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Old 12-29-2017, 05:29 AM   #1
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OHIO - it's a real PITA, so beware!

Got the bus yesterday. (Pictures coming soon.) Here's what I discovered, as a WARNING for all of you who live in OHIO and want to get a bus! (Understand that I mean a BUS, not a "skoolie". If you buy a bus that has already been converted into what Ohio deems a motorhome, this doesn't apply. It's only if you buy a bus that is still a bus, even if your intention is to turn it into a motorhome.)

1) DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT, get the title transferred into your name until you have obtained for yourself a temporary license plate. The moment you get the title transferred into your name, you cannot get a "temp tag". (It ain't that way with most states. It IS that way with Ohio.)

2) If you fail to get a "temp tag", you WILL NOT be able to get plates. I was on the phone for hours yesterday, I dealt with five BMV people in person and many more on the phone, and this is what they said. The most you can do is schedule a bus inspection (by calling a phone number which, when I called it, yielded nothing but one of those infernal computerized voice mail systems despite it being squarely within "business hours") and then buy one at a cost of over $103. Then they'll give you a temporary license plate, but you WILL NOT be able to drive the bus anywhere, legally, except the inspection station.

3) Yes, you read that correctly. You must SCHEDULE the inspection before you BUY the inspection. And it costs $103... why? Who knows. Who knows anything about how governments work.

4) Not one of the people at the BMV could answer a very simple question for me - "How can I drive this bus home, 10 minutes from the yard to my house, LEGALLY?". So, I called the state police. The officer with whom I spoke said that I couldn't drive it home legally - I would have to get it towed, to be fully within the letter of the law.

So, in the end, I drove it home without plates. I took all of the documentation I had, including a blank "church bus inspection" form that I got from the BMV, and had my wife drive behind me as a "cop shield". I got it home and now can begin the conversion, after which point I can get the title changed to a motorhome title (all of this mess was because the title I had showed the vehicle as a bus) and then I won't need an inspection.

Only a government agency could turn something that's supposed to be simple into this much of a mess. Have any of the Ohioans in here had this much trouble registering a bus? (Heck - getting the title transferred was as easy as it has ever been for any other vehicle!)
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Old 12-29-2017, 05:46 AM   #2
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I live in Ohio, so I am used to this, my title office (Hamilton county) has a sign warning you about the temp tag thing. What are you getting an inspection for?
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Old 12-29-2017, 06:40 AM   #3
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I went through the same thing but it was not a bad experience. The license branch did a VIN check since it was an out of state vehicle. I then went to the title branch next door and got the bus titles in my name as a bus. I went back next door to the license branch and the lady explained that I could not plate it unless I had the bus inspection done by the highway patrol.

She simply told me that since I lived in the township I was at nobody should worry about no plates on the bus. She told me to get the conversion done (at least the minimal requirements) and re-title the bus as a motorhome and then plate it. She also told me to wait until spring to do it because this is a seasonal vehicle and it would be cheaper that way.

I understand that if you need to get it plated right away, this would suck. You could always meet the minimal requirements and go back in a week to change the title.
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Old 12-29-2017, 08:39 AM   #4
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i got it titled as a bus. Easy at the title office. Then went to the BMV. The lady there would told me there were no options other than registering as a commercial vehicle (bus) since, as she put it, "it's a bus". There is an affidavit that I got online, then threw in an inflatable mattress, small fridge, small power inverter, and camp toilet. signed the affidavit that it was a motorhome. Took that to a different BMV office and got it registered as an RV.
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:25 AM   #5
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my ohio experience was totally different.. the temp tag thing i knew about.. get the title in your name and then get regular plates.

my red bus is titled and registered as a bus.. the only inspection they did was match the VIN to the title, put the title in my name and I went next door and bought regular plates, at renewal time, walked in and bought new sticker.. no inspection or such.. I was registering as a bus but not as a school bus.. sounds like you were attempting to register it as a school or church bus which requires full on inspections...

or the DMV i go to are just nice people...
-Christopher
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:48 AM   #6
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Just bought a unimog / freight liner flu419 as christmas present in Ohio. Not sure how my wife feels about such toys.
Thought about driving it home to PA then I noticed that temp tag thing. Sounded like a real pain and decided to ship it instead. Got it it titled as a SME and antique in PA.

Later J
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Old 12-29-2017, 09:54 AM   #7
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I live in GA but did much the same thing Christopher did. My bus was not going to be used for commerce in any way, so none of the commercial tags applied. In the end, they simply registered it as a private passenger vehicle at the same rate as any other car.
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Old 12-29-2017, 10:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
I live in GA but did much the same thing Christopher did. My bus was not going to be used for commerce in any way, so none of the commercial tags applied. In the end, they simply registered it as a private passenger vehicle at the same rate as any other car.
my first bus was registered as a car.. I couldnt quite get them to do that for this one, but it registered out as a non CDL bus.. maybe because its fitted for 14 people and is less than 26,000 lbs GVWR is why I didnt need a bus inspection.. the registration and title say bus..

