In 1927, as the intercity bus industry was developing, Russell's Guides began publishing the monthly "Russell's Official National Motor Coach Guide", primarily for bus travel and ticket agents, and containing all intercity bus schedules throughout the United States and Canada. This was the bus equivalent of the "Official Guide of the Railways".

Since the 1940's bus schedule tables in the Guide have been numbered, roughly as follows.

1-700's, Greyhound
750-999, Midwest states independents
1000's, Great Lakes states independents
2000's, Northeast independents
3000's, Southeast independents
4000's, Southwest independents
4500's, West independents
5000's Tours
6000's, West independents
6400's-8000's, Trailways

Russell's Guides also printed area timetable folders distributed by bus companies at the bus stations, each using selected numbered tables from the main Guide.

The Greyhound and Trailways table numbers were generally grouped according to the separate operating companies or divisions which existed within each system. And as the various companies or divisions were consolidated, the tables were gradually reorganized and renumbered.

Between 1955 and 1960, the various Greyhound companies were all consolidated into four regional divisions of Greyhound (Eastern, Central, Southern, Western). And during the 1960's, the Greyhound table numbers were grouped accordingly. By 1970, two divisions existed, Greyhound Lines East and Greyhound Lines West. Although they were soon after consolidated into one single company. From 1970 to 1987, table numbers 1 through 99 were condensed thru route timetables. And Greyhound Lines East tables were numbered in the 100's through 400's, and Greyhound Lines West tables were numbered in the 500's and 600's. Greyhound Lines of Canada tables were numbered in the 700's.

In 1961, the Trailways table numbers were reorganized. By then, many of the Trailways companies had been consolidated into Continental Trailways. The 6000's by then were no longer needed for table numbers. The remaining independent Trailways companies were given table numbers in the 7000's, while Continental Trailways was given table numbers in the 8000's. Although with additional companies being consolidated into Continental Trailways, beginning in 1968 the 7800's and 7900's would also be used for Continental Trailways tables. Table numbers 7000 through 7099 were eventually used for condensed thru route timetables. Although a few local route segments were eventually covered only by certain condensed thru route timetables.

The table numberings were stable from 1970 to 1987, when Greyhound acquired Continental Trailways, the largest Trailways company. Greyhound tables were then renumbered to the present system, which would also incorporate the former Continental Trailways routes. And in 1988, the Continental Trailways table numbers from the 7800's to the 8000's were dropped. Only the 7000's remain in use by the remaining independent Trailways companies.

Greyhound Timetable Folders

Until the 1990's, Greyhound issued printed timetable folders, printed by Russell's Guides and using the same formatted timetables. More than 50 different numbered timetable folders were issued, covering the entire system.

For many years, the Russell's Guide was considered as the standard reference source, where one could count on the availability of all intercity bus schedules throughout the United States and Canada, and much of Mexico. But this has been changing, as society evolves to become more "paperless", with computers and the internet. Some major independent carriers are no longer listed in the Russell's Guide. The Greyhound web site is the closest thing to a single centralized online resource for long distance bus information. Many traditional independent bus lines are included, but not all of them. Obtaining the complete picture of intercity bus travel is now more complex. Also, there has been the emergence of non traditional bus carriers, such as Megabus and various bus services marketed towards certain ethnic groups and neighborhoods. These are not included in the Russell's Guide.