What is the longest school bus?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: What is the longest school bus? We will also discuss: What factors go into choosing a bus based on its length; How much space do you actually need; What are the dimensions of school buses. There are a lot of things to consider!

​​What is the longest school bus?

The longest school bus is the coach bus. It is 42 to 45 feet long and can carry between 25,000 and 35,000 lbs, or up to 97 passengers!

Regarding school bus dimensions, we can classify them into three categories:

  1. Mini Skoolies 
  2. Midsize Skoolies 
  3. Full-size Skoolies

Please see the table below for more information on the actual dimensions of a school bus. 

Bus typeLengthWidthHeight
Mini Skoolies20 to 25 feet long93 inches9.1 ft t0 10.3 ft
Midsize Skoolie25-42 feet long93-96 inches9.9-10.4 ft
Full-size Skoolie42 to 45 feet long93-96 inches9.9-10.4 ft

How to measure the length of a school bus?

Usually, the length of a school bus should be mentioned in the vehicle’s logbook or by the dealer/seller in the ad. However, it can happen that some data such as the length, width and height on your school bus may be missing. What to do in this case?

A few rules of thumb could help you get an idea of your school bus’s length if the seller isn’t telling you exactly how long it is. The best way to measure the length of a school bus is by looking at the windows: so for every window on the side of the bus, not including the driver’s window, you can add 28 inches – and that’s also taking into account the space between the windows. 

For as accurate measurements as possible, you must know what kind of bus it is in terms of engine placement:  is it a hooded dog nose or a flat nose school bus? 

  • If it’s a dog nose like a regular truck, you’re gonna add 10 feet to whatever measurement you got from looking at the windows. 
  • If it’s a flat nose then you’ll add about 6 feet to the initial measurement.

Next, there are other things to consider. One of those things – probably the most major thing is the handicap door. In this case, we recommend measuring from the very back of our last regular window to the very back of the bus. So essentially measuring the entire handicap area (which is around 6 feet to add on the length of most buses). 

Of course, this method is not perfect and the first issue you may be facing is that not all of the windows are the same size. The first window and the last window of a bus are fairly long while the other windows are different sizes. Also, the emergency exit windows are different sizes as well.

Still,  if you follow the above rules, you can kind of get an idea of where you’re at and how long your school bus is!

Why does the length of a school bus matter

There are some things that you might want to think about when you’re looking at buses to convert and the first one on our list is what kind of campsites are you gonna fit into.

A lot of state and national parks have a maximum limit of 40 feet while campsites have a maximum of 40 feet or 42 feet. Consider that you may be fighting large class motorhomes for what is a limited number of parking spaces. 

Another thing you need to consider is how often are you really going to be driving it. If you’re gonna buy a bus and park it somewhere then you probably want the longest available bus you can get.

But if you’re gonna be driving it around and travelling the country, and you’re not exactly keen on driving around a 40-foot monster, consider getting a mini Skoolie. These shorter buses are also a lot easier to manoeuvre and park. 

The next important thing you need to ask yourself is how important the floor space is. You know, obviously, with longer buses, there’s more floor space to work with, but the exterior length may give you headaches in terms of manoeuvrability or where you can camp. 

A short bus, on the other hand, may not be long enough for you. If there is not enough space for you to navigate inside the bus, if there’s more than one person on board, or if you have dogs or children – you may want to consider a full-size Skoolie! 

Something else to consider is how much are you willing to spend. The longer the bus, the more time, workforce and materials you are going to use in order to convert it. Also, a  larger bus consumes more fuel. 

Where are you going to store the bus? Unless you are living in it full time, but even if you are, a longer bus means a heavier vehicle that requires that much more space to convert it and later for storage. Consider how much space you’ve got, whether there is a garage long enough for such a large vehicle! 

Then lastly and perhaps most important is how well can you manoeuvre a full-size bus? Longer school buses have longer wheelbases. That means that their turning radius is going to be poorer than that of a shorter bus with a shorter wheelbase.

Smaller vehicles tend to lend themselves more to wild camping and dry camping. Not to say that you can’t do that in a 42 feet bus, but you do have to be a little bit more careful about where you are going and whether you can get out of there! 

Other important requirements regarding the size of a Skoolie

No matter the size of the school bus you are choosing, to transform such a heavy vehicle into a motorhome, for personal use, it must have enough space for the following amenities:

  • A kitchen including stove, refrigerator, counter, sink and table. 
  • A place to sleep including a sofa bed or a bed. 
  • A complete bathroom including a permanent shower and toilet connected to a drainage network. 
  • An electric power supply system independent of the vehicle engine. A propane gas supply system with compliant installation certification. 
  • A drinking water tank. A tank for wastewater. 
  • A water heater. A heating system independent of the vehicle engine system. 
  • A minimum of two seats with seatbelts. A number of seats with safety belts greater than or equivalent to the number of sleeping places (maximum of nine).

Conclusions

When choosing a bus to convert it to a Skoolie, you must consider how many people are going to live in it, what amenities you want to add (kitchen, bathroom, beds, etc), but also you must consider how wide the bus is. A bigger bus is not always the best choice, as it can be more expensive and very hard to find a spot to park it. 

Please let us know if you have any questions or comments on the content. 

FAQ on What is the longest school bus?

What does a 72 passenger school bus weigh?

A typical 72 passenger school bus weighs 30,000 lbs. As School Transportation News points out, buses range from Type A, the smallest that carries fewer passengers, to Type D, the largest bus, which carries the most passengers.

How heavy is a school bus in tons?

A school bus weighs on average 12,9 tons. How heavy a school bus is, depends on the class or type of school bus it is.

What are school bus bodies made of?

School bus bodies are mainly made of steel, meaning a mixture of iron and carbon. Steel is also used to make the chassis and other components of a school bus. The body of the bus is where the passengers and the driver are located, so manufacturers consider comfort and utility as part of its characteristics.

Are school buses fuel efficient? 

Despite their dimensions, school buses are more fuel-efficient than trucks and semi-trucks. On average, a school bus or a Skoolie has a 30% fuel consumption, with 10  mpg!

How is a bus measured?

The weight of passenger trucks and buses is measured by a measuring instrument known as a scale. In many places, it is used to control the weight of vehicles such as passenger trucks and buses in order to ensure safety on the journey.

How wide is the inside of a Skoolie?

Generally, the interior of a Skoolie is 7.5 feet wide. In the United States and Canada, bus bodies are restricted to a maximum width of 102 inches (2.59 m) and a maximum length of 45 feet (13.7 m). 

References