How to Ride the Fixed Route Bus

Fixed route bus service is provided by 12 routes to over 400 bus stops in our service area. Bus training is available free of charge for individuals and groups that wish to learn to utilize the fixed route bus. For more information on bus training click here.


Watch a short video about traveling by Fixed Route bus

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I read the bus stop sign?

Our signs make catching a bus easier than ever. To board a bus at a particular stop you should arrive at least five (5) minutes prior to the scheduled arrival time of the bus. When waiting at a bus stop, the bus stop signs list the route number and time (minutes after the hour) the bus will stop at that location. Both timepoints indicate when a bus will arrive during peak service. The second timepoint is the arrival time for off peak and weekend service. For safety reasons, Wave Transit buses are only allowed to stop for passengers who are waiting at official Wave Transit bus stop location with a designated sign. When you see the bus approaching, be sure it’s the one you need by checking the sign above the windshield. Have your fare and ID (if applicable) ready when you board the bus.

Where does the bus go?

Wave Transit bus service serves the Cape Fear region from downtown Wilmington to Carolina Beach, and all points in between. You can ride the Wave to the historic district, UNCW, and many shopping centers. All buses also connect with at least one of our transfer stations. Route maps are available on our website on the Routes and Schedules page.

How do I get on the bus?

Arrive at any designated Wave Transit bus stop five (5) minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. When you see the bus approaching, move near the bus stop pole. Be sure it’s the bus you need by checking the sign above the windshield. Have your fare ready when you board the bus.

How do I get off the bus?

When you are approaching your stop, indicate that you’d like the driver to stop by pressing the stop request touch tape or pulling the stop request cord. Some buses also have a red stop button located near the rear door. The driver will only stop if a passenger is standing at the bus stop or stop request is make by a passenger. The driver does not stop at all bus stop locations regardless.

What if I need to transfer to another bus?

An optional transfer ticket is included in the cost of bus fare. Please request a transfer ticket from the driver when you purchase your pass. Transfer tickets allow customers to take two consecutive buses in order to reach their final destination. Customers can transfer between routes at two modern transfer stations, Forden and Padgett Station, that include amenities such as bathrooms and free Wi-Fi. Waiting areas and bathrooms at transfer stations are for the use of customers only and no loitering on the grounds is permitted. For the health and safety of all our customers, no over sized bags are permitted inside the bathroom facilities. Customer service representatives are available at each transfer station to assist with ticket sales and bus directions.

When does bus service run?

Most buses run seven days a week, with the exception of the following holidays: New Year’s Day; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; Easter; Memorial Day; Independence Day; Labor Day; Thanksgiving; & Christmas. Service runs from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm Monday through Friday and from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday.  Hours per route can vary so please refer to the bus maps and schedule page for exact starting and ending times for your route.

What are the rules and regulations for riding Wave?

Each vehicle is equipped with a Passenger Code of Conduct that is posted behind the driver. The information in the Code of Conduct contains, but is not limited to, the following:

Eating and drinking, smoking (including use of electronic cigarettes), tobacco products and open containers of alcohol are prohibited on Wave buses. Pets are prohibited in Wave vehicles and facilities; however, service animals are permitted. Firearms are prohibited from Wave Transit vehicles and facilities. Items such as automotive batteries, gasoline or equipment that contains gasoline, and any other item that may be hazardous are prohibited from Wave vehicles. If you are unsure of an item you wish to bring on the bus, please call (910) 343-0106 for specific instructions. Wave Transit is not responsible for lost items.

Are the buses equipped with cameras?

Wave Transit vehicles are equipped with audio and video recording equipment.  Wave Transit passengers are subject to having their voice and image recorded.

Are the buses ADA accessible?

All Wave Transit vehicles are equipped with either a wheelchair lift or ramp and wheelchair securements. Each vehicle is equipped with exterior signage that displays the route information. The vehicles are equipped with interior signage which displays the next stop information for the ten (10) major bus stops indicated on the schedule. In conjunction with the signage, an audio announcement is made as the bus approached the ten (10) major stops indicated on the schedule.

Are pets allowed on the buses?

Pets (even in carriers) are prohibited in Wave vehicles and facilities; however, service animals are permitted. View a copy of Wave Transit’s Service Animal Policy.