Trivia: What is the longest distance bus route in the world?

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What is the longest distance bus route in the world?

I came across this video on You Tube here:


However it is a bit misleading as all of the routes mentioned are actually coach routes operated by coaches rather than buses.

In the UK i am guessing it is maybe the Arriva North East X15 and X18 or Borders Buses 253 and X95 or maybe something else. However i am wondering if any other countries have any longer routes. In order to count the route must be operated by buses rather than coaches.

So what is the longest distance bus route in the world that is actually a bus route operated by buses and not coaches?
 
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Ken H

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What is a bus and what is a coach? I think Citylink in Scotland blur the boundaries somewhat.
 

jamesontheroad

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In the USA, it'd be New York City to Los Angeles. Route #1351 is direct and takes 68h 5m.
 
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What is a bus and what is a coach? I think Citylink in Scotland blur the boundaries somewhat.
Citylink is a coach. It is operated entirely by coaches. Although some services may be registered as local bus routes they are still operated by coaches. So for the purpose of this thread the vehicles that are used must be buses.

In the USA, it'd be New York City to Los Angeles. Route #1351 is direct and takes 68h 5m.
But that is a coach rather than a bus.

A distinction that is apparently very important to British enthusiasts but utterly meaningless in most of the world.
That is an interesting point. I have noticed that other countries seem to make less of a distinction between buses and coaches. Do other languages even have separate words for buses and coaches? If not than maybe that is why?

Although the opposite could be said for buses and trolleybuses. Over in Mainland Europe (especially in Eastern Europe and in particular the ex USSR countries) buses and trolleybuses are normally considered to be two completely different types of vehicles. Where as here in the UK we mainly consider trolleybuses as a type of bus.
 
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Gag Halfrunt

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Trolleybuses don't have registration plates in most of the former USSR (IIRC Lithuania is the one exception). Perhaps they are regulated as vehicles running on fixed infrastructure, like trams, rather than automobiles that can go anywhere.
 
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A distinction that is apparently very important to British enthusiasts but utterly meaningless in most of the world.
As a senior bus pass holder, I can assure you that there is an important distinction between the two! ;)

There was a Greyhound route mentioned in a book I read once, from Seattle to Miami, but dunno if that involved changes of bus?
 

Fragezeichnen

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Define what a bus is then, in your view?

I agree with Flying Snail and jamesontheroad on this.
This is how I see it, although I guess not all of these will apply depending on local expectatations/regulations:
  • A coach has it's primary luggage storage in lockers underneath the passenger cabin. On a bus all luggage must be stored in the passenger cabin.
  • A bus may have floor space and boarding arrangements for wheelchairs and pushchairs. On a coach these must be folded and stored in the luggage bay.
  • A coach may have a toilet. A bus never does.
  • A coach has seatbelts. A bus usually does not.
  • A coach has individual lighting/air ventilation/seat recline settings for each seat. A bus does not.
 

JonasB

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I'm not sure about the distinction between buses and coaches. But the longest bus route in Sweden operated as local public transport is route 45 between Östersund and Gällivare. A 693 km trip that takes a bit over 11 hours. It used to start/end in Mora, a bit over 1000 km driving distance from Gällivare, but a couple of years ago the route was split in two. 46 south of Östersund and 45 north of Östersund. Not the longest route in the world, but maybe one of the longest in western Europe.

The distinction here is a route operated by one or several Länstrafiksbolag and not by Flixbus or similar companies. But is it a bus or a coach? I found a blog post about a trip on the route a couple of years ago and I'm not sure.

  • The primary luggage storage for passengers is in the cabin. But it has a loading area for cargo in the rear, a so called Skvader. In rural parts of northern Sweden, it's not uncommon for buses to transport cargo as well.
  • It is a low floor vehicle, so probably has space for wheelchairs.
  • It has a toilet, an 11 hour trip without toilet would not be attractive.
  • It has seat belts, but I think that is the law for all vehicles except buses used only in cities.
  • The seats probably recline, but so do the seats on the suburban buses where I live.
A few images of the vehicles. Buses or coaches?

But the double deckers have been replaced by single deckers with underfloor storage. Are they coaches?
 

martinsh

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A few images of the vehicles. Buses or coaches?

