bus [Lat. omnibus = for all], large public conveyance. A horse-drawn urban omnibus was introduced in Paris in 1662 by Blaise Pascal and his associates, but it remained in operation for only a few years. The omnibus reappeared c.1812 in Bordeaux, France, and afterward in Paris (c.1827), London (1829), and New York City (1830). It often carried passengers both inside and on the roof. Buses were motorized early in the 20th cent.; motorbus transportation increased rapidly and is now used in most countries. A number of railroad companies operate subsidiary bus lines. A network of bus lines links all parts of the United States; many small cities and towns which have lost rail service in recent years are served only by bus lines. Buses are powered usually by gasoline or diesel engines, but in a few cities electric motors fed from overhead wires are used. The construction of small buses is similar to that of heavy automobiles, while the construction of large buses is similar to that of heavy trucks. Some large cities now use articulated buses, which can seat more than 60 passengers; such buses are constructed in two parts and joined, or articulated, with an accordian–style sleeve.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.