Planning ahead and what to expect

Tips on planning a journey and what to expect

Thinking ahead

Check the timetables

Check the timetables posted at individual bus stops before you travel. You can also take a picture to keep a copy for yourself.

Give yourself enough time

Give yourself time before the journey, get to the bus stop on time.

Plan ahead

Traveline Scotland can help plan your journey. As well as their website they have an app and a phoneline, however this is not a Freephone number. Google Maps can also be helpful to plan your journey, as this can track your location it can also help let you know when your stop is coming up.

Can you book a seat?

Some long distance services allow you to book seats. Any booking fee will not be covered by your card but you may wish to book if making a long journey and must arrive by a certain time, or if you’re going for the last bus and need to guarantee a seat.

Planning your journey

Planning your journey is easy with Traveline Scotland, download the app from the App Store or Google Play or visit

Many of the major bus operators also have apps to help you plan your journey. They include:

There are some buses which you won’t be able to take for free. These include tour buses or any services that are charged at a premium rate such as some night services. Contact the bus company before you travel if you are unsure.

Boarding the bus

Get ready

When you see the bus driving up, everyone waiting should get into a line.

Have your card ready when you’re boarding the bus

You will need to scan it on the card reader. You should have the card face up so the driver can easily see you are using the right card.

Tell the driver where you’re travelling

Even though your travel is free, you still need to tell the driver where you’re travelling to. Routes are split into sections called stages, each of which will have a different fare and your ticket will show the end of the ‘fare stage’ that includes your destination.

Priority seating

All buses have priority seating for those who are elderly or disabled. If you are sitting in one of these seats and are not disabled you should give up your seat for other passengers who need these seats.

Getting the bus

If getting the bus is new to you, here are some handy tips for turning you into a bus-trip pro.

Getting and using your card

Nearly one million children and young people under 22 in Scotland can now benefit from free bus travel.

Staying safe

New to using the bus or want to learn how to be a savvy traveller? Check out our advice for children, young people and parents on how to stay safe while travelling on bus!

Tips for parents and guardians

We’re encouraging all parents and guardians to have conversations with their kids about safe and confident bus travel.