January 5

What are the 9 Most Popular Bus Types?

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Last Updated on January 16, 2023

What are the 9 most popular bus types? Buses can be categorized by form (design/appearance), by application (what it does), and by power (diesel, natural gas, electric, or hybrid). 

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A standard single-deck bus, popular in transit fleets, is a type of bus different in form from other types. Transit is the application, being used to move citizens around a city in exchange for a fare. This type of bus could be powered by diesel or natural gas, or electric, or a combination of electric and one of the other two.

Bus types 

1. Single-deck bus

This bus has a single deck (or platform) for passengers, hence the name. Almost all bus types have a single deck, but aren’t called a single-deck bus, because they have other design elements such as size, access, and below-deck storage, which make them different.

The single-deck bus (also called a single decker) is the most popular bus in transit applications and has become largely synonymous with the concept of a transit bus. However, any bus could serve in a transit application and other bus types frequently show up in transit fleets. 

2. Double-deck bus

Also known as a double decker, this bus is most often associated with tourism, although it does get used in transit fleets, especially in high-traffic areas. Due to the height of double-deck buses (about 14.5 feet), drivers must avoid bridges, overhead utilities, and other obstacles below the bus’s height clearance. This limits where the bus can be driven. 

Double-deck buses can be either closed-top or open-top. Open-top double-deck buses are popular in the tourism industry. Due to their low walls on the upper floor, these tour buses provide a superior view.

3. Articulated Bus 

An articulated bus is an elongated bus with a flexible, accordion-looking center that can stretch on one side while crimping on the other. This feature allows the bus to bend at its mid-section. The feature also allows the bus to make more narrow turns than a bus of the same length could without an articulated center. 

4. Trolley bus

The trolley bus is an electric bus that receives power via overhead wires. It’s similar to a tram (or streetcar), except trams use rails and trolley buses don’t. Trolleys don’t require batteries, because they constantly receive power from overhead wires. Although, many do have one or two backup batteries to power the trolley short distances, helpful in case the power feeding the trolley goes out.

Other electric buses are solely powered using rechargeable batteries, but that type of power doesn’t define the bus. A single-deck bus can be fitted with an electric motor, a double-deck bus can be fitted with an electric motor, any bus type can be fitted with an electric motor. Changing the power supply doesn’t change the bus type. 

Bus applications

Whereas the first group of buses are categorized according to design features, this next group of buses are categorized by how they get used. Use often influences design, so these buses are also designed differently. They’re more often used just in a single application, whereas the above group of buses are utilized in a greater variety of applications.

5. School bus 

These yellow buses with flashing lights and a swing-out stop sign are one of the most memorable bus types. Bus drivers maneuver a specific route each day. They pickup only children (and sometimes teachers when on a school trip). Bench seating extends from rear to rear on both sides of the vehicle.

6. Special needs bus

This bus also caters to a specific demographic. They do get used in transit fleets, but unlike most transit buses, these may not have a set schedule. How it functions depends on demand and funding. Often, users order the service (similar to a taxi). The transit service coordinates every user’s request, creates a route for the following day, and informs each person of their time/location. 

7. Coach bus / Motor coach

A coach bus also features bench seating on either side separated by an aisle. Although, its interior is very different from a school bus and more like a plane. They tend to feature comfort seating, entertainment screens, and Wifi, because passengers are often on these buses for hours at a time. They also provide below-deck storage, similar to a plane. 

8. Shuttle bus

A shuttle bus transports people between two destinations, such as an airport and a nearby hotel, which is one of the main applications for these types of buses. 

9. Party bus 

A party bus picks up passengers from one destination at a specific time, drops everyone off at the next destination, waits for them while they enjoy that establishment, and then drops them off at the next location. This cycle repeats until the event is over.

There are so many types of buses and so many other kinds of automotives you can find when you browse Municibid’s catalog. Take a peek today, and find yourself some quality government surplus to convert into a food truck, your personal RV, or something else entirely!


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