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Buses

A bus (archaically also omnibus, multibus, motorbus, autobus) is a road vehicle designed to carry many passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-deck rigid bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are used for longer-distance services. Many types of buses, such as city transit buses and inter-city coaches, charge a fare. Other types, such as elementary or secondary school buses or shuttle buses within a post-secondary education campus do not charge a fare. In many jurisdictions, bus drivers require a special licence above and beyond a regular driver's licence.

Buses may be used for scheduled bus transport, scheduled coach transport, school transport, private hire, or tourism; promotional buses may be used for political campaigns and others are privately operated for a wide range of purposes, including rock and pop band tour vehicles.

Horse-drawn buses were used from the 1820s, followed by steam buses in the 1830s, and electric trolleybuses in 1882. The first internal combustion engine buses, or motor buses, were used in 1895. Recently, interest has been growing in hybrid electric buses, fuel cell buses, and electric buses, as well as ones powered by compressed natural gas or biodiesel. As of the 2010s, bus manufacturing is increasingly globalised, with the same designs appearing around the world.

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An articulated bus (either a motor bus or trolleybus), is a bus which is articulated, essentially meaning it can bend in the middle. It is usually a single-deck design, and comprises two rigid sections linked by a pivoting joint. This arrangement allows a longer legal overall length than rigid-bodied single-decker buses, and hence a higher passenger capacity, while still allowing the bus to manoeuvre adequately on the roads of its service route.

Around the English-speaking world, articulated buses have acquired several different synonyms that allude to their articulated design, such as bendy buses, tandem buses, stretch buses, banana buses, slinky buses, caterpillar buses or accordion buses. Due to their high passenger capacity, articulated buses are often used as part of bus rapid transit schemes, and can include mechanical guidance.

Used almost exclusively on public transport bus services, articulated buses are approximately 18 metres (60 ft) in length; standard rigid-construction buses are usually 11 to 14 metres (36 to 46 ft). The common arrangement of an articulated bus is to have a forward vehicle with two axles towing a rear trailer section with a single axle, although the driving axle can be mounted on either the front or the rear vehicle.

Did you know?

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  • ... that the November 2010 sale by Silver Star Holidays of its local bus routes around Caernarfon ended nearly ninety years of bus service operation by the company?

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