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Bus

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Transportation Equipment
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Blue Bird 84 Passenger Bus
A bus is a mechanically self-propelled road vehicle designed to transport passengers.

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] France, the United Kingdom, and the Steam Bus

The first bus services began in Paris, France, in March of 1662. The idea was introduced by Blaise Pascal, a mathematician, inventor, physicist, philosopher and author. His bus system started with seven horse-drawn vehicles running along a set of regular routes. The carriages carried six to eight passengers at a time, but were only available to nobility and gentry. This elementary French transportation system was out of business by 1675. Bus development did not return to Paris until the early 19th century.[1]

The steam-powered bus was developed in the United Kingdom. Sir Goldsworthy Gurney began experimenting with steam road traction in 1823. He introduced a four-wheeled steam tractor to haul a coach between the towns of Gloucester and Cheltenham several times daily. The nine-mile (14.5-km) journey took approximately 45 minutes. The vehicle was considered a success, so much so that other vehicle operators felt threatened and decided to sabotage its progress. On June 23, 1831, piles of stones were scattered across the road and broke the coach’s axle.[2]

The Turnpike Trust, a highway and road authority within the United Kingdom, began imposing additional tolls on self-propelled vehicles because they felt they would damage the roads. So, steam vehicles had to pay 48 shillings, while horse coaches were only required to pay four. (However, the House of Commons conducted a study at the time that discovered horse-drawn vehicles actually caused more damage).[3]

Regular steam carriage service in London, England, began on April 22, 1833.[4]

2008 Chevrolet 3500 15-Passenger Bus
Another steam bus pioneer was Walter Hancock. He produced the first mechanically propelled bus specifically designed for transportation services. His steam bus was called “The Enterprise” and it ran between the areas of London Wall and Paddington. In 1836, Hancock introduced a new 22-seat bus called the “Automaton.” It achieved speeds in excess of 20 miles (32 km) per hour. Throughout the “Automaton's" history, it ran more than 700 trips and carried a total of approximately 12,000 passengers.[5]

Meanwhile, the bus concept had spread to other parts of the United Kingdom. Six vehicles built by the Steam Carriage Co. in Scotland were used for an hourly bus service between the towns of Glasgow and Paisley. The service was initially a success, but was eventually sabotaged, causing fatal accidents that resulted in the service being abandoned.[6]

In 1839, a 12-seat steam-powered coach made the journey from Brighton to London—approximately 54 miles (87 km) in a single day. This was twice the speed of a stagecoach, for half the price.[7]

By 1861, legislation had risen against mechanically propelled vehicles. Speed limits were lowered to two miles (3 km) per hour in towns and cities, and four miles (6 km) per hour in the country. Also, a man with a red flag was required to precede all vehicles and local authorities controlled the hours when transportation was allowed. All these new regulations destroyed the development of the bus system for 30 years.[8]

However, in the 1890s, as internal combustion engines became more successful, legislation against vehicles and transportation became less stringent. This resulted in a renewed focus on experimentation with steam power and bus development.

A double-deck steam bus was built by E. Gillett & Co. in 1899. It seated 24 people: 10 inside and 14 outside. It consisted of a horse-bus body mounted on a steam lorry chassis and included a light awning to protect outside passengers from soot and steam.[9]

The double-deck design was changed in 1902, adding additional seating by extending the upper deck over top of the driver. These new vehicles could seat 36 passengers.[10]

The early 1900s were the pinnacle of the steam bus era, but the industry quickly dwindled because of its inability to compete with the rise of the petrol engine bus.[11]

[edit] Bus Development in the United States

Sightseeing companies introduced the first buses to the United States. In 1904, Mack Trucks Inc. built a bus with a 36 horsepower, four-cylinder gasoline engine, with a maximum speed of 20 miles (32 km) per hour. It had seating for 15 passengers.[12]

2007 Ford F550 XLT 28-Passenger Bus
Most early U.S. bus designs simply adapted a bus body to mount on a truck chassis. In fact, the first chassis specifically designed for buses was not manufactured until 1921 by the Fageol Safety Coach Co. from Oakland, California. It sat one foot (30 cm) lower than the average truck frame.[13]

