If you have ever chartered a bus, you have likely heard the words coach, motorcoach, charter bus and shuttle bus. To most people, they are simply called a bus. There are a few differences between coaches and buses, including their intended purpose, design and amenities.
Buses and coaches have similar origins which started first in Europe during the 1600s as horse-drawn vehicles. The term “bus” comes from the word “omnibus,” which originally referred to a horse-drawn carriage that was used for public transportation similar to a bus line. One of the earliest accounts in history of an omnibus documents a service launched in Paris in 1662. Buses eventually spread throughout France and Great Britain, where the first bus line opened in 1824. The earliest documentation of motor buses came in late 1890s but were not produced and used on a mass scale until 1910. Modern coaches started out as stagecoaches, also known as carriages. Horse-drawn stagecoaches often traveled on pre-scheduled routes but could also be chartered for long-distance travel. The first motorized coach was the charabanc. It was launched in the 1920s and quickly became the preferred vehicle for companies that previously operated horse-drawn coaches.
All modern coaches are technically considered buses, but not all buses are considered coaches. Both types of vehicles are used to transport large numbers of passengers across different various distances.
A bus usually refers to public bus operating on a pre-scheduled, pre-defined route. This includes school buses. Buses are built for inner city efficiency and passenger comfortability is not a concern when designing. They are intended for frequent stops between short distances. In fact, the main purpose of a transit bus or school bus is to provide cost-effective transportation for as many passengers as possible within a metro area. Vehicles like standard city buses are a similar length to coaches. However, transit buses can include modified designs like the articulated bus. Transit buses also include standing areas and railings that can be used when seats fill with passengers. Most transit buses can accommodate anywhere from 40 to 60 passengers, depending on the model. Bus services can often be split into different categories like standard buses, which service normal routes and shuttle buses which carry smaller groups and may not have the amenities of a coach even though they may be used for long distance travel. It is important that you ask about the amenities you are expecting.
Coaches are known as motorcoaches, coach buses, or charter buses. Unlike transit buses, coaches are primarily used for private transportation and are often used for long-distance travel where passenger convenience and comfort are most important and travel routes are determined by the trip organizer. Some intercity coach services like Greyhound travel along fixed routes and are open to the public. Although the schedules of coach buses vary, most coaches don’t make more stops than necessary since they are intended for traveling long distances. Coaches have a raised floor that creates space underneath the bus for luggage storage, making them taller than a transit bus. Passengers have a raised view of the street as a result of this. They are better for sightseeing. Coach buses have anywhere between 18 and 56 seats. Buses on the lower end of that range usually are referred to a mini-buses or mini-coaches.
What truly defines a coach is the amenities that include plush reclining seats made of cloth, leather or faux leather. Most have WiFi, USB and electrical outlets. You will also find TV’s viewable from every seat on the bus, overhead storage compartments, seatback pockets, reading lights climate controls and moveable armrests.
Ecko Worldwide Transportation operates buses of all types and styles. Our typical client uses our services for employee carpools, corporate group outings, sporting events, amusement park trips, weddings, wine tours and personal or business events. In addition, we run daily routes for private schools and employee shuttles. When you’re ready for your next charter, call us at 877-FLY-ECKO and we will deliver Satisfaction in Every Turn™.