The Bus Network
by David Applefield
The sign of a real Parisian is the mastery of the bus system. Many new residents take a long time before attempting to use buses. The Parisian Bus System is excellent, although its efficiency suffers from the generally congested traffic situation. The bus does have the advantage of allowing you to see more of the city than traveling underground by métro. And there are still some lines with buses that have open, trolley-like back sections. Aside from the pollution, these are fun.
Paris par arrondissements (street map book sold at kiosks and papeteries) has maps of individual bus routes, otherwise stops are indicated on maps inside the métro, at bus stops, and in large black letters on the side of each bus.
Buses use the same tickets as the métro, which are cancelled or punched ("obliterer") in the machine located at the front of the bus. Don´t cancel your carte orange! Just flash it by the driver. The driver also sells individual tickets which must be punched upon boarding and are only good on the bus. When standing at a bus stop, signal the driver if you want to be picked up. Inside the bus, there are red stop request buttons located on the aisle posts. Several lines have incorporated new vehicles which you can enter via the middle doors without showing your card to the driver.
Most buses, whose numbers are indicated at stops by black numbers on a white circle, run every day of the year from about 5h30-0h30. Buses whose emblem is a white number on a black circle generally run only from about 6h00-20h30 Monday through Saturday except holidays.
When the number on the front of the bus has a slash through it, the bus runs through only half of the route. This short range service usually happens only at rush hours and on certain routes.