Each omnibus costs from £150 to £160, and lasts for about twelve years. It is renovated every year previous to being inspected by the police, who, on passing it, affix a number plate to the back of the step. The police have two plates, which they issue on alternate years, so that a constable can see at a glance whether an omnibus is licensed. For each plate licence an omnibus proprietor has to pay £2 a year, and also an annual tax of 15s.. to the Inland Revenue. Until about ten years ago the Inland Revenue tax was £2 2s. and would in all probability have remained so had not Mr. John Manley Birch—one of the oldest established proprietors—sued the Crown for a rebate on the ground that as omnibuses came under the Hackney Carriage Act he could not be compelled to pay more than the hackney carriage tax of 15s. Mr. Birch's action was made a test case and was decided in his favour, one year's rebate being allowed.
When an omnibus is no longer fit for London work it is sold at auction, and becomes, eventually, a summer-house, a workmen's shed, a cricket club's dressing-room or refreshment bar. The London General Omnibus Company burns its old vehicles.