In public transport, a limited-stop bus, tram or train service is a service that operates along the same route as a local bus service, but omits certain stops in order to offer a faster trip between the places served. The term is normally used on routes with a mixture of fast and slow services. Additionally there may be a "semi-fast" service with more stops than a "fast" service, but fewer than a "slow" service.
In a typical metropolitan area limited-stop services are most likely to be scheduled at times when more people are travelling, not limited to the Rush Hour. Leisure and shopping trips tend to be more localised and geographically varied, thus requiring and responding to slower services calling at most stops along the route.
Sometimes a higher (premium) fare may be required for the faster journey, especially for some international trains in western Europe.
On railways, the layout of the tracks and number/length of platforms at stations will normally limit the extent to which a blend of fast/semi-fast/slow services can be operated.
In Australia, particularly in Brisbane and Sydney, limited stop services are formed by commuter trains which run as limited stops or express services from the city centre to the edge of the suburban area and then as all stops in the interurban area. Same is done in Helsinki, Finland by VR commuter rail.
Terminology for Dutch railways:
- fast: intercity
- semi-fast: sneltrein
- slow: stoptrein
Limited stop bus services
A limited stop bus service usually operate on a route identical or similar to one or more local bus routes, making stops at certain key points, such as major intersections, major landmarks, in a city's central business district, or at transfer points to other bus routes.
Limited stop bus services are sometimes viewed as a form of bus rapid transit, but differ from bus rapid transit in that they otherwise operate as regular bus routes, with no dedicated lanes or other accommodations similar to those of a commuter rail service.
In heavily congested traffic conditions a bus scheduled as fast or semi-fast may not always achieve an appreciably faster journey than a stopping service along the same route, unless there are special bus lanes. However due to fewer fixed stops, buses may run on a more flexible route to avoid the worst congestion at certain times of the day.
For example, Baltimore offers a service known as QuickBus on some of its routes. These lines share the routing of other bus routes in the area, but make fewer stops and bypass all others.
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