The Knight Bus is a triple-decker, “violently purple” bus which provides emergency transportation for the stranded witch or wizard; all they need to do is hold out their wand hand to summon the bus. It is also possible to book a seat on the Knight Bus for trips around Britain. The Knight Bus travels anywhere you want to go, as long as it’s on land. The words “The Knight Bus” are written over its windscreen in gold letters.
The conductor of the Knight Bus is Stan Shunpike. He wears a purple uniform, has large protruding ears, and quite a few pimples. Stan is about 18 years old. The driver is Ernie Prang, an elderly wizard wearing very thick glasses.
The driver and conductor sit in the front of the bus in armchairs. During the night, there are no other seats on board, rather the Knight Bus provides a half a dozen brass bedsteads per level. In daytime, the beds are replaced by armchairs for the passengers. Lighting comes from candles in brackets on the walls. A small wooden staircase leads to the upper floors. The ride is very bumpy as the bus seems to jump erratically from one place to another. If you're not careful, you will find yourself thrown around the interior of the bus during its travels. One frequent passenger, Madam Marsh, has been known to actually throw up while riding the bus. (PA3)
The fare from Little Whinging to London is eleven sickles. For an extra two sickles you get hot chocolate and if you pay two more besides, you get a hot water bottle and a toothbrush to boot. (PA3)
Hermione uses the Knight Bus to get to 12 Grimmauld Place to spend Christmas with Harry and the Weasleys (OP23). Harry, Hermione, and the Weasley children attending Hogwarts also ride the Knight Bus back to school (OP24).
Where does the name "Knight Bus" come from?
by Morag Traynor
"Knight Bus" is a play on "Night Bus" - Night Buses run through the night in London and, after the Tube and trains stop running (around midnight) are the only public transport available. They are a very welcome sight when they (eventually) turn up to take you home, and are the traditional red double-deckers, so it can feel as if a knight in shining armour has come to rescue you. The roads being clearer at that time of night, once you are out of the centre, the bus bounces along at a considerable pace, for a bus, tree-branches rattle along the roof and you're sure the driver's never going to make that corner (but he always does) so the whole experience is not unlike the Knight Bus - apart from the comfortable beds, panelling and chandeliers, of course! I also love the name Ernie Prang - "prang" is old RAF (based on Malay, I think) slang for "crash", extended to road traffic, and is associated with a rather insouciant attitude to crashes, as in "pranged the Jag last week - what a bore!". The Knight Bus is another example of JKR finding the magic in the everyday, or, in this case, every night.