Buses are among the most common kinds of transportation. From school buses to tour buses to city buses, every day millions of people use some kind of bus to get from one place to another. Buses are so central to many people’s commutes that, in the event of a bus strike, an entire city can practically shut down and a great portion of the workforce can be affected!
Although thousands of people travel on buses in every city every day, few people know many facts about buses. For example:
• Buses are more cost effective than cars because they can transport many people at once. A car creates more air pollution in 4 years than a bus does in 40! Now that many cities (including New York City) are adopting “hybrid only” bus laws, air pollution rates are bound to go even lower—and that is excellent news for the environment.
• During rush hour (approximately 5pm in most places) there is an average of 1.2 people per car. Considering that rate, two buses can carry as many people as 100 cars! Some scientists theorize that using buses could cut air pollution by 90%.
• The word ‘bus’ derives from the word ‘omnibus’, which in itself was a pun on the name Omnes, a hatter whose shop was situated outside one of the first bus stations in France.
• Yellow school buses used in North America first appeared in 1939. The color of yellow school buses in the United States is now officially known as “National School Bus Glossy Yellow.”
• The oldest unchanged bus route in London is the 24, which runs from Hampstead Heath to Pimlico. It began back in 1910!
• China is the home of the world’s largest bus; the “Neoplan Jumbocruiser.” It has three sections, five doors, and a 300-person capacity (even though Australia and Brazil claim to have buses of equal, if not larger, girth).
• Venezuela is known for its lawless driving conditions, due to the incredibly cheap price of petrol there. In an attempt to make the roads safer, traffic laws have recently been implemented. The first person to have their license suspended was a bus driver named Ramon Parra. Ramon was caught speeding while his bus was overloaded with passengers and one of the busses wheels was sitting in the aisle!
• A man from Indianapolis named Paul Stender fitted a school bus with a Phantom fighter jet engine and created the world’s fastest bus. It is capable of reaching a top speed of 367mph!
• The future of buses may have been spotted recently in China when the ‘flying’ or ‘straddling’ bus was unveiled in Beijing. This mechanical marvel takes buses out of the busy road equation by placing them above the traffic on rails!