How to transport passengers

Updated: 04/30/2005


In this tutorial you can learn how you can use busses, trains and ships to transport passengers.

Only very experienced players should try to start a game with passenger transports. Passenger and mail transport systems are only profitable if you build large networks. It is a good idea to tranport coal at the start of a new game.

You should know how to use trains and trucks in Simutrans before using this tutorial.

Basics (What you should know)

In Simutrans passengers have destinations. With a small transport network you cannot serve many destinations. If your transport network is growing, you can serve more destinations and can transport more passengers. That means, that you cannot earn money with two or three busses. You have to build a transport network to earn money.

How to build a passenger transport network

At first, you should build a transport network in three or four big cities which are near each other. Then you can connect the cities with a train.

  1. Search three or four cities
  2. Build transport network in each city (with busses)
  3. Connect the cities with a train

At the beginning you should use busses to transport the passangers in cities. The advantage of busses (in comparision to trains) is that they are very flexible and that you don't need to place rails and big stations. Later you can try to use trains in cities, too.

Important notes:
You should organize your busses in lines.
Make sure that you serve the town hall, special buildings and if possible some nearby industries.

Image Image Image

Images: Special building, tourist attraction, monument

How to build a bus transport network? (in a city)

  1. Search a city
  2. Place a railway station (connection to other cities)
  3. Place some bus stops (each stop covers 7x7 tiles)
  4. Buy 1-2 busses (add them to a line)
  5. Build a bus transport network in 2-3 other cities
  6. Connect the cities with a train

Step 1: Place a station

In each city you should place a railway station to connect the bus-network of the city with the rest of the world. You should place the station near to the city hall, monuments or tourist attractions. The station should contain a bus stop.

Image: Station near city centre and tourist attraction


  1. The station is near to the city hall (more passengers)
  2. The station is near to a tourist attraction (more passengers)
  3. The station is connected with the bus network
  4. The station can handle many trains without jams (incoming trains are seperated from leaving trains)
  5. You can collect mail from this station (see the Mail office building)

Step 2: Place some bus stops

Every Bus Stop covers 5x5 squares. You don't need to place them too densely. This will only slow down your busses, because they have to stop too often. You can show the coverage area with the v-key.

Image: This area is served by one bus stop (5x5 sqares)

Image: A station can have more than one bus stop

Multi-tile buildings
If a station covers only a part of a multi-tile building, you will only get a part of the total passengers.
Note: There is one exception. You have only to serve a tile of a factory (industry) to get all passengers

In the following example the station covers only two of four ground tiles. The station in the image gets 50% of the total passengers from the tourist attraction.Image
Image: Tourist attraction (Bad example!)

Step 3: Buy some busses (How to buy a bus and assign it to a line?)

  1. Build a depot
  2. Open the depot window
  3. Buy a bus (city roads are limited to 50 km/h)
  4. Click on 'New line' (in the bus depot window)
  5. Add some stops to the new line
  6. Rename the line (click in the drop-down list with the lines)
  7. Click on the 'Assign line' button

You should organize your busses in lines. Otherwise you run in trouble if you would like to add new bus stops to your bus network or if you would like to replace some bus stops with railway stations.

Transport passengers between cities

  1. You should use trains or ships to transport passengers between cities
  2. You should use busses to transport the passengers to the train stations
  3. You only need one train station in a medium sized city
  4. You can use one train to serve 2-4 cities

Important: Your train network have to be connected with the bus network. Otherwise the passengers cannot switch between busses and trains.

Buy a train

  1. It does not make sense to combine a fast engine with wagons which have a lower top speed (see: train-tutorial)
  2. If you use a fast train, you will get a speed bonus

When to use ships to connect cities

Ships have some advantages and disadvantages. I use them very rarely for passenger transports. I prefere trains.

Advantages of ships:

  • no maintenance costs for tracks and stations (the maintenance is expensive)

Disadvantages of ships:

  • Ships are expensive! (Some trains, too)
  • Ships are slow (you will lose the speed bonus)

When should I use ships?

  • To transport workers to oil rigs
  • Passenger transports between many cities (alternative: trains)
  • Passenger transports between cities which are far away each other (alternative: trains)

Don't use busses to connect cities!

The amount of passengers will rise a lot later in the game. Busses cannot transport thousands of passengers between cities.

Maintain your transport network

As time goes by cities and passenger numbers are growing, you therefore have to buy additional busses and trains for your transport routes to be able to cope.

In the following diagram you can see how an example city has grown between 1933 and 1989.
Image: city grow