Europe Travel passenger rights – Bus – http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/bus-and-coach/index_en.htm

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Bus providers

As the bus transportation market is diverse and often operates on a more frequent timetabling basis than other modes of transport – such as plane and train.

Wikipedia provides an extensive list of bus operating companies around the world: List of bus operating companies (Wikipedia) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_bus_operating_companies

For bus booking portals, bus operator examples and country specific bus travel see below:


Bus Travel Links

International General

Information / Booking Portals

Providers (Also Booking)

  • ** Bamba Experiences – (Hop-on-off buses, shuttle buses and arranges for local transportation – long distance buses and passes – Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Middle east, Europe, North America, Central America, South America) – http://www.bambaexperience.com/HopOnHopOff.php

Australia, Pacific and New Zealand

Information / Booking Portals

Providers (Also Booking)


Asia

Information / Booking Portals

Providers (Also Booking)

  • Stray – (Hop-on-off long distance buses and passes – Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar / Burma) – http://www.straytravel.asia/

Europe

Information / Booking Portals

Providers (Also Booking)

  • Andorra Buses (Andorra by bus) – Main transport access – Buses to/from – http://www.andorrabybus.com/
  • Austria Buses (OBB) – http://www.postbus.at/en/
  • Denmark Buses – Refer to Eurolines
  • Estonia Buses (Superbus) – http://www.superbus.com/
  • Finland Buses (Onni Bus) – http://www.onnibus.com/
  • France, Belgium and Netherlands buses (ID Bus) http://www.idbus.com/ (with services to neighbouring countries)
  • Luxembourg Buses (Mobilite – also trains and other modes of transport)  – http://www.mobiliteit.lu/
  • Monaco Buses (Cam) – http://www.cam.mc/informations-pratiques.php?lang=en
  • Poland Buses (Polski buses) – http://www.polskibus.com/en
  • Portugal Buses (Rede) – http://www.rede-expressos.pt/default.aspx
  • San Marino (Start Romagna – Bus 72 From Rimini) – http://www.startromagna.it/servizi/orari-e-percorsi/
    • City connected by this bus and also with aerial tramways / gondola cable
  • Spain Buses (Alsa) – http://www.alsa.es/en/
  • Switzerland Buses (Postbus) – https://www.postbus.ch/pag-startseite.htm
  • United Kingdom Buses  (National Express) – http://www.nationalexpress.com/   and (List of Bus operators in the UK) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_bus_operators_of_the_United_Kingdom

Americas (North, Central and South)

Information / Booking Portals

Providers (Also Booking)


Africa / Middle East

Information / Booking Portals

Providers (Also Booking)

STA – South Africa – http://www.statravel.com.au/south-africa-bus-pass.htm

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Links last checked : / /2015


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