from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mercedes-Benz Citaro city bus
Low-floor articulated bus from the 1990s (Mercedes-Benz O 405 GN)
Norwegian combination bus
Project Superbus with four electric motors, 250 km / h top speed, 26 seats, 200 kilometers range, 15 meters length and 16 wing doors at the IAA 2010

An omnibus ( Latin omnibus 'all' or 'for all', dative plural of omnis ), or bus for short , is a large road vehicle that is used to transport numerous people, e.g. B. in local public transport . In Austria and Switzerland they are often referred to as buses . In Switzerland, coaches are referred to with the French word Car or Reisecar , more rarely also Autocar .

In the European Union , according to the remarks in Annex I of Directive 70/156 / EEC, motorized land vehicles of classes M2 or M3 with more than eight seats next to the driver's seat are officially considered motor buses (KOM) and are motor vehicles . In Switzerland, motor vehicles of category M2 or M3 t over 3.50 according to Art. 11 para. 2b VTS as company cars called.

Closely related to the bus, the trolley bus or trolleybus , which however due to its dependence on a contact line occupies a special position. Because it is tied to a fixed infrastructure similar to a tram , special legal regulations apply to it in some countries.


Before the use of internal combustion engines or electric motors , the word omnibus referred to a relatively large carriage for transporting people. However, stagecoaches were not called omnibuses. The name “Omnibus”, “for everyone”, owes its origin to the advertising lettering “Omnes omnibus” above the shop of a French merchant called Omnès. The wagon owner Baudry was encouraged to name his vehicles accordingly in 1825 . The word then reached Paris in its new meaning in 1828; In 1835 it was included in Brockhaus' Conversations-Lexikon , but until 1850 only referred to Parisian omnibuses. As a general word for public inner-city horse -drawn carriages , it is proven, for example, in Vienna 1842 (horse omnibus) .

After the introduction of modern motorized buses emerged analogous to cars and automotive designations force Stellwagen , bus and coach , Kraftbus , motor buses , motor bus , bus , car bus and automotive bus ; To distinguish it from the trolleybus , one also speaks of a diesel (omni) bus or diesel car bus . The terms serve to differentiate the new motor vehicles from the horse and steam buses that were widespread in the 19th century. Due to new drive technologies also in bus traffic, the term "diesel bus" is no longer necessary.

The word ending "-bus", which was actually part of the Latin dative ending "-ibus", was later used as an independent word, so that today the impression arises that the word omnibus consists of the two parts omni and bus and omnibus and autobus are specific Types of buses such as the minibus or the coach .


Today they are mostly powered by a diesel or gas engine ; battery buses , hybrid buses or fuel cell buses are less common . The energy supply from flywheel storage systems was also tested; this concept was called the gyrobus . At the beginning of the 21st century, electrically powered buses such as B. the BYD ebus in regular service or as an apron bus a renaissance. In 2016, 115,000 electric buses were newly registered in China, which corresponds to 20 percent of all city buses. 40 percent of all city buses in China were electric at the end of 2016.

Buses today usually have a rear engine and rear axle drive. The engine is usually arranged horizontally and under the floor. In the case of low-floor buses, there are also stationary engines; In any case, the engine compartment always protrudes more or less into the passenger compartment and requires a special seating arrangement there.

In general, buses are significantly lighter than trucks of a similar size, so that simple six-speed manual transmissions are often sufficient for coaches , usually with some form of power-assisted gearshift and / or automatic clutch. Today, automated transmissions, which are switched by computers based on engine speed and speed, are also gaining ground in coaches. For city buses are now consistently automatic transmission with torque converter used.

There are two concepts for building the body:

  • The classic truck design consists of a side member, which in turn carries the drive train with engine, wheels and braking system. The body with the passenger compartment sits on top.
  • Small buses and some manufacturers of coaches rely on self-supporting bodies, as in car construction. The providers of large buses include B. EvoBus with the Setra series.

In addition, there are various mixed forms, depending on whether the roof supports or not. The body can also be built in either a shell or a half-timbered construction. In 1952, the Theodor Klatte company developed and produced the Tk 115 bus type, which was a self-supporting, completely light metal construction.

The chassis of buses often has independent wheel suspension on the front axle . The rear axle is usually rigid. City buses often still have rigid front and rear axles.


Midibus with trailer
Van Hool double articulated bus (length 24.8 m)
Scania Irizar coach
Jumbocruiser double-decker articulated bus


The assignment of whether a vehicle represents the vehicle type bus is evident from the approval.

