Bus station

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First central bus station in Germany in Flensburg , construction status since 1996

A bus station (abbreviated to Busbhf, Busbf or Bbf ), also an omnibus station ( Obf ), bus station or bus terminal , is a larger bus stop system that serves as a - mostly central - connection point for various bus lines . This is a traffic area with a road connection that is used by buses . Bus platforms (analogous to the platforms in a train station ) where the buses stop are created for passengers to get on and off . In order to network with the railroad or light rail , combi platforms are sometimes created when new bus stations are built or converted .

In Germany, the short name is often ZOB ( Z entraler O mnibus- B ahnhof), wherein alternatively, the abbreviations TO for Z connotations of core To climb spot, LEP for Z entraler U msteige- P oint or ZOH for Z connotations of core O mnibus- H stop is used become. An outdated popular name is rubber station .


The ZOB in Flensburg is located at the Hafenspitze and in the
center of Flensburg city center

The first ZOB in Germany, the Flensburg Central Bus Station , opened on December 31, 1931 in the converted old Flensburg train station , in a central location in the city. In 1951, the concept of the Hamburg ZOB (new building in 2003) with its bus platforms and a common central building pioneered long-distance bus transport across Europe.

Even today, bus stations are generally in a central location either near a train station or in the city center. A distinction must be made between transfer nodes for city or local transport and points of contact for long-distance bus lines .

The ZOB Berlin is an exception to the rule of a central location , which is neither in the inner city of Berlin nor near a (long-distance) train station. Without an additional footpath, it is only directly connected to the bus network of the Berlin transport company ; To get to the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, you have to walk a few hundred meters each. Long-distance buses reach it via the nearby city motorway ( AVUS ). Another exception is the central bus station in Stuttgart . As a result of the construction work for Stuttgart 21 , the previous location opposite the main train station was closed on April 1, 2010, the buses temporarily departed from two locations in the districts of Obertürkheim and Zuffenhausen . The new central bus station at Stuttgart Airport has been in operation since May 10, 2016.

In many countries, long-distance bus routes are much more important than in Germany . Here you will often find bus stations the size of a main train station or a smaller airport, for example the Kampinkeskus, which opened in Helsinki in 2005 , or the Esenler bus station in Istanbul, the largest bus station in Turkey and one of the largest in the world.

Often, a bus station is in close proximity to a station of a railroad, railway ( S , underground ) or rail to the passengers transfers between public transport - transport easier. Attention is paid to short distances, adequate passenger information and a barrier-free design, including, for example, markings for the visually impaired. However, there are also places that have no rail connection at all , but have a bus station where several bus lines meet. For easier boarding, even with a stroller, luggage or wheelchair, there are sloping and raised curbs.


There are different designs for bus stations. These are:

  • Roundel shape
  • Inclined and longitudinal parallel form
  • Quay shape
  • Dog bone shape

Roundel shape

Bus station in Herne . Example of a circular shape

The roundel shape is one of the most typical designs for bus stations, especially in urban traffic. With the roundel shape, the bus station consists of an ellipse in the middle, around which the buses drive past in left-hand traffic (in countries with left-hand traffic: right-hand traffic). It allows very easy turning, which is often important in urban traffic. In order to save space, the circular shape can be equipped with indentations in the so-called “sawtooth shape”, which enable the buses to move in and out easily.

Parallel form

Bus station in Ilmenau . Example of a parallel shape

There are two types, the oblique and the longitudinal parallel form. The individual bus platforms are arranged parallel to one another, either lengthways or diagonally. Although this shape has the advantage over the circular shape that buses in different directions are separated from one another, it has the disadvantages of space consumption and the lack of installation space and often the lack of turning options.

A special form of a bus station exists at the ZOB in Passau. This has a rendezvous system and the buses stop parallel in both directions due to a lack of space. It has two entrances / exits in both directions. Since it can be approached from both the south and the north, you only need five large bus platforms, and the central bus station is only served by city traffic and regional bus routes going to the south-west.

Quay shape

ZOB Hamburg - in front of the bus platforms. Design quay shape

The quay shape is a specific construction of the parallel shape, but with the difference that the waiting area for passengers is perpendicular to the parallel bus platforms. Thus, these are bus bays in which the buses stop. The quay shape has the advantage that you can read the signs very well; however, it requires that the buses reset when they leave. Therefore, it cannot be used in public transport, but only in long-distance bus traffic.

Dog bone shape

Dog-bone shape means that the buses stop in a normal street in bus lanes, similar to the longitudinal parallel shape, and turn around behind these bus lanes in a roundabout. With the roundabouts on either side, the bus station looks like a dog's bone or a dumbbell from a bird's eye view.