Five years later, Fageol Safety developed the first integral-frame bus with a twin engine. It utilized the floor, roof, and sides of the bus as structural members.[14]

Mack Trucks and Yellow Truck & Coach also produced influential bus designs. They both developed gas-electric models, in which the gasoline engine drove a direct current generator. The generator then provided electrical power to the driving motors on the rear wheels of the vehicle. The electric system in these buses performed the function of the transmission by multiplying the driving torque and providing the means of connecting and disconnecting the engine from the drive wheels.[15]

The first rear engine, integral-frame bus was introduced in 1931.[16]

The two-stroke diesel engine was first implemented in 1938 and was used in most city and intercity bus models for the following 40 years.[17]

Air suspension was introduced in 1953 and saw continued use on integral-frame bus models. The suspension system consisted of heavy rubber bellows and air springs mounted on each axle. The springs were supplied with air from a reservoir operating at a pressure of 100 pounds per square inch (690 kPa). So, as the bus weight load increased or decreased, the level and height of the vehicle remained constant.[18]

[edit] Modern Developments: Accessibility and Alternative Power

Accessibility of buses has increased tremendously with the inclusion of wheel chair lifts, additional and wider doors, extendible access ramps, lower floors, and kneeling air suspension.

As environmental concerns rise and public transportation is encouraged, the need for alternative sources of fuel becomes extremely important. Experimentation continues with electricity, hybrid electric engines, compressed natural gas, biodiesel, and hydrogen fuel cells.

[edit] How it Works/Types

[edit] General Design

General design buses can exist in a number of styles: single or double-deck, articulated, or as midi or mini buses. Single-deck buses have one floor; double-decks have two. Articulated buses have extra sections attached to the rear, bending at an articulation joint. Midi buses are lighter, smaller, single deck buses. Mini buses are usually adapted from vans to serve as buses.

[edit] Coach

Coaches are more luxurious versions of buses designed for comfort, and usually equipped with luggage holds. These buses are often heavier and have increased power, compared to general design buses of an equivalent size, because they operate at higher speeds and have increased storage capacity.

[edit] Trolleybus

Trolleybuses are electrically-powered buses, attached to and drawing power from overhead electric lines. They exist as single deck, double deck, or articulated models.

[edit] Common Manufacturers

[edit] References

  1. Alfred, Randy. March 18, 1662: The Bus Starts Here…In Paris. Wired, March, 2008. (accessed: 2008-10-21)
  2. Gould, Peter. The Steam Bus: 1833-1923. Local Transport History, 2008-10-21.
  3. Gould, Peter. The Steam Bus: 1833-1923. Local Transport History, 2008-10-21.
  4. Gould, Peter. The Steam Bus: 1833-1923. Local Transport History, 2008-10-21.
  5. Gould, Peter. The Steam Bus: 1833-1923. Local Transport History, 2008-10-21.
  6. Gould, Peter. The Steam Bus: 1833-1923. Local Transport History, 2008-10-21.
  7. Gould, Peter. The Steam Bus: 1833-1923. Local Transport History, 2008-10-21.
  8. Gould, Peter. The Steam Bus: 1833-1923. Local Transport History, 2008-10-21.
  9. Gould, Peter. The Steam Bus: 1833-1923. Local Transport History, 2008-10-21.
  10. Gould, Peter. The Steam Bus: 1833-1923. Local Transport History, 2008-10-21.
  11. Gould, Peter. The Steam Bus: 1833-1923. Local Transport History, 2008-10-21.
  12. Commercial Vehicles: Bus History. Auto Junction, 2008-10-21.
  13. Commercial Vehicles: Bus History. Auto Junction, 2008-10-21.
  14. Commercial Vehicles: Bus History. Auto Junction, 2008-10-21.
  15. Commercial Vehicles: Bus History. Auto Junction, 2008-10-21.
  16. Commercial Vehicles: Bus History. Auto Junction, 2008-10-21.
  17. Commercial Vehicles: Bus History. Auto Junction, 2008-10-21.
  18. Commercial Vehicles: Bus History. Auto Junction, 2008-10-21.