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Old 04-06-2015, 01:52 PM   #1
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Some questions before buying.

These questions may have been covered but i'm having trouble locating them.

Say I bought a School Bus from a school system that retired the bus. My plans is to, drive it home, park it and convert it into a RV.
How would I get it back to my house without a CDL? My intention is to just drive home and then get the title and registration switched to RV. It would suck to have to get a CDL just to drive it once without it registered as an RV. What would happen if I got pulled over ?
What about insurance how do you get insured from the time you bought it and when you got it home?
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Old 04-06-2015, 03:42 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by oldjoeclark View Post
These questions may have been covered but i'm having trouble locating them.

Say I bought a School Bus from a school system that retired the bus. My plans is to, drive it home, park it and convert it into a RV.
How would I get it back to my house without a CDL? My intention is to just drive home and then get the title and registration switched to RV. It would suck to have to get a CDL just to drive it once without it registered as an RV. What would happen if I got pulled over ?
What about insurance how do you get insured from the time you bought it and when you got it home?
The answer to both questions may depend a lot on the length of the trip to bring the bus home. For insurance.. if you already have another vehicle with insurance, that policy probably has a feature that they'll cover a new vehicle from the moment of purchase (with the expectation that you'll be calling to add it to your policy with that carrier). They surely don't mean to include a bus in that... but you could cross your fingers and hope to lean on it anyway if anything went wrong, or at the other extreme you could buy a policy, make the drive, and cancel it the next day. You've probably already seen/read the threads in this forum section listing the various carriers you might call for insurance.

As for the driving, check with your state driver license people. They may be content with the fact that it's privately owned and non-commercial, and you'd be good to go even without re-titling. Failing that.. find a friend or neighbor who is CDL licensed? I get the idea that people with a CDL aren't so hard to find; there are lots of people who drove a truck or bus in a former life. Where are you located? Maybe somebody from the forum here is near you.
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:01 PM   #3
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Technically, if the bus has seating for more than 15 passengers in addition to the driver you are required to have a CDL to drive the bus.

For most practical purposes, if you choose to drive your bus home you will most likely not have any problems because most weight cops never bother yellow buses and most regular cops won't pull over a yellow bus unless it is being driven in a really obnoxious fashion.

If however you are in British Columbia or having to drive through BC, regardless of whether it is registered as a bus or as an RV, if it has air brakes you will have to have either an air brake endorsement or the air brake restriction taken off of your license. In that instance, if you also do not have a CDL you could be in a pretty sticky wicket.

I have driven buses all over the US and the only times I have ever been stopped was when I was being obnoxious. Mind the speed limit, be courteous, let others go by if you are going slow on an upgrade that doesn't have passing lanes, and act like you know what you are doing and you shouldn't have any problems.

If you should ever get stopped tell them exactly what you are going to be doing with the bus and you just might be able to skate on any ticket. For most full size school buses it won't matter if all of the seats are taken out or not because the GVWR will be high enough to require a CDL for vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs.

If you are puchasing from a private party the license issue won't be an issue.

If you are puchasing from a dealer you may have to sign a waiver acknowledging you are required to have a CDL to drive the bus.

If you are purchasing from a public entity you may have to have someone with a CDL with a passenger endorsement to get the bus off of their property.

In regards to insurance you should be able to work with your personal insurance agent and get whatever you need to drive the bus home. It most likely will not be the same insurance you will want once it has been converted but it will cover the insurance requirement that is needed before you can get even a temporarty vehicle license in most states.
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Old 04-06-2015, 04:07 PM   #4
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Once its converted to an RV and titled correctly do you still need a CDL? I thought Recreational Vehicles were exempt from CDL?
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Old 04-07-2015, 10:31 AM   #5
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Once it is titled as an RV it will not require a CDL no matter how large it is as long as it doesn't seat more than 15+driver.

You will need an air brake endorsement or have the air brake restriction taken off of your license if your bus has air brakes and you intend to drive through British Columbia regardless of where your RV is licensed.
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Old 04-08-2015, 01:41 PM   #6
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OldJoe-Be sure to check on the details specific to the states/jurisdictions you are driving to and from.

Beware of the many different hoops you will need to jump through, and how each one affects the next take-off and landing. In my limited experience, and extensive reading of insurance/titles/registration/licensing, it appears that the biggest PITA happens when the pick-up location is in another state with different practices from your home state. Be sure to know what you are getting into before you place that winning bid.

Some things to consider:

titles;
RV re-titling can make finding insurance difficult, as home-conversions are frequently denied by underwriting. Many folks end up with "commercial for personal use" insurance, which AFAIK, is not applicable to an RV title. It seems like those who have had the least problems, avoid using the word "bus" whenever possible.
inspections/VIN verifications-what are your options if you need a VIN verification or a safety inspection in your home state to get your tags/title/insurance, but they don't do that in the state you are purchasing from or vice versa? (saw this one in the forums somewhere)
temp tags- need info from the vehicle, and the vehicle is not near the tag office. um... what now?
GWWR over 26,000 seems to be more problematic in a lot of ways, at least until you manage to get an RV title (where you don't need the CDL), but then you have to deal with the insurance hoops...
insurance coverage - this seems to vary a great deal between jurisdictions, as do all of these points. Be sure to mention your location(s) when asking questions in the forums. It makes a lot of difference in the final answer.

And, if the seller will deliver? I say throw some extra money their way (within reason anyway) IMHO, paying them to deliver would be cheaper than all the expenses and hassles of traveling long distances and all the other head-aches, no? It sure can't hurt to ask. What's the worst that can happen? They say "no way!" and there's no harm/no foul.

Good luck!
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:44 PM   #7
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Very well said. great points.
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:56 PM   #8
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Very well said. great points.
Thanks EastCoast!
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Old 05-09-2015, 08:00 PM   #9
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Anyone here know about the short busses? I'm hoping to buy one of those Chevy ones that are basically a van school bus. I'm in NYS and will be doing s bit more research before taking the plunge, but my main question is will I have trouble getting the title changed? I'm hoping to buy from a school depot, and maybe they would be willing to take seats out, or drive it to me since I am about 20 minutes from them. But if this becomes a big pain with the dmv, I'd like to be prepared. Thanks in advance for asking this question, and for any other answers folks are familiar with.
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