Coach (bus)

Coach (bus)
Greyhound coach built in the 1960s

A coach (also motor coach) is a large motor vehicle, a type of bus, used for conveying passengers on excursions and on longer distance express coach scheduled transport between cities - or even between countries. Unlike buses designed for shorter journeys, coaches often have a luggage hold separate from the passenger cabin and are normally equipped with facilities required for longer trips including comfortable seats and sometimes a toilet.

The term 'coach' was previously used for a horse-drawn carriage designed for the conveyance of more than one passenger, the passengers' luggage, and mail, that is covered for protection from the elements. The term was applied to railway carriages in the 19th century, and later to motor coaches (buses).



Horse drawn chariots and carriages ('coaches') were used by the wealthy and powerful where the roads were of a high enough standard from possibly 3000BC. In Hungary during the reign of King Matthias Corvinus in the 15th century, the wheelwrights of Kocs began to build a horse-drawn vehicle with steel-spring suspension. This "cart of Kocs" as the Hungarians called it (kocsi szekér) soon became popular all over Europe. The imperial post service, employed the first horse-drawn mail coaches in Europe since Roman times in 1650, - as they started in the town of Kocs the use of these mail coaches gave rise to the term "coach".[1] Stagecoaches (drawn by horses) were used for transport between cities from about 1500 in the United Kingdom until displaced by the arrival of the railways.[2]

One of the earliest motorised vehicles was the Charabancs which was used for short journeys and excursions until the early years of the 20th century.[citation needed] The first 'motor coaches' were purchased by operators of those horse-drawn vehicles in the early 1900s[3] by operators such as Royal Blue Coach Services who purchased their first Charabanc in 1913[4] and were running were running 72 coaches by 1926.[5]


Double-decker Neoplans operating the Oxford to London coach route

Coaches vary considerably in quality from country to country and even within counties. Higher specification vehicles include reclining upholstered seats, air-conditioning, overhead storage bins, passenger-controlled lights and ventilation. In addition small tables for small snacks, small video screens to show TV shows and/or videos and larger items of luggage are stored below the floor, and are accessible from outside panels. A toilet will normally be included. Coach typically have a single door and possibly also a wheelchair-lift access.


Major manufacturers include Plaxton, Neoplan, Marcopolo, Irizar, Scania and many others. It is reasonably common for one manufacturer to build and supply a chassis and for another to then construct the 'coachwork' (the passenger compartment) onto this chassis.


Modern coaches

A representative selection of vehicles currently in use in different parts of the world.

Vintage coaches

A selection of vehicles in use in different parts of the world in the past.

See also


  1. ^ Mackay, James (1988). The Guinness Book of Stamps. Guinness Publishing LTD, Enfield, UK. p. page 26. 
  2. ^ Dyos, H. J. & Aldcroft, D.H. (1969) British Transport, an economic survey Penguin Books, p.225
  3. ^ W C Standerwick Ltd by Peter Gould
  4. ^ Anderson & Frankis, p.28-9
  5. ^ Anderson & Frankis, p.41
  • Anderson, R.C.A. and Frankis, G. (1970) History of Royal Blue Express Services David & Charles

External links

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