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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.

Why was it called the Knight Bus, in universe (I'm happy enough that OoU Rowling has a penchant for bad puns)?

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    Because it is a bus that runs at night and charges through traffic like a knight in shining armour? – Bellerophon Apr 11 '16 at 20:13
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    I love how Mac here took the quote from the Pottermore article and we are throwing in other lines right from it back at him. – Skooba Apr 11 '16 at 20:22
  • @Skooba yah, bit embarassing. TBF i didn't really take the quote from Pottermore, it came from another question (didn't even know where the quote came from, I just hoped it wasn't wiki-rubbish). Still embarrasing :P (also you shoulda kept your answer up! Quick enuff to get away with I think, and rep is well-earnt) EDIT: ffs the two quotes are on the same page even! – Mac Cooper Apr 11 '16 at 20:24
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J.K. Rowling's out-of-universe explanation seems to somewhat apply in-universe as well:

The Knight Bus was so-named because, firstly, knight is a homonym of night, and there are night buses running all over Britain after normal transport stops. Secondly, ‘knight’ has the connotation of coming to the rescue, of protection, and this seemed appropriate for a vehicle that is often the conveyance of last resort.
(Pottermore - Knight Bus)

The two reasons are:

  • Knight is a homonym of night, and there are night buses running all over Britain after normal transport stops.

    In-universe, the Knight Bus is inspired by Muggle technology as well.

    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.

    some wizards (mainly pureblood fanatics) announced their intention of boycotting what was dubbed ‘this Muggle-esque outrage’
    (Pottermore - Knight Bus)

  • ‘Knight’ has the connotation of coming to the rescue, of protection, and this seemed appropriate for a vehicle that is often the conveyance of last resort.

    The Knight Bus kind of makes this theme their motto.

    Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board, and we can take you anywhere you want to go.
    (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapter 3 - text available on Pottermore)

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  • Christ, I hate choosing accepted answers when they all answer from canon. You spelled it out more I guess, so... – Mac Cooper Apr 12 '16 at 15:15
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    Although the London "night buses" only started in 1913, so if the first leg of the out-of-universe explanation applies in-universe then it's not by normal temporal cause and effect. – Steve Jessop Apr 12 '16 at 17:02
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Per Pottermore - "The Knight Bus"

J.K. Rowling's thoughts

The Knight Bus was so-named because, firstly, knight is a homonym of night, and there are night buses running all over Britain after normal transport stops. Secondly, ‘knight’ has the connotation of coming to the rescue, of protection, and this seemed appropriate for a vehicle that is often the conveyance of last resort.

The driver and conductor of the Knight Bus in ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ are named after my two grandfathers, Ernest and Stanley.

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    @MacCooper IMO the in and out of universe explanations would be similar... – Skooba Apr 11 '16 at 20:18
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    after normal transport stops ... what normal (magical) transport is JKR referring to? Does the flue network shut down after a certain time? Is it only possible to apparate between 8 AM and 8 PM? Are brooms only useful for sweeping after last call? – Xantec Apr 11 '16 at 20:34
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    FWIW: There are not night buses running 'all over Britain', just a few routes in the major cities, eg London. They are usually full of very drunk people, and not regarded as the safest mode of transit... – SeanR Apr 12 '16 at 9:14
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    @SeanR - Don't forget that JKR lived in London for much of her life. She, like many urban authors seems to think that London = England. – Valorum Apr 12 '16 at 9:19
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    @SeanR: London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow, Oxford, Durham, Newcastle, Brighton, Bristol, Nottingham, Derby, Leeds all advertise some night bus services. So "all over Britain" not in the sense of "every bus route in Britain", but in the sense of "many places scattered around Britain". Plus, by analogy with places that do have formal "night bus" services, people may call late-night buses the "night bus" even though technically it's just the regular bus running at reduced frequency :-) But sure, they're an urban phenomenon: much of Britain you barely get day buses never mind night. – Steve Jessop Apr 12 '16 at 17:14

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