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Old 06-23-2021, 03:51 PM   #1
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MA title and registration

FWIW, the Mass RMV is now allowing registration and titling of school buses as campers or auto homes. The catch is that they require the bus to color changed to anything different than school bus yellow, removal of the stop sign on the left and removal or disabling of the special flashing lights, and "permanent" installation of a toilet and a sink. And I have it in writing. You have to show pictures inside and out and you have to provide a notarized statement that you did the work.

The other catch of course is that if you buy the bus in-state you have to get it towed to wherever you will take it to work on this. Not cheap. If it's out of state you can't drive it in MA with temporary tags unless you have an out of state driver's license and can convince the trooper you're just "driving through". So it's a catch-22, and I'm not jumping hoops for them or spending thousands on towing fees.

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Old 06-23-2021, 04:55 PM   #2
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Pretty much every state requires the non yellow and removal of signage, flashing lights designating it a school bus. Most jurisdictions don't actively enforce them though. I'd be looking at Vermont to register till you can transfer.
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Old 06-24-2021, 11:15 AM   #3
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if you buy the bus in-state you have to get it towed to wherever you will take it to work on this. Not cheap. If it's out of state you can't drive it in MA with temporary tags unless you have an out of state driver's license and can convince the trooper you're just "driving through". So it's a catch-22, and I'm not jumping hoops for them or spending thousands on towing fees.
That's a perfect case for a VT rego at least at first.

Does MA strictly enforce its "must register locally after present in the state for X days" law?

If so then keep it well out of sight when not necessary to be driving it
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Old 06-24-2021, 11:19 AM   #4
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That's a perfect case for a VT rego at least at first.
Does MA strictly enforce its "must register locally after present in the state for X days" law?
If so then keep it well out of sight when not necessary to be driving it
Only if you are driving it. There's nothing that states I can't take off the tags while I have it parked in my driveway as I work on it, as there is no law that states you have to title or register a vehicle X days after purchasing it. Or I can just drive it up the road to NH just before the X days and keep a log with pictures proving I was out of state.

There's always a way to bend anal rules to whatever shape you desire.
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Old 06-24-2021, 11:30 AM   #5
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Not so much in states like CA.

If your legal residence is the same state and the cops are familiar with where it is "habitually garaged"

just going for a "visa run" every X-1 days won't cut it in court.

Fortunately few states are sticklers like that, usually only happens when LEO have an axe to grind.

I'd be amazed if MA literally had no such requirement

Found this:

> You must register your vehicle in Massachusetts as soon as you become a resident of the state. The law does not provide a grace period.

Which of course ignores the issue of foreign owners garaging their vehicles at a vacation property

but then lots of states make that complicated.
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Old 06-24-2021, 11:36 AM   #6
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Mass registration policy:

New Resident - You have 30 days from the date you move to this state to register your motor vehicle, tractor, motorcycle or trailer and get a Massachusetts license plate. Register your vehicle at the local RMV office where you live. If your vehicle was registered in your previous state for over 6 months, you will be exempt from paying Massachusetts sales tax.


Massachusetts Resident - You have 10 days from the date of purchase or acquisition of a motor vehicle, tractor, motorcycle, or trailer to register. You should register your vehicle at the local RMV branch office where you live. If you are transfering the registration from another vehicle, you must do so within 7 days of getting rid of the previous vehicle.
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Old 06-24-2021, 12:13 PM   #7
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Mass registration policy:

New Resident - You have 30 days from the date you move to this state to register your motor vehicle, tractor, motorcycle or trailer and get a Massachusetts license plate. Register your vehicle at the local RMV office where you live. If your vehicle was registered in your previous state for over 6 months, you will be exempt from paying Massachusetts sales tax.


Massachusetts Resident - You have 10 days from the date of purchase or acquisition of a motor vehicle, tractor, motorcycle, or trailer to register. You should register your vehicle at the local RMV branch office where you live. If you are transfering the registration from another vehicle, you must do so within 7 days of getting rid of the previous vehicle.
None of this applies if you are not planning to operate the vehicle.

