There is a bit of a disconnect when it comes to two different viewpoints regarding bus travel. On the one hand, there is something of a great American fantasy about hopping on a bus and heading out into the unknown, where adventure is bound to find you. It is the stuff of novels and films, and the intangible notion of being swept away by bus into an alluring story seems somehow tied into many versions of the American dream. And yet, on the other hand, there is the reality of having ridden on a bus before, and associating it with hot and sticky cramped seats and inconsiderate fellow passengers and incredibly long travel times. But somewhere there in the middle of those two ideas lies the truth about the benefits of bus travel, and why one of the oldest forms of public transportation is still with us today.
The evolution of local bus services
For awhile, near the beginning of larger civilizations and societies as we know them today, most people traveled only by foot, and then also by horseback or with the help of a similar beast of burden. Then there was the realization that more comfortable travel was possible if a cart or wagon was attached to the animals, and though people at that time perhaps did not realize it, that was the very beginning of what would come to be known as a bus. Back as early on as the 1820s, people were using horse drawn carriages and buggies as buses, and by the 1830s, England had seen the development of intercity steam powered bus systems. And of course, bus travel continued to develop as society, industry, and technology did, until we arrived at the big vehicles that are used all over the world today. And even with such humble beginnings, local bus services continue to be widely used.
The ability to travel comfortably on a bus
It is true that many people do not think highly of many local bus services or bus services that connect cities or countries. But just as the bus systems developed over time from horse and buggy to big cramped machine on wheels, so do they continue to improve today. Many local bus services have new fleets that are redesigned with the comfort of passengers on board, and in many places it is actually quite common to be able to access WiFi on a bus. Many people, if making a habit or routine of using a bus to get to work or to school will get to know local drivers, adding a feeling of connectivity and community. Travel between cities can be pleasant on a bus, whether it is an extension of the services offered in one of the cities, or if it is part of something larger, like the charter bus services that are often air-conditioned or even equipped with televisions.
For the good of the earth
Another positive impact that bus travel has is on the earth itself. When many people travel by bus, they are choosing not to drive individually. More drivers on the road results not only in clogging up the roads and freeways but also clogging and polluting the air. For example, motor coaches have been shown to put out the least amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per passenger mile when they were compared with other modes of transportation. Motor coaches not only reach more areas and destinations than railways and airplanes do, but they are good for the earth and for society. Just one motor coach that stops in a particular destination for just one night can churn up about $11,660 in tourism money for that local economy by way of lodging, meals, souvenirs, and other local spending.
Bus travel has come a long way since it began so long ago. But it continues to transform, and the negative connotations that were once associated with traveling by bus are starting to dissipate. Bus travel can be comfortable and even enjoyable, plus it is kind to the environment and local economies!