Buses In Art and Storytelling

Miss Harper was going home, although the night was wet and nasty. Miss Harper disliked traveling at any time, and she particularly disliked traveling on this dirty small bus, which was her only way of getting home; she had frequently complained to the bus company about their service, because it seemed that no matter where she wanted to go, they had no respectable bus to carry her.

Shirley Jackson, “The Bus”

Best voting advice: Voting isn’t marriage. It’s public transport. You’re not waiting for ‘the one’. You’re getting on the bus. And if there isn’t one going exactly to your destination, you don’t stay home and sulk. You take the one that’s going closest to where you want to be.

– @mhdksafa
Alfred Morgan - One of the People (Gladstone in an Omnibus)
Alfred Morgan – One of the People (Gladstone in an Omnibus)
William Maw Egley - Omnibus Life in London
William Maw Egley – Omnibus Life in London
Walter Crane 1845 - 1915 The Omnibus London Town 1883
Walter Crane 1845 – 1915 The Omnibus London Town 1883
1933 August, cover by Ernest Hamlin Baker
Bus in Paris
September 1935 bus
September 1935 open air bus
1915, Route Des Pyrenees, Artist- Louis Tauzin Printer- Champagne France
Vintage postcard from 1953
Vintage postcard from 1953
Wonderbus 7, Perry Colour Books Ill. Leslie Butler, pub. Powell Perry c1942-44, Putney UK
COUNTRY GENTLEMAN Magazine September 1947 Greyhound advertisement
COUNTRY GENTLEMAN Magazine September 1947 Greyhound advertisement
Washington Arch, 1930 Ellison Hoover; 1885-1955
Washington Arch, 1930 Ellison Hoover; 1885-1955
Roundabout painting by Valentin Belousov, USSR, 1967
Poster Art 1933 Autocar Citroën
by Bernhard REBER 1936, Switzerland, Alpine postal motor coaches
Victor Hembrow 1926
Victor Hembrow 1926
Scratch Scratch by Lindsay Currie
A ghost story about a malevolent spirit, an unlucky girl, and a haunting mystery that will tie the two together.

Claire has absolutely no interest in the paranormal. She’s a scientist, which is why she can’t think of anything worse than having to help out her dad on one of his ghost-themed Chicago bus tours. She thinks she’s made it through when she sees a boy with a sad face and dark eyes at the back of the bus. There’s something off about his presence, especially because when she checks at the end of the tour…he’s gone.

Claire tries to brush it off, she must be imagining things, letting her dad’s ghost stories get the best of her. But then the scratching starts. Voices whisper to her in the dark. The number 396 appears everywhere she turns. And the boy with the dark eyes starts following her.

Claire is being haunted. The boy from the bus wants something…and Claire needs to find out what before it’s too late.

What would it be like to walk into your living room and see a complete stranger who says she’s your mother? Dizzy hasn’t seen Storm since she walked out on her and her dad eight years ago, but here she is, a hippie-crunchy earth mother, come to celebrate Dizzy’s twelfth birthday and to convince Dizzy’s dad to let her come away for the summer. A dream is coming true right before Dizzy’s eyes and as the memories start flooding back, Dizzy knows she wants to spend as much time with her mum as she can. So the two steal off before dawn into the wild world of communes, hippies, out-door festivals, dirty fingernails and fun! As the weeks pass, Dizzy starts to feel things she’s never felt before. She meets Finn, who gives her her first kiss–and Mouse, who’s like the little brother she never had. This life is so different from the one back at home. Which life is the right one for Dizzy? Not since Sharon Creech has such a warm, fresh, wonderful voice emerged for this age group. Viking is proud to welcome the talented voice of Cathy Cassidy.

Grace Golden (1904-1993) double decker buses
Grace Golden (1904-1993) double decker buses
Mal Burton
Mal Burton
Timbo the trolley-bus from Tootles the Taxi by John Kenney (1956)
Timbo the trolley-bus from Tootles the Taxi by John Kenney (1956)
London poster for National Airlines by Bill Simon. Simon created a series of lushly colored and detailed posters in the 1960’s for National Airlines
Gay Company by Catherine Scales, illustrations by Moubray Leigh (H.F. and G. Witherby, Ltd, London 1938)
Gay Company by Catherine Scales, illustrations by Moubray Leigh (H.F. and G. Witherby, Ltd, London 1938)
From Onjali Q. Rauf, the award-winning and best-selling author of The Boy at the Back of the Class, comes another incredible story, told with humour and heart.

Told from the perspective of a bully, this book explores themes of homelessness, while celebrating kindness, friendship and the potential everyone has to change for the good.
Inspired by Onjali’s own childhood experiences of growing up in London and seeing the impact of homelessness on those around her, The Night Bus Hero follows an unlikely friendship between our narrator and Thomas – who lives in the park.

