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Old 04-30-2017, 01:18 AM   #1
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Cool Bus Beginners from Philly

Hi! We live in Philly and are just getting started with this school bus thing. We have not purchased the bus yet, but we went to look at it the other day and were very impressed. We really want to make this happen, but it's so intimidating!
The bus is a 1992 Blue Bird FE with 8 rows of seats and a flat front. It's in great shape, and it's still a functioning school bus.
Any tips on title transfer, registration, and insurance in the state of Pennsylvania would be helpful at this point. We can't afford to keep it registered or insured as a school bus, and neither of us has a CDL, so we need to figure out how to get it registered as a mobile home or something else more practical and affordable.
We're also still sorting out where to park it. We can't trust people in the city not to vandalize it, and renting a secure space here would be expensive, so a place outside of town would be best while we get our ducks in a row.
We could really use some skoolie friends in the area to help us through this transition.
We're halfway to a new life and so glad to have found this forum!
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Old 04-30-2017, 07:11 AM   #2
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find a place to park/work on it first. call the dmv. you need to convert and get inspected here in va. every state is different . good luck
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Old 04-30-2017, 07:18 AM   #3
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Can't speak for pa but in fl all we had to do was fill out an afadavit that stated it had either 110, plumbing, or propane. Be prepared to deal with people at the DMV who don't know how to change it to a motor home. And be patiently


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Old 05-01-2017, 02:10 AM   #4
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000
Engine: Cummins 5.9L 6BT
Rated Cap: 32 passenger
Thanks for the advice! I just sent for an insurance quote through AIS. Hopefully I will get insurance sorted out by tomorrow. With insurance in place, I supposedly can get it registered at PennDOT by Wednesday.
I think I'm going to just pay the price to keep it as a bus for now, because the guy we're buying from wants it off the lot soon, so it will be a PITA to get the seats removed before registering and driving away.
It's becoming more and more clear that I need this legal stuff done ASAP.
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Old 05-01-2017, 02:14 AM   #5
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Year: 1997
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: TC2000
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Rated Cap: 32 passenger
Also, I got the VIN from him today, and it's actually a 1997 Blue Bird, not a 1992. Good news!
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Old 05-01-2017, 06:20 AM   #6
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To register in pa you do not need to have that vehicle insured but you have to show insurance in your name on a pa vehicle that you have. Your vehicle insurance automatically insures the new vehicle for a couple of days so you can drive it to your house and gives you time to shop around.

Good luck
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Old 05-01-2017, 06:34 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ApeWriter View Post
Also, I got the VIN from him today, and it's actually a 1997 Blue Bird, not a 1992. Good news!
97 is probably still mechanical, which is good. But with buses and converting them, newer does NOT necessarily mean better. After about 97/98 they get much more complex to repair. Also more expensive.
My favorite buses for conversion would have to be from about 88-98.
I only point this out because most people assume buying a bus is the same buying a car and that newer MUST be better. Condition and spec are the most important factors, not year or kid count. I see you referred to the length by "rows"- that's the best and easiest way to express the length of a school bus. 8 rows would be a really nice size. I drive around in my 6 row a lot as its easy to get around in. 8 rows would be nice, too.
As to insurance I've found the best approach is to deal with a local agent. Dealing directly with the ins co's got me nowhere fast.
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Old 05-02-2017, 05:42 PM   #8
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Year: 1997
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Rated Cap: 32 passenger
Thanks for the great advice, EastCoastCB! I'm feeling really good about this bus!
I got the liability insurance today from AIS, who were super helpful and made it so easy. It's $800 for the year ($67/month). I was hoping for cheaper, but she explained to me that the liability is measured by the size and weight of the vehicle, not by the number of passengers.
We're going to pick the bus up tomorrow morning and take it directly to PennDot for registration. I'm expecting them to register it as an "Omnibus" which is a Pennsylvania designation for personal buses that aren't used commercially or for schools. See the types of bus plates here.
I'm not sure how much the registration is going to cost. It's either $432 if they count it by passenger capacity (32 passengers), or it's just the regular $37 that they charge for standard registration. See the PA registration fees here.
My next worry is about inspection. Its inspection expired in november, but supposedly newly registered vehicles are allowed two weeks time to get inspected. Not sure I'll have time to do the inspection tomorrow, and not sure where one gets a bus inspected, either. I'm leaving for vacation on Thursday, so, if I can't get it inspected tomorrow, it'll sit with an expired inspection sticker until next week. Philadelphia Parking authority will almost certainly give me a ticket.
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