A colloquial z. B. VW-Bus called vehicle is legally a "car", officially a passenger car (Germany and Austria) or a passenger car (Switzerland). Motor vehicles that are legally licensed as "buses" for use in road traffic must also be operated and driven as buses. In Germany this is regulated in the StVZO and the StVO , in Switzerland in the VTS .

Usage types

For commercial use, depending on the Passenger Transport Act ( PBefG in Germany, PBG in Switzerland), a further license is required according to the desired type of transport. A basic distinction is made between buses (for commercial use / type of transport), buses for regular services and buses for occasional transport (some buses are approved for both types of transport according to the respective law). The school bus is a special form of regular services, and requires additional equipment.


Generally there are the following common uses or designs:

Explanations and other types of construction

City buses are generally equipped with fewer and less comfortable seats, but with numerous handrails for standing passengers and with multi-purpose rooms (for luggage, prams and wheelchairs). Double-decker buses or articulated buses are used for routes with large numbers of passengers . Double-decker articulated vehicles are extremely rare. A well-known type is the Neoplan Jumbocruiser , 18 meters long and four meters high with a capacity of 110 passenger seats.

Combination buses are used in sparsely populated areas to transport passengers and cargo at the same time.

Dedicated airport apron bus in Washington, DC ( IAD )

Larger buses, including all articulated vehicles, generally have (at least) three axles. Today, rigid vehicles usually have a self-steering, single-tyred trailing axle that is arranged behind the drive axle. In articulated vehicles (now only) the central axis is in front of the joint. The design of the articulated bus that is common today is the articulated pusher. Here the rear engine drives the rear end, which pushes the front end.

The apron buses used at airports represent a special design , which mostly offer standing room with only a few seats. Since these do not move on public roads, they do not have to be approved, which makes it possible to build them longer and wider than conventional buses.

Special uses

Modified buses serve a number of other purposes in addition to passenger transport. These include Bible Mobile , mobile libraries , Medi buses , sales vehicles , promotion vehicle or residential buses . Customized buses are also used by authorities. These are, for example, large-capacity ambulances , evacuation buses and control buses of the fire brigades, push buses of the judiciary or police, the buses of the police management staff and the mobile command posts of the THW. These vehicles are often retrofitted for the new use. For private use in particular, decommissioned buses are adapted to the new purpose. From a legal point of view, vehicles that are not used to transport people are not used as buses, but as trucks or mobile homes .


Horse-drawn carriages, so-called horse busses , used in regular services for paying road users have been in use in France since 1662. The concept of these " Carrosses à cinq sols ", which ran until 1680, comes from Blaise Pascal . In 1825 the haulier Simon Kremser introduced a comfortable, sprung horse-drawn omnibus named after him as Kremser , which offered space for ten to twenty passengers. Among these horse-drawn buses, there were various more specific operating concepts (stagecoaches, post coaches, wagons, drawing wagons, country carriages, private coaches, company coaches), the names of which were then partly transferred to motor coaches .

The first steam buses appeared in Great Britain in the 1830s and began operating in London on April 22, 1833.

First petrol bus in the world in regular service between Siegen and Deuz

The first regular service launched the Netphener Omnibusgesellschaft with a with liquid fuel powered bus on March 18, 1895 between Siegen and Deuz . The Landau employed was actually more like a closed carriage than a modern bus. This bus , which was built by hand in the family business of automobile pioneer Carl Benz from 1895 , had eight seats and an engine with 5  HP (3.7 kW). Its top speed was 20 km / h, for the 15 km route between Siegen and Deuz it took an hour and 20 minutes. The trip cost the high sum of 70 pfennigs for the time  . Due to the low load capacity of the first Benz buses, bus operations in Siegerland had to be stopped before the end of the year.

Despite this setback, constant improvements in vehicle technology resulted in new line connections worldwide in the years that followed. Previously, Panhard and Levassor had already offered and sold vehicles with the designation "Omnibus" or Break in 1894 (the first was completed in December 1893 and sold in January 1894) that offered space for four or six passengers. These types remained in the range in 1895 and could be sold. One of these early buses (a Grand Break M2K, serial number 28) successfully participated in the first Paris – Bordeaux – Paris race.

Historic designs

In the early days of bus technology, vehicles were built with front engines (the last ones in Germany were, for example, Mercedes-Benz O 3500 from the 1950s, 6-cylinder diesel engine with 90 hp) and there were also open vehicles.

In the 1930s, articulated buses came on, z. B. Büssing type SS and type DS. Until 2008, as a Cuban development , articulated buses were used as local public transport in the capital Havana . Because of their design with a lowered entry area in the middle of the trailer, they are called "Camello" (eng. Camel).

