Is there a generic name for public transport interchanges? For example: railway stations, bus stations, ferryports, airports, tram stops.

  • 8
    How about "public transport interchanges"? :-)
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Aug 1, 2011 at 0:08
  • Can you expand your question a little more. Do you want multimodal interchanges (between bus and rail), any and all kinds of stops were a person can get off and on, etc? Do you have some examples? Do you have a word in another language that covers all these examples?
    – Mitch
    Aug 1, 2011 at 14:00
  • To add to the list: A 'port' is a place for boats to stop. An airport is for airplanes. A 'taxi stand' is for taxis. A station is for buses and trains. A 'transfer station' is for changing between lines of a subway. It seems like there is very little commonality between the different modes of travel. The whole concept of public trans and the machines for it are so recent that any terms for them are not very...organic, i.e. some official makes it up and puts it in an official newspeak-like document, and that's how it comes to be.
    – Mitch
    Aug 1, 2011 at 14:12
  • @TRiG: Since this question has been open for a while, and you have not accepted an answer, could you please re-edit your question? In its current form, it seems like it will never be answered.
    – simchona
    Aug 5, 2011 at 18:02

9 Answers 9


As others have mentioned, "station" is the best word to use if you're just talking about ground transportation. However, if you're throwing air and water transportation into the mix, there's simply not a common term for that in American English. I'm afraid there's no way to get around putting in a sentence explicitly describing the set of things you're talking about.


You could refer to them all as transport hubs, or even just hubs.

  • Which tells me that I misphrased the question. I shouldn't have said "interchanges". I meant to include rural stations where you wouldn't change trains.
    – TRiG
    Jul 31, 2011 at 22:40
  • @TriG It could still be a hub, just a hub where there are only two connected "spokes" (there is a linear path through it).
    – simchona
    Jul 31, 2011 at 22:43
  • @TRiG: To illustrate, if an x is a hub and - is a spoke, a station where you wouldn't change trains would be --X--
    – simchona
    Aug 1, 2011 at 2:27
  • +1 - Hubs is what I always heard them called in the US (occasionally "terminals" for bigger stations, but "terminal" has a slightly different meaning.) It seems to me this word might be susceptible to regionalism though.
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 1, 2011 at 13:08
  • @T.E.D. A terminus is a station where the majority of services terminate. I imagine a terminal is the same thing. Most London stations are terminuses.
    – TRiG
    Aug 2, 2011 at 8:51

From my familiarity with the Philadelphia transit system...

A "stop" is just a place you can get on a bus. It typically has a bench, a sign, and perhaps a very small covered area.

A "station" is a place you can get on a train. It typically has an actual enclosed building, as well as some small amount of parking. At least part of the day it is staffed. I could see where some smaller commuter trains (eg: streetcars) might stop at places that just qualify as "stops" though.

A "terminal" is a place where multiple transit lines end. For a bus system, this is usually a main hub, and has a largish climate controlled building. For a train system, this is usually much nicer and larger. The one in Philidelphia has entire shopping mall attached to it (or it is attached to a shopping mall, depending on how you want to look at it). For airplanes, a "terminal" generally refers to a secured area or wing of an airport.


There is not any common word in use in American English. For bus or train stations, you can often use transit station, however this does not apply to many other public transport interchanges.

  • Where I live (San Diego, CA USA), a transit station is a trolley (light rail) stop that coincides with another line on the system and is also a stop on many different local bus routes. No airports, though.
    – Marc
    Apr 21, 2014 at 2:22

I can't think of a single word which encompasses all the things you want. A station needs some kind of building, normally. But a stop is anywhere that the vehicle stops and people can get on or off. Trains almost always stop in stations but buses can stop anywhere. So I'd say the most generic term would be a stop.


You could just try station:

3.A regular stopping place for ground transportation.

It sounds simple, and is easily understood.

  • I think this is the best word choice for ground transportation, but the post said it should include air and sea transportation as well.
    – Ascendant
    Aug 1, 2011 at 4:32

Depot might fit.

  • Hi @freehunter, and welcome to EL&U! I think you're on a good start here, but it might help if you phrase your answer as such instead of as a question. You can also add a link or another source to help describe what you mean.
    – simchona
    Aug 1, 2011 at 18:34
  • 1
    I could be wrong, but I think a depot is a place where the vehicles are stored when not in use. I don't think they're open to members of the public. Of course, this could differ from country to country. And, sensibly, depots should be near stations, maybe attached.
    – TRiG
    Aug 2, 2011 at 8:54

In a technical context, node might fit.


A "stop" covers (nearly?) all cases. Ships stop at ports, planes stop at airports, buses stop at stops, trains stop at stations (or stops in RR jargon), even autos stop at intersections. Granted that for any one vehicle type there are more specific words, neverthess stop is never wrong.

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