Tag Archives: School Bus Dimensions

How Well Do You Know about School Bus Dimensions?


There is no doubt that the best way of transportation to and from school is the school bus. It’s a privilege to avail the service of school bus. The invention of GPS and RFID tags has elevated the safety provided by school bus to the next level.

The RFID school bus tracking system tracks student location, making it possible to locate them. There is also a GPS tracking system equipped in the school bus to help parents as well as schools to track real-time location.

Considering the distance travelled by the bus and the distance they cover, deaths are extremely rare. Death rate of school buses per 100 million miles travelled is 0.2 while automobile deaths are eight times higher.

Never Ignore the Dimensions of a School Bus:

It’s not wise to ignore the importance of the school bus dimensions. The exterior of the bus is equally important as its interior.

Typical Measurement of school Bus:

The school bus would have these particular measurements.

  • About 9.5 to 11 ft for its height
  • Around 8 ft for its width
  • Between the measurements of about 12 ft to 40 ft length

Measurement considered by the driver;

Ten (10) to twelve (12) meters long is another measurement that the school bus drivers prefer. It is because of the comfort that the drivers prefer this measurement.

Other Dimensions:

Measurements about 7980 or 8500 by 2400 by 3100 mm

Passengers and Its Impact:

The passenger size is of important to consider while calculating the measurements outside.

  • A 72 passenger bus would be appropriate if there are lot of passengers
  • For more capacity 77-passenger bus is available
  • There buses are designed to carry around sixty five (65) passengers
  • For handful of students bus with smaller passenger space would be enough

Passengers and the Bus:

While selecting the perfect bus for the school the authorities must keep in mind the strength of students.

Here are some of the variations of school buses according to its seating arrangement;

  • Average buses for schools would have a seating capacity of around fifteen (15) to ninety (90) people.
  • Some choose to have around fifteen (15) to thirty eight (38) seating capacity
  • Some offer around twenty four (24) to sixty six (66) seats

The Five School Bus Types:

  1.  Type A school bus can carry about 10 to 16 students
  2. Type B bus can carry around 10 to 30 people
  3. Type C helps to transport around 10 to 54 children and teenagers
  4. Type D school vehicle can carry 10 to 54 students
  5. Type S merely can hold up to 9 or less people.

Choosing the Right Bus is not Tough:

Choose the right bus keeping in mind various factors. The best choice can give most comfort. Avoid buses with more seats than the students. Always be double sure about the material that is used to construct the exterior of the bus. Suitable prevention must also be ensured to decrease the effect of collision. Heavy duty mudflaps must be fitted in the front and rear of the bus. Without disturbing any adjacent panels or window(s), all exterior panels must be easily replaceable.

Wonder why school bus provides safety that cannot be compensated by any other means of transportation?

It’s because, school buses are built to eliminate the possibility of any danger. All school buses are equipped with school bus safety and comfort to help students have a trouble-free trip to and from their schools.

School buses have got fire extinguishers, emergency exit windows, seat belts on all seats plus an ultra-low entry slide-step (as optional) to allow children to board and alight without assistance. The thickly padded bench seats are fire proof.

Not only is the interior of the school bus, but the whole of it is built with utmost care and observation.



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Top 10 School Bus Companies

Throughout the years, the task of making the best buses for school transportation has been handled by various companies. This article features 10 school bus companies which made a name for themselves, when it came to redefining the way we look at a school bus.


1. Wayne Corporation

Topping our list of companies is Wayne Corporation. Though the company declared itself bankrupt and discontinued operation in 1992, the Wayne Corporation had played a vital role in the development of safe buses for school children. They were the first and foremost to introduce the concept of school buses for schools.

Their innovation predates the famous yellow coloured buses which are widely used these days. They introduced the horse drawn carts, including kid hacks, which later evolved into automobiles which used full metal body chassis.

Wayne Corporation introduced guard rails on the sides of all school buses, inboard wheelchair lifts, and even high-headroom doors. They were the first with a school bus based upon a cutaway van chassis, the Wayne Busette. This chassis design is still one of the most popular in North American markets even after more than 35 years.

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2. Blue Bird

An all time giant, the Blue Bird Corporation (formerly called Blue Bird Body Company) is clearly one of the top school bus manufacturing companies even today.Blue Bird's corporate headquarters and main manufacturing facilities are in Georgia.

It was in 1937 that the company began production of full-steel bus bodies. This innovation would soon replace the wooden bodies which were commonly used in the United States. The yellow colour for school buses was proposed by a Blue Bird engineer in a 1939 conference and is still in use today.

3. Gillig Corporation

What began as a carriage and wagon shop in 1890 in San Francisco, California soon became a pioneer in school bus designs. In 1920, Gillig Corporation which was then called Gillig Bros. created and patented the "California Top" roof design which most of the buses use even today.

