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Old 10-24-2007, 04:41 PM   #1
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Re: CDL required?

That's kind of a personal call and might even vary by state. Technically I would probably say yes. Practically no. I technically needed one when I bought my bus from Tim at UTB, but he basically said to just stop at all the railroad crossings and look, hazard flashers and all like a real bus and I should be fine. YMMV
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Old 10-24-2007, 09:13 PM   #2
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Re: CDL required?

If it has air brakes then you'd technically need a CDL to operate it in most states, at least until such a time as the thing has been retitled as an RV or Motor Home. In Virginia the law is somewhat vague, but states that as long as the unit is for personal use and not for commercial use a CDL is NOT required. However, Va law also states it's illegal to have bus lights & stop signs. I have heard other states indicate that as long as the unit is full of seats there are issues of having a CDL with passenger endorsements.

Best thing to do would be to check with DMV's in each of the states you will be traveling through, print out all documentation and carry it with you. May be easier to just get a CDL too!!
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Old 10-26-2007, 11:03 PM   #3
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Re: CDL required?

From my understanding it is unless you are working for hire no cdl is needed to operate anything. I could be wrong though.

When I bought mine, I towed my truck behind it home and I never bothered to stop at any RR crossings cause I figured it wasn't being used as a bus anymore. I had moved in blankets, pillows, airbeds, and other stuff in to make it feel like a rv on the way home. I ended up spending one night in the bus on the way home and one night at a hotel in Dyersville Iowa also a planned stop on the way home.

Funny thing when I was in Dyersville I did see another skoolie about the size of mine by the pizza hut when I was leaving. It was still yellow at the time with some windows covered up, I'm sure it was used as a rv and maybe even one with the lift still in it but since I was leaving it was too late to turn around to look closer.
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Old 10-30-2007, 11:13 AM   #4
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Re: CDL required?

I just winged it when I bought mine 2 months ago it was yellow with seats. I took a greyhound to the bus and then drove it home with the bus the way it was. I did put a tag on the back saying "purchased 09/18/2007". I drove it across the country that way from Wisconsin to Georgia. I have a regular license. I did call GMAC first and insure my bus. But I had no issues with the Man on my 874 mile trek home. And I did have a few drive up on me and pass. 1 even waved in Indiana. In Georgia you have 30 days till you have to get the tag after purchase. So my plan was if they pulled me over without tags I would play dumb. I did also get shoe polish and paint "NOT FOR HIRE!" to make sure they knew I was not working.

This doesn't answer your question. But I had fun typing it
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Old 10-30-2007, 02:50 PM   #5
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Re: CDL required?

it was only around $390 in fuel. I was having trouble finding ones that ran good near me for a good price. So I went north. It does have rust issues but it runs great. I only plan on living in this one for 3 years. So let it rust, I will fix what is serious. It was worth the drive.
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"Escapin' through the lily fields
I came across an empty space
It trembled and exploded
Left a bus stop in its place
The bus came by and I got on
That's when it all began
There was cowboy Neal
At the wheel
Of a bus to never-ever land"
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Old 10-30-2007, 05:55 PM   #6
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Re: CDL required?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShortBus
Regarding CDL stuff: (somewhat off-topic) one thing I was wondering today is when a regular person buys a bus for personal use, do you need to have it certified by the DOT or anything? I've never seen DOT stickers in windshields of personal buses, so I suppose the DOT has absolutely nothing to do with personally-owned/retired buses.
In our state there are lots of seldom enforced, but on-the-books laws pertaining to large vehicles. For instance...

169.75 FLARES, FLAGS, OR REFLECTORS REQUIRED.
blah...blah...blah...blah


Summary: If the GVWR or total gross weight of a single vehicle or combination of vehicles exceeds 10,000 lbs you need to be carrying flares. Are you going to tell me that Grandpa in his Winnabago is going to have flares with him all the time? How about the 1-ton truck owners out there? Are they going to have flares with them? The law says they need to based on the manufacturer's GVWR.


However, it has been revised enough now over the years to get rid of most of the confusion surrounding commercial vehicles versus non-commercial vehicles. If the bus is still outwardly equipped as a school bus (it doesn't say IS a school bus...just looks like one) it is supposed to have an inspection.

