Different types of School Bus

transit-style school bus

Gearing Up A School Bus Fleet

If you are looking to purchase a fleet of buses for a school or another reason, it is important to understand all of the different options you have. From a heavy duty bus, transit-style school bus, flat nose bus, or dog nose bus, there are a lot of options. Buses have the largest visibility footprint of any motor vehicle, so it is important to pick the right one both for environmental reasons with carbon emissions and because of how a bus affects public perception of you.

Now not every transit-style school bus is the same. In 2017, there were nearly 200,000 motor vehicles registered as private carriers; another 50,000 were registered as both private carriers and for-hire carriers. Making the right purchase is important for ongoing bus maintenance and understanding what types of bus parts might be needed in the future. So whether you are looking for a 30 passenger school bus, need wheelchair ramps, or any other bus need, let’s review the 7 basic styles of school bus.

The Seven Different Styles of School Bus

You are about to see some of the most creative naming in the history of naming cars. This rivals the Tesla Model X, Tesla Model S, and Tesla Model 3.

Type A: The type A school bus is a bit shorter than most and can be split into two groups: A-1 and A-2. The Type A-1 has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or less, and A-2 has a GVWR of 10,000 pounds or more.

Type B: We did warn you this was going to get creative. The Type B Bus is a bus body constructed and then installed on a stripped chassis. Type B buses have a GVWR of 10,000 pounds and are designed for carrying over 10 people. These buses have the engine beneath and behind the windshield and the entrance door is located behind the front wheels. Type B buses are rarer today, however they still are up to all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. These are great for a transit-style school bus.

Type C: This is what most people imagine when they think of a school bus. The body of a Type C bus is installed on a flat-back cowl chassis and has a GVWR of 10,000+ pounds. Though not considered a transit-style school bus, the Type C is also designed for carrying 10+ people.

Type D: This is what is considered a transit-style school bus. The body of a Type D is installed on a chassis, and the engine can be mounted in the front, mid, or rear of the bus. A Type D transit-style bus has a GVWR of 10,000+ pounds and is designed for carrying 10+ people. On this bus, the entrance door is in front of the front wheels.

Multi-Functional School Activity Bus: As you can tell, one of the biggest differences with this bus is its name! All joking aside, there is a major visual difference with this bus. If a school bus is sold for the purpose of transporting students from home to school and back, the bus must be painted the traditional yellow color. However, buses that are intended to serve other purposes do not have to follow these rules. Though there are some different rules that these buses do not have to follow, they still comply with all crash standards required of school buses.

School Van:
 A School van is a traditional van converted to full school bus specifications. There are major changes made to the van in order to meet these standards, including added roof height, a full roll cage, and others. These “buses” might look a bit odd, and they aren’t considered a transit-style school bus, however they meet all the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for school buses.

Allowable Alternate Vehicles:These are “buses” or vehicles that meet all school bus crash standards but do not meet other regulations for buses, such as flashing lights, or yellow school bus paint. Mostly this type of bus is used in Head Start transportation.