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Fukuoka: Guides: Local Bus
Using the Bus:
Level of difficulty: Not hard, but best if you have someone to show you on your first trip.
The main bus service in the city is run by the Nishitetsu Bus company. They run an extensive range of services. Buses work on numbered routes. All buses are single decker. Buses have their destinations and routes marked in Japanese characters, but the major destination is also marked in roman script.
Buses only stop at bus stops. Bus stops are clearly marked. Larger bus stops have signs indicating the numbers of the buses they serve and (in Japanese) the routes they will take.
Stopping a bus:
Stand at the bus stop and indicate with your hand that you wish the bus to stop. A vaguely expectant look is all that is usually required.
Getting on the bus:
All buses have two doors. The front door is the exit, the entry door is in the centre. As you get on, you will see a small orange ticket machine on the right and left of the entry steps. You will also see a machine for inserting a bus card. This is for people who have bought a pre-paid card.
If you do not have a pre-paid card:
Take a ticket. The ticket is numbered to indicate the fare stage. Take a seat if one is available.
If you have a pre-paid card:
Put the card through the machine and do not take a ticket.
Working out how much you have to pay:
At the front of the bus, to the left of the driver, is a fare indicator. This consists of a series of numbers, indicating the fare stages, with a corresponding amount in yen to pay. Check the the fare stage on your ticket and keep an eye on the yen value next to that number on the board. The fare will obviously increase as the bus progresses.
Indicating you want to get off:
Press the bell button just prior to your stop and move forward. Shouting "Hey" is sufficient if your bus starts to leave before you've had a chance to disembark.
If you do not have a pre-paid card: Have the fare-stage ticket and your fare in yen ready. If you do not have change, you can put a 1000yen note into a machine next to the driver and get change. Just prior to disembarkation, put your money and the fare-stage ticket into the slot next to the driver. The driver cannot give change.
If you have a pre-paid card:
As you leave the bus, put the card through the card machine next to the driver, and the fare is automatically deducted from your prepaid card.
Don't forget this bit, you would look awfully silly otherwise....
Things to look out for:
The driver will usually stop the engine at traffic light. This is to reduce pollution.
Between bus stops a taped female voice will call out the name of the next bus stop and all of the shops/hospitals etc for which it is convenient. Since the bus company wishes to demonstrate its politeness to you, the customer, the pitch of the woman's voice would put most castrato's to shame.
The driver has a little hands-free microphone through which he will call out the name of the bus stop. Tradition dictates that this be done in the lowest, growliest, least-comprehensible-in-any-language tone possible.
For a detailed list of guides, go here, or select one from the pulldown.