Interestingly enough the law also also says specifically "a bus" as another criteria for needing an inspection sticker. Now for those of us Minnesotans that register as RV's that's fine...we are exempted. But my bus came with "YB" plates which are gross weight bus plates. That would have meant I needed an inspection. Likewise I think someone like Jason with a private bus license, even from another state, would be subject to a roadside commercial motor vehicle inspection. One would hope he would be granted some immunity.

As a side note...non-commercial vehicles can also be spot checked on the side of the highway for safety. The inspection is not nearly as intense as a commercial motor vehicle inspection, but nevertheless, the chance is there. I know I experienced that more than once from officers that failed to believe my truck fell in accordance with Minnesota's lift laws. Coincidently it technically doesn't, but they only went by bumper restrictions. What's fun is getting inspected once and then showing the documentation of that inspection to anyone that pulls you over for the next 90 days. They can't do anything but tell you to have a nice day, legal equipment or not.
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Old 10-30-2007, 06:39 PM   #7
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Re: CDL required?

I would just register with regular "Y" gross weight plates, just like a 1 ton (or larger for that matter) truck. The bus will not be set up to carry more than 14 passengers plus a driver so there is no need to mess around with YB plates that are going to land you in the inspection zone. Regular Y-plates are going to make it just like any other non-commercial 1-ton out there unless you plan to tow a trailer in excess of 10,000 lbs where the gross combined weight of bus and trailer is going to exceed 26,000 lbs.

The truth is that you're going to pay the same no matter what you do. All big boy plates in Minnesota are linked to the same damn GVWR scale. That means I pay as much for my bus at 21,000 lbs as I would for a flatbed at 21,000 lbs, RV plates be damned. The advantage comes in avoiding inspections and the cheaper insurance. Since RVs are typically driven so many fewer miles than "normal" vehicles the actuarials show a reduced loss on insurance to the companies and as such the rates are lower. It's nothing but a numbers came where RV plates become a money saver. They also get you around that pesky 26,000 GVWR limit and that nasty air brake business.

*edit* I have to stop by the DMV to get a new driver's license (I left mine somewhere in North Dakota) so I can get a deer hunting license before Saturday so I will pick up the sheet I had to fill out to get my title changed to RV so I can give you the actual requirements the DMV is looking for. I'll post it in the Registration section since it is good information to have anyway. I would invite anyone else to get the actual requirements from the state and post them in the same thread.
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Old 10-30-2007, 09:16 PM   #8
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Re: CDL required?

I'm just going to clarify that the two plates seen on school bus in MN are BY and SB. Saying YB plates will confuse someone. SB plates are on buses used for school routes and school activities only and are cheaper to buy than BY plates. BY plates are used on school buses that are used for the same as SB plated buses and can also be used for charter trips not related to school routes or activities.

BY plates are also seen on non school buses such as airport shuttles and pretty much most charter buses. Some non profit companies and school districts may have tax exempt plates on their buses and if this is you can not use their plates regardless of you new use and they will most likely remove them before the sale of the bus.

There is another plate on the big motor coach buses but I don't know what they are.
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Old 10-30-2007, 09:37 PM   #9
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Re: CDL required?

That is a good point, Wmah. I've just always called them "Y-B" plates because I'm used to associating the "Y" designation with GVWR based plates and the "B" just means bus to me (and I assume the state of Minnesota).

Here is a picture of the plate that was on (is now IN) my bus when I got it from UTB as used in the iron mines.

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Old 10-30-2007, 10:13 PM   #10
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Re: CDL required?

That is a good point, Wmah. I've just always remembered them as "YB" plates because they are tax-base bus plates, but you are absolutely correct. If someone is curious what these plates look like here is a picture one of the ones that was on my bus as it was used in the iron mines. It has since found a home inside since I got my RV plates.



I should also point out that although RV plates are based on the same GVWR tax base as commercial rigs, after 9 years the price drops to 75% of the tax base price which is nice to us Minnesotan skoolie owners since most schools own their buses 9 years or more to begin with.
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