A coach (also motor coach, often simply referred to as a bus) is a type of vehicle used for conveying passengers on excursions and on longer-distance intercity bus service between cities—or even between countries. Unlike transit buses designed for shorter journeys, coaches often have a luggage hold that is separate from the passenger cabin and are normally equipped with facilities required for longer trips, including comfortable seats and sometimes a toilet.
The term “coach” was previously used for a horse-drawn carriage designed for the conveyance of more than one passenger, the passengers’ luggage, and mail, that is covered for protection from the elements. The term was applied to railway carriages in the 19th century, and later to motor coaches.
Coaches, as they hold passengers for significant periods of time on long journeys, are designed for comfort. They vary considerably in quality from country to country and within countries. Higher specification vehicles include luxury seats and air conditioning. Coaches typically have only a single, narrow door, as an increased loading time is acceptable due to infrequent stops. Some characteristics include:
- Comfortable seats that may include a folding table, armrests, and recliner. Comfort is considered to be an important feature in coaches.
- Luggage racks above the seats where passengers can access their carry-on baggage during the journey
- Baggage holds, accessed from outside the vehicle, often under the main floor or at the rear, where passengers’ luggage can be stowed away from the seating area
- Passenger service units, mounted overhead, on which personal reading lights and air conditioning ducts can be controlled and used by individual passengers with little disturbance to other passengers
- On-board rest rooms fitted with chemical toilets, hand basins and hand sanitizer.
- On some coaches, on-board entertainment including movies may be shown to passengers
- On-board refreshment service or vending machines
- Wheelchair accommodation, possibly including a wheelchair lift for access
- Curtains, useful on overnight services
- Onboard Wifi-access