The first bus with a combustion engine was delivered on the 12th of March 1895, exactly 125 years ago. The bus entered service six days later, to connect German cities.
The bus drove between Siegen, Netphen and Deuz and was operated by Netphener Omnibus-Gesselschaft. It was the first bus that was not horse-drawn or steam-powered. On 29th of March 1895, the company ordered a second bus, that was delivered on the 26th of June 1895.
Both were powered by a horizontal, single-cylinder engine positioned at the rear, with a displacement of 2.9 liters and developing only 5 horsepower (3.7 kW).
The model was based on the Benz Landauer and was the largest vehicle offered by Benz & Cie. it featured a double-pivot steering system built from 1893 onwards. Eight people, the driver included, could travel by it. The modern Mercedes-Benz CapaCity L articulated bus can transport nowadays up to 191 passengers.
Back then, the Siegen-Netphen-Deutz lettering was on both sides and the seats were numbered. The bus was equipped with a lattice roof for luggage, solid rubber spare tyres for the rear wheels and one front wheel.
The second bus delivered also featured a signal bell. More buses with a combustion engine were later on delivered to Vegesack, Nordenham or customers from Tyrol and Bitterfeld.
The lines were stopped during the winter of 1895/1896 due to the conditions provided by the slippery roads. But 12th of March 1895 became a turning point in the history of passenger transportation. Now the buses from 125 years ago proudly stand at the Mercedse-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. Guests can see them when walking through the Collection Room 1: Gallery of Voyagers.