The body construction company Gebr. Ludewig constructed one and a half- deckers in the 1950s , initially only for travel purposes. After the carriage of occupied bus trailers was banned in the Federal Republic of Germany, this type of large-capacity bus was the obvious choice and was later installed by the Vetter company on bus chassis with an underfloor engine behind the front axle. The spread of the cheaper articulated buses meant the end of this type in the 1980s.

From the 1950s, the Deutsche Bundesbahn occasionally used rail-road omnibuses , which could operate as two-way vehicles both on the road and on rail lines.

Standard buses

MAN VÖV II articulated bus

In the 1960s, the Federal Republic of Germany began to standardize line bus types by the Association of Public Transport Companies (VÖV), which developed prototypes for standard line buses in cooperation with several transport companies, which were then adapted by several manufacturers.

The first prototypes from 1967 led to the production of the Büssing BS 110 V , Mercedes-Benz O 305 , Magirus-Deutz SH 110 , MAN SL 200 and Ikarus 190 from 1968 onwards .

The aim of the development of the second generation of the German standard buses was to have a lower vehicle floor and thus a lower entry height. From the S 80 prototypes tested between 1976 and 1978, for example, the Auwärter Neoplan N 416, the Mercedes-Benz O 405 and the MAN SL 202 developed .

A low-floor bus was further developed from the second generation , examples are the Neoplan N 4014 NF, the Mercedes-Benz O 405 N and the MAN NL 202 . This bus type is seldom incorrectly referred to as VÖV-III type.

Spurbus and Bus Rapid Transit

In recent years, the concept of track buses , also known as bus or O-Bahn, has been taken up again. The developments of the French CiVis or the AutoTram of the Fraunhofer Institute are a mixture of vehicles that look similar to trams , but run on rubber tires and can be automatically guided on a given lane using different systems. This principle was used for a few years by the Essener Verkehrs-AG , where duo buses were used. An alternative to the track bus are so-called bus rapid transit systems, also known as busways. The buses also have their own route, but there is no lane guidance. +

Modes of transport

There are different forms of bus transport, the requirements of which determine the type of vehicle:

Importance as a means of transport

In public transport, the importance of the omnibus in all countries is closely linked to its direct competitors (in particular the history and prospects of the tram and the history of the underground ).

In sparsely populated areas it has replaced the small railways that were widespread in the first half of the 20th century . In medium-sized cities it has been relieved by trams since the 1980s , and in larger cities by underground trains , for which it takes on feeder tasks. Even in the outskirts of cities, bus routes are difficult to operate due to the traffic density (individual traffic) and the disposition of the residents as well as the often topographically difficult situation (narrow, steep streets) - depending on the implementation of the performance-related distribution of income within a transport association (according to seat kilometers or passenger kilometers), modified regular services such as collective taxis may be used here in the future . In 2013, 5.3 billion passengers used bus services in Germany.

The importance of long-distance bus traffic, on the other hand, varies greatly from country to country, depending on the state of development of railways and air traffic, but also on the representation of political interests. In summary, safeguard clauses that protected the railway against buses have increasingly been dismantled in recent years. On the other hand, the previous toll advantages of bus traffic over truck traffic and rail are also up for discussion.


Despite some serious accidents, the bus is statistically the safest form of road transport. The risk of death compared to private transport is 16 times lower.

Of 3,206 road deaths in Germany, only four died in buses. The greatest danger for bus travelers are fires. A bus burns almost every day in Germany. Even though injuries or deaths are rare, serious accidents usually lead to numerous victims. Central regulations for fire protection in buses date from the 1960s, and in many cases easily inflammable materials can be installed.

Accidents with buses and coaches in Germany
year Accidents dead including bus occupants
1992 5805 253 58
1993 5690 210 18th
1994 5700 165 36
1995 5676 152 18th
1996 5514 173 24
1997 5663 176 15th
1998 5559 141 2
1999 5982 155 20th
2000 5715 146 9
2001 5776 149 11
2002 5626 122 12
2003 5511 114 17th
2004 5406 111 16
2005 5387 116 9
2006 5425 92 12
2007 5555 101 26th
2008 5216 78 10
2009 5432 68 12
2010 5423 91 32
2011 5546 64 10
2012 5450 66 3
2013 5488 82 11
2014 5532 73 13
2015 5760 60 5
2016 5732 42 4th
2017 5873 65 22nd
2018 5972 56 9

Bus manufacturer

There was throughout history and there are many major bus manufacturers to this day. See the list of commercial vehicle manufacturers and history of the commercial vehicle industry .

