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Old 08-15-2015, 11:05 AM   #31
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Keep in mind that where you're buying doesn't always equal where the bus spent its life. Look at the district stickers on the side and figure out where it originated. Also, call the manufacturer with the VIN and they can usually tell you where the bus went from the dealer.

I bought my Thomas and my Bluebird from the same auction in Denver. The Thomas spent the first 13 years of its life in Maryland, but was bought and driven by a local bus contractor in Denver. It's rusted underneath pretty bad from its time back East.

The BB was bought and driven by a Colorado school district, so she was well maintained and is virtually rust free underneath. What lies under the plywood flooring may be a different story, but we shall see what we shall see. I'll know soon enough. In the meantime, she's got a big Cummins diesel, Allison with retarder, fresh tires, and screams down the road (for a bus)...

Good luck with your search!
All Colorado school buses have driveline retarders... If they bought one from another state they would still have to put one on.
Of course, individual sellers can sell any bus in colorado for private use, but I was only referring to district owned buses at auction.
To me thats the only way to buy one.
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:44 PM   #32
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My Thomas doesn't have one. It came from Montgomery, same as PorkChopSandwiches, but was operated by a company called ATS here in Colorado.
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Old 08-15-2015, 01:10 PM   #33
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Right- you bought from a dealer. not a district.
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Old 08-15-2015, 01:30 PM   #34
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Anyone that intends to live in their bus full time needs to keep in mind it takes $15k to $20k to build a bus for full time living.

Far too many newbies come here thinking the bus was the most expensive part.

The bus is the cheapest part of the entire build. Everything else adds up big time.

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Old 08-15-2015, 02:37 PM   #35
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Right- you bought from a dealer. not a district.
Not really. ATS does contract bus service. Head starts, events, things of that nature. Once they've completely exhausted the buses, THEN they go to the auction block. I found this out later on. I could see the old "Montgomery County" lettering, just didn't know what it meant for the bus...
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Old 08-15-2015, 05:25 PM   #36
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Right... ATS is NOT a school district.
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Old 08-15-2015, 05:54 PM   #37
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Right... ATS is NOT a school district.
Right, they're not, but wouldn't they be subject to the same rules as a district for hauling kids around? That's all I was getting at. I wouldn't say I know anything about regional school bus requirements, just what I've seen running around here.

I was also saying that ATS is not a dealer.
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Old 08-15-2015, 09:16 PM   #38
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Right... ATS is NOT a school district.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dammit View Post
Right, they're not, but wouldn't they be subject to the same rules as a district for hauling kids around? That's all I was getting at. I wouldn't say I know anything about regional school bus requirements, just what I've seen running around here.
Contractors are different from districts. They meet the state *minimums* when it comes to hauling kids around legally (and a maximum amount of insurance). Here in NJ, private ambulance services, as an example, have a minimum of equipment to carry to be "legal" in the eyes of the State Dept of Health.

Because districts are using taxpayer dollars to haul the kids around, they're going to *exceed* the minimums, so that if Little Johnny got injured in a bus v whatever, the district won't necessarily have to worry about Little Johnny's parents getting on the horn with their lawyer and suing the pants off the district.
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Old 08-17-2015, 01:53 PM   #39
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Lissa

When I bought from a dealer I didn't have the option to view beforehand, so I phoned up the School Transportation and spoke to the mechanic. I also used a website called lemonsquad.com to do an independent road test for me and I got the dealer to send LOTS of photos. I posted them on this forum and received helpful feedback (hard to judge as a newbie whether to be worried about the level of rust.).

One thing I have learnt is that there are not many traditional looking short buses on the market, so you may have to compromise.

The other tip is to forget about trying to judge the state of the bus and ask whether you trust the seller? Ask lots of questions - if you think they are trying to hide something then walk away.

Good luck!
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Old 08-17-2015, 08:44 PM   #40
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I also used a website called lemonsquad.com to do an independent road test for me and I got the dealer to send LOTS of photos. I posted them on this forum and received helpful feedback (hard to judge as a newbie whether to be worried about the level of rust.).
Timbrass, I looked through the report they gave you. It was great! This is a REALLY good idea for people who are too far away to do it themselves, or who don't have an exceptional knowledge of vehicles (particularly medium-duty diesels).
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