Segments in this Video

Public Transit (02:01)


Transport is integral to city life. Buses have provided services for over 150 years and remain a popular mode of transport. Bus design reflects daily needs.

Early British Transport Services (03:50)

George Shillibeer launches the first bus service in 1829. By the 1850s, horse-drawn buses have a top deck. In 1860, the first tramway service opens. Improved travel causes two major social consequences; competition improves bus design.

Electrification and Motorization (03:34)

Electric tramcars epitomize progress and horse-drawn buses cannot compete. Britain's first motor bus service launches in Edinburgh. The Milnes Daimler motor bus launches in 1904; various manufacturers begin producing motor buses.

Bus Designs (03:31)

Steam-powered buses appear in the early 20th century but are not well-suited to fluctuating demands. Horse-drawn bus services continue until the arrival of the London General B-type in 1910; it quickly becomes popular.

Burgeoning Coach Industry (02:18)

Adapted Model-T Fords are one of two major forerunners. World War I restricts public transportation and the military commandeers vehicles. Labor forces shrink and companies hire women.

Post-War Bus Design (06:13)

Transportation services proliferate. Bus designs consider comfort and safety. The Leyland Lion sets industry standards; the company releases the Titan TD1 and Tiger TS1. Coaching industry innovations include windows, purpose-built chassis, and improved interiors

City Transportation Developments (04:11)

The 1930 Road Traffic Act introduces a licensing system; experts can elaborate on transport strategies within a controlled market. The diesel engine is the most important design advancement of the period. The number of Trolley buses increases.

World War II Halts Progression (02:40)

Weapons and equipment production become the focus of manufacturers. Bus fleets dwindle and the government authorizes the production of a limited number of utility buses.

Post-War Public Transport (02:48)

Services gradually resume and three vehicles emerge, including the AEC Regent RT and Bedford OB. Bedford stops production in the 1950s. Vintage buses can be found on the roads.

Manchester Museum of Transport (03:06)

Volunteers restore and maintain vehicles. SMT is responsible for the bodywork on a Bedford OB. A Crossley reveals Art Deco forms of the 1950s.

Leyland Buses (05:13)

Drivers road test a 1958 Titan PD 2/34 and a 1953 Leyland Royal Tiger. The Titan PD was the third bus to emerge after WWII. Leyland introduces a variety of models during post-war production.

London Routemaster (03:19)

The 1963 RM1414 remains in service for nearly 20 years. Routemasters emerge in 1959 and many continue service; they have an integral frame and aluminum alloy panels.

Demise of the Tramway (03:37)

Tram service ends in the 1950s and workers remove tracks from the streets. Bus manufacturers increase output to meet increasing demands. Municipal operators experience a period of stability and workshop practices are more efficient.

Consumerism and Engineering (04:51)

An era of prosperity occurs after WWII and private motorcars become popular. The increase of car ownership results in a decline of public transport. One-man operation and rear-engine placement helps buses retain economic viability.

Coach Industry (03:05)

Tourism is a lucrative market for coach operators; passenger comfort is a high priority. Inter-urban services are necessary for many people. The urban bus industry has a positive future.

Credits: History of the Bus (00:43)

Credits: History of the Bus

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History of the Bus

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
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3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The ubiquitous urban bus has been carrying passengers in British streets for nearly two centuries, since its early horse-drawn days in London. In modern times, it has been unrivaled as a means of urban passenger transport, helped by the demise of the electric tram. But the diesel bus now finds itself under attack as a source of urban pollution. This program maps the history and development of the bus in its social economic context, looking closely at the technology and design of it and its rivals.

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL210798

ISBN: 978-1-64867-972-8

Copyright date: ©2003

Closed Captioned

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Only available in USA and Canada.