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Old 04-22-2020, 06:27 PM   #1
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Bus lengths?

I have been looking for my bus and have come across a question. Everything lists a bus by number of passengers. How does that equate to length?

Also, if it says a bus is 40 feet is that usually the interior or is it the total length of the bus?

Thanks!

Jenny

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Old 04-22-2020, 07:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by witchywoman View Post
I have been looking for my bus and have come across a question. Everything lists a bus by number of passengers. How does that equate to length?

Also, if it says a bus is 40 feet is that usually the interior or is it the total length of the bus?

Thanks!

Jenny
Passenger count will give you a general idea about the length, but depends on the style of bus. When they list the bus length its the total length, not the usable interior space.
My bus is a conventional (dog nose) style, 65 passenger. 37' total length, about 28' usable behind the driver seat.
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Old 04-22-2020, 07:33 PM   #3
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Oh thanks! I would have made a huge mistake. So much to learn....
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:11 PM   #4
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Oh thanks! I would have made a huge mistake. So much to learn....
To further confuse the issue. you may see a 40 ft bus that only carries 14-16 wheelchair passengers, not the 72-90 seated kids.

Good rule of thumb for overall length is 2.5 ft per window, and about 3 ft for the driver area.

My bus is 24' overall, hood is 6' long, driver area 3' long....15' from back door to back of driver's seat.
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Old 04-22-2020, 08:45 PM   #5
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They generally assume three kids per seat in order to arrive at the capacity of the bus. There's one row of seats per window, so with an 11-window bus (like mine) that means six kids per row or a capacity of 66 kids (it was listed as "65C" since one of the last-row seats is only wide enough to hold two kids, to allow access to the rear exit door. A 72-passenger bus is 12 rows/windows etc. An 84-passenger bus is 14 rows/windows and is the largest made, for the most part.
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Old 04-22-2020, 09:42 PM   #6
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And if all that wasn't boggling enough, if it gives two counts the higher number is usually 50% greater than the lower number because they assume 3 per bench or 6 per row for elementary students but only 2/4 for high school students or adults. If you start narrowing down your target factors and high roof is one of those, you may begin to think high roof buses are only shorter buses but realize that some schools may buy buses for specific student population and high schoolers will likely be appreciative of a taller roof in addition to not being crammed three to a seat. It's all about how different schools budget their transportation resources. I've said many times the near ideal bus for me would be the sports team bus because in addition to things like high roof it will also probably be bigger engine and geared for highway speeds... As well it may be better maintained since a better funded school which can afford a team bus (as well a winning team which necessitates longer trips for larger tournaments) can afford to keep it in good shape so as not to be stranded hours from the maintenance shop. That's the kind of stuff they make into horror movies!
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Old 04-22-2020, 11:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by witchywoman View Post
I have been looking for my bus and have come across a question. Everything lists a bus by number of passengers. How does that equate to length? Also, if it says a bus is 40 feet is that usually the interior or is it the total length of the bus?
Generally, length is measured from bumper to bumper.

Wheelbase, if mentioned, will be the distance from the center of the front wheel hubs to the center of the rear wheel hubs.

Now, as for how passenger capacity equates to length, here are some basics that sort of equate to a rule of thumb. Not set in stone, but pretty accurate for most.

Passenger capacity for school buses is calculated at 3 children per seat for full-length seats, or six per row on most. Many will have shorter seats at the very rear row (and sometimes the front row) that are rated for 2 children per seat, or 4 for that row. Generally, one window is one row of seats, sometimes the spacing makes for more or less of an exact row per window, but ball-park.

If memory serves, the 64-passenger Ford / Blue Bird I used to own was about a 27-to-28-foot wheelbase, and about 37-40 foot overall length bumper to bumper. So, for such a bus, I had ten rows of full-length seats, which equaled nine or ten full-length windows with ten rows of full seating, or sixty children. Each row is generally about three feet from seatback to seatback to allow for legroom. A conventional bus' nose usually measures about 7-8 feet from the windshield.

On most buses, the final row of seats are shorter and can only seat two children per seat, adding an additional capacity of four children, bringing the total to 64. These rear seats will often have a shorter window, or on Thomas buses, a metal sort of "sail panel", I presume to strengthen the bus' structure at the rear corners.

So, if you're looking at a 6-window shorty, that should be about 36-38 passenger, possibly about 25 feet in length. A 5-window should be about 30-34 passenger, possibly about 22 feet in length. An 8-window would be about 48-52 passenger, possibly about 31 feet in length. So a 40-footer like you mention would likely be a 72-84 passenger.

As I said, not a be-all-end-all, but I would say if you calculate 3 feet for each window and add 7-8 feet for the nose on a conventional, that should get your length in the ball park.

Just my $0.02 -- Hope that helps...
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