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A bus is an obstacle that frequently appears in the Mario Kart series. Buses appear in stages set on roads, such as Mushroom Bridge, and will drive around the stage with the other traffic. If the player gets hit by a bus, it will have the same effect as driving into a Banana, causing the player to spin out. Buses can not be destroyed or removed, but can be launched into the air by hitting them while using a Super Star, Bullet Bill or Chain Chomp, or by throwing a Bowser Shell at them. The buses may also honk their horns at the player after hitting them or being hit by an item.
Mario Kart 64
Buses first appeared in Mario Kart 64, where they only appear on Toad's Turnpike. The buses on this course are mainly yellow, with red and blue details on the sides, and a white and grey Nintendo logo on the back. In this game, they have the same engine sound as Donkey Kong's Kart.
Mario Kart: Double Dash!!
Buses return in Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, where they appear in two courses, Mushroom Bridge and Mushroom City. This game features two different designs on the buses, as well as a similar vehicle, the Wiggler Wagon. One of the buses is blue and features Star Travel logos on the back and sides, and also has the company's name on the front of the bus. The number plate features the letters "STR". The other bus is deep maroon and pale pink, includes Peach Beach logos in the place of the Star Travel ones, and its number plate instead reads "SUN". If a bus is lifted into the air, it stops moving, whereas in future games, the bus continues to move even in the air.
In Mushroom Bridge, at the beginning of each race, a Star Travel bus (Peach Beach bus in Versus mode with no items) is seen entering the left lane from the right lane. This is not seen with any other actual vehicles (not counting Bob-omb Cars) in the game.
Mario Kart DS
Buses appear again in Mario Kart DS, where they appear in Shroom Ridge and the returning retro course GCN Mushroom Bridge. The buses in this game are blue and have red, orange and yellow zig zags along the sides. These buses replace the originals in Mushroom Bridge, and is the only bus that appears on the course.
Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Although no new tracks in Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe use buses, they return in the retro track N64 Toad's Turnpike. However, much like the rest of the course, they have been redesigned. The buses all now represent one of the game's sponsors, and the bus is themed around that sponsor. Most of the buses are for the airlines within the game, Galaxy Air, Boomerang Bros. International Airlines, Paratroopa Airlines, as well as Toad City Sightseeing, a sponsor which only appears on these buses.