18 Different Types of Buses and Their Uses

Different Types of Buses
Photo by Egidijus Bielskis

Buses are common forms of public transportation, but many different types of buses serve different purposes.

To find the right bus for your particular needs, it’s important to understand what each type of bus does. 

How it differs from other types of buses that may also be available to you? Here’s a list of the different types of buses with an explanation of their uses and an example.

1. Open Top Bus

One type of bus is an open-top bus. This type of bus has open-top decks that can seat more people than a closed-top bus.

It has a more scenic view and is typically not enclosed to keep riders cool in the summer.

However, unlike other buses, this type opens on the roof so people can stand up while riding.

It offers improved access for passengers who have difficulty climbing stairs or steps because it has no entry barriers.

And since this design is completely open, it’s suitable for wheelchair users and pets who travel with their owners.

2. School Bus

Typically, these buses are painted with the school’s name or logo on the side. School buses to transport children to and from schools to keep them safe during their daily commute. 

Nevertheless, these vehicles are equipped with features that can be useful in an emergency. Such as flashing headlights, a reflective strip down the side, and an alarm.

3. Offroad Bus

Offroad buses are designed for off-road driving. They are usually only found in regions where streets or highways are unpaved.

An offroad bus may be the best option for you among other different types of buses in a rural area. However, Offroad buses have low clearance and often four-wheel drive capability.

Making them well suited to the many dirt roads found throughout rural communities. Unlike most buses, offroads have only one front door, making it easier to enter and exit. 

Moreso, the seats in these buses can often fold up. So passengers can access items stored underneath their seats once they board the bus.

Nevertheless, these buses typically cost less than traditional transit vehicles. This is why they’re often used in developing countries with limited funds available for public transportation.

4. Hybrid Bus

A hybrid bus uses a combination of diesel fuel and electricity to power its electric motor. Hybrid buses typically use approximately 30% less fuel than standard diesel buses. 

However, these buses are more expensive to operate, just like some different types of buses. Because they require more maintenance and wear-and-tear on the parts. 

But they still provide an eco-friendly alternative to standard fossil fuel buses. They also tend to be quieter because their motors are powered by electricity instead of diesel. 

Finally, these buses have higher capacity because you can pack more people inside without worrying about discomfort.

That’s with the fact that there is a loud engine running nearby. This is for too long or insufficient air circulation coming in from outside.

5. Gyrobus

A gyrobus is a bus that is stabilized when it moves by rotating on a vertical axis.

The buses are gyroscopic, which means they can balance the vehicle’s movement in response to different situations. Such as rough roads or a sudden jolt. 

Additionally, these buses can operate in tight spaces that other different types of buses cannot go into. Because of their rounded shape. 

Therefore, the only downside to this one of the different types of buses is that it cannot reverse directions easily. Because its axle does not pivot as regular buses do.

6. Neighborhood Bus

A neighborhood bus, also known as a ‘sherut’ or ‘share taxi,’ is a form of public transportation in Israel. This one of the different types of buses usually picks up the passengers along the route. 

However, it will travel and drop them off in front of their destinations. Or one stop down the road allows other passengers to be picked up on the route. 

Moreso, these buses are available from early morning until late at night with a fixed number running daily.

Meaning there are fewer stops than normal buses with frequent pick-ups. Passengers also have priority for boarding at specific points.

Nevertheless, a neighborhood bus can be taken by anyone at any time. That’s as long as you travel within its designated route for that day. Making this type very convenient for all commuters.

7. Articulated Bus

An articulated bus is a hybrid with more capacity than a standard-sized bus.

They’re also flexible regarding vehicle routing, as they can make figure-eight loops. Unlike buses with two sets of doors.

Moreso, the articulated bus has one set for entering or exiting at the front and back. Loading passengers with physical limitations is easier because they need to climb stairs. 

However, it may seem like articulated buses have more disadvantages than advantages. But they’re a good option if you don’t need to pick up or drop off people near both entrances.

8. Trolley Bus

The trolley bus, powered by electricity from overhead wires, is used primarily in Europe.

The trolleybus was created to combine the efficiency of electric trams with the flexibility and simplicity of buses.

It draws current from an electrified track or wire above the ground or street like trams.

But like a bus, it is independent, meaning it doesn’t need to draw power at any specific location.

Trolley buses are significantly faster than trams but also pose a greater risk due to the amount of current they use. 

Moreso, they’re more expensive to run per mile than diesel buses. Because they require costly electrical equipment and employing someone with expertise on how to operate them.

9. Step-entrance Bus

This is the classic old-school bus. This bus seats many people with its bench-style seating but doesn’t offer much regarding its seating arrangements. 

However, some people might enjoy having one set aisle down the middle.

Which makes it easy to enter or exit the bus without walking past all the other seats to get there. 