You guys sound like Germans. "You can't do this, there is this rule and this rule and this rule and you'll get in BIG trouble." Germans are waaaay too conditioned to act like sheep and follow "the rules." Don't be like Germans.
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Old 06-24-2021, 12:16 PM   #8
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just going for a "visa run" every X-1 days won't cut it in court.
Something tells me the court would not be amused when they found out the reason to go to VT was because 1) RMV refused to accept a large amount of $ in sales taxes and 2) RMV's absurd requirements would wind up costing the customer thousands in unnecessary expenses. There's always more than one way to skin a cat.
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Old 06-24-2021, 12:18 PM   #9
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Maybe but IMO would be a very unusual judge
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Old 06-24-2021, 12:26 PM   #10
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Maybe but IMO would be a very unusual judge
I have participated in lawsuits in the US and abroad, either representing myself or with an attorney, and so far I have a 100% winning record. I have found that most judges take a very dim view of government agencies pulling rules and regulations out of their asses just to make citizens lives more complicated with zero justification. I have yet to find a Mass. law that requires me to repaint a retired bus and remove signs before granting a registration and tags. Most reasonable people realize that it makes more sense to give the owner the ability to operate the bus for a limited time to get the work done rather than force them to spend a ton of money on towing. In Mass. when you renew a registration you get a letter in email allowing you to operate the vehicle until you get the new registration form and sticker for the rear tag, and you also have a grace period to get the car inspected, so there is ample precedent for that.
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Old 06-24-2021, 03:36 PM   #11
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None of this applies if you are not planning to operate the vehicle.

You guys sound like Germans. "You can't do this, there is this rule and this rule and this rule and you'll get in BIG trouble." Germans are waaaay too conditioned to act like sheep and follow "the rules." Don't be like Germans.
No, you're wrong. In the state of Mass. you are not allowed to have unregistered motor vehicles on your property.
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Old 06-24-2021, 03:38 PM   #12
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I have participated in lawsuits in the US and abroad, either representing myself or with an attorney, and so far I have a 100% winning record. I have found that most judges take a very dim view of government agencies pulling rules and regulations out of their asses just to make citizens lives more complicated with zero justification. I have yet to find a Mass. law that requires me to repaint a retired bus and remove signs before granting a registration and tags. Most reasonable people realize that it makes more sense to give the owner the ability to operate the bus for a limited time to get the work done rather than force them to spend a ton of money on towing. In Mass. when you renew a registration you get a letter in email allowing you to operate the vehicle until you get the new registration form and sticker for the rear tag, and you also have a grace period to get the car inspected, so there is ample precedent for that.
The law says you cannot operate a private bus on the roadways in the yellow color. Registration does not give you the right to drive said vehicle. The letter for renewal comes more than a month before the previous one expires, There's no grace period, you are still covered. If they receive it past your birthday, you'll pay a penalty and are liable to be ticketed if you don't have the sticker on the plate after your birthday.
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Old 06-24-2021, 05:35 PM   #13
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No, you're wrong. In the state of Mass. you are not allowed to have unregistered motor vehicles on your property.
Wrong. So wrong that the Mass RMV-1 option gives you the right to request a title only without a registration. In addition, no vehicle used on private land only requires a registration or a tag.
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Old 06-24-2021, 05:36 PM   #14
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The law says you cannot operate a private bus on the roadways in the yellow color.
Prove it. Chapter and paragraph.
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Old 06-25-2021, 04:26 PM   #15
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I'm puzzled

I'm puzzled by this thread. I purchased a short school bus in NY. Before picking it up, I brought the title, proof of insurance to the RMV. I received plates without any issues. Maybe because it is based on a GMC Savana cut away van. I have been driving around town with the original paint color and school markings without getting cited. A full size bus may be a different problem.
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Old 06-25-2021, 04:52 PM   #16
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Every state is VERY different

also county/townships' LEO when it comes to enforcement
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Old 06-25-2021, 10:27 PM   #17
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I'm puzzled by this thread. I purchased a short school bus in NY. Before picking it up, I brought the title, proof of insurance to the RMV. I received plates without any issues. Maybe because it is based on a GMC Savana cut away van. I have been driving around town with the original paint color and school markings without getting cited. A full size bus may be a different problem.
That's because your vehicle is not a bus, it's a van equipped to carry school children.
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Old 06-25-2021, 10:30 PM   #18
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Every state is VERY different
also county/townships' LEO when it comes to enforcement
The important thing there is to have a good relationship with the town's PD. I intend to go visit their offices around the corner of my house soon to keep them apprised of why there will be a school bus in my driveway. Same thing with my neighbors.
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Old 06-26-2021, 11:43 AM   #19
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As far as color change enforcement, most often the cop that sees you does not know it isn't a school bus anymore. The LEO does not see school buses like they see little red sports cars.
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Old 06-26-2021, 02:45 PM   #20
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I had the local PD send out an officer to the bus lot today to do the vin verification and run it to see if it was "stolen" as the VT DMV requested. Of course it wasn't, she was extremely helpful and nice. I explained to her step by step what I was doing and she said it makes perfect sense, if VT allows it it's perfectly fine by her and I should not expect to get any grief from local or state LEO's like I have from Mass RMV. She thought it was a very cool idea. She signed off my paperwork and in return I "donated" three bottles of my homemade vegan hot sauce for their break room. She was jazzed about that. So far, so good.
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