A bus is a motor vehicle with a self-contained power supply aboard, designed for passenger transportation.
The idea of public transport was turned into reality in Camborne, England in 1801. The first bus was based on steam power and was invented by Richard Trevithick, who had also invented a steam train. That bus was able to convey only 8 passengers. It is curious enough, but further life of buses was closely connected with the development of electric-powered motors. Thus, in 1886 a bus based on electric traction was released in London and in 1901 in Russia, too. Alongside with the advancement of car industry based on internal combustion engines an analogous bus appears. It was assembled in Germany at the factory of Benz and was able to convey 8 passengers.
All buses can be classified according to the intended purpose, since it’s the main thing which determines the construction of the vehicle.
There are more city buses than any other kinds of buses in the world. Such buses are intended to convey passengers along routes with frequent stops. City buses should be enduring and spacious. What’s more, these buses must be equipped with wide doors, crowding pens and inside rails. The busload can reach 300 persons. City buses are usually split-typed (the bus body and one or two wagons with flexible connection links between them). Besides, such vehicles are fitted with automatic shifts and enforced brakes. Much attention is paid to the security and comfort of the passengers, when leaving or boarding. For example, the system of door blocking in order to prevent jamming of the passengers, as well as pull-out ramps and bracings for wheelchairs.
Shuttle buses (suburban buses) differ from city buses a little. Such buses don’t possess additional sections, the doors may be not that wide and the number of seats may be increased. Like city buses, shuttle buses can be low-floored. However, shuttle buses stop less frequently than city buses do, and are not fitted with any crowding pens.
Coaches are intended for long-distance transportations. Taking into account the fact that coaches are able to stop no more than once in four hours, such buses should be fitted with comfortable seats, suitable to sleep on, security systems, air ventilation systems, autonomous toilet rooms, a spacious trunk and in some cases – a mini-kitchen-room. The busload of such vehicles reaches 100 persons (applicable to double-decked buses).
The rest of the categories formed according to the functionality, the busload and the security will fall within the scope of the two or three main categories, described above. So, platform buses are intended to drop the passengers to the plain. However, these buses look similar to city buses with slightly modified cabs. Sometimes such buses are even conducted in remotely. Because of the plainness of the route, the bus is driven by the computer with the help of a special satellite system.
School buses are standard buses fitted with the advanced security level, seat belts, a light alarm and some other specific equipment. In most cases coaches are chosen to carry out the tasks of school buses.
Besides, special buses are being designed: for instance, all-terrain buses, mine buses, post buses, etc. The construction of the latter listed depends on the weight and the loads.
As for tractor units, the engine and the gearing system are the most important components of the bus. The tasks of the engine can be carried out by accumulator or condenser batteries, diesel or gas combustion engines, and fuel elements. Petrol engines are usually fitted into the old models of buses. Modern buses are designed to work basically on combined power sources.
Environmental regulation and grants from the state play a significant role in the development of buses and public transport on the whole. Thus, in conjunction with exhaustion standard reinforcement in closed urban zones electric motors started to be fitted into buses. State grants help to reduce the self-cost of the exploitation of buses and contribute to the implementation of eco-friendly technologies.
Truck and tractor unit manufacturers produce buses as well, as a rule. Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Scania and MAN-Neoplan can be called the most well-known trade-marks.