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Why are School Buses Yellow? And Other Fun Facts About Buses

Most of us have ridden a bus at some point in our lives, whether it was as a young child on a yellow school bus, a teenager headed on a trip to a big city, or an adult, commuting to work on public transportation. And we can’t forget about their popularity with weddings. No matter their use, buses are great for people watching and allow you to travel without having to worry about the stress that comes along with driving. So, it’s time to learn more about these beloved vehicles — continue reading to learn six fun bus facts that you might not have known! 

Why do buses stop at railway tracks?

Have you ever been behind a bus when it stopped at railway tracks? If you have, you might’ve noticed that the window or door opened and the bus stopped. Did you ever wonder why the bus performed this action even if there wasn’t an oncoming train?

The reason is because it’s been the law since December 1, 1938. That day, there was a blizzard, and in Sandy, Utah, a bus driver had no visibility at a railroad crossing. He hadn’t seen a train in three years of driving, so he began to cross the tracks. However, a train coming from Denver had been running late because of the blizzard and there was a huge collision that resulted in 25 students and the driver perishing. Since then, the law has required drivers to stop, open the windows and the door, and listen for a train before crossing the tracks.

The Gran Arctic 300: the largest bus in the world

Located in Brazil, the biggest bus in the world is nearly 100 feet long! It holds 300 passengers, which is in part where it gets its name from. Volvo designed the bus specifically for Rio de Janiero’s bus lanes.

The bus is a biarticulated bus, which means that there are passenger carrying sections and then there are bendy connectors to each of these sections. One Gran Arctic 300 will replace three of the prior models. 

Volvo already has several models of articulated buses in Brazil, and they can seat 150,180, and 210 passengers. These buses only have a single bendy connector between two cabins. The hope is that the larger buses will help reduce pollution, traffic, and per passenger cost for drivers.  

The first bus dates back to 1662! 

When we think of buses, so often we think of modern times. But buses actually first existed in France, and they ate hay! The buses were horse-drawn carriages and could carry eight passengers at a time. Blaise Pascal, a famous mathematician and philosopher had tackled the problem of urban planning and public transportation. His approach was revolutionary: normally, it cost someone 140 sous to rent a carriage by the day. With the advent of the bus line, along first one route, and eventually five, passengers only paid 5 sous to ride.

 The bus system shut down in the 1690s, although its unclear why. The guess is that it wasn’t profitable any more, plus Pascal had passed away within months of the bus system opening. 

Why are school buses always yellow?

Have you always wondered why a school bus is yellow? Well, they weren’t always yellow. In fact, as late as the 1930s, some schools were still using horse-drawn carriages as buses!

 Frank Cyr had spent many years in rural education. In 1939, he convened a school bus conference to standardize school buses and consolidate resources. Standardization would allow for a uniform color and thereby greater recognition of buses, leading to more safety. It would also allow manufacturers to mass produce buses, which would lower costs for school districts. 

The participants at the conference originally settled on a yellow that they called “National School Bus Chrome,” however, that name was changed to “National School Bus Glossy Yellow” in the Federal Standards. It’s not law though, that buses must be yellow — it’s only recommended based on operational safety guidelines.

Why don’t buses have seatbelts? 

The standardized bus that Cyr and his colleagues came up with in 1939 is so safe that it’s only been updated once in the 70s, and that was mostly an adaptation of fuel tanks and to make buses wheelchair accessible. 

Different national organizations have different statistics, but they all agree: school buses are safer than any other vehicle out there. The inside of buses are designed with “compartmentalization” : seats are placed closely together and they are covered in energy-absorbing foam, so that if there is an accident, kids don’t go far. And in case of an accident, imagine how hard it would be to make sure that all those kids were buckled in! 

The word bus comes from the word omnibus 

Did you know that the word bus comes from the Latin word omnibus? Omnibus is the dative plural of omnis and it means “for all” or “containing two or more independent matters”. The inhabitants of Nantes, France, referred to the vehicle as an omnibus because one of the first coach stations was near a hat shop called “Omnes Omnibus”, owned by a Mr. Omnès. From there it was only a matter of time until the phrase was shortened to “bus”. They are still transportation for all, though, all these years later. 

Whether you’re looking for a safe and secure way to transport your group or interested in getting around town, Bus.com can help with all of your bus rental needs.

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