Bus facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
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Arriva NWW Dart SLF Pointer 1
A typical low-floor bus in the UK
LADOT Commuter Express Gillig Phantom 85003
A typical American low-floor bus
Hispano Divo 01
A modern motorcoach
Erste Benzin-Omnibus der Welt
Benz-Omnibus, 1896

A bus is a large wheeled vehicle meant to carry many different persons along with the driver. It is larger than a car. The name is a shortened version of omnibus, which means "for everyone" in Latin. Buses used to be called omnibuses, but people now simply call them "buses".

Buses are an important part of public transport in places all over the world. Many people who do not have cars, especially the third world countries, use buses to get around. Buses make it easy for them to get to where they want to go.

A place on a sidewalk/pavement where people wait for a local bus is called a bus stop. A building where people wait for a long-distance bus or where lots of buses meet is called a bus station.

There are many types of bus around the world.

History

Steam buses

Obeissante
Amédée Bollée's L'Obéissante (1875)

Regular intercity bus services by steam-powered buses were pioneered in England in the 1830s by Walter Hancock and by associates of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney, among others, running reliable services over road conditions which were too hazardous for horse-drawn transportation.

The first mechanically propelled omnibus appeared on the streets of London on 22 April 1833. Steam carriages were much less likely to overturn, they travelled faster than horse-drawn carriages, they were much cheaper to run, and caused much less damage to the road surface due to their wide tyres.

However, the heavy road tolls imposed by the turnpike trusts discouraged steam road vehicles and left the way clear for the horse bus companies, and from 1861 onwards, harsh legislation virtually eliminated mechanically propelled vehicles from the roads of Great Britain for 30 years, the Locomotive Act of that year imposing restrictive speed limits on "road locomotives" of 5 mph in towns and cities, and 10 mph in the country.

Trolleybuses

First Trolleybuss of Siemens in Berlin 1882
World's first trolleybus, Berlin 1882

In parallel to the development of the bus was the invention of the electric trolleybus, typically fed through trolley poles by overhead wires. The Siemens brothers, William in England and Ernst Werner in Germany, collaborated on the development of the trolleybus concept. Sir William first proposed the idea in an article to the Journal of the Society of Arts in 1881 as an "...arrangement by which an ordinary omnibus...would have a suspender thrown at intervals from one side of the street to the other, and two wires hanging from these suspenders; allowing contact rollers to run on these two wires, the current could be conveyed to the tram-car, and back again to the dynamo machine at the station, without the necessity of running upon rails at all."

The first such vehicle, the Electromote, was made by his brother Dr. Ernst Werner von Siemens and presented to the public in 1882 in Halensee, Germany. Although this experimental vehicle fulfilled all the technical criteria of a typical trolleybus, it was dismantled in the same year after the demonstration.

Max Schiemann opened a passenger-carrying trolleybus in 1901 near Dresden, in Germany. Although this system operated only until 1904, Schiemann had developed what is now the standard trolleybus current collection system. In the early days, a few other methods of current collection were used. Leeds and Bradford became the first cities to put trolleybuses into service in Great Britain on 20 June 1911.

Motor buses

Erste Benzin-Omnibus der Welt
The first internal combustion omnibus of 1895 (Siegen to Netphen)

In Siegerland, Germany, two passenger bus lines ran briefly, but unprofitably, in 1895 using a six-passenger motor carriage developed from the 1893 Benz Viktoria. Another commercial bus line using the same model Benz omnibuses ran for a short time in 1898 in the rural area around Llandudno, Wales.

Daimler also produced one of the earliest motor-bus models in 1898, selling a double-decker bus to the Motor Traction Company which was first used on the streets of London on 23 April 1898. The vehicle had a maximum speed of 18 kph and accommodated up to 20 passengers, in an enclosed area below and on an open-air platform above. With the success and popularity of this bus, Daimler expanded production, selling more buses to companies in London and, in 1899, to Stockholm and Speyer.Daimler also entered into a partnership with the British company Milnes and developed a new double-decker in 1902 that became the market standard.

