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Washington, D.C. Sightseeing Bus License Plates


There have been two separate Sightseeing Bus types, one in the 1930s and the second in the 1950s and 1960s. Neither is still in existence. Today, sightseeing busses are registered with standard B-prefix Bus plates, although Apportioned plates are used if the vehicle is routinely are operated outside of the District of Columbia.


Sightseeing Bus - 1930s
Earliest Known: 1933
No longer issued

1933 Sightseeing Bus plate no. 157 1934 Sightseeing Bus plate no. 408

Not much is known about this registration type. That it exists we have concluded due to the existence of a 1936 plate, number 52-070, with SIGHT SEEING embossed at the bottom. It's number, in the 50-000 series, coincides nicely with the regular 1936 bus plate number 51-900 pictured on our page dedicated to Bus plates.

As for the two plates pictured immediately above, we don't know for certain that they're representative of this type, but that they are seems a fairly safe bet. The 1933 plate is felt to fit in this category simply due to the SS prefix to the registration number. The 1934 is also thought to have been used on a sightseeing bus due to the S prefix when compared to the 1934 bus plate pictured on a separate page, which does not have a letter prefix.


Sightseeing Bus -
First Issued: 1957
No longer issued

1961 Sightseeing Bus plate no. BS-1681962 Sightseeing Bus plate no. BS-1321963 Sightseeing Bus plate no. BS-156

1964 Sightseeing Bus plate no. BS-1871965 Sightseeing Bus plate no. BS-130 renewed for the 1966 (exp. 3-31-67) registration year

District of Columbia license plates from 1957 (marked "3-31-58") through the late 1960s that feature a BS prefix are known to represent a type separate from regular Bus and the separate Sightseeing Bus type that existed in the 1930s. The 1957-1960s version of this type was created in February 1957 "because of the entrance of the D.C. Transit Company into the field of sightseeing services," according to a Dept. of Vehicles and Traffic memo on the subject. Used BS-series plates are known from only 1961, 1962, 1963, and 1964, and unissued examples of the 1965 ("3-31-66") base are also known. The lowest and highest numbers on known used examples are BS-129 and BS-208, suggesting that numbers began annually at BS-100 (or possibly BS-101) and that fewer than 125 sets were likely issued annually.


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