In 1828 George Shillibeer, a London coachbuilder, visited Paris where he was impressed by the efficiency of its new horse-drawn bus service. The following year he imported the idea to London and began operating a single horse-drawn omnibus, connecting the suburbs of Paddington and Regent's Park to the City. This service was quite revolutionary: Shillibeer's omnibus ran to a strict timetable, regardless of whether it was full; it picked up and set down passengers anywhere along the route; and fares could be paid on board, unlike the short-stage coaches, which had to be booked in advance. The omnibus was pulled by three horses and carried 22 passengers, who sat inside protected from the weather. The fares of sixpence and one shilling were less than those charged by hackney cab and short-stage coach. Even so, travelling on Shillibeer's omnibuses was not cheap, and they were used mainly by the middle classes.
In 1832 the monopoly of the hackney carriages was removed, allowing horse buses to operate in the City. Within two years there were 620 licensed horse buses in London and by 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition, when business was booming due to an influx of visitors to London, this total had more than doubled and the number of routes had increased to 150. Service intervals varied from 5 to 20 minutes in Inner London to an hour or longer in the outlying suburbs.
Whilst many different omnibus companies existed, in 1856 several operators were taken over by the new London General Omnibus Company (LGOC), originally a French operator. After a year spent buying out rivals the LGOC had a fleet of 600 omnibuses and was the largest bus company in the world. Other larger operators included Thomas Tilling and the London Road Car Company. Major companies began to cooperate, forming associations to regulate buses, restricting their numbers, setting timetables and sharing revenue between owners.ltmcollection/resources/Public+transport+in+Victorian+London