How Long Is a Schoolbus? [For Different Types + Regulations]
Michael Collado is a car buying expert and has been a professional automotive writer since 2009. He’s written about dealership sales, vehicle reviews and comparisons, and service and maintenance for over 100 national automotive dealerships. Previously, Collado was a copywriter at the ad agency TBWA/Chiat/Day where he worked on brand campaigns for Nissan, ABC Television, Sony PlayStation, and Energizer. His recognition in the ad industry includes awards from Communication Arts and The Clios.
Collado has a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Marketing.
We know the wheels on the bus go ‘round and ‘round, but most of us don’t know exactly how long that bus is.
Let's take a look at the length of school buses, measurements for different types, regulations that dictate their dimensions, and the impact longer or shorter lengths have on safety and efficiency.
Table of Contents
Length of a School Bus
The average length of a school bus is around 40 feet. However, this can vary significantly depending on the model and type of school bus being used.
For example, some larger models may be up to 60 feet in length, while smaller buses designed for shorter routes or special needs students may be as short as 20 feet.
Variations in the length of school buses are often based on the specific purpose they will serve. Some districts use different sizes of buses for regular routes compared to long-distance trips or field trips that require greater seating capacity or additional storage space for luggage and equipment.
In addition, students with certain mobility disabilities may require shorter buses with lowered floors and wider entrances to accommodate wheelchairs or other mobility devices.
Regulations Regarding the Size and Dimensions of School Buses
The NHTSA establishes regulations on the measurements of school buses, including a mandated minimum length of 21 feet and other specifics such as an overall width of 96 inches and a maximum height limit of 11 feet.
NHTSA also mandates that all new school buses come with necessary warning lights, stop arms, rearview mirrors, emergency exits, and other safety components.
Regulations on the size and shape of school buses differ from one state to another. Some states have adopted NHTSA's standards, while others may impose additional requirements or restrictions.
Some states mandate certain vehicles to abide by particular weight limits to be classified as a "school bus,” and others go a step further by also specifying minimum lengths for different types of vehicles or imposing stricter rules regarding mirrors or warning lights.
Local regulations on the size and dimensions of school buses can differ even more drastically than those at the state level and often have ordinances that have to be followed when it comes to vehicle sizes within their jurisdiction.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the length of a bus?
Generally, school buses range from 20-45 feet in length, with many falling around 35-40 feet. Standard city buses are between 30-45 feet in length, while larger coach or tour buses may be up to 60 feet long.
How long is a 84 passenger school bus?
A typical 84-passenger school bus measures approximately 40 feet in length.
How long is a 48 passenger school bus?
The average length of a 48 passenger school bus is approximately 30 feet.
How long is a 78 passenger school bus?
A typical 78 passenger school bus is approximately 40 feet in length.