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TO CATCH A BUS/TRAIN/PLANE, etc. means to get on a bus/train/plane, etc. in order to travel on it. 

"I caught the 7.15 train to London."

It usually implies being in time to get on a bus/train/plane, etc. before it leaves. The term evokes the image of a person running towards that stop, platform etc. in order to board the transport.

"I'd better hurry. I have a plane to catch." (not 'to take')
"There's a train in now. If you run, you'll just catch it." (not 'take it')

If you try to catch a bus/train/plain, etc. and fail, you miss it.

"If you miss the bus, you'll have to wait 30 minutes for the next one."

Thus, TO CATCH A BUS, refers to the act of being on time at the location where the bus stops at a specific time to board passengers. 

"I'm off to catch the bus." (I'm about to use a bus)
"I just barely caught the bus this morning." (using 'take' would make no sense)

TO TAKE A BUS/TRAIN/PLANE, etc. usually refers to the mode of transport. 

"I always take the bus to work." 
"If I decide to go, I think I'll take the bus/go by bus." 

However, just like 'catch', it can mean to get on or board a means of transportation at a given time and/or in a given place. 

"She takes the train at Scarsdale."

Although most of the time the distinctions are minute and you can use one over the other, there are times when one is more idiomatic. 

A: "I've got to catch a bus now, though I hate to take a bus this late." 
B: "You can catch one later, they run all night."

'Take a bus' suggests a decision about a mode of transport. 'Catch a bus' is to put that decision into effect.

A: "How do you plan to go to Baltimore?" B: "I'll either drive or take a bus."
A: "Where are you going?" B: "I have to catch a bus. The last one leaves in ten minutes."

You normally catch a bus at a specific place but you take the bus from a place.

"You can catch the bus to Coventry on Smith Street."
"You can take the bus to Coventry from Smith Street."

Take a bus is more often used for longer journeys, and catch a bus for local commutation.

"I'm taking a bus from Boston to Las Vegas." 
"I've got to catch the bus home now." 

Although there are regional and personal preferences for one term over another, generally, in AmE, you can take, catch or ride a bus, while in BrE you can catch, take or get a bus, usually, without any difference in meaning. 

"To me, 'I'll take' or 'I'll catch a bus' means the same thing — that I'll be riding a bus."
"When I was growing up in Manchester, England, I always caught the bus to town. I never 'took' it. Must be a Manchester thing."

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