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An express bus service (also known as commuter bus service) is a bus service that is intended to run faster than normal bus services between the same two commuter or destination points.
Express buses operate on a faster schedule by not making as many stops as normal bus services and often taking quicker routes, such as along freeways. They may also operate out of park and rides only during rush hour in peak direction or operate as all-day service.
The fare on an express bus service may be higher than normal parallel services, for the quicker service. Many express buses require passengers to purchase tickets before boarding the bus, speeding up the service.
A transit bus (also commuter bus, city bus, town bus, stage bus, public bus or simply bus) is a type of bus used on shorter-distance public transport bus services which include low-floor buses, double-decker buses, articulated buses and minibusses.
These are distinct from all-seated coaches used for longer distance journeys and smaller minibuses, which are typically used for paratransit (demand-responsive) services.
As they are used in a public transport role, transit buses can be operated by publicly run transit authorities or municipal bus companies, as well as private transport companies on a public contract or fully independent basis. Due to the local authority use, transit buses are often built to a third-party specification put to the manufacturer by the authority. Early examples of such specification include the ‘Greater Manchester’ Leyland Atlantean, and DMS-class London Leyland Fleetline. New transit buses may be purchased each time a route/area is contracted, such as in the London Buses tendering system.
The operating area of a transit bus may also be defined as a geographic metropolitan area, with the buses used outside of this area being more varied with buses purchased with other factors in mind. Some regional-size operators for capital cost reasons may use transit buses interchangeably on short urban routes as well as longer rural routes, sometimes up to 2 or 3 hours. Often transit bus operators have a selection of ‘dual-purpose’ fitted buses, that is standard transit buses fitted with coach-type seating, for longer-distance routes.
Sometimes transit buses may also be used as express buses on a limited-stopping or non-stop service at peak times, but over the same distance as the regular route.