We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Trailer Bus?

Patrick Wensink
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A trailer bus is a type of mass transit vehicle that utilizes a semi-truck cab, but has a trailer made into seating for transporting passengers. Combining the flexibility and power of a truck with the comfort of buses, these vehicles were created in Europe nearly a century ago and remained popular for many years. Due to changing transportation needs and safety concerns, only one nation currently uses this form of a bus with any frequency.

The trailer bus was invented in the Netherlands in the 1920s. The bus' creation came out of necessity because conventional buses were being built very long to accommodate passengers, but frequently got stuck. When lengthy buses went over humped bridges, the central sections would grind against the road, stranding the bus. Trailer buses were put into production when it was discovered the independent passenger compartment provided more clearance space and did not catch on bridges.

The design was based on the articulated trailer, which was a type of bus that fused two cabin compartments together to create a single bus, much like how train cars were connected. This new bus had a semi-truck engine and cab, like the kind used to haul tractor trailers full of goods in the shipping industry. The rear was a converted trailer, outfitted to look and feel just like the cabin of a bus, but with the trailer connected at the truck's hitch.

For 50 years, from the 1930s to the 1980s, the trailer bus design was seen in use in many metropolitan areas. The trailer bus' cost benefits were one of the biggest reasons for its popularity. For example, on a traditional bus, if the engine breaks down, that bus would be inoperable until repairs were made. Likewise, if a bus' cabin grew outdated or also broke, the entire bus might need to be disposed of. The trailer bus, with its interchangeable parts, provided an efficient way to keep fleets of mass transit vehicles on the road.

During the 1980s, this form of transportation fell out of favor for many reasons. Chief among them was the improving quality of traditional bus designs. Safety concerns, however, also prompted this change, including worries about the trailer disconnections and the lengthy bus' inability to navigate tight turns. Havana, Cuba is currently the only major metropolitan area still known to use trailer buses for public transportation.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Patrick Wensink
By Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various genres and platforms. His work has been featured in major publications, including attention from The New Yorker. With a background in communication management, Wensink brings a unique perspective to his writing, crafting compelling narratives that resonate with audiences.
Discussion Comments
By bear78 — On May 09, 2014

@serenesurface-- I saw a very old trailer bus while traveling in Europe. I even went inside and looked. It was definitely a very different idea but I can see how it could be problematic. I mean the driver had no idea what was going on in the trailer.

By ysmina — On May 08, 2014

@serenesurface-- Trailer buses are not as useful as they seem. Like the article said, they have shortcomings and that's why they are no longer preferred. Although trailer buses were used in many countries, newer buses have completely replaced them. As far as I know, they are also slowly being replaced in Cuba.

Trailer buses were the best buses available for a long time after the 1920s. World War II increased their use and production and many companies started using them. But trailer buses are very long, so it's difficult to drive them and maneuver them. They also require a conductor because the trailer is separate from the tractor unit. So someone needs to be in the trailer. The issues made the trailer bus undesirable later on.

By serenesurface — On May 08, 2014

I have seen a modern version of the trailer bus in the US. It was a trailer bus but it also looked like a charter bus. I think it is used for special events and it clearly holds a lot of people.

I don't know why trailer buses have lost popularity. I think they are very useful forms of transportation. Like the article said, the trailer or the tractor unit could be changed very easily. I also don't think that the modern versions have safety issues like their old counterparts.

Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink
Patrick Wensink, a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, captivates readers with his engaging style across various...
Learn more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.