Rendezvous systems in city traffic

Bus station in Malaysia

The space requirement for bus stations compared to a single bus stop is high, so alternatives must be considered in narrow inner-city areas. The design of a city ​​bus system offers various options for this: A bus line ending in the city center requires a turning point and a stop, a diameter line relocates both to the urban outside area and therefore requires less space in the city center. If there are to be direct connection options between several lines, they must arrive at the same time and leave them again a short time later. This principle is called the rendezvous system . To do this, each line needs its own stopping position. However, if the frequency of the line schedules is shifted against each other, with a five-minute interval between the individual trips, one stop is sufficient for up to twelve lines. The waiting times for passengers are not excessively longer with shifted 20-minute intervals compared to a rendezvous system , since transfer times and possible waiting times for buses arriving late can also take up to ten minutes. In many cases, an inexpensive timetable can make it possible to dispense with bus stations without major disadvantages for the passengers.

special cases

A special situation arises in places with a central transfer hub in the center and a second hub at a train station a little further away from the town center. If the equivalence of both nodes is not taken into account when creating the timetable (e.g. with diameter lines), mostly the station node will be deserted, with rail passengers being lost to the bus system.


An example of this is Minden . There is a city bus system that consists exclusively of radial lines ; the bus station at the train station is only served every 30 minutes (line end point after two stops in the center). Since the summer of 2005, when the city bus system was introduced, the ZOB Minden has served as a central transfer stop in the city center. All lines, excluding line 605, which ends at the train station, have their terminus here. Care was taken to ensure that the buses arrive at the ZOB after clock XX: 40 and leave again at XX: 45. Due to line lengths and travel times, some lines cannot adhere to this timetable.

An extreme case is the former bus station Kölner Tor in Erkelenz , which today is only served by a city ​​bus served by minibuses and is therefore completely oversized.

There are similar situations in Bocholt , Herford , Hanau and Gladbeck .


Passau also has this special situation. There is a ZOB in the center, the Neue Mitte Passau , and a main train station on Europaplatz, which delimits the city center to the west. The central bus station is the center of city traffic and the lines depart at minute .00, .15, .30 and .45 according to the rendezvous system. The problem was solved well, however, as the lines 8, 9, 10, 11, K4 and CITY connect the main station with the ZOB and thus every 15 minutes. In addition, all regional bus lines of the RBO end there and the lines that go to the southwest of the Passau district also go to the central bus station.


In Bünde , a central bus station was built for a new city bus system; the bus station near the train station remained the terminus of the regional bus routes and is also served by line 2 of the city traffic.


In Baden-Württemberg Tuttlingen there is a similar situation where the central transition point (called the central bus station downtown ), and in each case the minutes .00, .15, .30 and .45 after the rendezvous concept several bus lines (but meet at any Different nodes, since most bus routes run every hour, only individual compressors run every half hour). Many of these lines continue to the bus station at the train station, for example line 50, which first goes to the ZOB Stadtmitte from the west , then continues to the train station in the east. From the central bus station, she cuts into the 15-minute cycle, which is run in a combination of regional and city buses between the center and the train station, so that there are no waiting times over 15 minutes at the train station when changing from train to bus. The same applies to lines 51 and 52, which come from Trossingen and VS-Schwenningen from the west of Tuttlingen. They first take a short detour to the bus station at the train station before they take the main route of Tuttlingen city traffic to the center.


In Ratingen in North Rhine-Westphalia , which lies exactly between its neighbors Düsseldorf and Essen , there is also the situation that there is a bus station in the city center ( Ratingen Mitte bus station ) and a junction on the edge of the center of Ratingen Ost train station . The situation here is very well resolved, as only bus lines end at the Ratingen Mitte bus station that approach it from the east, so that the bus lines from the west are all connected to the Ratingen Ost train station. The bus lines from the east (with the exception of line 753), like the bus lines that reach Ratingen Mitte from the west, go to the Ratingen Ost train station. The bus routes from the west end there and the others continue to the surrounding area. Line 749 is a cross-city line from Düsseldorf- Kaiserswerth via Ratingen-Mitte and Ratingen Ost train station to Mettmann, a hybrid of bus routes from western and eastern directions. All bus lines that run at Ratingen Ost train station, in turn, run to the Ratingen Mitte bus station with the exception of line 760, which touches the center of Ratingen to the north. This achieves a very large overall network effect without any of the two bus stations being disadvantaged.


In Hagen , also in North Rhine-Westphalia, there is a bus station at the main train station on the outskirts of the city center and one in the city center near the town hall and the Sparkasse ( Stadtmitte / Volme-Galerie ). Between the bus stations, the lines from the north and north-west run via Elberfelder Strasse past the theater to the east and south-east, while the lines from the west, south-west and south run over Körnerstrasse to the east, north and north-east. Exceptions are the regional bus routes 591 and 594 and the casino bus route 544, which all only serve the main train station and also end there. In contrast, line 522 ends in the city center without serving the main train station. Another specialty are lines 521 and 525, which, coming from the Buschey, merge between the bus stations in one of the two main lines and can thus only serve one bus station, but it is guaranteed that the passengers from the Buschey can also get to both bus stations, because line 521 serves the main station, line 525 the city center. The center of the night express network is the Stadtmitte / Volme-Galerie bus station. The origins of this network can be found in the network of the tram , which was discontinued in 1976 and which already had a triangular network, but the important junction next to the main train station was not the Rathaus stop , but the station on the market.

Combined platforms for rail transport and bus

See also

Web links

Commons : bus station  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Bus station  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Long-distance bus stops - problems at the new locations Stuttgarter Zeitung online, April 4, 2010