Legal regulations for buses and coaches in Germany


  • Legally, a motor bus (KOM) is defined as a motor vehicle intended for the transport of people with more than 8 passenger seats (excluding the driver).
  • Buses with passengers for whom there are no seats are subject to a speed limit of max. 60 km / h on all roads outside the village.
  • Before November 28, 2007, buses were only allowed to drive 100 km / h on motorways with a special permit if the requirements of § 18 StVO were met; the legal limit for COM on country roads and motorways was 80 km / h. The approval was indicated by a Tempo 100 sign with the seal of the registration office on the rear of the vehicle and the entry “Suitable for 100 km / h on motorways”. At the end of 2007, around 35,200 of 44,000 German buses had this exemption, so that the term “exemption”, taken literally, no longer applied to this normal case (around 80%).
  • On November 27, 2007, the Federal Council issued the 17th ordinance amending the Road Traffic Act, according to which the administrative procedure for the approval of 100 km / h for buses and coaches is abolished. For buses registered in Germany, the speed limit 100 km / h registration is usually given within the approval or operating permit procedure. There is no need to affix a Tempo 100 sticker to the back of the bus in the future, as it has not proven to be suitable for control purposes.
Driving license excerpt with the different classes (D1, D, D1E and DE) for buses. The right-hand column shows the expiry date (March 1, 2010) for all bus classes.
  • Buses are allowed to drive on bus lanes .
  • A special driving license is required to drive a bus and coach . After the single EU regulation, the names of the included bus license categories the letter D . There are four graded classes, D1 applies to buses with up to 16 seats, a trailer up to 750 kg is allowed. D applies to buses with any number of seats, a trailer up to 750 kg is allowed. The class D1E contains the permit of the class D1, a trailer over 750 kg can be carried. Finally, the DE class allows buses with any number of passenger seats to be driven, even with a trailer over 750 kg.
  • All bus driving licenses are issued for a limited period of five years, but no longer than the age of 50. Thereafter the validity is five years. With this extension of a driving license beyond the age of 50, the bus driver must prove that he meets the special requirements for resilience, orientation skills, concentration, attentiveness and ability to react. Evidence can be provided by a company or occupational medical report or an assessment by an assessment body for fitness to drive.
  • In addition, driving licenses of classes C, C1, CE or C1E in Germany also entitle you to drive buses - possibly with trailers - with a corresponding permissible total weight and without passengers, if the journeys are only used to check the technical condition of the vehicle.
  • The purpose of the bus driver's license is to only entrust particularly reliable and tested drivers with the transport of more than eight passengers.
  • According to the Professional Driver Qualification Act (BKrFQG), drivers who have received a driving license of classes D1, D1E, D, DE or an equivalent class after September 9, 2008, or a driving license of classes C1, C1E, C, CE or have been granted an equivalent class after September 9, 2009, acquire a basic qualification in addition if the journeys are carried out in commercial freight or passenger transport. Holders of older driving licenses do not require a basic qualification in order to safeguard the vested interests. In future, however, like all drivers, you will have to prove 35 hours of further training in five years.
  • Motor vehicles that are registered as buses are subject to regular inspections, e.g. B. Annual general inspection (TÜV) and quarterly safety inspection ( see Section 29 StVZO ; example: functional and visual inspection of the brakes and steering, but also measurement of the closing force of the automatically closing doors).
  • Since July 1, 1960, the use of bus trailers for passenger transport has been prohibited. At present (June 2006) there are trial operations with exemption, for more details see under article bus trailer .

Top speed

The maximum speed for buses was re-regulated in November 2007. 80 km / h are only valid for a few, mostly older buses, however, for new German registrations, a Tempo 100 authorization is possible as a rule from the time of registration if the requirements are met. The proportion of buses with a 100 km / h permit was 80 percent at the end of 2007 and should continue to increase in the future thanks to these simplified conditions.

Rental bus

Rental bus is a term from the German Passenger Transport Act (Section 49 (1) PBefG). Bus rental is a form of occasional vehicle transport that can be offered by a transport company , but the destination, purpose and course of the journey are determined by the tenant (passenger). An important criterion is that the rental bus is rented as a whole by the passenger. Tenants can also be a group of people who belong together and have to agree on the destination and course of the journey (e.g. school classes, clubs, etc.). Rental buses are not allowed to be available on public streets and squares for the purpose of picking up passengers.

Occasional traffic with a rental bus requires a permit and requires approval from the responsible traffic authority.

The provisions of BOKraft also apply to rental bus transport .


