Getting off public transport

This is a factual question, but it seemed too mundane for GQ. I recently started wondering about a detail of everyday life, and now want some more data points:

When you take a public bus, are there buttons to let the driver know you want to get off at the next stop? Does some kind of chime ring when you press one, to alert the driver? What does it sound like?

If you want to, please mention roughly where that transit system is.
If you remember any of the above for other places or times you have visited and/or lived in, I’d like to hear about it as well.

I know that seems like a weird question, but I feel like it is the same everywhere, and want to know if I’m right.

Here (DC suburb) there is a cord that goes from the front to the back of the bus above the windows. You pull on it to request a stop.

On San Francisco Muni buses and trains, there is a cord running along the inside of the bus that you pull to indicate when you want to stop. When you pull the cord, an automated message comes on that says “stop requested”.

Yes, a button, strip or cord, depending on the model of the bus, transit system, etc. Sometimes it makes a “ding” sound. On some busses a sign lights up that says something like “Stop Requested”.

Some buses here have the cord, but newer ones have buttons. The Montreal transit system has several different models of bus currently in use, so the button location varies.

I’ve been on buses that had actual cords to pull, as well as ones that had strips that run the length of the bus that you press, or buttons. Depends on the model of vehicle that particular transit system uses.

Buses in Portland have pull cords. The streetcars have a strip to press. The MAX trains have nothing, as they stop at every station.

It’s easier to get off public transport when it’s a bus that can jack itself … down to ground level. Mind. Blown.

It was a cord in New York when I was a kid and rode the buses all the time, 50 years ago. I suspect it still is.

Youtube user JJ’s List has a series of instructional videos designed to help the disabled or anyone else get around independently.

Here is Getting Around on Pace: Part 4 - Getting Off Of The Bus. It demonstrates how to get off the bus, including pulling the cord to signal the driver. The bus system they use is located in suburban Chicago. Not all bus systems have a visual display to show street names like Pace does.

Here, there are cords that run above the windows and sometimes, depending on the bus, there are other cords attached to the main one that run down between the windows as well. There are also signs at the front of the bus that will say "Stop Requested,"and there’s a recorded voice that says that too.

I remember about thirty years ago, Metro Transit (which serves Seattle and King County) started using those strips others have mentioned. They ran below the windows and inadvertently kept getting pressed by people leaning against them, annoying the drivers greatly, who had to make lots of unnecessary stops. About a year after they were installed, they were taken out and the cords went back in.

Today buses in New York generally have a yellow tape strip next to the window you can press to signal the driver to request a stop.

In Cleveland, the buses all have some means of signalling the driver to stop, but it can be a button-strip or a cord, depending on the bus model. It makes either a ding sound or a computerized voice saying “stop requested”, and also says “stop requested” on a sign in the front of the bus (that same sign and possibly voice can also announce the next stop, and otherwise runs ads for the transit authority, like “download our app”).

The rapid transit rail lines don’t need such buttons, because they always stop at every stop. Some of them have them anyway, a relic from a time when stopping at every stop wasn’t the standard.

On alot of trains now (particularly light rail) the doors dont open automatically at the stops; you have to push a button on the door to get it to open.

Buses and trams in Melbourne, Aus, have buttons that make a sound AND light up a notice above the driver’s compartment.

Chicago buses use the cord, and the “stop requested” sign so you know it worked. You have to push a button to make the back door open. I’m not sure about the front door; the driver may open that one. I always ride in the back.

Hamilton, New Zealand. The buses have buttons on some of the upright poles you can hang on to when standing. There’s a sound like a “Ding!”. There is also a display showing “Stop requested”. I think the display will show what stop is next, so you know when to press the button for your stop.

Back in the day, Melbourne trams operated on the pull-cord system, and the cord pulled on a bell which rang next to the driver. Trams are also double-ended, so that when they come to the end of the line you don’t have to turn them round, the driver just picks up their stuff and decamps to the back end (I presume it’s the same on a train, but it’s easier to see the system at work on a little one-carriage system like a tram). This meant that you had to be sure to pull the cord on the right side of the carriage, otherwise what you ended up doing was pointlessly dinging a bell right at the back.

I can clearly remember, as a child, not quite understanding this system, and watching mystified as my stop sailed by.

For multiple public bus systems in Spain, Sweden, Greece, Belgium, Switzerland and France: buttons in pretty much every vertical pole; a chime (which may or may not be heard clearly, depending on how much people there is and how much noise they’re making) and multiple visual indicators.

The visual indicators include at least a sign above the windshield saying “STOP REQUESTED”; if the bus also has the fancy screens which indicate the next stop, there will be an icon to show if the stop has been requested or not. There is another sign on the dashboard which also lights up so the driver doesn’t need to look up at the overhead sign, his own signal is right in front of his hand.

Payment systems vary more from location to location. How to tell the driver to stop is close to universal.

I’ve used various buses in the Tokyo area since the late 1980s. They all had buttons. Typically the button itself, or an indicator next to it, lights up with a “stopping next” message when someone has pushed a button.

I think the sound is usually an electronic “ping.”

Here is someone who collects those buttons.