We know, we know. Bus transportation doesn’t seem very exciting to you. To most people, the idea of buses is boring and bus transportation certainly doesn’t always seem desirable for any kind of travel. But we’re here to tell you that it’s just not true! Bus transportation can be amazingly efficient and comfortable, especially for larger groups of people, when done properly!

Here at Professional Charter Services, we’ve been supplying incredible bus transportation to the San Francisco area for years and we love what we do! Based on course principles of integrity and respect for every single customer, we’ve provided hundreds of positive safe, comfortable, reliable and cost-effective bus transportation experiences for companies and individuals in our community. When you travel with us, you travel in luxury. Our fleet of charter buses and mini shuttles are far and away the safest, most comfortable and reliable on the road today!

Basically, what we’re trying to say is that not all bus transportation is created equal. We go through great lengths to make riding a bus a pleasurable experience. Part of that poor bus transportation you’ve had in the past is due to the different types of buses out there. Some aren’t made for luxury travel like ours are. So today, we’d like to give you a rundown of the different types of buses out there so you know how to pick the right one — and bus charter service like us! — in the future. Enjoy, and please feel free to contact us today for more information!

What is a Bus?

Let’s begin by defining exactly what a bus is. The term “bus” is actually fairly broad. Most of us tend to picture a school bus or city bus because those are the ones we have the most interaction within our daily lives. But a bus is any class or large, self-propelled, wheeled vehicles designed to carry passengers, usually on a fixed route. Buses as we know them date back to the early 20th century to compete with horse-drawn buggies and streetcars, which were the main form of public transportation at the time. Today, buses are typically defined as vehicles that accommodate 10 more passengers.

Bus History Recap

Pre-modern buses are really anything that was designed to carry several passengers and were first powered the same way most everything was powered before the invention of the combustible engine — horses! Some buses were then powered by steam engines in the 1800s as the technology branched out from sea travel, but quickly went to gasoline-powered engines as they became more commonplace starting in the 1900s.

Initially built on truck chassis, bus transportation continually developed into wider, longer vehicles with far greater carrying capacity. As metropolitan areas became to boom in size (like our very own beloved San Francisco!), bus transportation became a far more popular mode of travel for people in the cities looking to commute. And remember, not everybody had or could afford cars back then! Over time, automobile technology developed and buses adopted the modern features of cars that we know today. However, there is a wide variety in the kinds of buses out there, so let’s learn what each type of bus is!

Types of Buses

Very broadly, there are four main kinds of buses more or less: city or transit, suburban, intercity or tour and school. Like we mentioned at the start, most of us are familiar with school buses (who could miss all that yellow) and city or transit buses as they cruise about the city as a still popular mode of bus transportation for the commuter world. But there are so many more buses out there, including bus transportation designed for luxury and comfort and shuttle buses for convenient commuting like we used here at Professional Charter Services!

  1. Transit Bus

These are the buses you see in every major city across the United States. They’re built more for practicality than anything else. They are made to get people from one spot in the city to another, doing so for large groups of commuters on fixed routes and routine times. They are characterized by low speeds, a low-ride platform, have standing room and wheelchair passengers. Generally, there are two entrances on the curbside with low-back seats and no luggage space. A 40-foot transit bus is common with room for about 45 passengers.

Key Features:

  • Commuter buses are seen in major cities
  • Low speeds, standing room, no luggage space
  • Hold about 45 passengers and stop at scheduled intervals
  1. Suburban Bus

These buses have more elements of comfort in them than transit buses due to the fact that they are designed to transport passengers from one city to another in shorter distances, so generally from a major city to one of its suburbs (get the name now?). These buses have high-backed seats and typically a single, front entrance, but still no luggage compartments or racks.

Key Features:

  • Made to go from city centers to suburban cities
  • High-backed seats and single, front door
  • No luggage compartments or racks
  1. Articulated Bus

Taking passenger capacity to the max, an articulated bus is a super-long bus that looks like two buses were merged together at the end of one and the front of the other. They are typically 54 to 60 feet long and the rear section is connected to the main by a joint mechanism that allows the bus to bend for turns. They are usually transit buses to maximize passenger capacity.

Key Features:

  • Super-long buses from 54 to 60 feet
  • Two compartments joined by a joint mechanism allowing for turns
  • Similar to transit buses, but to maximize passenger capacity
  1. Shuttle Bus

These buses are usually quite a bit smaller in size and are intended to take passengers on very specific destinations without many stops such as going to the airport or commuting from a commuter parking lot into work quickly, safely and without hassle. Our shuttle bus services even have WiFi so you can work on your commute and keeps you away from the cost and pain that goes along with paying to park.

Key Features:

  • Take passengers to specific destinations without many stops
  • Save you the hassle of commuting and parking
  • Our shuttle bus service even includes WiFi
  1. Intercity Bus

Now, these are what we’re talking about! This type of bus is built for luxury and comfort because they are designed for travel between cities and are often referred to as a coach bus. So think Greyhound. These are great when larger groups of people want to travel long distances and can be rented for extremely affordable prices! The intercity bus has a high-ride platform to provide maximum luggage space under the passengers, high-back seats, overhead luggage racks, television monitors, reading lights, ventilation controls and a restroom. A typical intercity bus has a capacity of around 50 passengers.

Key Features:

  • Built with luxury and comfort in mind
  • Perfect for large groups traveling safely over long distances
  • Have amenities such as restrooms, TVs, luggage space and ventilation controls
  1. School Bus

Without question, these are the most famous buses in the United States! A seemingly timeless classic, bright yellow school buses have been safely transporting our children from home to school and back again five days a week (excluding summer, woohoo!) since as far back as the early 1900s! School buses typically consist of a 50-passenger body, with special signal lamp and safety provisions and mounted on a long-wheelbase truck chassis. When gas prices went up significantly in the 1990s and 2000s, school buses became even more widely used as parents sought to keep their gas usage down.

Key Features:

  • Bright yellow paint and special signals/stop signs
  • Carry around 50 passengers and feature special safety provisions
  • Used to get kids to and from school across the country
  1. Double-Decker Bus

Internationally famous and associated with Great Britain, double-decker buses are uniquely identifiable because they essentially took a second bus body and stacked it on top of the first! Not all double-decker buses are red, of course, but pop culture made the color synonymous with the very British double-decker. Because of the extra floor, these buses can hold upwards of 70 people!

Key Features:

  • Two floors stacked on one chassis
  • Can hold upwards of 70 people
  • Made famous to Great Britain by pop culture
  1. Open-Topped Bus

An open-topped bus is basically a bus (or double-decker bus) which was built without a roof or had the roof removed so passengers can see out of the bus more easily, usually used on tourist and sight-seeing services. Some open-topped buses have half a roof at the front and some have none at all. You can see these buses most often in historical European cities, like Paris, for tourists looking to see as much as they can in a more timely fashion without having to walk around.

Key Features:

  • Have half or no roof at all
  • Used for tourist or sigh-seeing services
  • Often found in historical European cities

Contact Us Today!

Professional Charter Services is your San Francisco Top Rated Local® charter service and our dedication is to provide comfortable, reliable and cost-effective charter bus transportation for any need you have. Our featured services include corporate commuter shuttle services, intercampus shuttle services, last mile shuttle service and coach bus rentals. Contact us today to learn more!