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Old 03-07-2018, 08:13 AM   #41
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
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Year: 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 25074 View Post
You need a CDL in Pennsylvania if you operate a vehicle over 26,000 pounds or a bus with more than 15 passengers.

My skoolie is rated at 14,000 pounds and now has only 4 seats.
For future reference, this is incorrect.

You do not automatically need a CDL just because your rig is over 26,000 pounds. From the PA PUB 223:

Exemptions: You do not need a CdL to drive military equipment while in military uniform; certain fire and
emergency equipment owned by a fire company; or recreational vehicles; implements of husbandry; or
certain motorized construction equipment.

----

Also, the passenger # drops to just 11 including the driver if the vehicle in question is a school bus (which I assume they would enforce if you didn't do any conversion work and left the bus as is).

----

It's been a while since I went and read how the actual laws read, but that is the interpretation of the law that is currently being taught to people by PENNDOT, which means that is probably how it will be enforced.
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:43 AM   #42
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I did not say my post was all inclusive. I simply explained my situation.

Here is the CDL fact sheet from Penndot

http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Public/DV...ets/fs-cdl.pdf
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:02 AM   #43
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Location: Hazleton, PA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 25074 View Post
You need a CDL in Pennsylvania if you operate a vehicle over 26,000 pounds or a bus with more than 15 passengers.

My skoolie is rated at 14,000 pounds and now has only 4 seats.
You don't need a CDL if not using it for business. If your RV is over 26K you do need a class B or class A NON commercial added to your license.
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Old 03-07-2018, 10:58 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by Brasquatch View Post
You don't need a CDL if not using it for business. If your RV is over 26K you do need a class B or class A NON commercial added to your license.
PA is also the only state that requires the Non-Commercial Class B for ANY vehicle with air-brakes, regardless of weight.
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Old 03-30-2018, 10:02 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by PigPen View Post
I'm planning on doing a full write up of everything I've learned, but I'll share the gist of it all now. For the record, I ended up going with a shortie that doesn't require any type of special license at all. We'll be starting our build thread shortly!

As far as the whole CDL thing goes, its REALLY complicated, to the point that there isn't a straight answer. CDL rules and licensing are actually based on federal standards that are enforced by each state. If you look at the actual wording of the legislation, FMCSA Standard 383, you'll see that the definition of a commercial vehicle includes three qualifications and if any are met, the vehicle counts as needing a license. Read carefully though, because the definition also states that the vehicle must be "used in commerce to transport passengers or property".

By the letter of the law, this means that as Roadrunner was pointing out, a vehicle with over a 26000 GVWR doesn't necessarily need a CDL. In PA, it technically needs a class b non-commercial license, but VERY few people actually get them. To be fully legal, you would need one though.

Heres where things get really complicated. From my understanding, a vehicles registration is basically your statement of intended use. Your options for how you can register a vehicle are connected to how it is titled. If your bus is titled as a bus when you get it, then your option for registering it seems to be as a bus and only as a bus. I'm not sure if you could get away with it being a truck or not. If you are stuck registering it as a bus, then it seems you're stating that you plan on using it as a bus (even though they forced you to choose that option). If you're registered as a bus over 26000 lbs, then you may be in a danger zone as far as what license they expect you to have if you were to be pulled over.

In order to retitle a bus as an RV (and by extension be able to register it as one as well), PA has a set of requirements you must meet. First you have to have at least 4 of the following:

Cooking appliance

Refrigerator

Self-contained toilet

Heating/Air conditioning

Portable water supply

Faucet and sink

Separate 110/125 or LP gas supply

Once you have that, you have to have a special inspector come and take photographs with initials to verify everything. At that point, you would also need an enhanced vehicle inspection done at a special inspection station.

This is only to complete the RV retitling in PA. If you buy a bus already retitled, then it appears as though you are lucky and get to skip all these steps. Many states have very lax laws and if you declare an intention to use it as an RV, then that is good enough. (Side note: if you find a bus in a state that has easy title change rules, you may want to pay the owner to retitle it before you buy it. Just a thought and please verify that this will work ahead of time. Don't just rely on some random guy on the internet).

If you are buying a bus titled as a bus, then what you need to figure out is how to register it in a way that avoids special licenses. What ends up working for you will depend on who you talk to and what they are willing to do. According to my local notary/tag service, I can declare any GVWR between the one listed in the vehicle and the curb weight. The declared GVWR would become the maximum I'm allowed to use on public roadways and if caught exceeding that weight, hefty fines could ensue. This could be an interesting way to get a vehicle below the 26000 threshold until you complete the conversion and retitle as an RV.

Sorry if thats confusing. Like I said, I'll go back through and try to write a more thorough and thought out account of what I have learned. I spent several weeks discussing the matter with literally every person I could contact within PennDOT. This was essentially everyone, as I got a hold of their internal directory and just called every president, vp, and other bigwig on the list in the various departments. Most people directed me to one of a handful of people who I narrowed my focus to. They did not even know the answers and these are the people that are supposed to be making/enforcing/educating about these laws! What I laid out above is the basic account of what they shared, but when I tried to get more details or specifics it always came back to "I don't know, I'll check and call back tomorrow." Eventually they gave up and stopped calling back

Let me know if you want me to clarify anything!
I had the exact same experience with PennDOT. This Commonwealth is abysmal at serving its people in a commonsense customer focused manner. Looking forward to putting PA in my rear view asap.

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