B43OleBillatIWMLondon
Early LGOC B-type

The first mass-produced bus model was the B-type double-decker bus, designed by Frank Searle and operated by the London General Omnibus Company – it entered service in 1910, and almost 3,000 had been built by the end of the decade. Hundreds saw military service on the Western Front during the First World War.

Daimler CC Bus (1912)
Daimler CC Bus 1912. One of five Daimler buses exported to Australia

The Yellow Coach Manufacturing Company, which rapidly became a major manufacturer of buses in the US, was founded in Chicago in 1923 by John D. Hertz. General Motors purchased a majority stake in 1925 and changed its name to the Yellow Truck and Coach Manufacturing Company. They then purchased the balance of the shares in 1943 to form the GM Truck and Coach Division.

Models expanded in the 20th century, leading to the widespread introduction of the contemporary recognizable form of full-sized buses from the 1950s. The AEC Routemaster, developed in the 1950s, was a pioneering design and remains an icon of London to this day. The innovative design used lightweight aluminium and techniques developed in aircraft production during World War II. As well as a novel weight-saving integral design, it also introduced for the first time on a bus independent front suspension, power steering, a fully automatic gearbox, and power-hydraulic braking.

Types

Athens bus interior in 2013
Interior of a bus

Formats include single-decker bus, double-decker bus (both usually with a rigid chassis) and articulated bus (or 'bendy-bus') the prevalence of which varies from country to country. Bi-articulated buses are also manufactured, and passenger-carrying trailers—either towed behind a rigid bus (a bus trailer) or hauled as a trailer by a truck (a trailer bus). Smaller midibuses have a lower capacity and open-top buses are typically used for leisure purposes. In many new fleets, particularly in local transit systems, a shift to low-floor buses is occurring, primarily for easier accessibility. Coaches are designed for longer-distance travel and are typically fitted with individual high-backed reclining seats, seat belts, toilets, and audio-visual entertainment systems, and can operate at higher speeds with more capacity for luggage. Coaches may be single- or double-deckers, articulated, and often include a separate luggage compartment under the passenger floor. Guided buses are fitted with technology to allow them to run in designated guideways, allowing the controlled alignment at bus stops and less space taken up by guided lanes than conventional roads or bus lanes.

Bus manufacturing may be by a single company (an integral manufacturer), or by one manufacturer's building a bus body over a chassis produced by another manufacturer.

Types of buses

  • Coach / Motorcoach - A bus that is used for driving long distances with as much comfort as possible and more room. It has fewer doors than a city bus.
  • School bus - a bus that takes people to their school or university. In America school buses are yellow while in other countries they may be different.
  • Shuttle buses - a bus that drives between places without many stops. It is often used for sport events and other places where lots of people meet, and at airports.
  • Minibus - A bus that is smaller than normal buses. It can carry about 8 to 25 people.
  • Double decker bus - A bus that has two floors (decks). It can carry about 70 people.
  • Low-floor bus - A bus that is nearer the ground than other buses so you can get in and out more easily. This type is often used in cities. The floor may get lower when the bus stops and higher when it moves.
  • Trolleybus - A bus that gets its energy from electric cables above the street, not from petroleum fuel.
  • Articulated bus - A bus that can bend in the middle so that it can be long and still move in small streets.
  • Guided bus - A bus that is guided on rails like a train but is used on normal streets. Often it can also be used like a normal bus.
  • Neighbourhood bus - It is like a school bus.
  • Training bus - A bus that is used for new drivers to practice with. It might not be safe for passengers and might have been changed so a teacher can easily help the new driver.
  • Gyrobus - see Gyrobus.
  • Hybrid bus - A bus that has two engines, for example a fuel engine and an electric engine.
  • Police bus - A bus that is used by the police to transport a large number of policemen.
  • Offroad bus - A bus that is made to be used beyond normal roads, often used by the Army.
  • Open-top bus - A bus that has no roof, often used for tourism.

Images for kids


Bus Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.