Recently while reading Douglas Coupland novel Gum Thief I came across a used of bus(ing) that I hadn’t heard before – one of the characters talks about “busing” tables, which sounded a bit strange to me. I’m familiar with the word busboy, but haven’t been quite sure what a busboy did. Now I’ve discovered that a busboy, busgirl or busser is someone who works in a restaurant clearing and laying (busing) tables and helping the waiting staff – a kind of assistant waiter. I’ve never heard this expression being used in the UK though and, as far as I know, no equivalent position exists here – waiters and waiteresses are normally responsible for clearing and laying tables.
The use of busing to refer to clearing tables was apparently first attested to 1913 and probably comes from the four-wheeled cart used to carry dishes.
In the UK the word busing might be used in the context of transporting people by bus, especially school children. According to Wikipedia busing is “The transportation of schoolchildren, by bus, to schools in other neighbourhoods in order to alleviate social inequalities or to achieve racial integration.”
Are busing or to bus used in other English-speaking countries? If so, what does in mean?