Learn how to buy tickets in English

These phrases will help you get around using public transport if you're travelling in an English-speaking country.

Buying a ticket

I'd like (+ noun / + infinitive)
I'd like a return ticket
I'd like to buy a return ticket…

Or you can use a "Can I" question:

Can I have a ….. (single / return to Bath) please?

On the bus, when you need to be quick, the question can be short:

A single to London Bridge, please.

See our page on transport vocabulary for words and phrases to describe transport and travel.

Asking for information

How much is … (a one day travel card)
How much does a one day travel card cost?

(See our page on asking questions for more explanation and help asking questions.)

Tips for understanding native English speakers

It isn't always easy to understand native speakers at train stations or on the bus. This is because people are often in a hurry – you need to ask a question quickly on the bus, for example.

1. Prepare your question before you speak. What do you need to know? Information about the bus route, for example? Or do you want the bus driver to tell you when to get off the bus?

Use simple grammar to help you make the question. Here are two questions using the present simple tense:

Does this bus stop at …… (name of place)
Does this bus stop at London Bridge?

Do you stop anywhere near ….. (name of place)
Do you stop anywhere near London Bridge?

Here is a question asking the bus driver to help you:

Can you tell me where to get off for …. (name of place)
Can you tell me where to get off for the shopping centre?

2. Listen for the information words. These words are stressed in a sentence, while the grammar words (articles, prepositions etc usually are unstressed.)

For example:
Do you stop anywhere near London Bridge?
'Yeah, on the 'other 'side of the 'road.

Practise your speaking and pronunciation!

Listen to four conversations. You can also read the tapescript as you listen.

Conversation 1:

Can I help you?
Yes, I'd like a return ticket to Oxford, please.
A day return is £20.

Conversation 2:

Yes Madam?
How much is a one-day travelcard?
£4.50 for four zones.

Conversation 3:

Yes?
Can you tell me where to get off for the shopping centre?
No problem.

Conversation 4:

Yes Madam?
Do you stop anywhere near the Library?
Yep. It's the first stop on the High Street.


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