Welcome to The Open Top Bus Site. This website is for anyone interested in open top buses in all countries of the world.
Our aim is to record the details of all current open top buses, together with lists of buses no longer in existence; that is, scrapped or believed to be scrapped. Ultimately, we are compiling histories of each bus and hope to be able to publish these as and when time becomes available.
This project started in 2000 with a private database of buses in the United Kingdom. The website first appeared on the internet in 2006 as a simple list of open top buses that you could find in the UK. It has steadily grown to a list now containing over 4,000 buses in 78 countries where open top buses can be seen. The website is run by myself, David McGow, based in Edinburgh, Scotland, and assisted by a small team of researchers. Much of our information is gleaned from the bus enthusiast press, clubs and societies’ news sheets and publications, from bus operators directly, from individuals and in most cases, from research on the internet. Some information comes our way purely by chance after searching for clues. A lot of information is difficult to find, so we are always grateful to receive information and photos directly from individuals. Reports of sightings can confirm to us that certain buses still exist, or may have changed location or owner, so please contact us with any information. Details on how to e-mail us are on the Front Page.
Previously (before July 2010), updates to the site had been made on an annual basis, usually in July. This is a busy time for seeing open top buses in the UK, Europe and North America, being Summer time in the northern hemisphere. However, as we have discovered, there are also many open top buses in the southern hemisphere, in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil and Peru, where Summer time is at the other end of the year to here in the UK. Therefore, the website can now be seen as an all-year-round interest. There are of course many locations throughout the world where open top buses operate all year round, usually on sightseeing tours in busy tourist locations. The website was relaunched in July 2010, and is now updated at least monthly, and often more frequently during British summer time. Data Update notifications will be notified on a link on the Front Page, and will let you quickly see what has changed since your last visit.
The presentation of some of the pages is also different to others. This is because I want to include photos, as for example on the 'Cyprus' page, and links to operators' own websites, and other illustrations, and with even more detail as on the ‘City Sightseeing San Francisco’ page. When I realised the amount of work required to provide that level of detail and illustration, I decided to press on with the basic lists, and come back to them to add the photos and website links later. Some pages have already been upgraded to a higher standard of presentation and this will continue for others with future updates. However, if it is simply the vehicle detail that you want to see, I hope that what we have presently is adequate.
The site has been designed using NetObjects Fusion 10.0 and is best suited to a screen resolution of 1024x768 pixels or higher. I have tested it using Internet Explorer10, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari. It should work with other internet browsers, including mobile applications. If you have any difficulties with viewing any part of the website, please let me know by using the contact details on the Front Page. The website is not programmed in any way to use ‘cookies’ or any website use-tracking systems. However, some computers have their own cookies set up to store previous versions of website pages to make it quicker for you to see the pages. In that case, what you see may not be the most up to date page from the internet, so if you think something is out-of-date, please click on the ‘Refresh’ button on your internet browser.
I have tried to use photos with the permission of the photographer or copyright owner. There are currently a few photos on the site that I have borrowed from the internet, and have credited to the photographer. Where this has happened, clicking on the photo will take you to the original source of the photo, usually the photographer's own website, so that he/she gets the credit for the photo and another way for visitors to see the source website. I also welcome submissions specifically for use on this site, so if you have any photos that you would like to illustrate any part of the website or a particular subject, please let me know.
Registration Numbers/Licence Plates
Being based in the UK, I tend to refer to vehicle licence plates as 'registration numbers', usually abbreviated to ‘Reg No’, which is probably a British term. In some countries, particularly the USA, these plates are more commonly referred to as 'licence plates' or ‘tags’. However, for the majority of this site, I use the term 'registration number' or 'reg. no.' to identify individual vehicles. In UK terms, buses normally have a 'registration number' for life, although some are later reregistered usually to obtain a number plate that the owner desires. In these cases the buses are listed with the current registration number/licence plate, and then the previous number(s) follow in brackets, with the most recent plate first in cases of subsequent reregistrations. In some countries, such as the USA and France, I believe that 'licence plates' stay with the owner/operator and when the vehicle changes ownership, it receives a new licence plate or in some areas new plates are issued every year. In such cases, for our purposes, the normal sequence of events of reregistering or 'relicencing' applies.
Body Layout Codes
The 'Layout' codes that are used in the lists are those commonly used in the UK by the enthusiast press and societies. These describe the seating capacity of the bus and the general layout, such as the entrance door position, number of doors, whether convertible or full open top, etc. Occasionally, some codes appear that are not in the list and I hope are self-explanatory, but if you want to clarify a particular entry, please let me know. The common codes are as follows:-
O Permanent open top
CO Convertible open top, can be operated with or without roof fitted
PO Part open top, part covered roof (usually the forward part covered)
OB Open top single deck bus
OC Open top single deck coach
For double deckers, this is shown with the top deck seating capacity first, for example 45/30, indicating 45 seats on the top over 30 on the lower deck. Where the split is not known, the total figure is given, in this case 75. For single deckers, only the total figure is shown because these are all seated on one deck.
D Dual doors, usually at the front and in the centre, for separate entry and exit
F Front, in front of the front axle, or Forward if behind the front axle on buses with short front overhang
RD Rear, with platform doors fitted
T Triple doors, usually at the front, centre and rear. An unusual combination in open tops, but may apply
* * indicates an offside (driver’s side) door fitted where this would not normally apply to a bus of that type. This normally applies to British designs now operating in other countries where the rule of the road is to drive on the right
For a double deck bus, O28/26R would be a permanent open top with 28 seats on the upper deck and 26 on the lower deck (26 over 24) with a rear entrance, perhaps a traditional front-engined bus with rear open platform. CO43/31F would be a convertible open top bus (i.e. with removable roof) with 4 seats over 31, with a front entrance, such as a modern rear-engined bus.
Buses For Sale
I occasionally receive enquiries from people asking where they can buy open top buses. I do not sell buses, as much as I would like another source of income. However in some cases, I can refer you to several bus dealers in the UK, or 'overseas' if I know of any. I don’t have any agreements with dealers, I just pass on contact details.
Private Hire Requests
Likewise, I often receive messages asking for prices and conditions for private hire/charter arrangements. It is best to contact an operator in your area if you wish to hire an open top bus. However, I can sometimes recommend an operator in your area if I know of one.
Links To Other Websites
Sometime, I will have a page with links to other relevant websites, whether operators, enthusiasts, Flickr, etc. If you have an appropriate website or want to recommend one, please send me a link, and if I like it, I’ll advertise it.