The History of the Motorcoach

Motorcoaches, or buses as they are often simply known, are vehicles that most of us have had experience with at some point in our lives.

My kids have had numerous experiences in them, going to Williamsburg or Philadelphia, going to a game with the rest of the team, or some type of band competition. These vehicles have become hugely popular among schools, civic groups, or commuters, they provide a valuable transportation option that many people rely on… daily. Most have WiFi and electricity, videos play on screens, and bathrooms and microwaves make long trips incredibly comfortable.

That being said, motorcoaches have come a long way from their humble beginnings.  The original coach was nothing like the coach we know today. In fact, they were simply horse-drawn carriages, until the early part of the 20th century when the first motorized versions were introduced.

The Charabancs (open sided large trucks with seats) were the first motorized coaches, although this was still nothing like the coaches we know and use today. Operators started purchasing fully enclosed vehicles in the late to mid ‘40’s and then on to the vehicles that resemble what we know today as the modern bus. Operators and owners began to consolidate and build fleets of buses in the early part of the 20th century and regular bus services exploded across the country. Over the mid to late part of the 20th century, some of the internal features that we see today in motor coaches began to be introduced, over seat storage, bathrooms, individual lights and reclining seats began to appear, albeit in a rather primitive fashion.

During the first few decades of the 20th century, motor coaches went through radical changes both in terms of design and features. By the latter part of the century, the motorcoach was a completely different vehicle than the ones that appeared in the 1920s. With the turn of the century, radical new designs began to appear with improved gas mileage, more comfortable seating, larger luggage stowage both under the main compartment and overhead. But with new materials that were both lighter and stronger sightlines were increased and incredible views through large tinted windows were now considered the norm.

Today, the motorcoach has evolved into a form of transportation that is not only reliable and efficient but is also able to offer the luxury and comfort that its earlier counterparts could never even dream of. From air conditioning and entertainment to reclining seats and spacious interiors, the modern motor coach has come a very long way since the first open-air trucks. So, if you’ve been inspired by this A Brief History of Motorcoaches and would like to bring your group on a motorcoach journey, book a trip through bus rates with any of the over 900 companies listed today!

United Motorcoach Association and BusRates Congratulates Elaine Chao

ALEXANDRIA, VA – The United Motorcoach Association (UMA) and BusRates.com applaud Elaine Chao for her confirmation as the nation’s 18th U.S. Transportation Secretary.

The members of UMA along with the subscribers of BusRates stand ready to work with Secretary Chao to advance safety and improvements in our infrastructure.

“The safety of our passengers and the nation’s traveling public is always our highest priority,” said UMA President & CEO Victor S. Parra. “In her confirmation testimony, Secretary Chao emphasized the role of the private sector throughout her testimony. Private sector bus companies are ready and willing to play an important role.”

We’re happy to be working with the Secretary and we’re looking forward to giving her a hand with any of the initiatives she and the department advance.

About the United Motorcoach Association

As North America’s largest association supporting motorcoach companies and their operators, the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) encompasses more than 900 passenger carriers. In addition to providing an array of passenger transportation services within each of the fifty United States, Mexico, and Canada, these companies partner with hundreds of members in the travel, supply, and manufacturing segments. From their headquarters in Alexandria, VA, UMA promotes and protects the interests of the diverse motorcoach industry.