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Old 09-22-2020, 05:15 PM   #1
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How do you get your bus home?

I have leads on insurance, but what about registration and plates? I live in NYS, and we likely will be buying our bus from a different state. Any advice would be appreciated!

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Old 09-22-2020, 05:59 PM   #2
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Depends on the circumstances. If still equipped with all its seats, technically a CDL with Passenger, School bus, and Air brake (if equipped) endorsements is required if still titled and registered as BUS.

GVWR < 26,001 lb and 16+ pass rating - Class C
GVWR > 26,000 lb - Class B

Some states require all school bus equipment/markings be removed or covered. Others further require color change. If buying direct from govt auction or dealer, they may not allow it to be driven from the lot by anyone other than a CDL holder. I and a few others here have a CDL and one of us may be willing to help with this requirement.

Most states will issue a transport permit for a few days with proof of insurance.

That being said, many have driven it home themselves without legal entanglements. But it's getting more rare to be allowed to do so. Other than that, a lowboy semi could be hired, but it's cheaper for it to be driven. Just have an emergency budget of at least $1000 for breakdowns. Murphy's Law.
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Old 09-22-2020, 06:06 PM   #3
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I just hopped in the seat and drove mine home.. all of them.. my Superior, the DMV was a real PITA as they had no idea how to handle a private owned unconverted bus.. i printed a sign that said "vehicle in transit not for hire and drove it 2700 miles home..
I got insurance on it before embarking
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Old 09-22-2020, 06:20 PM   #4
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I got insurance before we (girlfriend and I) picked it up, then got in and drove it ~15 miles to the hotel we were staying at. While it was at the hotel I went and picked up a transit permit from Utah DMV and printed out signs that said “In transit” and “Non-commercial” for the back window.

Before we drove it for the 1,600 miles home we taped over the stop sign and spray painted over the school district information, bus number, and school bus labels. Then did a final check of coolant, oil, etc. and said a small prayer to the Skoolie gods and drove it home with my girlfriend following me in her car.
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Old 09-22-2020, 09:15 PM   #5
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I just bought my bus in ny and they have a 30 day vehicle permit to drive it out of state. Arizona didnít require a CDL, but ny does. You will need to get your DOT doctor check up before you can even apply for your CDL driving permit. Make some calls and Iím sure you can get someone to say you donít need a CDL is there are no seats in the bus.
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Old 09-22-2020, 09:28 PM   #6
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Got my physical for my CDL last month. Glad thats done. Been a CDL holder for 27 years. I haven't driven professionally in that time but I still maintain it. But as most suggested, just hop in and drive it home with a credit card and some cash to keep Murphy and his family from moving into the back of the bus. Enjoy the ride too! Your first step to a new adventure.
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Old 09-22-2020, 09:28 PM   #7
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BTW, for all owners (particularly newbies), take the time to familiarize yourself with this safety inspection checklist I've compiled... It's vital info that can save money/time, avoid bad situations, expensive tow bills and potentially save your life.

https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f9/re...ist-33026.html
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Old 09-22-2020, 10:28 PM   #8
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As has already been mentioned, many people simply sign on the dotted line and drive away. Nine times out of ten you won't have any problems with law enforcement so long as you don't do anything stupid. I'm just leery because I know my luck and I'll be the one-in-ten who does randomly get noticed, pulled over, cited, arrested, mistaken for someone on America's Most Wanted, convicted and spend the rest of my life wondering why I didn't just tape over those lights before I hit the road! Okay, so maybe that's all a little improbable but the truth is that the more you can do ahead of time to prevent trouble on the maiden voyage then the better it'll be all around because if law enforcement begins to see a trend in unqualified drivers tooling around in retired school buses then you can guarantee they'll find some way to make it way harder for the rest of us!
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Old 09-24-2020, 03:40 PM   #9
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Temp Plate / Insurance

Hi there,

We just purchased our bus in NJ and drove it home to CA last week. The bus dealer was willing to issue us a temporary plate so that we could drive it home with proof of insurance.

I contacted Progressive and was able to get the bus insured on a personal use, commercial policy. I only needed to provide the VIN, what it was being used for, and it was insured. We were able to show the documentation to the bus dealer on our phone and we were issued the temporary registration and license plate for the drive home.