Until the 1980s, buses were mainly produced in Switzerland by the Swiss commercial vehicle manufacturers Berna in Olten , Adolph Saurer AG in Arbon and FBW in Wetzikon in cooperation with body manufacturers such as Carrosserie Hess , Ramseier & Jenzer , Tüscher , Lauber, Frech + Hoch , Eggli and other companies, some of which still exist.

As a reaction to the increasing cost pressure in a working group of Hess, Ramseier + Jenzer, Gangloff and Tüscher, the Swiss standard bodywork was introduced in 1968 , as it was used, for example, in the VST standard trolleybuses or the Saurer 3DUK-50 . This enabled considerable cost savings to be achieved compared to the previous round and individual structures.

The state company of the Post (PTT) was by far the largest customer. The Postbuses were one of the first fleets in the world to sport a uniform company color across the country with their Post Yellow (RAL 1004). The vehicles were designed according to special requirements for the Swiss climate and the Swiss road network. They could be used in snow and ice as well as with their width of 2.3 m and the often present reduction gear on steep, narrow stretches.

See also


  • Wolfgang H. Gebhardt: German omnibuses since 1895 , Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 2002, ISBN 3-613-02140-4 .
  • Ralf JF Kieselbach: Streamlined buses in Germany - Aerodynamics in commercial vehicle construction 1931 to 1961 , Kohlhammer Edition, Stuttgart 1983, ISBN 3-17-007930-1 .
  • DJ Trussler: Early busses and trams . London 1964
  • Wolfgang Huss; Wolf Schenk: Omnibus history part 1 - The development until 1924, HUSS-VERLAG, Munich 1982, ISBN 978-3-921455-05-0
  • Wolfgang Huss; Wolf Schenk: Omnibus history part 2 - The development after 1924. HUSS-VERLAG, Munich 1986, ISBN 978-3-921455-32-6

Web links

Commons : Omnibuses  - Collection of Images
Wiktionary: Autobus  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Omnibus  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Bus  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Association of German Transport Companies V. (VDV): Kraftomnibus ( Memento of October 4, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed October 2, 2013.
  2. ^ Friedrich Kluge : Etymological dictionary of the German language . 20th edition, edited by Walther Mitzka . De Gruyter, Berlin 1967, p. 523.
  3. ^ Hermann Paul : German dictionary. History of meaning and structure of our vocabulary. 10th, revised and expanded edition by Helmut Henne , Heidrun Kämper and Georg Objartel. Max Niemeyer, Tübingen 2002, ISBN 3-484-73057-9 , p. 724.
  4. Omnibus in the Vienna History Wiki of the City of Vienna
  5. ^ For example, officially until 1955 in Austria: § 2 Paragraph 2 Ordinance of the Federal Minister for Trade and Transport in agreement with the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministers for Social Administration, Finance and the Army of May 12, 1930 on the movement of motor vehicles ( Motor Vehicle Ordinance). in Federal Law Gazette for the Republic of Austria, year 1930, published on May 20, 1930, 40th issue, p. 647 f, Austrian National Library
  8. Electric car market: China is driving ahead of spiegel-online on January 25, 2017, accessed on January 25, 2017
  9. China remains the driver of the electric car market ( Memento from January 25, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) from January 25, 2017, accessed on January 25, 2017
  10. All of China's buses might be electric by 2025 zmscience, January 19, 2016, accessed October 30, 2016
  11. Static problems in the development of self-supporting structures . In: Motor Vehicle Technology 6/1960, pp. 219–225.
  12. A new German light bus . In: Automobiltechnische Zeitschrift . 6/1952, pp. 141-143.
  13. DJ Trussler: Early busses and trams . London 1964.
  14. ^ Centenary of the Omnibus , The Times, April 28, 1933, p. 16.
  15. NN: Reliable by bus . In: mint. The Philatelie-Journal 2/2020, p. 14.
  17. Anna Clauß, Dietmar Hipp: Torches on Wheels . In: Der Spiegel . No. 28 , 2017, p. 40 f . ( online ).
  18. Traffic accidents - accidents involving buses and coaches in road traffic Federal Statistical Office for the period 1995 to 2006 (.pdf)
  19. Accidents involving buses and coaches in road traffic Federal Statistical Office from 1992 to 2018 (.pdf)
  20. a b Archived copy ( Memento from January 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  21. Seventeenth ordinance amending the road traffic regulations ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 2774 )
  22. BMVBS: The new EU driving license and the new driving license law ( Memento from May 21, 2008 in the Internet Archive )
  23. FeV § 6 Abs. 4, accessed on December 25, 2012
  24. Professional Driver Qualification Act (BKrFQG) -
  25. ↑ End of the line for orange trolleybuses in Neue Zürcher Zeitung from January 5, 2005