But the double deckers have been replaced by single deckers with underfloor storage. Are they coaches?
Those are all coaches
 

Taunton

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As a senior bus pass holder, I can assure you that there is an important distinction between the two! ;)

There was a Greyhound route mentioned in a book I read once, from Seattle to Miami, but dunno if that involved changes of bus?
I took this in their heyday in the 1970s, all around the USA. The vehicles certainly did run right through; on such routes there were commonly three or four departures in a day, somewhat equally spaced, and the journeys took several days each way. No reservations, as many backup vehicles as required would be provided over sections, generally within the daytime sectors. Extraordinarily reliable, never had a mechanical fault, though a couple of times we all had to wait half an hour while they changed a tyre. And always a "bus". In the US the term "coach" is used when often the same vehicles are used for charters rather than the regular timetabled runs.
 

TRAX

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There is also a few legal distinctions between buses and coaches (the vehicles as well as the routes), especially regarding operational rules (driving time, the way routes and times have to be set up, etc.). So it’s not just an enthusiast’s distinction.
 

Giugiaro

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A distinction that is apparently very important to British enthusiasts but utterly meaningless in most of the world.
I know you wrote "most of the world", but let me at least add that in Portugal a Bus usually doesn't have spaces for luggage, while coaches do have specific compartments for them, hence why they are so tall.

There are however some buses that blur the line between a proper bus and a coach, but people usually despise them since they have steps to climb and are cramped, and lack the space for any meaningful luggage.
Anytime any one of those hybrids show up on a bus or coach route, it's a bad time indeed.
 

class ep-09

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Trolleybuses don't have registration plates in most of the former USSR (IIRC Lithuania is the one exception). Perhaps they are regulated as vehicles running on fixed infrastructure, like trams, rather than automobiles that can go anywhere.
Not sure about other countries but they have reg plates in Poland too .
Many operate with batteries packs and can go away from the wires now.
 

185

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Transoceanica ... Rio to Lima as mentioned in the above video is said to be the longest.

Double decker, 4000 miles / 100 hours, coast to coast across one of the widest bits of South America, where the roads aren't great.

Many, many stops on the way. By definition, a bus IMO.

TRANSOCEÁNICA:
 

class ep-09

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67thave

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If we're talking bus vehicles, the longest local bus route (to my knowledge) in the United States is likely Mendocino Transit's 65 bus from Santa Rosa to Fort Bragg. Last time I checked, the route takes roughly 4:30 end-to-end.
If we're allowed to include coach vehicles, then the longest "local" bus service in the United States (local as in run by a transit agency, not local as in it makes all stops) is likely the summertime variation of New Jersey Transit route #319 from New York to Cape May, which takes roughly 5:30 to complete its journey.
 
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If we're talking bus vehicles, the longest local bus route (to my knowledge) in the United States is likely Mendocino Transit's 65 bus from Santa Rosa to Fort Bragg. Last time I checked, the route takes roughly 4:30 end-to-end.
If we're allowed to include coach vehicles, then the longest "local" bus service in the United States (local as in run by a transit agency, not local as in it makes all stops) is likely the summertime variation of New Jersey Transit route #319 from New York to Cape May, which takes roughly 5:30 to complete its journey.
Just seen a photo of that Mendocino Transit 65! It looks like a Prison Van! What an odd vehicle!
 

LNW-GW Joint

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In the US the term "coach" is used when often the same vehicles are used for charters rather than the regular timetabled runs.
Coach also being the definition (in the US) of the lowest economy class on an aircraft, ie it's the service level rather than the vehicle.
 

johncrossley

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I think the issue here is that in most countries they use vehicles suitable for the length of journey. The English/Scottish routes mentioned in the first post would typically either not exist as through routes or use coaches in other countries.
 