Ohio goes by fitted seats and not rated seats.. plus when registering as a regular bus and Not as a school bus you can use adult seating capacity and not child.. so that reduced my long seats to 2 per and my narrow seats to 1 adult.

the DEV bus was titled as a motorhome already when i brought it to ohio so it was easy I kept it that way and they never asked about it fitting the requirements. (which are easy here.. bed, frig (or icebox), and any cooking method. hot-plate ,microwave, etc.. no requirements for plumbing or 120 volt electric of any kind,, )..

-Christopher
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Old 12-29-2017, 11:34 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by RomaniGypsy View Post
and had my wife drive behind me as a "cop shield".
So....what does she charge for a service like that...does she have a black Trans Am w/ T-tops?

77pont73381-1.jpg

Congrats on getting your pride-n-joy home.
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Old 12-29-2017, 12:42 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Kubla View Post
I live in Ohio, so I am used to this, my title office (Hamilton county) has a sign warning you about the temp tag thing. What are you getting an inspection for?
They wanted a full bus safety inspection at the state patrol office. I don't have any idea why it was necessary when I told them that it was a private vehicle that would not be used to haul anyone other than my wife and son, and that all I needed to do was get it home so I could begin the work.

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Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
She simply told me that since I lived in the township I was at nobody should worry about no plates on the bus.
In essence, "just drive it home - you shouldn't get hassled" (even though per the letter of the law it is illegal)?

That's sort of the attitude I got from some DMV people and the one state cop with whom I talked. Okay, great, but suppose I get pulled over by a cop who isn't that cool about that stuff, ya know?

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Originally Posted by oredigger View Post
There is an affidavit that I got online, then threw in an inflatable mattress, small fridge, small power inverter, and camp toilet. signed the affidavit that it was a motorhome. Took that to a different BMV office and got it registered as an RV.
How did you pull that off? The affidavit says that those facilities have to be PERMANENTLY INSTALLED. The one person at the BMV said that they have to see pictures of the interior in order to accept the conversion and issue the changed title.

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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
my ohio experience was totally different.. the temp tag thing i knew about.. get the title in your name and then get regular plates.

my red bus is titled and registered as a bus.. the only inspection they did was match the VIN to the title, put the title in my name and I went next door and bought regular plates, at renewal time, walked in and bought new sticker.. no inspection or such.. I was registering as a bus but not as a school bus.. sounds like you were attempting to register it as a school or church bus which requires full on inspections...
I have no idea. I told them it was "a bus". I did say it was a retired school bus, but that I was not going to be using it as a school bus nor any other type of passenger transport bus. Maybe their problem was that all of the seats were still in it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad_SwiftFur View Post
I live in GA but did much the same thing Christopher did. My bus was not going to be used for commerce in any way, so none of the commercial tags applied. In the end, they simply registered it as a private passenger vehicle at the same rate as any other car.
Maybe I should move to Georgia...

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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
Ohio goes by fitted seats and not rated seats.. plus when registering as a regular bus and Not as a school bus you can use adult seating capacity and not child.. so that reduced my long seats to 2 per and my narrow seats to 1 adult.
So really - all I have to do is remove seats?

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So....what does she charge for a service like that...does she have a black Trans Am w/ T-tops?

Congrats on getting your pride-n-joy home.
Nope - she was driving a 4Runner. And a guy got stuck at the side of the road trying to get around my bus as I was about to pull into my driveway. I share one half of my U-shaped driveway with a collision shop, and the ONE TIME I need to use that half so as to slip the bus into the spot I had snowblown for it, the neighbor had parked his car at the top to help the guy one more house over free his car from snow!
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Old 12-29-2017, 02:05 PM   #11
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They never asked to see my conversion , only had to sign an affidavit. I was shocked at how easy it was.
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Old 12-29-2017, 03:20 PM   #12
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sounds like romani just got a skinhead for a DMV rep!..
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Old 12-29-2017, 07:08 PM   #13
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My last trip to the title office and BMV was like maybe 15 minutes combined. There is like no one there on a Friday after 4:30, I had a signed title that i turned over to get a new title in my name and walked right over next door to get metal plates. No temp tag BS at all.

I honestly think the trick is to deal with a contractor office rather than a state ran office. They are much more pleasant, helpful and dare I say knowledgeable than the government employees.
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Old 12-29-2017, 08:23 PM   #14
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And Ohio wonders WHY truckers, if given the option, run AROUND the state either going through Kentucky or Canada....... Because that's what I did back in the day.

M
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Old 12-29-2017, 10:16 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Stewzer55 View Post
My last trip to the title office and BMV was like maybe 15 minutes combined. There is like no one there on a Friday after 4:30, I had a signed title that i turned over to get a new title in my name and walked right over next door to get metal plates. No temp tag BS at all.

I honestly think the trick is to deal with a contractor office rather than a state ran office. They are much more pleasant, helpful and dare I say knowledgeable than the government employees.
What constitutes a "contractor office"? I know of nothing except "deputy registrars"... and I figured that all BMV offices of all stripes were government-run.

