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Old 01-07-2014, 05:03 PM   #1
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Bringing a bus to MA

I've been looking to buy a school bus to convert for a while... finally I find one that fits what I want, and at a good price, not too far away in Connecticut. And then I discovered the nightmare of bringing an unregistered vehicle to MA. The RMV won't issues temp. plates, and I can't get it registered/insured as an RV before I buy it as its still in full school bus configuration (signs and all). Not only does MA not issue temp plates, but they specifically state that a Massachusetts resident can't use out of state temp plates to transport a vehicle. They will however accept the plates if the operator is a resident of the state which the plates are from. So, aside from getting a tow (which I imagine would cost north of 1k for the 130 mile trip) there seems to be no legal way of doing it. My only other idea is to have the current owner go to the DMV, get 10 day commercial plates, stick them on, and take the risk of driving it back. If temporary plates are legal in MA for CT drivers, they can't pull over every one they see to check (can they??).

Has anyone successfully brought an unconverted bus into the bay state?

Any tips?? This is looking to be a real headache...
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Old 01-08-2014, 11:23 PM   #2
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Re: Bringing a bus to MA

If it's still registered in CT, have the previous owner bring it over before cancelling the plates and insurance. If it's off the road, maybe your idea of having him drive on CT temp plates would work.

Another thought is MA "repair" plates. I expect MA still issues them to garages. Similar to car dealer plates, a repair plate could go on any vehicle. I don't know if there is a mileage limit from the garage like on a farm plate, but you might make friends with a local mechanic and offer a generous amount of bucks to go drive the bus back for you on his plates. I wouldn't mess with dealer plates, they are usually not valid unless the dealer has ownership of the vehicle.

Ah, for the good old days. When I was a kid, instead of temporary plates, MA allowed you to take the plates off of your old vehicle and put them on your new one. All you needed to carry was your old registration plus a bill of sale from the previous owner, which at the time might have been handwritten on a piece of paper. Now you have titles and all kinds of things to protect you from theft and make money for the Commonwealth.
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Old 01-13-2014, 12:13 PM   #3
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Re: Bringing a bus to MA

Thanks for the advice redbear.

Fortunately, I was able to get a friend who lives in NH to get temp plates and drive it into MA. She made the 3 hour trip fine at highway speed. Now to go through the nightmare of insuring and registering it in MA!!
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Old 01-13-2014, 01:46 PM   #4
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Re: Bringing a bus to MA

Speaking of registering it, I don't plan on doing enough to it for it to really be considered an RV (removing some seats, a table, bed, etc), and considering it's under commercial weight in MA (26,000 lbs, limit is 26,001!!!) and has hydraulic brakes instead of air... could I register it as a car once enough seats are removed and the school bus markings are covered? Anyone ever try this?
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Old 03-18-2014, 10:38 AM   #5
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Re: Bringing a bus to MA

Did you every figure this out? We are looking into converting a short bus into a camper (no plumbing or electrical) and would love to know how to transport and register in MA.
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Old 03-19-2014, 02:25 PM   #6
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Re: Bringing a bus to MA

We drove ours 50 miles home (in Michigan) with no plates and no insurance. Apparently, that's legal here if you're just moving the vehicle home. Not saying I'd recommend that in your state but it worked for us. Another skoolie member drove theirs nearly coast to coast the same way.

In your place I think I would bring along a valid plate from one of your vehicles and use that one for the trip home. It's only a problem if you get pulled over. If the DMV wants to know how you got it home just say the previous owner drove it up then took his plates with him.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:04 PM   #7
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Re: Bringing a bus to MA

Awesome, thanks so much!
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:43 PM   #8
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Re: Bringing a bus to MA

Sorry I missed this. I drove from Maryland to MA with no plates no insurance. 30k lbs and air brakes.
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Old 08-19-2014, 06:38 PM   #9
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Re: Bringing a bus to MA

When I was a kid, before cars had titles, your old plates on a vehicle you just bought plus a handwritten bill of sale from the previous owner served as legal temp plates in MA. Just another example of how life was much simpler (and easier to cheat).
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Old 12-03-2014, 02:55 PM   #10
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Re: Bringing a bus to MA

I have a bus thats registered as an RV in Florida, and I just moved to Massachusetts, could somebody who has already made the move tell me about the process?

Thanks!
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