An express bus service (also known as commuter bus service) is a bus service that is intended to run faster than normal bus services between the same two commuter or destination points.
Express buses operate on a faster schedule by not making as many stops as normal bus services and often taking quicker routes, such as along freeways, or by using dedicated lanes or roadways. Express buses may also operate out of park and rides, in some cases only during rush hour in the peak direction.
Fares on express bus services may be higher than normal parallel services. Many express buses, especially bus rapid transit lines, employ a proof-of-payment scheme, requiring passengers to purchase tickets before boarding the bus, speeding up the service. The vehicles used may also feature amenities like comfortable seating and wireless Internet service, particularly on routes that travel long distances at higher speeds without stopping.
In many cases, an express bus service is identified by a letter before or after the regular route number. For example, in Sydney, the letters L (as in L90), E (as in E70) and X (as in 610X or X84). L indicates that the bus runs along the normal route, while E and X indicate that the bus runs along a more direct route.
Examples of commuter express services would be the Indy Express Bus, which links the communities of Carmel and Fishers to Indianapolis, which connects Nashua, NH and South Station in downtown Boston. An example of an interstate express service is the Starlight Express, which connects New York City to Charlottesville, VA. A more specialized service is the 351 Meadowlands Express which ferries fans to the Meadowlands Sports Complex from the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan.
Services operated by public agencies
- MTA Bus Company and New York City Bus in New York City
- NJ Transit Bus Operations in New Jersey
- Valley Metro - Limited peak-only express routes in Phoenix, Arizona and surrounding suburbs in Maricopa County
- Metro Express in Los Angeles
- AC Transit - Alameda County, California
- Golden Gate Transit - Marin and Sonoma Counties
- Community Transit - Peak-only service from Snohomish County to Boeing Everett Factory, Downtown Seattle, and University of Washington
- King County Metro - Express variants of local routes, all-day express routes, and limited peak-only express routes in King County, Washington
- Sound Transit Express - All-day and peak service between cities in the Seattle metropolitan area
- Toronto Transit Commission - rush hour-only express services of regular routes have an "E" suffix in their route numbers. All-day express services are dubbed "Rocket" routes and have their own route numbers. Both of these services do not require an extra fare on top of the regular fare; however, there are also five limited-stop premium express routes to and from Downtown Toronto (numbered in the 140-series), which require an extra fare equivalent to the regular fare (see Toronto Transit Commission fares).
- Beijing Bus - Express services of regular routes have the suffix 快 (kuài, meaning "fast") following their route numbers. For example, Bus 345快 is an express bus that follows the same route as Bus 345 but makes fewer stops.
- Empresa Municipal de Transportes de Madrid - Has four express lines (, , , and ) that have fewer stops than conventional lines and use bus lanes as well as dual carriageways and do not require an extra fare. There's also an express bus line that connects the Madrid Atocha railway station with the Madrid-Barajas Airport , but it has a special fare.