Despite being one of the world’s smallest inhabited territories, Gibraltar operates a public transportation system that is wheelchair accessible and open to all. Buses are the exclusive mode of transport used in the city’s public transit system. The paratransit van service is available only to local residents.
Wheelchair Accessible City Buses
The majority of city bus stops are wheelchair accessible, though some are directly alongside streets with no sidewalks. To board the bus at one of these inaccessible stops, wait nearby and flag the bus driver.
At stops that are wheelchair accessible (again, the majority), you’ll typically find a covered shelter, which is great for staying out of the sun or rain. Each bus stop features a sign listing the bus routes that stop there. Some stops feature a map of Gibraltar with the bus routes/stops highlighted and/or listed, but these maps are not available at every stop.
I recommend that you carry a list of the bus routes and their associated stops with you, to avoid confusion. You don’t want to end up on the wrong side of the Rock of Gibraltar, or on the wrong end of a steep hill! More information on routes and schedules is available later in this article.
Each of Gibraltar’s city buses are wheelchair accessible. They feature an electronic boarding ramp at the rear door, and a wheelchair accessible parking space:
I was pleased to find the buses clean and in a good state of repair – no broken wheelchair ramps! At bus stops served by multiple routes, be sure to flag the bus driver to announce your intent to board.
The only issue with the buses is the small size of the wheelchair parking space. Although I was able to park my power wheelchair against the safety backrest, this was only possible because I have no legs! Many wheelchair users will need to back straight in, facing away from the windows and toward the door they entered through.
Most bus drivers asked me where I wanted to get off, but there is also a blue stop request button that will alert your driver that the ramp is needed at the next stop. In all, I found the bus drivers to be extremely helpful and courteous, mirroring my experience with Gibraltarians as a whole. The city bus service was convenient, easy to use, accessible and reliable – bravo!
Bus Routes & Schedules
The city’s bus network is operated by the Gibraltar Bus Company, which is owned by Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar and overseen by the Ministry of Transport. Seven bus routes operate from the morning to evening, seven days a week, and are numbered as routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9. Each route operates on a different schedule and frequency. A list of routes and their associated schedules is available at www.gibraltarbuscompany.gi. A single night bus route operates from 9:15 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. A schedule and list of stops for the night bus is available here.
The transport authority’s website does not provide city bus route maps, but they are available at www.gibraltarbus.com, a privately maintained website. Route information appears to be accurate at this time.
Special Route: Airport to Downtown Gibraltar
In addition to the city buses and routes I mentioned above, there is a special bus – route number 5 – which runs between the Gibraltar Airport and the city’s central bus terminal. Route 5 is privately owned and operated by Calypso Transport and is not controlled by the city government. It is also the only bus with service to the airport and the border crossing with Spain.
I snapped the photo above, right after arriving on my flight to Gibraltar. The bus stops along Winston Churchill Avenue, right outside the airport – about 5 minutes walk from the terminal building. Like the city buses, the route 5 bus is wheelchair accessible via a ramp at the rear door. The wheelchair space on the number 5 bus is much larger than those on the city bus, and the ramp must be folded out manually by the bus driver.
From the downtown bus terminal, riders are able to transfer to the city bus lines mentioned above. The downtown bus terminal is within walking distance of Grand Casemates Square, Main Street and Marina Bay.
City Bus Fares & Passes
The city bus (routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9) and airport bus (route 5) operate under separate pricing schemes. A ticket on one is not good on the other, so for trips in which you need to use a city bus and the airport bus, you’ll need to purchase a ticket from each.
Fares on the government-operated city bus are as follows:
Single ride (Adult) – £1.50
Single ride (Child) – £1.20
Day pass – unlimited rides (Adult) – £2.25
Day pass – unlimited rides (Child) – £1.80
If you intend to ride the city us more than once in a day, ask the bus driver for the day pass. This will save you some money!
The fare on the privately-owned airport bus (route 5) is £1.50 per ride.