12

Just what it says in the title. Are there any other rival brands of the Knight Bus, or just one? Is it the only weird bus thingy like that?

  • 1
    Do you mean specifically in Harry Potter or in any piece of fiction? – Towell Feb 18 '16 at 1:47
  • @Towell Specifically in HP – CHEESE Feb 18 '16 at 2:52
16

It probably is unique (at least in Britain).

From Pottermore:

The Knight Bus is a relatively modern invention in wizarding society, which sometimes (though it will rarely admit it) takes ideas from the Muggle world. The need for some form of transportation that could be used safely and discreetly by the underage or the infirm had been felt for a while and many suggestions had been made (sidecars on taxi-style broomsticks, carrying baskets slung under Thestrals) all of them vetoed by the Ministry. Finally, Minister for Magic Dugald McPhail hit upon the idea of imitating the Muggles’ relatively new ‘bus service’ and in 1865, the Knight Bus hit the streets.

Note the singular: only one Knight Bus hit the streets in 1865. However, this doesn't preclude the possibility that more Knight Buses were commissioned in the next 150 years.

Perhaps an even more important piece of evidence is that during Harry's short journey on the Knight Bus in Prisoner of Azkaban, it stops at a lot of different places in quick succession:

"Where are we, Ern? Somewhere in Wales?" [...] "We'll be in Abergavenny in a minute." [...] the bus moved abruptly from Anglesea to Aberdeen

If there was more than one Knight Bus in Britain, one would expect them to be regionally separated. The fact that this one bus travels between Wales, Scotland, and London within a span of minutes suggests that it's the only one in the country.


As usual in the Harry Potter series, though, everything is very UK-centric. It was the British Ministry for Magic that commissioned the Knight Bus, and the bus we see still seems to be confined to Britain. Whether other countries followed suit in developing magical bus services is unknown, but certainly plausible.

  • The first motor bus was created in 1895, so they wouldn't have been in the form they are now. Of course, with magic, that doesn't necessarily mean anything. – PointlessSpike Feb 18 '16 at 8:44
  • I know this is canon, but this early date seems inconsistent (1965 would make more sense). It would mean that the Knight bus would have to be updated to the more modern busses several times through the century. Also, what is a wizards' version of a horse-drawn bus? How's that different from a regular carriage they're already using anyways (many, not just one)? Unless they had an imitation of a motorized bus (self-driving carriage) before muggles did. But that isn't really muggle-inspired then, is it? – orion Feb 18 '16 at 9:28
3

Given a reasonable estimate of the wizarding population of Great Britain being three to ten thousand, the availability of more convenient methods of travel, and the relative efficiency of the Knight Bus compared to Muggle public transport, it seems unlikely that more than one would be needed.

Many Muggle towns of that size (at least in my part of the world) have no public transport whatsoever.

  • The UK has a much much better public transport system than your part of the world (NZ, from your profile?). When I was in South Island a couple of years back, I was shocked by how few buses and trains there were. But +1 for a good point which I hadn't thought of. – Rand al'Thor Feb 18 '16 at 10:06
  • @randal'thor: true, and if I use London as the model, on a per-capita basis I estimate there should be 3 to 9 wizarding buses. But given how much faster the Knight Bus is than a Muggle bus, how unpopular it seems to be relative to other methods of magical transport, and taking economy of scale into account, I'm still of the opinion that one is all they need. :-) – Harry Johnston Feb 18 '16 at 10:17

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