Interesting bus facts you probably didn’t know!
So you think you know about busses?
Busses are so common in urban areas that we tend to take them for granted. They’re an economical way to get around, and more environmentally friendly than cars. We’ve all ridden busses; maybe you ride one every day. But how much do you actually know about this popular form of public transportation?
- Busses used to be drawn by horses: Like many forms of transportation, busses used to be drawn by horses. The first horse-drawn bus was introduced in Paris in 1662, but the tickets were so expensive that it didn’t last long. It wasn’t until the horse-drawn bus was reintroduced in 1812 that they started gaining popularity. Steam-engine busses began operating soon after in the 1830s, and the first internal combustion engine bus was invented in 1895.
- The word “bus” comes from “omnibus”: The word bus is a shortened version of the Latin word “omnibus,” meaning “for all.” It was coined in the early 1800s, where busses were becoming such a popular form of transportation that people would ride on the roof. It’s also a play on words of the name of a popular hat shop Omnes, in front of which one of the first bus lines terminated.
- Yellow is the most noticeable color: Have you ever wondered why school busses are always yellow? There’s a reason for that. School busses need to be noticeable, and yellow is an eye-catching color. In fact, science has shown that the human eyes detect yellow faster than any other color. We can even see the color out of the corner of our eyes, in dim light, and in poor weather. The color yellow used for school busses is often compared to the color of a mango.
- It’s safe to ride a bus without a seatbelt: With seat belts being required to be worn in cars, it may seem strange that there are none on busses. Especially school busses, which are transporting children. However, busses are constructed to be safe without seatbelts, instead relying on “passive protection.” The seats are high and padded, spaced for optimum safety, and designed to collapse in a limited way in a crash. The windows are also made to be too small to eject someone in an accident.
- Busses can be powered by renewable fuels: As the awareness of the link between fossil fuels and global warming grows, many cities are switching to renewable fuels to power their busses. Electric trolley busses have long been used in San Francisco, but the city is currently making the switch to have their fleet of busses to be fully electric. In 2018, Stockholm, Sweden became the first capitol city to have their bus system be powered 100% by renewable energy, running on biodiesel, biogas and ethanol. And in the UK, there is an airport shuttle bus that runs on methane extracted from sewage and food waste.