The next step is to get it registered.

Good luck!
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Old 09-29-2020, 06:19 PM   #10
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Hi thanks for the info above. We're picking up a E450 short bus from TN and taking back to PA, hopefully next week. So have I got this process right?

1/Sort insurance using VIN number
2/Get title signed over with seller (does this have to be done in an official place?)
3/Assuming we don't pay any tax or sizeable fees in TN, we do that in PA?
4/Get home, transfer to PA title and pay all relevant fees and tax.
5/Get inspected
6/Get converting whilst occasionally going out for a spin

Please forgive me if this is basic stuff but I want to make sure it's all done right for our type of vehicle. I'm a filthy foreigner so not familiar with even basic car title stuff like I am back across the pond.

Thanks.
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Old 09-29-2020, 06:44 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Tin Legs View Post
Hi thanks for the info above. We're picking up a E450 short bus from TN and taking back to PA, hopefully next week. So have I got this process right?

1/Sort insurance using VIN number
2/Get title signed over with seller (does this have to be done in an official place?)
3/Assuming we don't pay any tax or sizeable fees in TN, we do that in PA?
4/Get home, transfer to PA title and pay all relevant fees and tax.
5/Get inspected
6/Get converting whilst occasionally going out for a spin

Please forgive me if this is basic stuff but I want to make sure it's all done right for our type of vehicle. I'm a filthy foreigner so not familiar with even basic car title stuff like I am back across the pond.

Thanks.
The problem with titling/registering your bus in PA is that in order to be titled and registered as a motorhome here (you don't want to register as a school bus since that's extremely expensive and will also increase your insurance), you have to have a special inspection performed (not just the regular safety inspection) of the bus as a "modified vehicle"; this includes verifying that the vehicle contains the core things required for a motor home (bed, water source, something to cook with etc.). So you can't get registered as a motorhome in PA until the conversion is complete (or mostly complete).

Unless: you title your bus in PA (as a "BUS"), then mail in a title change form, changing it from a bus to a motorhome. Once you get back your title in the mail showing your vehicle as a motorhome, you can then go to a tag&title place and register it as a motorhome and get your PA plates.

This method takes advantage of what appears to be an oversight on the part of PennDOT, where a bus changed to a motorhome by mail is not automatically flagged as requiring the special inspection. I asked my local tag&title person (who has taken three skoolie builders through the special inspection process) about this, and she thinks that if someone changes their bus title to motorhome in this way and is ever pulled over by an LEO (or otherwise runs into legal issues), their title would be retroactively revoked.

More than one person in PA has done this, and nobody has ever reported running into trouble because of it, so I dunno. I personally did not want to risk it, given how many other bureaucratic problems I've had to deal with on this project. My bus is registered in Vermont, which is a pretty hassle-free way to deal with things. After it's converted I may go through the special inspection process and get it registered in PA.
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Old 09-29-2020, 07:48 PM   #12
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Yes I figured things would be more complicated than necessary here. I did read something in an older thread about someone registering their short bus as a station wagon at the notary (I think that's what they said - or maybe it was another type of vehicle). Said something about it being cheaper than registering as an RV?
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Old 09-29-2020, 10:20 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Old Tin Legs View Post
Yes I figured things would be more complicated than necessary here. I did read something in an older thread about someone registering their short bus as a station wagon at the notary (I think that's what they said - or maybe it was another type of vehicle). Said something about it being cheaper than registering as an RV?
This is the title change form I was referring to: http://www.dot.state.pa.us/public/dv...orms/MV-41.pdf. As far as I can tell, you can change your vehicle into whatever other type of vehicle you want it to be and mail it in. And then it's just a question of whether or not you ever get caught doing it.
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Old 09-29-2020, 10:27 PM   #14
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One other thing about the VT registration: the normal use of this is that people register their bus as a motorhome in VT, and then immediately take the VT registration to the DMV in their state and transfer ownership to their state, which is easy since the state just thinks it's a motorhome at that point. This apparently does not work in PA since the modified vehicle Form MV-426B would still required for the transfer.
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