Moreso, these buses are usually used for transporting large groups of people. Like students on field trips, football fans headed to a big game, or family members visiting family out-of-town. 

10. Police Bus

Typically, police buses are used to transport prisoners to and from courtrooms. Police buses are often armored vehicles that protect prisoners and officers driving the bus. 

However, the bus has an arm cage in the back where prisoners sit during transit. And a cage in front for one or two officers depending on which side is used for transporting prisoners.

Depending on your country, it’s not uncommon to see a different style of design for police buses. Moreso, In China, most buses will have separate cages behind and ahead of the driver.

In Mexico, Australia, South Africa, Japan, and New Zealand. They only have a forward-facing cage next to the driver’s seat.

11. Single-decker Bus

The first type is the single-decker bus. These buses are high off the ground, so it’s easier for older people to get on and off. 

However, they’re also good for parents with pushchairs, as they can use the higher ground to place their pushchairs on.

But beware if you’re a nervous passenger, as these buses provide less crash protection. 

12. Minibus

Minibusses are smaller than standard buses and are used for shorter trips. Minibusses typically have about thirty seats or less. 

However, these different types of buses are best when only one bus is needed to transport passengers.

As it’s more cost-effective than using a standard bus which can accommodate up to fifty passengers at a time. 

Moreso, the term minibus generally applies to short distances. Because these types of buses lack the fuel efficiency that some other buses might have. 

Although not all minibusses have this problem. Minibusses are frequently seen in countries such as China, where many families live within walking distance of their jobs.

13. Shuttle Bus

Shuttle buses are typically seen in urban areas as a cost-effective way to get people from one place to another.

They operate on set routes which provide great accessibility for people who don’t live close to public transportation options.

They’re also great for college students or commuters who work in areas not serviced by trains or subways. 

However, one issue with shuttle buses is their lack of privacy, especially when they fill up near capacity.

It’s also difficult to find seating near the driver so drivers can have uninterrupted conversations.

14. Double-decker Bus

The next type is the double-decker bus. Double-deckers provide more seats than single-deckers.

But their usage has decreased recently because of environmental concerns about their large carbon footprint. They are usually used as public transportation in city or suburban areas. 

However, this bus function is to bring people from one place to another by public transportation.

But over time, many bus services are equipped with air conditioning, comfortable seats, LCD television sets, wi-fi internet connectivity, etc. 

Moreover, they also have safety measures such as CCTV cameras installed at strategic locations throughout a bus.

This makes your ride enjoyable, as you can watch movies or news traveling between cities.

15. Low-floor Bus

A low-floor bus is usually an articulated bus with a low entry, therefore not requiring any stairs.

They are often wheelchair accessible, meaning the wheelchair lifts allow individuals to go up with them into the bus.

Low-floor buses also offer more room for standing as there are fewer barriers between seating and aisles. 

Nevertheless, a disadvantage to a low-light bus is that it may be too large for some routes. Or inaccessible for those with mobility issues, such as climbing in or out of buses.

16. Motorcoach

This a large bus amidst other different types of buses with amenities such as air conditioning, reclining seats, and onboard lavatories.

A sound system for movies or music, and heating or cooling for winter or summer. Motor coaches are designed to provide transportation for long distances.

Moreover, some drawbacks include limited luggage storage space; costs for luggage handling that are in addition to the coach fare.

High weight limits on passenger baggage and corresponding fare surcharges. 

And unlike other different types of buses, motor coaches rarely pick up passengers at bus stops. They usually take scheduled runs from terminal to terminal.

17. Special Needs Bus

The vehicle application process is the best way to determine what type of bus is needed for a particular school. They can help find the different bus types that best suit the situation. 

However, these buses are often called Kneeling buses because they have three axles that allow them to reach ground level. So there are no steps.

18. Tour Bus

A tour bus is usually a large bus with a fixed route. But they are sometimes customized also to include additional stops.

The benefit is that the passengers will be guided by someone with expert knowledge of the region they are visiting. 

However, most tourist destinations have tour buses that take visitors through the sites. These tours often give you more information than just looking at an attraction.

Such as providing history on the site and important points to keep in mind during your visit. Moreso, Tour buses are generally safe, like other different types of buses.

Because they will have someone looking out for potential dangers while driving on busy streets through high-traffic areas. Such as Times Square.


A bus is a type of vehicle with rows of seats arranged to the sides and large windows in front. Passengers board at the back, where the driver sits, then transport them to their destination. 

However, Long-distance buses can be configured for touring passengers who want a fast journey time over long distances.

While regular buses may suit day trips around town. When buying your ticket, it’s always worth checking the different types of buses and what amenities are offered on board. 

Moreso, a tour bus may have live commentary and include a variety of sights along the way.

Coaching buses often offer free Wi-Fi and power outlets so you can work on your laptop on your journey.

Whatever your budget or needs, there will be a suitable option for you among the different types of buses!

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