Source: Nintendo EarthBound

Lots of children know a cute song about a school bus.

The wheels on the bus go round and round
Round and round
Round and round
The wheels on the bus go round and round
All through the town!

The song teaches the various parts of the bus—the wipers, the signals, etc. What it doesn’t teach is the plural form of bus. Is it buses or busses?

First, let’s clarify what a bus is. A bus is a large vehicle that transports groups of people from one place to another. According to, Blaise Pascal, a Parisian mathematician, first came up with the idea in 1662. He called them “carriages” like the horse-drawn wagons used to transport people at that time. By the early nineteenth century, the word bus had evolved from omnibus, a Latin word meaning “for all.”

Some of the smaller vehicles have a capacity for up to twenty people. China has a “megabus” that can hold up to 300 passengers. Some carry a specific type of passenger: a school bus, for instance, carries students. Anything that transports groups of people might be called a bus; you might know of the aircraft brand name Airbus, for example.

Without further ado, the plural form of bus is formed by adding -es. Therefore, buses is the form that you will find in everything from newspapers to novels. Let’s look at a couple of examples:

With the focus and progress on electrifying cars to cut emissions in many parts of the polluted world — that would be all of it — the future does look cleaner. It would make sense to turn to trucks and buses next.

Richard had originally imagined London as a gray city, even a black city, from pictures he had seen, and he was surprised to find it filled with color. It was a city of red brick and white stone, red buses and large black taxis, bright red mailboxes and green grassy parks and cemeteries.
―Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere

To be fair, some dictionaries do list “busses” as an alternative plural form of bus. And it does appear occasionally, as you will see in the example below from a Wisconsin media outlet. However, its use is so uncommon that most people would view it as a spelling error.

The congestion in the town of union might be at a minimum thanks to increased shuttle busses and a new park and ride option.

In the last verse of “The Wheels on the Bus,” the mummy and daddy say, “ I love you.” Wouldn’t it be cool to add a verse about how the buses drive “all through the town?” Just think of it. Future generations of children might be singing something that you wrote! Why not use what you now know about buses to compose a new line? What rhymes with buses?

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