Starmill

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Those are all coaches
What's this vehicle?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12707...PGikh-2iKiFbS-2hTBFZN-2gfXiSh-2geuaEM-2gbVBqX

Is it a bus or a van? I would argue it's closer to a van in physical characteristics than it is to, for example, an E200, which is commonly accepted to be a 'bus'. Is it a minibus? Well maybe, but bespoke minibuses rather than adapted from vans look pretty different generally. Is a minibus also not a bus? Or is a bus a superset of a minibus? In which case...
 

johncrossley

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What's this vehicle?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12707...PGikh-2iKiFbS-2hTBFZN-2gfXiSh-2geuaEM-2gbVBqX

Is it a bus or a van? I would argue it's closer to a van in physical characteristics than it is to, for example, an E200, which is commonly accepted to be a 'bus'. Is it a minibus? Well maybe, but bespoke minibuses rather than adapted from vans look pretty different generally. Is a minibus also not a bus? Or is a bus a superset of a minibus? In which case...

Van derived minibuses were very common in Great Britain during the late 80s and early 90s, such as the Ford Transit, Freight Rover Sherpa and Renault Dodge S56. They often replaced full size buses in medium sized towns or on secondary routes in major cities as a way of running a high frequency service at low cost, as minibus drivers didn't get paid as much and there was no minimum wage back then. By the 90s these were mostly replaced by 'proper' minibuses from Optare or short single deck buses like Dennis Darts.
 

Starmill

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Van derived minibuses were very common in Great Britain during the late 80s and early 90s, such as the Ford Transit, Freight Rover Sherpa and Renault Dodge S56. They often replaced full size buses in medium sized towns or on secondary routes in major cities as a way of running a high frequency service at low cost, as minibus drivers didn't get paid as much and there was no minimum wage back then. By the 90s these were mostly replaced by 'proper' minibuses from Optare or short single deck buses like Dennis Darts.
Indeed! And like the one pictured there are even some new ones about today. There are also a few titchy 7 metre 'Solo SE' variants out there.
 
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What's this vehicle?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/12707...PGikh-2iKiFbS-2hTBFZN-2gfXiSh-2geuaEM-2gbVBqX

Is it a bus or a van? I would argue it's closer to a van in physical characteristics than it is to, for example, an E200, which is commonly accepted to be a 'bus'. Is it a minibus? Well maybe, but bespoke minibuses rather than adapted from vans look pretty different generally. Is a minibus also not a bus? Or is a bus a superset of a minibus? In which case...
That is a breadvan which i think could be considered a different category.

Personally i see three different categories:

• buses
• coaches
• breadvans

Anything like a Mercedes Benz Sprinter or Mellor Strata or Ford Transit or Volkswagen Crafter is a breadvan.

Coaches are vehicles which are normally step entrance and have luggage space underneath or behind and have seatbelts. Although there are some low floor examples but they are still coaches.

I would consider a 7.1m Optare Solo SE M710SE to still be a proper bus. Although it is probably the smallest proper bus out there.

Although it does seem like the difference between a bus and a coach is much more blurred in other countries which i had not quite realised until now.
 

MotCO

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Would you count the Top Deck overland tours to Australia operated by Bristol Lodekkas as a bus route?
 

johncrossley

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Looking at our neighbouring countries, the longest local bus route in Belgium is probably the E69 from Liege to Arlon, well over 100 km. This route literally changed today. Until yesterday there was a 1011 (yes four digit route number) from Liege to Athus, but that was merged into the E69 as of today so about 15 km was chopped off the route. Searching for pictures of the 1011 on Google you get a variety of buses some of them more coach like than others.

The longest local bus route in the Netherlands is probably the 350 from Alkmaar to Leeuwarden, but I think this would be classed as a coach by most British people:


I doubt there is a long bus (not coach) route in Ireland as they seem to use coaches for almost all long routes.
 

JonasB

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Coaches are vehicles which are normally step entrance and have luggage space underneath or behind and have seatbelts. Although there are some low floor examples but they are still coaches.

Although it does seem like the difference between a bus and a coach is much more blurred in other countries which i had not quite realised until now.

I'd say that the difference is not that easy to define. It is not a case of black or white, but rather a greyscale.
 

johncrossley

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In French you have separate words for bus and coach. Local bus is 'bus' or 'autobus', and (confusingly for English speakers) 'car' or 'autocar' for coach. Similar to Ireland, France seem to prefer coaches on routes out of town even on quite short distance, and they are often referred to as 'car' in timetables.
 

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