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In transportation, a layover, stopover, way station, or connection is a break between parts of a single trip, where the traveler typically gets off one vehicle and gets on to another.

Mass transit[edit]

A modern-upscale transit center in Burien, Washington home to the King County Metro transit agency.
LACMTA’s Warner Center Transit Hub situates the Orange line Metro Liner and several other local bus lines in Los Angeles.

A layover for a mass transit line refers to the break the driver or the vehicle is given at the end of a trip before it starts operating its reverse route, or if the route is circular, before beginning its next trip. The layover has several benefits. These include:[1]

The typical layover for a public bus line may be:

Sometimes, such a location may serve as a layover for more than one bus line. Many cities have specified locations, known as hubs or bus stations, which serve as a layover point for several routes. In many cases, the layover point for one route may simply be an intermediate stop for another, where riders can transfer.


In air travel, a stop or transfer (from one airplane to another) is considered to be a layover or connection up to a certain maximum allowed connecting time, and a stopover or break of journey otherwise. The maximum time depends on many variables, but for most U.S. and Canadian itineraries, it is 4 hours, and for most international itineraries (including any domestic stops), it is 24 hours. In general, layovers are cheaper than stopovers, because the notion is that layovers are incidental to traveling between two other points, whereas stopovers are among the traveler's destinations.[2][3][4]

Rail and bus[edit]

Layover in long-distance travel by train or inter-city bus can refer to a break that a passenger must take between vehicles in a multi-vehicle trip. It refers to the time that is spent at a terminal after departing one vehicle and waiting to board the next. Many inter-city and international travelers face layovers during their journeys.

As in mass transit, the term layover is also applicable in long-distance travel for breaks taken by operators. A vehicle is said to be laying over after it finishes its route and is waiting prior to a return trip, or else it is taking a break to change crews or for the crew to rest.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Transit Glossary - Sacramento Regional Transit
  2. ^ Nicholas Kralev, Decoding Air Travel: A Guide to Saving on Airfare and Flying in Luxury, ISBn 146101543X, p. 23
  3. ^ International Air Transport Association, "Passenger Glossary of Terms", Excel spreadsheet
  4. ^ Airline Tariff Publishing Company, "Glossary" Connection Stopover