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Old 01-09-2016, 02:39 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 297
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
Driving a bus for the first time...

I've lurked around here a long time and am finally getting around to taking action and getting a bus. My wife and I have been getting closer and closer to finding a bus that fulfills our wish list, and got to talking about actually driving a school bus...

Is it any harder than an RV? From what I can tell from pouring through pages and pages of searches, as long as I am not using the bus for transporting groups of people, I don't need anything beyond a normal license. I'm checking with my insurance, but it appears they will cover the bus for ~72 hrs after purchase.

Is there anything I should know about beyond this? If I show up to buy a school bus with approval from my insurance and nothing more than my ID, can I legally get it home? Can I at least legally buy it?

Bonus question: I want air brakes, but found a bus that literally hit all of my check list that has Hydraulics. Would you guys pull the trigger on it or keep looking. For reference, my 'must haves' are: RE, DT466e or 8.3 cummins (basically not the 5.9), and additional headroom (6'6"). I found all this with relatively low miles for less than $4000. And it also has a lot of my 'would like' list too...

Thanks!
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Old 01-09-2016, 04:40 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Salt Lake City Utah
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Year: 2000
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Engine: ISC 8.3
In general a seller doesn't care what kind of license or insurance you have, if any at all. He's only interested in receiving money and giving possession of the vehicle. Compliance with applicable laws for transporting the vehicle from his lot -- such as mandatory insurance and driver licensing -- is the concern of the new owner and driver. Driver licensing, insurance, and vehicle registration are connected with operating a vehicle, not buying/owning/possessing the vehicle on private property.

I think I recall reading buried in the policies of a vehicle auction once that they wanted to see some documents before releasing a vehicle to be driven away; in lieu of that one could trailer/tow instead. I think this is uncommon though.

So yes you can definitely legally buy a bus. If you've read the licensing conversations in the past few days you'll know there are strongly-held opposing views about legality of driving a bus home with its seats in place and no CDL.. but it seemed there was agreement that if you just play it cool and don't do anything to attract attention, you'll get it home fine and never need to know if the driver licensing situation was exactly legal or not. Kind of like taking home a new vehicle from a private seller -- nobody I know bothers to get a temporary/transport permit from the state motor vehicle office before driving the new vehicle home or to a shop for its pre-registration inspections..
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Old 01-09-2016, 07:28 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Billings, MT
Posts: 914
Year: 2003
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Chassis: HDX
Engine: Cat C7
Rated Cap: 84 passenger
For the actual driving part, unless your new acquisition is a transit style, then all you have to remember is that the bus you have just purchased is LONGER than your normal vehicle. If it IS a transit-style bus, don't start turning until AFTER your backside passes the corner. In all instances, keep an eye on the mirrors as you turn and pay attention to the rear end of the bus. Take the corners slowly. Remember, too, that you now have a higher center of gravity.

As for licensing, check your LOCAL DMV/MVD.

Now, as for a vehicle search, Midwest Transit Equipment | New & Used Bus Dealership | Kankakee, South Holland,Swansea, Des Plaines, IL, Whitestown, IN, Marshall, MI, Nixa, MO has just about the best search engine available.
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:27 PM   #4
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 297
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by family wagon View Post
In general a seller doesn't care what kind of license or insurance you have, if any at all. He's only interested in receiving money and giving possession of the vehicle. Compliance with applicable laws for transporting the vehicle from his lot -- such as mandatory insurance and driver licensing -- is the concern of the new owner and driver. Driver licensing, insurance, and vehicle registration are connected with operating a vehicle, not buying/owning/possessing the vehicle on private property.

I think I recall reading buried in the policies of a vehicle auction once that they wanted to see some documents before releasing a vehicle to be driven away; in lieu of that one could trailer/tow instead. I think this is uncommon though.

So yes you can definitely legally buy a bus. If you've read the licensing conversations in the past few days you'll know there are strongly-held opposing views about legality of driving a bus home with its seats in place and no CDL.. but it seemed there was agreement that if you just play it cool and don't do anything to attract attention, you'll get it home fine and never need to know if the driver licensing situation was exactly legal or not. Kind of like taking home a new vehicle from a private seller -- nobody I know bothers to get a temporary/transport permit from the state motor vehicle office before driving the new vehicle home or to a shop for its pre-registration inspections..
That makes sense. I wonder if people ever run into trouble with a title transfer without those things in some areas/states?

As far as those threads, I caught a couple when there was only a response or two, I'm going to go back and look through them now.
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Old 01-09-2016, 10:31 PM   #5
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 297
Year: 2003
Chassis: E-450
Engine: 7.3 Turbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptSquid View Post
For the actual driving part, unless your new acquisition is a transit style, then all you have to remember is that the bus you have just purchased is LONGER than your normal vehicle. If it IS a transit-style bus, don't start turning until AFTER your backside passes the corner. In all instances, keep an eye on the mirrors as you turn and pay attention to the rear end of the bus. Take the corners slowly. Remember, too, that you now have a higher center of gravity.

As for licensing, check your LOCAL DMV/MVD.

Now, as for a vehicle search, Midwest Transit Equipment | New & Used Bus Dealership | Kankakee, South Holland,Swansea, Des Plaines, IL, Whitestown, IN, Marshall, MI, Nixa, MO has just about the best search engine available.
Thanks for the tips. I've driven big vehicles before, but not any quite as big as some of the buses I've looked at. I'll just take it slow, my main problem may be driving fast enough to not draw attention lol
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Old 01-10-2016, 02:50 PM   #6
Almost There
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Silvana, WA
Posts: 69
Year: 1973
Coachwork: Gillig
Engine: DD 6V-71
A bus is longer, taller and wider than anything you've probably ever driven, but I didn't find it to be any more difficult than driving a large pickup. It's definitely intimidating at first, but it really isn't too bad once you've been on the road for a few minutes. One thing to keep in mind: your mirrors hang out farther on a bus that a regular car or truck. I nearly ripped mine off on my shop while backing my bus into the driveway. Luckily the mirror folded forward, but it could have been the corner of the shop roof giving instead.

As for licensing, I would look into the laws for your state and consider how far you will have to drive it home. 5 miles is probably not a big deal without a CDL, if its required. 500 miles might be a different story.

Insurance companies usually have a grace period, but I would just get it insured anyways. That way there is no question about legality if you are involved in an accident. A little bit of CYA can go a long way.
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