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The city of Bordeaux has an extensive and modern public transportation system which includes buses, trams and a ferry along the river. The system as a whole is referred to as the TBC and is run by Keolis, an international transportation company . The buses run on a large network of over 70 lines, all of which are connected to the tram network's three lines with all tickets and fares common to both. The trams are the system's newest transportation network, beginning service in 2003. They are run with APS technology and are one of the only systems of their kind in the world. The major routes of the TBC system run seven days a week from 5 AM to 1 AM. Trams run every few minutes on all lines, except that service is reduced before 1300hrs on Sundays and Holiday, also after 2030hrs and there is no service at all on the Labour Day holiday, 1st May.
(APS technology allows trams to pick up electricity from an underground system where overhead cables were barred for fear of disfiguring many of the cities historic areas. The transfer between overhead cable and underground source is automatic and seamless.)
The city of Bordeaux has an extensive network of bus routes and three tram routes serving all parts of the city and its suburbs. All the information you need, including downloadable maps and timetables can be viewed at
www.infotbc.com but be aware that much of the information is in French only. The 'normal' bus network runs until about 9pm. There are a number of major bus routes designated 'Lianes', which run seven days a week until around midnight or later.
Note that on May 1st (Labour Day) the entire tram and bus network is closed! It does operate on other holidays but not that one.
Fares as of July 2015: 1 journey €1.50; 5 journeys €6,70; 10 journeys €12.40; 1 day pass €4.60 and 7 day pass €13,20. Multi-journey and other passes can be bought from the ticket machines at tram stops, at enquiry offices and sales agents (300+ 'tabacs presse' around town. Bus drivers will take cash for a single journey ticket.
The single journey ticket can be used for two or more buses or trams, but the last boarding must be not more than one hour after the first.
Nothing to do with Bruce Wayne and Robin! This ferry runs at frequent intervals every day along the river between Lormont Bas, Les Hangars, Quinconces and Place Stalingrad. Fares are as for the buses and trams. All passes are valid. The boats go under the new Pont Chaban Delmas and offer a different view of the riverfront. Full details are on the TBC website as above.
You can reach the aiport also by public transportation, look for the perfect trip for you at http://www.infotbc.com, enter your address and airport, like destination. It takes about 60 minutes to an hour and a half, depending where you are.
Bus route Liane 1 now links the airport and the Gare St Jean and has connections with many tram and bus routes from all parts of the city. This therefore now provides a frequently run and low cost alternative to the expensive and infrequent Airport bus.
Buses used on Liane 1 have a luggage rack. There is space inside for all but the biggest items - visitors wouldn't be able to take a surfboard inside for example.
The new route route also takes it to Meriadeck and the Palais de Justice, very useful for the several hotels around that area. It also connects there with tram line A and myriad bus routes for onward travel within the city centre.
There is a dedicated Airport Shuttle Bus (30'Direct) linking the St Jean station direct and non stop with the airport. It takes 30 minutes and costs €7,20 (pay the driver or online : www.30direct.com ) with buses running every 60 minutes every day. The buses used have space for large cases, free Wifi access etc.
The surrounding outer suburban and rural area, including the popular resorts of Hourtin, Lacanau, Montalivet and Lege-Cap Ferrert is served by the buses of the Trans-Gironde network. Details of their services can be found at http://transgironde.gironde.fr - much of the information is in English as well as French. Direct buses to Lege-Cap Ferret leave from outside the main railway station, Gare St Jean.
Be aware that, even in summer, bus services on many routes are very infrequent especially at weekends. The Trans-Gironde bus network generally does not run after about 8pm.
Some buses to more distant parts of the region now leave from suburban terminals out on the tram network, rather than the city centre.
Regional rail service under the TER Aquitaine banner links Bordeaux with Archachon, the Médoc (Pauillac, Lesparre, Soulac sur Mer and Le Verdon) and other surrounding areas to complement the bus services.
Maps and timetables can be downloaded at http://www.ter.sncf.com/aquitaine/ . Efforts are being made to introduce easy-to-remember regular interval timetables and these are now in place on the Médoc and Arcachon lines, also to some extent on the line towards St Emilion, Bergerac and Sarlat. Elsewhere trains are both irregular and infrequent, especially at weekends.
For the most part, in the whole region, there are very few local trains after 8pm, except on Fridays to connect with main line trains from Paris etc. Note that TER specific tickets CANNOT be used on any TGV train or any other train where reservation is compulsory.
There is a bus/tram enquiry office at the St Jean railway station. It is open weekdays from 0700 to 1900, Saturdays 0830 – 1500 (1800 in September and October when the University year begins!) and Sundays in July and August 0830 – 1500, Sundays in September and October 1330 – 2000. You can easily pick up timetables and maps from the display stands. You can also buy passes if you are prepared to join the long lines. The one day tram/bus pass ( €4.60) and other basic tickets including 5 or 10 journey tickets are available from the ticket machines at the tram stops – if you can get them to work! There are also around 300 ticket sales points in the city – essentially the 'tabacs presse' as the leaflet puts it. Cash fare on buses is €1,50.Tram tickets must be purchased before boarding.
There are other offices at Espace Gambetta and the Quinconces tram and bus terminal. These are basically open weekday and Saturday daytimes but closed Sundays.
The St Jean railway station is somewhat to the south-east of the city centre, about 2km or 1.4 miles distant. Salvation is at hand in the shape of Tram C, which runs from right outside the railway station into the city centre. It crosses line A at Porte de Bourgogne and Line B at Quinconces, thus making connections with all parts. First trams are 0507 every day then at fairly frequent intervals (every 5 minutes for most of the day on weekdays and Saturdays, every 7 to 8 minutes on Sundays and Holidays) until about 2030hrs then every 20 minutes until just around midnight or later every day. However on SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS until 1300, line C operates only every 10 - 20 minutes, not helpful if you are in a hurry! Plan any Sunday morning departures with care.
There are trams until around 1am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Line B - direction Pessac - goes down to the main University campus. Ligne C is now extended at its northern end to serve the Palais des Congrès and Parc des Expositions also, when it is open, the new stadium - see below. Ligne C also now stops at the current stadium of the Bordeaux-Bègles Rugyby Football Club at Stade Musard.
All the tram details are at www.infotbc.com as before.
St Jean is also served by many city and Transgironde bus routes.>