Omega Tour is fascinated by the history of buses. That’s why we have gathered a few significant dates for coach history, and we thought you might be intrigued to learn about when this public transport vehicle came about!


The History of Buses

The History of Buses…

Let’s start from the beginning; in Great Britain, horse-drawn coaches were used between the 1500s all of the way up to the 1800s, because back then there was no such invention of motors, electricity or engines etc. Horses were the most popular method of public transportation, so stagecoaches were produced to allow people to get about quicker. More specifically, the first horse-drawn service was started by a businesswoman named Stanislas Baudry in 1823.

On Saturday 4th July 1829, George Shillibeer launched London’s first omnibus service, running from Paddington along the New Road to Bank. These services were already highly popular in Paris, and Shillibeer decided to migrate this system overseas and into the city of London. The service soon grew popular, as it began to run four return journeys every day, carrying 22 people each bus.

Fast forward 10 years and the British were introduced to steam-powered buses. Walter Hancock and his associates ran reliable services which took routes that were simply too dangerous for horse-drawn coaches, making the trip much quicker and more convenient for the customers. Moreover, this new invention caused quite the commotion, as this was considered a very dramatic turn for transportation back then… and we don’t mean this positively. Letters were written, rocks were thrown and paths were blocked as steam buses received a nasty welcome to the United Kingdom – and horse-drawn carriers weren’t impressed either!

The 1800s…

It’s now 1880 and the first electric tram opened to the population of Russia, invented and tested by Fyodor Pirotsky. If you didn’t know, a tram is an electric rail vehicle which runs on tramway tracks along urban streets. Unlike the past two methods of public transport I have spoken about, electric trams are still being used today.

The first internal combustion engine buses or a motor bus was used in 1895. Benz & Cie was an organisation that invented the motored bus. More specifically, Carl Benz came up with the idea – because sales of his vehicles were initially slow, it didn’t take long for Carl to start looking for further potential uses for the technology. That’s where he came up with, the bus. It went on service 18th March 1895 and was a huge breakthrough for the transportation industry.

The 1900s…

Moving forward 30 years, the first bus service was introduced, travelling from London to Bristol and back. This helped those with jobs in the city immensely and allowed buses to become much more popular. It wasn’t all easy though, as the passing of the Road Traffic Act introduced a number of rules and regulations of the road, including speeding and lane departures. Despite the huge safety management it caused, it also was the first obstacle of the UK bus industry. Later, from 1939-1945 i.e. WW2, bus services were suspended in order to save fuel and prevent any obstruction for the army.

In 1972, the National Express was founded. Originally called the National Travel, the company is a coach operator providing transport services via bus throughout Great Britain, which also encouraged more coach companies and awareness of bus services and its useful potential.


We are now in 2019, and there are a large number of bus services and coach hire businesses travelling on the roads on a daily basis, including us. At Omega Tour, we are a coach hire company that have a variety of exciting trips coming up this year. To book, you can contact us on [email protected].

Thanks for reading.