The differences between a bus and a coach

Written by laura gianino
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The differences between a bus and a coach
Buses may be used for short transport, like going to school, while coaches provide longer-distance travel. (Skip Nall/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Coaches and buses are both used for carrying passengers from place to place. The differences between a bus and a coach may be hard to recognise, especially when coaches are often confusedly referred to as buses and the terms are used interchangeably. However, buses and coaches differ in service, comfort and pricing.

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Buses usually operate as part of a scheduled service, dropping off and picking up at various, frequent intervals, such as a school bus or public transportation bus. Coaches refer to a more luxurious form of bus. Coaches may make stops, but they tend to be more infrequent. Coaches are more likely to be chartered for long distances, such as between cities or even between countries.


Coaches provide comforts that buses do not have. Due to the length of journey coaches make, they often provide toilets, DVD players, air conditioning and in some cases wireless Internet access. Coaches typically have cavernous luggage compartments beneath the passenger area. Coaches are often equipped with larger, comfortable plush seats, while buses have more standard two- and three-seat bench-style seats. Buses rarely have extra storage room or amenities. Due to the comfort and ease of travel offered by coaches, they are more expensive than buses. Buses may charge a ride fee each time you get on or leave the bus, while coach tickets may be a one-time cost for an extended journey, bought in advance and presented before you board.


Types of coaches include the Greyhound Motor Coach, which provides passenger travel across the United States, Canada and Mexico; and the double-decker Neoplans coaches of England, which travel between Oxford and London. Bus companies include Blue Bird, which manufactures school and activity buses, and SEPTA buses, the transit bus of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

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