The Most Important Features a Bus Should Have

The Most Important Features a Bus Should Have

Ask a driver about the most important features a bus should have and they’ll talk about safety and reliability. Ask a passenger, and they’ll rank comfort and luxury at the top. Before you invest in a coach or charter bus, consider it from your passengers’ point of view. Make sure you’re prioritizing the amenities they value most.

Air Conditioning and Purification

Many riders won’t get on a bus if it doesn’t offer air conditioning. With the recent pandemic not quite in our rear-view mirror, air purification is also becoming a must-have for any passenger transportation. What was once an indulgence has become a necessity, especially on long trips when air can get stale. When the atmosphere is controlled and purified, passengers are insulated from outside conditions, protected from contaminants and can better relax. An HVAC system can even have a white-noise effect that drowns out distracting sounds from traffic. For bonus points, add individual air outlets at each seat that the passenger can control.

Comfortable Seating

When bus occupants can sink into their seats without complaint, everyone’s ride is a lot smoother. Ideally, their seats will be so cushy and roomy they’ll fall asleep and awaken refreshed at their destination. How do you ensure that kind of comfort? Everyone’s definition will vary, but there are plenty of ways to customize seats.

Ample Size

This is a necessity even for shorter jaunts. American passengers want enough room to stretch out if necessary, even if they’re wearing thick coats. Humans are getting taller and heavier, and seat size must grow with them.

Plush Cushioning

There are endless factors when it comes to choosing seat cushions. Will you focus on the best headrests, ergonomic considerations, firm support, soft pillows, or breathability? The answer comes down to your budget, but don’t skimp on comfort.

Leather Upholstery

Vinyl and fabric look and wear just fine, especially when new. But leather seating is worth the additional expense when passengers have come to expect the best.

Reclining Seats

Everyone gets a little thrill when they discover their seat can recline, and rightly so. Just make sure that there’s enough space between rows that no one’s head ends up in the lap of the passenger behind.

Optimal Arrangement

Depending on the purpose of your bus, you might prefer all forward-facing seating, perimeter seating, lounge seating, or some sort of hybrid.

Adequate Lighting

On longer trips, not all your passengers will be sleeping at the same time. Individual lighting should provide a spotlight for reading without waking up the person in the next seat.

The Little Things

Many small additions can have a big impact on passengers’ experience: bag and coat hooks, armrests, grab handles, storage bags, magazine holders, fold-down tables, cup holders and footrests.


This is the main complaint of airline passengers, and a real consideration when it comes to health. Riders deserve enough room to at least keep their blood circulating, not cramped legroom. Rather than cramming another row into your bus, seriously consider removing one and giving your passengers more legroom.


To be honest, your customers will probably not rave about the bus facilities. But do they want them onboard? Absolutely. It gives passengers a feeling of security—just be sure to keep them as clean as possible.

Complimentary Wi-Fi

Ask someone to take a bus trip without internet connectivity and you’ll see pure, raw panic. Maybe they need to get work done or just entertain themselves for several hours. Overall, it’s in the driver’s best interest to have quieter, more content passengers.

Personal Power Outlets

This is another feature that riders have come to expect on buses. Now that so much of daily life depends on computers and mobile phones, it’s a highly appreciated perk to be able to plug in and recharge on a bus. USB ports are just as essential as electrical outlets.

Overhead Storage

The under-bus baggage compartment will handle the bigger suitcases and equipment. However, passengers don’t like to be without any belongings, as their personal items can make their trip more enjoyable. In addition, travelers often pick-up souvenirs that are large and unwieldy that won’t pack well or fit in luggage. It’s best to provide enough space so that possessions don’t start to spill over into other seats.

Disabled Access

For starters, make sure you’re in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. But beyond that, the more you can do for disabled passengers, the better. Not all disabilities require the same accommodations, and more inclusivity can lead to happier clientele and more potential riders. Be sure to include:

Wheelchair Lifts

The latest versions are faster, smoother, safer, and easier to use. They work well with mobility scooters, too. Aging passengers will increasingly need this kind of access.

Wheelchair Space

Mobility aids like canes and walkers can be stored in the overhead compartments, but wheelchairs will likely remain occupied. Leave space for wheelchairs and scooters or install seats that can conveniently be removed. The ADA requires fully-accessible aisles for those with disabilities, and service dogs need extra room as well.

Safety Belts

Three-point safety belts are safe and comfortable, and a godsend for parents traveling with young children. With both shoulder and lap harnesses, these belts can strap in standard child car seats without much fuss.

Entertainment Systems

The days of personal television screens built into seats aren’t far off. You can lead the way with flat screens for group viewing that can show DVDs or satellite TV.

Green Initiatives

There are many options for both new and used buses that can cut down on harmful emissions. If you include technology for a green fuel system, advertise it or post your commitment onboard. You’ll find that customers appreciate every little effort to help the planet.

It’s up to you to decide on the most important features a bus should have by balancing your priorities with your passengers’—and with your budget. If you’re looking for a new or used charter bus for sale, National Bus can talk you through all your options for customizing it. Our selection of vans, shuttles, school buses, and coach buses is diverse enough to fit your needs. Contact us to learn more.

The Most Important Features a Bus Should Have
Mike Curtis

Mike Curtis

Mike Curtis General Manager National Bus Sales

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