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Things You Should Know Before Buying a School Bus

Monday March 30, 2015


Is your school planning to buy a new school bus this year? If yes, here is some information which will help you to make a good choice.

Types of School Buses

a. Conventional buses

These are the bus models that school bus drivers are more comfortable with. Also, mechanics find it easy to work on. The front wheels of conventional buses are in front of the driver, and the engine compartment and hood are in front of the windshield.

b. Transit style buses

These bus models are becoming popular these days. They have a wheelbase of the same length as conventional buses with a larger seating capacity. Transit style school buses can also be made on shorter wheelbases.

There are 2 types of transit style school transportation:

(i) Rear engine buses

(ii) Front engine buses

Rear engine buses are more expensive but can clear any entrance way, without any obstructions. Drivers find the bus comfortable as they do not have to experience engine heat and noise. But, unlike other buses, the emergency door is not on the rear of the bus but on its sides. This will affect the seating capacity.


Ensure the following:


1. Relevant Laws: Check for laws to buy a new school bus or a used one in your country before purchasing it to avoid risks in future. It is necessary to ensure that you have cleared all formalities as a part of the final step to buying your school transportation.

2. Engine Condition: In case you are planning to buy a used school bus, the most important part you have to give attention to is the engine. You have to make sure that the engine is in working condition before deciding on buying your school bus transport. Finding about the usage of the bus in the past is a laborious task. But, it is always best to have details of actual mileage and the service history.

Generally old buses may not have had their engines replaced before they are put for sale. In case the bus you are looking for has had its engine replaced, ask the owner for the documentation.

Also, choose the engine according to the terrain you are expecting the bus to ride on. Generally, all buses may have been built to meet the standard needs. But, sometimes, you may need a more powerful engine. A larger engine does not have to work hard and therefore, lasts longer compared to a smaller engine, which works at its maximum capacity. With increase in engine size, there is a chance of increase in design capacity in transmission. You can ask the manufacture to match the design capacity in transmission.

3. Proper Documentation: This can help you determine the time frame when the engine was replaced, thereby helping you to calculate its future life.  You must ask for all necessary documentation before inheriting the vehicle to reduce the risk related to the purchase.

4. Quality Body PartsSchool bus safety is important and therefore, you must check every part of the school bus thoroughly before purchasing it. The body of the school bus is to what you have to have to observe closely.  Ensure that the school bus is devoid of any rust or corrosion and that the steps are secure and that it has a solid floor. This can also help to determine the longetivity of the bus.

4. Safety Equipments: Another important fact you have to keep in mind is the installation of safety equipments in your school bus transportation to ensure school bus safety. Ensure that it comes with working air bags and anti-lock brakes. Since the passengers are students, it is important to give extra care to them and. Therefore, you can have a school bus tracker installed so that the location of the school bus can be traced and communication with the driver is possible. Also, it can help you to monitor the performance of the driver and fuel usage. This can help you save lots of money as well.

5. Seek the Help of an Expert: Finally, have the vehicle checked with an experienced mechanic to see whether it is in working condition before finalizing the purchase. The mechanic can reveal if there is any problem with the engine, brakes or any other parts.

The Risks

Buying used school buses can be lot cheaper but it is an equally risky affair. Things may go wrong; for example, the warranty might have expired and finding the parts will not be easy as manufacturers may have stopped manufacturing them. But, checking the vehicle history and condition and performing a proper maintenance can control the risks to some extent.

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