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And Ohio wonders WHY truckers, if given the option, run AROUND the state either going through Kentucky or Canada....... Because that's what I did back in the day.

M
Do tell. What makes / made truckers especially seek to avoid Ohio?

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sounds like romani just got a skinhead for a DMV rep!..
I might agree with you except for how I dealt with at least 8 different BMV people and most were women. Even if they were all men, would they ALL be skinheads? (I guess anything is possible...)
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Old 12-29-2017, 10:41 PM   #16
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The BMV outsouces the operations of many offices, some are better than others
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:27 AM   #17
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well in my case i was at DMV run agencies.. as noted some of them in ohio are contractors. .. there used to be a way to tell... I cant remember if it had to do with the name? license agency vs deputy registrar? but they changed that so the names all look the same.. there is definitely a lot of variance amongst the various locations.. the one I go to is in kind of a sketchy neighborhood and the dont take %$^& from anyone.. they Move the line through too...

I still think there are various inspections required for bus weughts and sizes.. they specifically asked me what my fitted seating capacity is on the red bus. there are a ton of Ohio-state Buckeys Tailgating sckoolies around columbus.. and the thing in common is that they turn a lot of the seats sideways and a big portion of the bus is empty (for carrying, grills, coolers, bag chairs, etc).. the DMV and the ohio laws have very specific requirements for Church busses.. so if they gave you the church bus form then it was done wrong.. in fact if you read the ohio law to the 'point'. Church busses are the only ones mentioned that cant be yellow and have to have their school lights covered or removed.. i see skoolies in ohio still often faded yellow still with school lights and they arent getting stopped. Church busses are treated very strictly.. almost just like school busses as far as inspections, laws, and the like.. I hear a lot of people talk about how the church bus(and school bus) laws changed significantly after the I-71 Church Bus crash in 1988 between cincy and louisville.. a drunk smacked a superior fully loaded head-on. (the bus exploded into fire)and more than 20 people died.. kentucky and surrounding states afterwards got to be known for requiring some of the most stringent laws for re-purposed school busses as church busses.. so when you read ohio statutes it mentions church busses specifically alot..

they have to get full-on inspections by the state for mechanical and structural integrity each year and require fully Trained CDL B operators licenses with school-bus endorsement training for handling of emergency situations.. basically to drive a church bus you need to be a school bus driver..

prior to those law changes pretty much anyone could drive a church bus.. I legally drove a church bus in 87 / 88 as an 18 and then 19 year old with simply a chaueffer license attachment to my regular driver license..

-Christopher
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Old 01-02-2018, 06:32 AM   #18
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How did you pull that off? The affidavit says that those facilities have to be PERMANENTLY INSTALLED. The one person at the BMV said that they have to see pictures of the interior in order to accept the conversion and issue the changed title.
Yeah, permanent is relative. I figured it is an rv and not a bus to me and I could play dumb if anyone asked. No inspection or pictures needed. The first BMV I went to, wouldn't even consider the affidavit. She was ridiculous. Just had to find someone reasonable.
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Old 01-02-2018, 09:51 AM   #19
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Oklahoma doesn't check. They have you swear an affidavit and take your word for it.

The document opens with "On or around the date ..... these changes were made"

You then describe what you have done on or around the date you put.

You are allowed to remove things you have installed for "upgrading".

No one is really going to question you unless your vehicle is titled as an RV, yet still has all the seats inside. That might raise eyebrows.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:08 AM   #20
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Do tell. What makes / made truckers especially seek to avoid Ohio?
It's quite simple. Ohio looks at semis and truck drivers as second class transportation and second class citizens without any due process.

55 mph for semis ONLY, pull-overs for no reason except to harass (happened to me every time I drove a semi there, despite the fact I run clean and legal - they could never ticket me - believe me they tried - quickest pull-over was TWO hours) are two of the many reasons why I do not drive there, even with a car.

Who wants to work in a work environment like that? We are compelled to drive slow (pay cut), vulnerable to no justification pull-overs (big pay cut), then open to being fined for ANYTHING they can find (bigger pay cut).

Ohio is a very anti-trucker anti-interstate commerce state. So, anytime I can avoid a hostile workplace, I avoid it. That will also include driving my bus there unless I'm visiting fellow skoolies/clanmates. No offense to anyone living there, but it's just my old trucker radar that goes off on the staties. When your logo is a tire with wings on it that screams to me that the law enforcement sees itself above the law, not representing it, then there are issues and concerns that need to be either addressed (highly unlikely) or avoided (more practicable). VERY poor choice of logos, very poor PR, well known reputation for harassment, this is how Ohio troopers are remembered by the truckers. And from my experiences with Ohio State troopers, it's sadly well deserved. Mind you, my brother-in-law AND cousin-in-law are both state troopers. They also concur with my observations. So there is actual proof-in-the-pudding if fellow LEOs are also seeing the same thing.... Well....... I prefer to be safe than sorry. So, I will travel around Ohio when I'm going east (like I always do) - unless I'm going to see Christopher, Sam, Paul, or any other skoolie or clanmate.

Hope this helps with your understanding....

M
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