Whenever I see things like this I get a tad melancholy. It’s not because of the “they can afford to do that” envy or anything like that – it’s that even if I had the cash it couldn’t be done here. Well, it could possibly be done if money was no object, but so can most things.

The problem is size and style. In my younger days I would take a school bus. Sometimes it was one of these:

Other times it was a coach. For a little while it was something in between. Then, just like now, it was some variation of a coach in terms of design. Hardly glamorous.

I’m not trying to suggest that the American design is glamorous. It has its charm but ultimately it’s a school bus – it probably smells a bit funny and groans a lot. What it does have though is potential.

By comparison, well, have you looked at a UK coach?

I’ve used them for years and still find myself baffled by all the wasted space. All the seats are raised onto a deck and from what I can tell the only thing underneath is a vast cavity for luggage. Normal buses have the floor a short distance from the road so I’m assuming it’s not required for the mechanical operation of the vehicle.

For the sake of argument, say I scraped together my pennies and bought one of these monsters – what then?

Could I strip it down and rebuild it? Would it compromise the structural integrity to totally shift the floor down a metre?

It may seem a lot of trouble but as a normal height male I find coaches extremely claustrophobic any time I stand up. There’s seats everywhere, barely any room to move, and if I’m not careful I bang my head.

The same would probably be true of an American school bus – the difference being that their regulations for vehicles seem to be significantly more lenient than ours. I would expect to be able to take an angle grinder and blow torch to much of the passenger space without raising an eyebrow.

From the diagram I see that the maximum standing height is about 191cm in a UK coach. I’m 183 and so it’s hardly surprising that head room is an issue for me. Crunching some numbers though I can see that sacrificing some luggage space would allow for at least another half metre if not more. Even so, I imagine that without working very hard the whole thing will feel like a giant bird cage. So many windows!

(That and the thermal emissivity of glass is garbage so keeping the thing warm would be a pain. Hardly comfy.)

Putting aside all that, I really don’t know how one could make a coach look anything but drab. They’re not fun, they’re not luxurious, and they’re always cold.

It makes me a little melancholy, as I said.

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