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Old 01-13-2020, 08:37 PM   #1
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Registration Advice Needed - California

Hi "Skoolie Nation," I recently bought a 97 Blue-Bird TC-2000 (60 passenger). My goal is to convert to a gaming bus as I already have the business and am fully licensed. I plan on removing all seating. However, I will appreciate any advice of what to do afterwards. Will a CHP inspection be required, or can I go to the local DMV? Is it best to register in Vermont and wait for classification change before going to DMV in California? I plan on having TV's, gaming systems, and RV seating installed. In terms of usage, I will go to a client's home, turn on generator, bring people aboard to play games followed by informing to exit when the event is over. Any information will be greatly appreciated....
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:01 PM   #2
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You are, for all intents and purposes, using this for business (commercial) purposes so you'll need any relevant driver's license qualifications, as well as commercial insurance. You're *NOT* a for hire carrier, though, so you'll need insurance similar to what construction contractors and mobile dog groomers will need. You probably will end up with DOT numbers, medical card, E-log hours-of-service and all that goes with it (all this has changed recently so I'd have to look deeper to see who's required and who can exempt). Annual inspection will likely be required. No RV exemption here (due to usage). Don't forget fuel taxes (really only applies if you travel out of state.)



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Old 01-13-2020, 10:59 PM   #3
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Is it diesel? If it is you aren’t going to be able to operate that bus for commercial purposes in the state of California even if you register it in another state. There’s an RV loophole if you make the necessary changes and register it to your person.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:04 AM   #4
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Wow, thank you for advising. Are you aware of the specific mandatory changes if I register it ro me personally?
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:59 AM   #5
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Wow, thank you for advising. Are you aware of the specific mandatory changes if I register it ro me personally?
To keep it in California it needs to be titled as a motor home. It will need a bed, a bathroom and a kitchen which is usually interpreted as a sink and a stove.

I only know this through research. I have no practical experience since I opted for a vehicle that was excluded from the CARB rules. I would recommend contacting CARB, the DMV and insurance companies to determine the best approach.

Unless you are super in love with this bus, maybe a better approach wound be to sell it along and get an LPG bus. They come up in auction all the time and they are exempt from the CARB rules.
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Old 01-14-2020, 06:36 AM   #6
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operating a Business out of a motorhome may create special license / insurance needs.. im guessing a gaming bus wont be transporting any passengers, but just equipment, perhaps hosting LAN parties inside while its parked?



you may be able to work as a Peddlar.. similar to the people that take RVs to shows and sell T-shirts, jewelry, yoga etc out of them...



if you have a business already, i would consult your attorney on the rules of using an RV for profit..



if you are planning on having the bus in motion while customers are aboard, then it becomes a Commercial vehicle.. as you are selling a service, part of which involves transporting passengers.. which you would fall under the CARB rules , DOT rules, CDL, commercial insurance, etc etc..



-Christopher
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:45 AM   #7
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Yeah, that's defenitely going to require commercial registration. DOT in my state is even requiring horse folks with their big goosenecks to get CDLs and DOT #s since they're considered to be "for profit" since the rodeos have prize money involved.

But like others have said the insurance won't be as bad since you won't be a "for hire" carrier unless you're actually traveling with customers on board.

In any other state that bus would be E-log exempt since it's a 1997. However since you're in California that bus isn't even legal to operate except as a motorhome. Best advice would be to buy a post 2008 bus with the emissions equpment intact (bad idea) or get one of those LPG buses that come up (make sure the tanks aren't expired).

California is such a difficult state to do business in. I would consider moving if I were you.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:11 AM   #8
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Yeah, that's defenitely going to require commercial registration. DOT in my state is even requiring horse folks with their big goosenecks to get CDLs and DOT #s since they're considered to be "for profit" since the rodeos have prize money involved.

But like others have said the insurance won't be as bad since you won't be a "for hire" carrier unless you're actually traveling with customers on board.

In any other state that bus would be E-log exempt since it's a 1997. However since you're in California that bus isn't even legal to operate except as a motorhome. Best advice would be to buy a post 2008 bus with the emissions equpment intact (bad idea) or get one of those LPG buses that come up (make sure the tanks aren't expired).

