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Early version of a midibus, the Bedford JJL

Two Optare Solo midibuses

A Hino Rainbow midibus

A midibus is a classification of single-decker minibuses which generally are larger than a traditional minibus but smaller than a full-size single decker and can be anywhere between 8 metres (26 ft 3 in) and 11 metres (36 ft 1 in) long. While used in many parts of the world, the midibus is perhaps most common in the United Kingdom, where operators have found them more economical, and to have a sufficient number of seats compared to full size single-decker buses.

Midibuses are often designed to be light weight to save on diesel fuel (e.g. smaller wheels than on larger buses), making them not as durable as heavier 'full size' buses. Some midibuses, such as the Scania OmniTown, are heavier and therefore more durable.

Recently Europe has seen the introduction of the Alexander Dennis Enviro300 and VDL SB200, both predominantly aimed at the UK market which, while being full size buses (in the fact that they are about 12 metres (39 ft 4 in) long), are related to midibuses in being light weight.

US designs

The term "midibus" is not in common use in the United States, such smaller and lighter-duty buses not being employed in public transit roles there except in some very specialized instances. San Francisco, for example, has some buses much smaller than its regular Orion transit buses for the routes that include some of the steeper and curvier hills.

In charter / tour roles, there is indeed a gap between the minibus (12-28 seats) and the touring coach (47-50 seats). Several shuttle bus companies such as Goshen Coaches and Crystal have manufactured rear-engined vehicles that have 30–35 seats, but no generic term has ever been applied to them. They are usually lumped together with their smaller "minibus" brethrens and called "minibus", or "shuttle bus". The only other alternative was to import a "short" (two-axle) version of European touring coaches, known often as "baby coaches", around 30 feet (9.1 m) long and equipped with some 30–32 seats.

In the early 2000s, ABC Companies did introduce a "mid-sized coach", the M1000 series, which was based on the Freightliner Trucks large truck frame. Compared to regular touring coaches, this mid-sized coach was about half the price ($150,000 as opposed to $300,000), but offers no luggage space under the cabin (any luggage space must be carved out of the main cabin) and which had a maximum of 40 seats (without any luggage). It was also front-engined, making it somewhat noisier than rear-engined vehicles.

Other manufacturers, including Goshen and Crystal, introduced similar vehicles based on other large truck frames, such as the GMC design.

Models of midibus

Related buses

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