12 surprisingly fun facts about buses

12 surprisingly fun facts about buses

Fun facts


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These large wheeled vehicles are part of our everyday lives but that doesnt make them any less intriguing

Wondering what could be interesting or fun about buses? You’re not alone! We did the digging for you and put together a list of the most curious facts about buses. So put your feet up and enjoy the ride.

#1 Which city is the BUS-iest?

Jakarta has the largest bus network on the planetJakarta has the largest bus network on the planet — Photogeratphy / Shutterstock

The city with the largest bus network in the world is Jakarta, Indonesia. It has a total of 251.2 km (156 miles) of bus lines operated by 3,900 buses!

#2 Where does the word bus come from?

In 1828 between La Madeleine and La Bastille in Paris, the first omnibus service started. The word was coined after the name of a hat shop in Nantes called Omnes Omnibus where the first bus line terminated in an early trial. The word omnibus is derived from Latin, meaning for all. The name stuck and the word bus is now recognized in the majority of languages on earth.

#3 What is the land speed record for a bus?

Paul Stender, a petrol-head from the US, and his team of engineers modified a typical yellow American school bus with a GE J-79 jet engine from a McDonnell Douglas F4 Phantom II. It set the fastest speed ever recorded by a bus at an eye-watering 590 kph (367 mph).

#4 When did the first bus start operating?

The first bus line in the world was started in Paris in 1662. Back in the days before the invention of the internal combustion engine it was served by horse and carriage and carried up to eight passengers.

The innovator behind its introduction will probably be familiar to any high school mathematics student learning about his famous triangle — the mathematician Blaise Pascal. Originally, these so-called “five-penny coaches” were used only by upper-class citizens, but their novelty wore off after a decade and it wasn’t until 150 years later that the concept was revisited.

#5 Do triple-decker buses exist?

The Knight Bus is the only working triple-decker bus which existsThe Knight Bus is the only working triple-decker bus which exists — Chansak Joe / Shutterstock

Although there were a couple of American companies which had a small third deck at the back in the mid-20th century, the only working bus in the world which exists with three full decks is the purple Knight Bus conducted by Stan Shunpike and driven by Ernie Prang in the movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

The bus was created by the special effects team for the third movie in the Harry Potter film series. The team supervisor John Richardson said of the bus: “Although many people think the Knight Bus was a CGI creation, it is in fact a real-life working bus.

“To construct it, we cut up two iconic Routemaster buses, reworked the structure, and bolted it all back together to create one bus with three decks. During the shooting of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban we found we could not drive it across the capital due to the number of low bridges. This meant that we had to transport the bus in two pieces between locations and put it back together between filming!”

The Knight Bus is also one of the most popular LEGO® sets from the movie franchise.

#6 What color is a London bus?

London buses weren’t always redLondon buses weren’t always red — Shutterstock

People around the world are aware of the iconic red coloring of London buses, but it wasn’t always that way — when buses were first introduced in the city they were painted in all different colors, depending on the line which they serviced.

The company which owned the majority of buses, the London General Omnibus Company (L.G.O.C), decided in 1907 that in order to brand themselves to stand out from their competitors, all of their buses would all be painted red. When the London Passenger Transport Board was established in 1933 they adopted the color for all buses which operated in the city. It is the exact same hue of bold red also used by Kit Kat and McDonald’s.

#7 What is the longest bus route?

The longest operational bus route in the world today is between Lima, Peru and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dubbed the Transoceánica or Interoceanic Highway, it is 2,600 km (1615 miles) long and takes over 100 hours to complete. This is not the all-time record though, which is held by a bus route that connected London, UK to Calcutta, India which made the 32,600 km (20,256 miles) journey only 15 times between 1968–1976.

#8 How far can a bus travel using poop?

An airport shuttle bus in the UK between the city of Bath and Bristol Airport is powered by methane gas extracted from toilets and food waste. It has been calculated that in one year alone, an average person produces enough poop to drive the bus 60 km (37 miles)!

#9 What is the only capital city with buses powered by renewable fuel?

The capital of Sweden, Stockholm, has since 2014 had a roadmap to becoming a completely fossil fuel-free city by 2050. Part of this plan was to ensure all of their buses run on biodiesel, biogas, and ethanol by 2025. The bus part of the project was completed at a rapid pace and by 2018 they became the first world capital to have a bus service 100% powered by renewable energy.

#10 “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

Charles Dickens wrote poetically of his experiences in an omnibus on 26 September 1834 in the Morning Chronicle newspaper: “The passengers change as often in the course of one journey as the figures in a kaleidoscope, and though not so glittering, are far more amusing.”

#11 Where can you find Desire?

While on a literary note, Tennessee Williams’s modern classic play — A Streetcar Named Desire — was named after an actual public transit line in New Orleans which ran down Canal Street, whose terminus station was on Desire Street. 

#12 And lastly… Hang on lads, I’ve got a great idea…

An artistic installation in Turin, Italy pays tribute to one of the most iconic movie endingsAn artistic installation in Turin, Italy pays tribute to one of the most iconic movie endings — maforche / Shutterstock

During the iconic final scene of the 1969 film The Italian Job, a bus ends up dangling over the edge of a cliff. But what actually happened to the bus itself? After the movie’s exterior shots were taken in Italy, the bus was transported back to the UK where the interior scenes were made.

When the production was finished it was sold to the Craw’s Nest Hotel in Fife, Scotland who used it for weddings and trips. It was later used in Blackpool and Liverpool as a passenger vehicle before being used as a school bus in the small town of Kirriemuir, near to Dundee. Eventually, the bus was bought by a racing car driver, Archie Cromar, to transport his car to events, in an ironic twist on what it had done in the movie years before! Eventually, the bus was scrapped in 1990.

Enjoy reading these facts about buses? You might like our other articles, such as 11 facts about trains we bet you didn’t know or 15 fun facts about airplanes and flying that might surprise you.

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