The Stop Request

You get on the bus, and you know where you’re headed to. But when it comes time to let the bus operator know that you want to get off the bus, what do you do?

For most transit agencies, one of the following three methods (or a combination) is used:

The Pull Cord

Pull Cords
Photo Credit: Zachary Ziegler

The most common choice for buses nowadays. In it’s simplest form, there is a receiver attached on the side of the wall, with a cord running along the length of the bus. On the other end, there have been some rather creative applications with the pull cord. I once heard a story about an agency that tried putting pull cords across the aisle, so that in crush-load situations, standees could just reach above them and request the stop. Whether that’s true, I don’t know, but if it is true I’d love to see pictures of it in use.

The Push Tape

Push Tapes
Photo Credit: Zachary Ziegler

Another common choice for buses, though much more common in large metros. Along the length of the bus, the push tapes are positioned in between every window. Depending on the layout of the seats, the expectation is that any seated rider will be able to reach either in front or behind them to push it when they wish to request a stop.

The Stop Button

Stop Buttons
Photo Credit: Zachary Ziegler

Less common than the other methods is the stop button. Placed on the stanchions, or grab bars, the stop button allows people who aren’t seated the opportunity to make their stop request when they need it.

Each method, when applied to the needs of the particular agency’s operations, will work. But, there are always pros and cons to these.

The Pull Cord
Pros: Cheap, effiecient, durable
Cons: Costs more to maintain, some people might not be able to reach them

The Push Tape
Pros: Long lasting, more efficient use of interior space
Cons: High upfront expense, requires more wiring, some agencies have been plagued with problems using these

The Stop Button
Pros: Standees don’t have to reach over seated passengers to pull cord/push the tape
Cons: The most expensive of all, easy to accidentally press, susceptible to vandalism

Wheelchair Stop Request
Photo Credit: Zachary Ziegler

Personally, I prefer the pull cord. You don’t have to think about it, as you can just reach up and know it’s there. When I posed this question to my followers on Twitter, the people who responded seemed to agree. Oran (@oranv) said “combo of pull cords for seated and buttons on stanchions for standees. Nothing more satisfying than pulling that cord.” Daniel (@DanDaTransitMan) said “Pull cords because everyone can reach them from their seat. And they are kinda fun to pull.” As always, you can add your thoughts with a comment below, or send a tweet to @ziggzagzac on Twitter.

While the three methods of a stop request that I’ve listed above are the most commonly used, they are certainly not the only methods that can be used. There’s the yelling (and sometimes swearing) method, or letting the driver know your drop-off location when boarding, or just about anything else that you can think of.


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