From manufacturing automobile, hearse, truck, and bus bodies, Gillig Corporation went on to become almost entirely dedicated to the production of school buses by 1957. They were also instrumental in designing the diesel-powered rear-engine transit style school bus. Gillig produced the 855-D with a passenger capacity of 97 which were the highest-capacity school bus to be ever produced.

4. Ward body Works

The company was established in 1933 in Conway, Arkansas and was well known for manufacturing bus body parts. In the 1960s, Ward School Bus Manufacturing, Inc, a subsidiary of Ward Body Works used various updates that modernized manufacturing and production.

During the 1970s, Ward became one of the largest school bus body manufacturers in the United States. They had a 25% market share in 1973. Just like most school bus manufacturing companies, the glory days of the Ward body works came to an end in the 1970s and the company filed for bankruptcy in July, 1980. An investment group assisted by the then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton were involved in purchasing the assets of Ward Industries. In 1981, Ward was officially renamed AmTran.

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5. AmTran

A successor to Ward Body Works, the AmTran or American Transport Corporation headquarters and manufacturing facilities were also located in Conway, Arkansas. In 1987, AmTran introduced an extra rub rail right below the window line.

They specialized in manufacturing of type A, C and D buses. In 1999, AmTran made plans for a new facility in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The company was re-branded as International, then IC in 2003 after being purchased by Navistar International in 1995.

6. IC Buses

IC specializes in school buses, shuttle buses, multi-function school activity buses (MFSABs), and commercial transit buses derived from their school bus designs. IC or Integrated Coach is the name given because the bus body, engine, chassis and are all produced within a single corporate structure.

Initially the name was IC which was later changed to IC buses in 2009. The year 2010 was marked by the launch of IC’s largest bus and also introduced its smallest one. IC buses are one of the modern giantsand have turned their attention to manufacturing rear-engine transit-style buses since January 2011.

7. Thomas Built Buses    

Thomas Built Buses, Inc commonly called Thomasis an American bus manufacturer operating in High point, North Carolina. In 1936, Thomas stopped the production of its streetcars which were a trend back then and opened a new frontier in school bus manufacturing.

By the 1970s, Thomas Car Works was one of the most dominant manufacturers of school buses in North America and in 1972 the company adopted its current name Thomas Built Buses. Thomas was the first to design and manufacture its own school bus chassis for both its front and rear-engine models before any of its competition.

As the economic turmoil hit America, the company began to downscale manufacturing. In 1980, a smaller school bus on a cutaway van chassis was designed. This went on to become a popular model and is still in production.

By the end of the 20th century Thomas was one of the only three principal builders of large school buses in the United States.

Watch our Youtube video on State of the Art School Bus Safety by TrackSchoolBus

8. Carpenter Body Company

Though the company was founded in Mitchell, Indiana in 1919, they produced their first bus in 1923.Produced Type A, B, C, and D buses. The Company initially was known to build hauling wagons for two cement factories and gradually began building "kid hacks" that were horse drawn, with wooden benches to carry children to school.

Carpenter's first true school bus was built wholly of wood and later on combinations of steel and wood replaced this all-wood construction. In 1935, a change was made and all-steel bodied buses were made.

Carpenter's conventional-style school bus (the Classic) underwent body revisions in 1984 and 1986. Carpenter Body Company was one of the big 6 in the school bus manufacturing industry. But like the rest of the companies, economic meltdown affected them badly and in May 2001, Carpenter was shut down by Spartan Motors, its parent company.

9. Collins Industries

Located in Hutchinson, Kansas, the company specializes in manufacturing of Type A school buses, along with ambulances and other special-purpose vehicles. The company was founded in 1971 and by 1998 it comprised of four subsidiaries: Collins Bus Corporation, Capacity of Texas Inc, World Trans Inc. and Wheeled Coach Industries Inc.

Collins went on to purchase Mid Bus in 1998 and the assets of Canada-based manufacturer Corbeil Bus Corporation in 2007. The company has about 900 employees across three manufacturing facilities.

Collins Industries was later purchased by American Industrial Partners. In 2010, AIP combined Collins with Fleetwood Enterprises, Halcore Group, and E-One to form Allied Specialty Vehicles.

10. Wayne Wheeled Vehicles 

It is a trade name given to a division of vehicle manufacturers who specializes primarily in production of school bus. In late 1992, Harsco Corporation purchased the rights to use the Wayne brand name, product rights, as well as parts and tooling during the liquidation of assets of the Wayne Corporation that took place in late 1992.

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The BMY Division of Harsco operated WWV (Wayne Wheeled Vehicles) from an assembly facility at Marysville, Ohio, where military trucks were also assembled. School bus production began there in 1993 and ended in early 1995. The economic meltdown led to the close of entire operations and the property was vacated.

Do you think we have missed out on any important names? If so, please leave it in the comment section.

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