School and contract buses
School, workers, contract and Hadj buses
There are thousands of buses in Oman used as school buses, to transport (foreign) workers or other types of contract transport. School buses are normally labeled as such, with a school bus sign in Arabic and English. Many buses don’t carry an owner’s designation. There also a good number of “Hadj and Umrah-buses” that are often used once a year to transport pilgrims to Mecca. All these buses are normally found parked along the road. Secondhand buses, often imported via other Gulf States, can also be found along the main roads, where they can attract the interest of potential buyers. A few dealers were seen with Chinese buses, trying to gain a piece of the market.
We have grouped the buses by make and model as this gives the best overview of what is present. There are many shots taken while driving by, which may not be the best but do help to complete the picture.
Japanese and Korean small buses
If looking at categories there are several that can easily be distinguished. Most numerous are the Japanese and Korean small buses. The Toyota Coaster is clearly the most popular, followed by the Mitsubishi Rosa, Nissan Civillian and Hyundai County, with Mazda, Asia and Kia lagging far behind. A few Golden Dragon buses of this category were seen with dealers.
The second largest group are the Indian brands, TATA and Ashok-Leyland. Simple and sturdy buses, mainly used for the transport of workers. They are mostly white, which is given the climate and the lack of air-conditioning a good choice! TATA only produces chassis, the bodywork mostly comes from its associate ACGL (Automotive Company of Goa Ltd), but also from Ruby Coach Works and others. Ashok-Leyland also builds chassis with most often bodywork by Bharat. But it opened a large plant in the UAE around 2010 in which it also produces its own bodywork.
Other large buses
Other large buses are used most often by the public transport operators and are treated there. Hadj and Umrah buses are also larger coaches, some very modern. These include the South Korean Daewoo and Hyundai buses, the Chinese King Long, Zhong Tong Bus, Golden Dragon and Foton models, the mostly secondhand various Mercedes-Benz models from Turkey and Europe. Often only one bus of a model/make was found, such as the Irizar, the MAN and the MCV. The Comil buses appear to be secondhand imports from Qatar. A few Japanese buses can also be found.