Bus

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This article is about the form of transport. See computer bus or electrical bus for the use of the term in computing and electronics respectively, or places like Bus, Pas-de-Calais and Bus-Saint-Rémy.
TheBus, established by Mayor Frank Fasi, is Honolulu's only public transit system.  It was twice honored as America's Best Transit System, before being banned from the American Public Transportation Association competition. Other cities felt they could not compete against Honolulu.
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TheBus, established by Mayor Frank Fasi, is Honolulu's only public transit system. It was twice honored as America's Best Transit System, before being banned from the American Public Transportation Association competition. Other cities felt they could not compete against Honolulu.

A bus is a large wheeled vehicle intended to carry numerous persons in addition to the driver. The name is a shortened version of omnibus, which means "for everyone".

Contents

History

The omnibus, the first organized public transit system, may have originated in Nantes, France in 1826, when a retired army officer who had built public baths on the city's edge set up a short stage line between the center of town and his baths. When he discovered that passengers were just as interested in getting off at intermediate points as in patronizing his baths, he shifted the stage line's focus. His new voiture omnibus ("carriage for all") combined the functions of the hired hackney carriage with the stagecoach that travelled a predetermined route from inn to inn, carrying passengers and mail. His omnibus featured wooden benches that ran down the sides of the vehicle; entry was from the rear.

Whether by direct emulation, or because the idea was in the air, by 1832 the idea had been copied in Paris, Bordeaux and Lyons. A London newspaper reported in July 4, 1829 that “the new vehicle, called the omnibus, commenced running this morning from Paddington to the City”. This bus service was operated by George Shillibeer.

In New York, omnibus service began in the same year, when Abraham Brower, an entrepreneur who had organized volunteer fire companies, established a route along Broadway starting at Bowling Green. Other American cities soon followed suit: Philadelphia in 1831, Boston in 1835 and Baltimore in 1844. In most cases, the city governments granted a private company—generally a small stableman already in the livery or freight-hauling business—an exclusive franchise to operate public coaches along a specified route. In return, the company agreed to maintain certain minimum levels of service—though one of these standards was not upholstery. The New York omnibus quickly moved into the urban consciousness. In 1831, New Yorker Washington Irving remarked of Britain's Reform Act (finally passed in 1832): "The great reform omnibus moves but slowly."

"Omnibus," crayon and watercolor drawing by Honoré Daumier, 1864 (Walters Art Museum).
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"Omnibus," crayon and watercolor drawing by Honoré Daumier, 1864 (Walters Art Museum).

The omnibus had many repercussions for society, particularly in that it encouraged urbanization. Socially, the omnibus put city-dwellers, even if for only half an hour, into previously-unheard-of physical intimacy with strangers, squeezing them together knee-to-knee (illustration, left). Only the very poor remained excluded. A new division in urban society now came to the fore, dividing those who kept carriages from those who did not. The idea of the "carriage trade", the folk who never set foot in the streets, who had goods brought out from the shops for their appraisal, has its origins in the omnibus crush.

The omnibus also extended the reach of the North Atlantic post-Georgian, post-Federal city. The walk from the former village of Paddington to the business heart of London in the "City" was a brisk one for a young man in good condition. The omnibus offered the nearer suburbs more access to the inner city.

More intense urbanization was to follow. Within a very few years, the New York omnibus had a rival in the streetcar: the first streetcar ran along The Bowery, which offered the excellent improvement in amenity of riding on smooth iron rails rather than clattering over granite setts, called "Belgian blocks". The new streetcars were financed by John Mason, a wealthy banker, and built by an Irish contractor, John Stephenson. The streetcars would become even more centrally important than the omnibus in the future of urbanization.

When motorized transport proved successful after ca 1905, a motorized omnibus was for a time sometimes called an autobus.

Types

Tour buses are a common tourist attraction in larger cities.
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Tour buses are a common tourist attraction in larger cities.
An articulated bus operated by the CTA in Chicago
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An articulated bus operated by the CTA in Chicago
A Greyhound bus.
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A Greyhound bus.
Laidlaw School Bus
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Laidlaw School Bus
Modern Scania buses in Helsinki
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Modern Scania buses in Helsinki
The (in)famous Chicken Buses of Guatemala
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The (in)famous Chicken Buses of Guatemala

Manufacture and Manufacturers

See Category:Bus manufacturers and Category:Busses.

Bus line operators

See: List of bus companies.

Types of bus service

Buses are an intrinsic part of everyday life, and play an important part in the social fabric of many countries.

Intercity travel

Intercity bus services have become an important travel connection to smaller towns and rural areas in the United States that do not have airports or train service.

Tourism

Some places have buses that resemble streetcars in order to attract tourists or otherwise look nice (see right). A similar phenomenon is Duck Tours, which uses DUKWs converted into buses/cruise boats for tour purposes.

Buses in a social context

Desegregation busing

Main article: Desegregation busing

In some areas of the United States, a forced busing system has been used to achieve racial desegregation of public schools. Under a busing plan, children do not necessarily go to the nearest school geographically, but to such a school where there is an appropriate racial mix.

Buses and segregation

Main article: Montgomery Bus Boycott

Bus services were also a focal point in the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s in the United States. In the period after the American Civil War ended in 1865, racial segregation in public accommodations, including public transport such as rail and bus services, was enforced through Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. These were made to prevent African-Americans from doing things that a white person could do. For instance, Jim Crow laws required bus drivers to enforce separate seating sections. These laws and enforcement varied among communities and states.

In 1955, after a long day of work, Rosa Parks, a black seamstress, was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a public bus, bringing attention to the injustice of differential and degrading treatment based solely upon race. This incident, boycotts of bus services, other protests, and court challenges led a U.S. Supreme Court ruling banning segregation on public buses and helped lead the U.S. Congress to the pass the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act which clarified the unconstitutionality of public racial segregation laws.

Miscellaneous

The usual plural of bus is "buses". "Busses" is sometimes used, but is also the plural of "buss", a dialectal word for "kiss" or a type of boat.

See also

External links

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This article incorporates text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, which is in the public domain.

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