California is such a difficult state to do business in. I would consider moving if I were you.
Itís 2010 and newer Diesel engine now.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:45 AM   #9
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Just looking for clarification. I read all of the above information, and regarding registration for personal use if I'm not mistaken it can be registered correctly and without issue if the bus *has* had the carb emissions retrofit done...correct? ( without the need to reclassified as a motorhome)
I ask because the bus is I purchased recently all had the retrofit done
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:58 AM   #10
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You can't register as an RV since it's not going to be one. You'll need a commercial auto policy and a general liability policy. I can't write insurance in CA but you should find an agent and talk to one before you do too much to the bus.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:17 PM   #11
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You can't register as an RV since it's not going to be one. You'll need a commercial auto policy and a general liability policy. I can't write insurance in CA but you should find an agent and talk to one before you do too much to the bus.
He canít register it in California until itís an RV.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:23 PM   #12
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He canít register it in California until itís an RV.

Op is using it for a commercial use and no sleeping/cooking areas, so he can't register as an RV like that.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:44 PM   #13
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I believe even retrofitted diesels older than 2010 are out in california as anything BUT RVs..



Bus dealers as far east as indiana were selling Older used Gasoline GMC's and anything Propane to buyers in california.. let that sink in.. Commercial operators are going to the RUST BELT to buy gasoline busses to run in california because everything diesel must be 2010 or newer..

-Christopher
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:02 PM   #14
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This is the California compliance schedule for engine replacement: https://ww3.arb.ca.gov/msprog/trucks...ceschedule.png

The replacement engines themselves must be 2010 or newer.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:04 PM   #15
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It sounds to me as though the OP has a couple choices, since it seems unlikely he will be able to use this bus for anything other than an RV (I'm not well versed in CA laws and a lawyer can better answer this than I):


1. Repower bus with a newer engine (I wouldn't bother).
2. Relocate outside of CA for this business (Also probably unlikely).
3. Sell bus and use different vehicle for this business. I've seen this inside trailers with good success, and whatever towing vehicle. A 1-ton pickup usually falls under the 14K rule as noted above and the build shouldn't overload an enclosed trailer.


Did I miss anything?
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:08 PM   #16
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He could sell this bus and get one of the CNG buses that pop up on the California auctions from time to time. They do go cheap since not many buyers want them.

I have no idea how driveable they are. I do know that when the tanks expire they're basically worth scrap prices. OP would have to figure out if there's even any public filling stations in his area.
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:15 PM   #17
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Here's another consideration. Buses are heavy and CNG buses (city-style buses, not school buses) are often even heavier. Also, most have sizable wheel-wells to work around. Now, if he's wanting to rent this for parties, heavy buses may damage some driveways, or some people may be concerned about this. Also, consider ground clearance, turning radius and simply accessing some properties and driveways. Not a big deal in relatively flat areas but CA isn't exactly a flat state (and I don't recall seeing where the OP plans to conduct business).
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Old 01-14-2020, 02:27 PM   #18
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He could sell this bus and get one of the CNG buses that pop up on the California auctions from time to time. They do go cheap since not many buyers want them.

I have no idea how driveable they are. I do know that when the tanks expire they're basically worth scrap prices. OP would have to figure out if there's even any public filling stations in his area.
Iíd get an LPG bus, not CNG unless youíve mapped out the rare CNG stations and are confident theyíll work for you. I donít know for sure but I think that the LPG buses are cheaper and easier to get. Southern California has the added auction pressure of Baja California where they are using them for local transit. I donít know if they like the LPG buses. Youíll find them
A lot on 422 bus sales.

Of course if your business plan doesnít work in other ways youíll have a harder time offloading an LPG bus.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:40 PM   #19
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Here's another consideration. Buses are heavy and CNG buses (city-style buses, not school buses) are often even heavier. Also, most have sizable wheel-wells to work around. Now, if he's wanting to rent this for parties, heavy buses may damage some driveways, or some people may be concerned about this. Also, consider ground clearance, turning radius and simply accessing some properties and driveways. Not a big deal in relatively flat areas but CA isn't exactly a flat state (and I don't recall seeing where the OP plans to conduct business).
You'd also probably want some way of leveling the bus onsite, less janky than a stack of pallets.
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