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Nice Buses

 
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Nice bus
Nice airport bus

Bus ticket
Bus ticket

The Nice bus system is fairly extensive as it connects all parts of town as well as the outskirts. (See a bus map) Buses are modern, air-conditioned and fairly comfortable as far as buses go. Yes, they can be quite crowded but the special bus lanes on major streets means they can get you to your destination much faster than a car especially during rush hours.

Convenient as it is, the buses don't hold a candle to the tramway for journeys between the Old Town and north Nice. The tram is more frequent and runs longer hours. More.

Hours

Bus service starts early (around 5 or 6am) but for a major city, the buses in Nice start to peter out unusually early, around 9 or 9.30pm or so, depending on the bus and the station. Frequency varies according to the route but is generally every 10 to 20 minutes. Buses are more frequent on weekdays and substantially less frequent on Sundays.

Night Buses

At 9.10pm the night buses or Noctambus start which is a system of five separate lines running from the town center to various destinations in town. Service ends at 1.10am. Noctambuses are indicated by the "N" before the number: N1, N2, N3, N4, N5. Buses run every hour on weekdays and every half hour on weekends. Not every bus stop is served by a Noctambus. It's advisable to check the schedule before heading out.

Prices

The price of a single ticket is €1.50 and you can buy it on board directly from the driver. The ticket is good for all transfers that take place within 74 minutes but is not good for a return trip. To save money, buy a booklet of 10 tickets for €10, available at the automatic ticket machines at each tramway stop and any office of Lignes d'Azur.

There's also a daily pass for €5 which is economical if you'll be doing a lot of sightseeing. You can buy this pass from the bus driver.

The seven-day pass for €15 is another option if you need to take a number of buses throughout your stay. This pass is only on sale at a Lignes d'Azur agency which you'll find at the train station, Place Masséna and a number of other locations.

Going to or from Nice airport? Get a pass aero for €6 which includes a bus to or from the airport bus plus the bus to the airport which costs €6. Buy this ticket from a Lignes d'Azur agency or at the airport or aboard an airport bus.

How to Use the Bus

Generally you board at the front and exit at the rear door. Bus drivers can give change for tickets purchased aboard. After you buy the ticket you must insert it in the validating machine to be stamped. There are occasional checks and you will be levied an on-the-spot fine for not having a ticket or not having a validated ticket. Bus stops are not announced. You may ask the bus driver to let you know when you arrive at your desired stop but only if the bus is not crowded with passengers. Otherwise, consult the list of stops in the bus or keep an eye on the sign at each bus stop.

Planning Your Journey

The Nice bus and tram system is handled by Lignes d'Azur. It is not the most user-friendly system, primarily because timetables and frequencies vary so much from one bus line to the other. On the other hand, the buses are extremely reliable usually arriving within a minute or two of the scheduled time. Here are some planning tools to get you around the bus system:

Website
Your first stop should be the Lignes d'Azur website. Just plug in the addresses of your departure and arrival points and you'll get precise instructions.

Telephone
Lignes d'Azur has a telephone service in which you can find out exactly which bus or buses to take where and at exactly what time the bus arrives at your stop. No kidding. Just call 08 1006 1006. Operators can communicate in English.

Smartphone
Lignes d'Azur has apps for iPhone and Android. The databank does not include every street in Nice so it helps to know your bus stop. The geo-location feature for the iPhone app is most useful. Obviously, to take advantage you'll need wifi or a data connection. See more on cellphones on the French Riviera.

SMS at the bus stopAt the bus stop you can get the schedule for arriving buses via SMS. Send the number of the bus stop to 31000. The number is at every bus stop (see photo left).

There is also a scannable bar code at each bus stop, compatible with Flashcode, that gives bus schedules. It's worthwhile to download the Flashcode app for iPhone or Android.

 

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