Horse-drawn buses were used in France in the early 1800s. But they didn’t last long. This method of transportation was initially quite popular, but interest soon died out and it was a long time before bus companies made new advancements and brought out steam-powered and electric trolley buses.
The bus was originally called the “omnibus” which is a Latin word meaning “for all.” Clearly, the person naming this transportation method was going for practicality rather than creativity. Nevertheless, the name caught on and was eventually shortened to just “bus.”
The yellow school bus made its first appearance in 1939. Steam-powered buses were rolled out (pun definitely intended) in the 1830s but it took bus companies nearly 100 years to start using them for transporting school children. And it shouldn’t be a surprise that schools still prefer to use buses, since government data shows that motor coaches are the safest vehicles on the road today.
Buses are quickly adapting to modern times. Bus companies have offered chartered bus services for a while now, but charter buses are becoming more popular than ever due to technological advances, such as wi-fi capabilities, and because bus companies are actively making their buses more environmentally friendly.
Concerned about gas mileage? Today’s bus companies are too. Let’s crank out some numbers shall we? The average single-person automobile gets about 27 passenger miles per gallon of fuel. A domestic air carrier gets about 44 passenger MPG, and commuter rail gets about 92 passenger MPG. And charter buses? They get a whopping 206 passenger miles per gallon of fuel, meaning that the services provided by bus companies are twice as efficient with respect to energy conservation. Of course, the history of buses isn’t finished yet. We should only expect these numbers to be even more impressive as bus companies keep improving transportation.