In Canada (and probably other countries like the US), in some towns (usually too small to have a bus station), intercity buses stop at gas stations or convenience stores close to a highway.

I was wondering what is the etiquette/policy regarding the use of the place the bus stops at. Am I allowed/tolerated to just wait inside the shop, even over half an hour, if I am not buying anything?

Usually these shops are small so just waiting inside might quickly become uncomfortable socially. But I don't know what the deal the bus company and gas station have, maybe it includes the right for the travellers to wait there. And in winter the weather can be pretty bad so waiting for a late bus outside can be painful.

So, am I supposed to wait outside or inside the gas station shop?

  • 2
    If a bus company has an agreement for passengers to wait inside, there would likely be a designated waiting/sitting area. Otherwise, you ask the person behind the counter if it is OK to get out of the weather for a bit.
    – user13044
    Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 4:35
  • 1
    If the gas station is where the bus should pick you up, then it must be ok. Commented Dec 18, 2014 at 7:25

2 Answers 2


It should be no problem. The convenience store will have an arrangement with the bus company to receive their passengers. They know that a good portion of them will buy things, but there is no requirement for you to spend money there.

Also keep in mind that at most of these stops, the buses will refuel. This means a portion of your ticket price actually is going to the gas station, so you are (indirectly) a customer anyway.

Contrary to @Tom's comment above, I have never seen a designated waiting area in such places in the US or Mexico. Perhaps Canada is different, but I would be surprised if they are different, unless there is a law mandating a designated waiting area for such passengers. If I were the owner of such a store, I would not want a designated waiting area. I would want the bored, waiting passengers to walk around my store, in hopes that they find something they want to buy--as long as they aren't obstructing other customers.


If there's a bus terminal where you can buy a ticket, even if it's inside a store or restaurant or gas station, there should be at least a chair or bench to wait inside, I've seen some.

This is Canada, no one would expect paying bus passengers to wait outside in the cold for their bus to arrive. And if it's -20C (or -30C, -45C, pick an extreme) it could be dangerous, frostbite takes just a few minutes in bad conditions. I'm assuming you don't want to wait all day for the bus to arrive, more than an hour or two may be a little unusual.

While you're traveling on the bus it will stop at the small towns too, going inside the store or restaurant or gas station is fine, even to just use the bathroom (not all buses have bathrooms). Or if you want to stay on the bus where it's warm that would be ok too.

Here's a little more info on Greyhound, generally "on topic" if planning on travelling by bus here.

  • Greyhound stations are never located in the best area of a city. Sometimes, the station is in a somewhat dodgy neighborhood and most of the times there is no connecting local public transportation (see also 'once you've arrived').

  • You have to plan your trip well if you go to small places (especially if you have to transfer a few times), because there is sometimes only one connecting schedule a day.

  • Most towns, even small ones, have a bus terminal with a ticket counter. Therefore, you can almost always buy your ticket in the Greyhound [terminal]. Only in very small villages, Greyhound stops at a flag stop.

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