How to Ride a MAX Bus


Learn what you need to know to ride MAX on this page



The Six Steps to Ride MAX

To become an expert MAX Transit Rider just follow these Six Simple Steps

Plan your Trip

You can use the online BJCTA Google Transit any time to find the nearest BJCTA stops to your location. Need more assistance? Just call 205-521-0101 Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (CST) or Saturdays and holidays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (CST). No Sunday service. MAX’s Customer Assistance Representatives are ready to help you get where you want to go. Just tell us where you are, where you want to go, and what time you need to arrive. We’ll tell you the closest bus stop, what time to catch your bus, how long your trip will take, what transfers you may need to make, and how much your trip will cost. We also can direct you to convenient locations to buy monthly passes.

Go to Your Stop

Arrive at your stop 5 minutes before the actual time the bus is due to arrive. Before boarding the bus, double-check the route number and name displayed above the driver’s windshield. If you’re not sure it’s the right bus, just ask the driver.

Have Fare Ready

Exact cash or a MAX pass are acceptable fares. The base fare for a single ride for most local trips is $1.25. The VIP Paratransit fare is $2.00. The Fare Structure lists prices for various options. If you do not have exact fare you will receive a change card in return. This change card can be used on future transit trips. No refunds or exchanges can be provided. Please make sure you receive the correct pass before being seated.

Get On Your Bus

Allow other passengers to get off before boarding. Board through the front door of the bus. Riding the bus is easy; just follow these simple rules. Sit anywhere you like. Generally, seats near the front door are reserved for elderly and mobility-impaired passengers. You may carry on baby strollers, carts, and other small items; just make sure they don’t block the aisle. If you need to access MAX by wheelchair, MAX’s buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts. Guide dogs and other service animals are permitted on MAX vehicles. Please see Accessibility Information for more details or call 205-521-0101. Please see “Bikes on BJCTA” for details on how to travel with your bicycle.

Deposit Fare

If you do not have a MAX pass, you must insert the exact fare into the farebox as you board. Fareboxes accept $1, $5 bills and/or coins, including $1 coins. Day Passes are available on all buses and from Central Station ticket agents. Passengers making transfers to a second bus or needing to ride multiple buses should purchase a 2 Hour Pass or an All Day Pass. The fare structure lists prices for these various options. PLEASE NOTE: Bus Operators cannot make change of any kind.

Get Off At Your Stop

About one block from your stop, pull one of the yellow plastic cables (next to the windows on most buses) or the silver cable (above the windows on other buses). This signals the operator that you want to get off at the next stop. Exit through the front or rear doors. The Bus Operator will open the front door.

Jump To:

The MAX Riders Code of Conduct

To help ensure the safety, security, comfort and convenience of all those who use our services, the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority (MAX) created a policy to regulate conduct on MAX property. In simple terms, it’s best described as the way to “ride right”. When you ride right, you treat others as you would like to be treated. You should show respect for your fellow passengers and the transit vehicles and facilities you use. Everyone benefits when you ride right. MAX transit passengers enjoy a safe, secure, comfortable and inviting atmosphere, and the overall efficiency of the transportation system improves.

Where the Rider's Code of Conduct Applies:

It only takes one person to ruin a good experience on MAX. That’s why we take this Riders Code of Conduct very seriously. The rules listed are enforceable by law. Those in violation will be asked to leave the vehicle or facility immediately.

Buses and Vehicles

Stations and Terminals

Shelters and Stops

Common Sense Guidelines


MAX’s Riders Code of Conduct can be summed up with the following common-sense guidelines:


  • Have the correct fare ready to pay (Drivers cannot make change)

  • Respect other passengers’ privacy

  • If standing on a crowded bus, move to the rear of the bus to make room for others

  • Do not cause safety problems

  • Use headphones

  • No eating, smoking, littering

  • No alcoholic beverages and possession or consumption of illegal drugs is prohibited

  • Do not harass the driver or other riders

  • Inappropriate touching or inappropriate comment(s) will not be tolerated

  • Soliciting money or distributing literature on MAX buses is not allowed at any time

  • Possession of any article defined as a weapon is prohibited on any MAX bus

  • Riders must remain behind the yellow line, and stay seated or secure until the bus comes to a complete stop

  • Do not lie down on the seats

  • Respect transit property

  • Use of MAX services and facilities are for transportation purposes only


Anyone in violation of the actions above may be asked to leave the MAX vehicle or facility, and risk suspension of their privileges to use MAX transit or enter transit property.


How Can You Help?


If you see a problem on the bus, tell the driver. Please remember that safety and security problems are treated with higher priority. If situations prevent you from alerting the driver and you see a serious crime being committed or a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 to report the problem when it’s safe to do so.

BE PREPARED to give the bus route number and direction the bus was traveling. The “Bus number” also helps identify the bus. Inside the bus, the coach number appears in the right front corner, opposite the driver. On the outside of the bus, the coach number appears on the outer corners. It is a three or four-digit number. 


We appreciate your help in abiding by these rules, and thank you for doing your part to “ride right.”