Can they get to the bottom of some unusual thefts taking place across the city, and discover what it takes to be a real hero?

She had providentially taken a sleeping pill before leaving for the bus station, hoping to sleep through as much of the trip as possible, and at last, sitting near the back, she promised herself that it would not be unbearably long before she had a bath and a cup of tea, and tried to compose the bus company’s response to her letter of complaint.

Shirley Jackson, “The Bus”
M. Sasek. This is London bus stop
M. Sasek. This is London bus stop
Czech writer and illustrator (émigré) of children's travel books Miroslav Sasek red bus
Czech writer and illustrator (émigré) of children’s travel books Miroslav Sasek red bus

As she swung on to the step of the Atlas ‘bus, grabbed her skirt with one hand and clung to the railing with the other, Rosabel thought she would have sacrificed her soul for a good dinner—roast duck and green peas, chestnut stuffing, pudding with brandy sauce—something hot and strong and filling. She sat down next to a girl very much her own age who was reading Anna Lombard in a cheap, paper-covered edition, and the rain had tear-spattered the pages. Rosabel looked out of the windows; the street was blurred and misty, but light striking on the panes turned their dullness to opal and silver, and the jewellers’ shops seen through this, were fairy palaces. Her feet were horribly wet, and she knew the bottom of her skirt and petticoat would be coated with black, greasy mud. There was a sickening smell of warm humanity—it seemed to be oozing out of everybody in the ‘bus—and everybody had the same expression, sitting so still, staring in front of them.

Katherine Mansfield, “The Tiredness of Rosabel

Twisty scares with heart – Paranormal humour that will make you smile while you nervously look over your shoulder.

Ghosts, sea monsters and a rest home for troublesome witches all feature in this short story collection/creepy love letter to Wellington New Zealand.


Back to School, Saturday Evening Post Cover, AMOS SEWELL
John Falter (American, 1910-1982), Running To Meet The Bus, The Saturday Evening Post magazine, October 15, 1957
Charles Elmer Martin, New Yorker cover, 1950
Charles Elmer Martin, New Yorker cover, 1950
Art Riley (1911-1998) 1940s Christmas card illustration
Junie B Jones Stupid Smelly School Bus
Meet the World’s Funniest Kindergartner–Junie B. Jones! Remember when it was scary to go to school? In the first Junie B. Jones book, it’s Junie B.’s first day and she doesn’t know anything. She’s so scared of the school bus and the meanies on it that when it’s time to go home, she doesn’t.
from Oliver by Birgitta Sif


Illustrator – Amos Sewell (1901-1983)
Charles Keeping 1978 ‘A kind of wild justice’ bus
Charles Keeping 1978 ‘A kind of wild justice’ bus

One teenager in a skirt.
One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever.

If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight.



Better Buses, Better Cities : How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit

Buses can and should be the cornerstone of urban transportation. They offer affordable mobility and can connect citizens with every aspect of their lives. But in the US, they have long been an afterthought in budgeting and planning. With a compelling narrative and actionable steps, Better Buses, Better Cities : How to Plan, Run, and Win the Fight for Effective Transit (Island Press, 2019) inspires us to fix the bus. Transit expert Steven Higashide shows us what a successful bus system looks like with real-world stories of reform—such as Houston redrawing its bus network overnight, Boston making room on its streets to put buses first, and Indianapolis winning better bus service on Election Day. Higashide shows how to marshal the public in support of better buses and how new technologies can keep buses on time and make complex transit systems understandable. Steven Higashide is one of America’s leading experts on public transportation and the people who use it. As director of research for the national foundation TransitCenter, Higashide has authored groundbreaking reports that have redefined how decision makers and journalists understand transit. He has taken the bus in 30 cities around the US and the world.

interview at New Books Network

Header illustration: Jean-Jacques Sempé (1933)


On paper, things look fine. Sam Dennon recently inherited significant wealth from his uncle. As a respected architect, Sam spends his days thinking about the family needs and rich lives of his clients. But privately? Even his enduring love of amateur astronomy is on the wane. Sam has built a sustainable-architecture display home for himself but hasn’t yet moved into it, preferring to sleep in his cocoon of a campervan. Although they never announced it publicly, Sam’s wife and business partner ended their marriage years ago due to lack of intimacy, leaving Sam with the sense he is irreparably broken.

Now his beloved uncle has died. An intensifying fear manifests as health anxiety, with night terrors from a half-remembered early childhood event. To assuage the loneliness, Sam embarks on a Personal Happiness Project:

1. Get a pet dog

2. Find a friend. Just one. Not too intense.




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