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History

Long since people have dreamt about self-moving vehicles. Transport means driven by people (who were inside of them) appeared already in the Middle Ages period. In 1490 Leonardo da Vinci designed a hand steering vehicle. Independent from James Watt, who invented the first steam-engine, steam-vehicles designed by a Frenchman Mr.Kineaux (1769-1770), R. Trevithick’s mail-cart (1801), a steam car designed by Mr. Hankock (1822) and a French steam omnibus appeared.

The grounder of the motor transport science in Russia was Vasiliy Petrovich Guriev, whose name has been undeservingly forgotten today. In 1836 he published a significant work entitled “On the establishment of Russian wooden roads and land steamers with the help of companies”. Of course, there were no cars with internal-combustion engines at that time and V. Guriev considered steam vehicles which he called “land steamers”. As Mr. Kuprin and Mr. Rubets informed, the map of transport communications in Russia, which he developed was characterized by an accurate forecast of the economic development of the country. As Mr. Guriev claimed, highways had to be covered with wooden pavement, which was also invented by him. Mr. Guriev, approaching the matter from the theoretical point of view, understood that it was very important to provide safe transportation of passengers and goods. He also realized that it was of prime importance to train professional drivers and mechanics. By the way, the word “shofer” (driver) comes from the French word “chauffeur”, which means “stoker”. Probably this word started being applied to self-moving vehicles already in the epoch of steam vehicles.

In 1895 in Germany the first-ever municipal public transport bus (for 8 passengers) started its work. Very soon the whole world got to know about this news. Economically developed countries started following the example, stealing ideas and technologies… The undertakers understood that though the project required a lot of investment, the revenue would be more than rewarding, as tens of thousand of people would want to use the new transport means and pay for this service.

On 11th of 1896 communication lines minister knyaz Khilkov signed executive order “About procedure and conditions of weight and passengers transportation in mechanical vehicles on Vedomstvo highway communication lines”. This date is starting point of regular passenger transportation within as well as between cities.

The first known attempts to provide omnibus communication were made in 1896. Lieutenant colonel Zubkovsky supported by honorary freeman Volkov submitted to administrative board of a city application to permit “using of gasoline engine vehicles in two directions”. Administrative board ignored this application as well as other similar requests. Cities of the Black Sea coast were the places where buses were used at first. In 1899 in Paris merchant Koshanianu from little town Shusha bought omnibus, which was supplied with French conductor transporting inhabitants to “their great admiration”. History of city bus we shall start with the capital of Russian Empire. The following information was submitted by Mikhail Zhukov, “Almost ten years past before bus asserted itself in St.Petersburg. It was a time, when a lot of attempts to provide omnibus communication collapsed. The position of horse-drawn railway was too strong”. Horse-drawn vehicles transported not only passengers but weights. Roads network was wide developed, and city treasury was fed by pouring of money of city horse-drawn roads owners.

On the 19-th of January 1901 the City Council of St. Petersburg received the request from the engineer and the gentleman by birth Ippolit Romanov, in which he asked to allow him to arrange ten routes of electrical omnibuses. In February 1901 the omnibus successfully passed the test in St. Petersburg. The committee’ conclusion was: “Moving along the road covered by snow, turning and crossing the rails of horse-drawn railways the omnibus drove smoothly, without any jolting or swaying… Having tested the vehicle on the run, we came to the conclusion that omnibuses constructed according to this scheme are comfortable and safe for traffic and public use”. On the 27-th of June the Council issued a permit to start regular traffic of omnibuses constructed by Mr. Romanov in the streets of the capital. It was assumed that the fare would be 2.5 kopeks. Though tough financial conditions imposed by the Council, did not let Mr. Romanov make use of this permit. Moreover, as the magazine “Samokat” informed: “The Board believes that any improve in transport services will decrease the amount of the housing rent, that is why it is not desirable that house-owners…”.

Life had its own way. The rapid growth of city population in the broad country required the solution of the problem of transport which could be available to large number of people irrespective of their income.