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Old 03-01-2016, 11:12 AM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Virginia
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VA registration options

So I was scanning through the threads last night and it appears there are 3 ways to register a bus in VA:
1. Get a CDL and register it as a commercial vehicle.
2. Register it as a "Private Bus" and no need for any CDL.
3. Go through the long conversion process, then fill out multiple forms, have it inspected by the DMV Officer, and register it as a modified vehicle.

I think #2 is the easiest, cheapest and quickest since you can get the plates right away so you can drive it from day 1. Anyone have any feedback, positive or otherwise?

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Old 03-22-2016, 01:11 AM   #2
Mini-Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Hi kind Skoolie folk,

I've been trying to locate information on the VA DMV page about option #2 and for the life of me can't seem to locate anything specifically relevant to this topic. At the moment I want to know what is required to register as a "private bus" and how much it costs. Thanks in advance.

Bright Regards,
Ally
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Old 03-22-2016, 06:52 AM   #3
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it cost about 50 bucks + sales tax+ 10 bucks for title transfer for me to register as a private bus. i got my insurance thru progressive, it was 700 the first year and droped to about 350 the second year.i put private recreational vehicle not for hire on the drivers side to get the cheap toll rate.
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Old 03-22-2016, 01:33 PM   #4
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Thank you so much superdave! xD
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Old 04-05-2016, 03:13 PM   #5
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Is there any good path to go from Private Bus to Motorhome, or is it not beneficial?
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:01 AM   #6
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you have to send pics in and pay a fee to have it inspected, they want all the receipts to figure its value so they can tax the hell of you
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:14 AM   #7
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Will it be insurable as a private bus?
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:35 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskeyjr View Post
Is there any good path to go from Private Bus to Motorhome, or is it not beneficial?
In Va: I don't see any benefit for trying to change the registration from private truck to rv, since you don't need a CDL to drive either one (licensed in Va). Only benefits are if you need it titled as a motorhome for increased insurance coverage, or if titling it as a motorhome will improve the chances of selling it in the future since some states require a CDL even if it's registered as a private truck.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:46 AM   #9
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I just want to be legal. Can I tag the completed Skoolie as a private bus, and be insured as a private bus?

Does private bus insurance cost about the same as RV insurance?
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskeyjr View Post
I just want to be legal. Can I tag the completed Skoolie as a private bus, and be insured as a private bus?

Does private bus insurance cost about the same as RV insurance?
Sorry, can't answer that one, I'm still in the research stage. Why not register the bus as a private truck as soon as you buy it? This way you can drive it and use it while the build is going on. As I mentioned previously, I see no benefit in going through the title change process after the build is complete unless you feel it's needed for the reasons I mentioned. From all the research I've done on the Virginia DMV website, it won't be retitled as an "rv" but will be called a "Specially Constructed Vehicle". Va doesn't seem to be as lenient /open to vehicle title changes as other states such as Florida.
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Old 04-06-2016, 11:59 AM   #11
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VA registration options

Can a private truck with air brakes and a gvcw higher than 26k lbs be driven without a CDL in Virginia?
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskeyjr View Post
Can a private truck with gvcw higher than 26k lbs be driven without a CDL?
in Illinois, unless it is legally recognized as an RV, no. You must have a CDL and all the sub required authorizations, i.e. air brakes and anything else that you would normally need.

I'm looking to see if there is an avenue around it. I called today to see if i can get away with registering the vehicle as an RV. I asked if i could have the 4 required systems on construction site but not permanently installed and get the RV registration. with the RV registration i can avoid the CDL requirement.
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Old 04-06-2016, 12:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskeyjr View Post
Can a private truck with air brakes and a gvcw higher than 26k lbs be driven without a CDL in Virginia?

Guess it depends on how you interpret the DMV CDL manual. From how I understand it you shouldn't need a CDL (key term in CDL is Commercial), but I'm not a lawyer (although I have stayed at many Holiday Inn Express hotels). I haven't tried to talk with anyone at the DMV to get their opinion though.
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Old 04-06-2016, 05:17 PM   #14
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You're vague about what you want to do with your bus. Are you talking about hauling people? Using it as a van? Anything for commercial purposes will be considerably more expensive, people or freight.
The DMV agreed that mine is a large van, and is titled as a van.
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Old 04-06-2016, 06:18 PM   #15
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Join Date: Apr 2016
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VA registration options

To be clear, I want to purchase a longer bus, renovate into a Skoolie style camper/RV, and travel across the country with my small family. Might have as many as eight people on the vehicle at any one time.

I would like to have a donor bus that features air brakes, Diesel engine, air suspension if I am so lucky.

The conversion will feature a pressure delivery potable water system, flushing black water waste system, electric cooking and several beds. The vehicle will also have power generation and climate control independent of the main engine.

This description walks, talks, and smells like an RV.

I plan to do this conversion myself.

I plan to contact the VA DMV and purchase a potential purchase permit, and contact Progressive Insurance (my auto insurance company) and get provisional insurance on the bus prior to purchase.

I bring it back to VA, titling the thing as a private bus. Per county requirements, park it in the backyard while I modify and upgrade. I will need to get a safety inspection prior to putting it on the road for trips to the dump or various supply stores.

Once completed, is there any benefit to titling as an RV? From the above responses, it sounds like it's best to leave it as a bus. Will this cause any uncomfortable interactions derived from interstate transport of a private bus that looks like an RV?

Sorry for the long response and multiple questions, I just want to sort this stuff out before any more effort or dollars are thrown at this project.
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Old 04-06-2016, 07:32 PM   #16
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I doubt there would be any interstate issues, other than not being school bus yellow in some states. Internationally might be a different issue, if you wanted to go to Mexico or Canada, without motor home status since it is basically now a motor home on steroids.
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:22 PM   #17
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If it's registered in Va then it doesn't matter what other state laws are. It will be a private vehicle so commercial laws don't apply.
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Old 07-23-2016, 12:56 AM   #18
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If you are using it for anything that whiffs of business, you'll need a CDL. If you are using it only for "personal uses, such as recreation" then no CDL is needed.
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Old 05-13-2021, 01:56 PM   #19
Mini-Skoolie
 
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A good day at the VA DMV

We registered our bus as a private vehicle and even transferred plates from our car to the bus. This allowed us to have liability insurance (Allstate) to knock around while we did our build. Easy and cheap. We also got Travelers protection- Roadside assist. Now that we have built in thousands of dollars of equipment, we will register it as an RV. Two reasons: full coverage insurance to protect our systems if damaged, and also because many campgrounds do not accept Skoolies unless they are titled as an RV. Sad discrimination, we know, but that is the reality. We can't take the bus even to our local KOA yet since it is not titled as an RV. We are full-timers so for us the RV title and insurance makes sense and thebexpense of that is a forbearance. Good luck to you.
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Old 05-13-2021, 03:17 PM   #20
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I was under the impression many campgrounds do not accept skoolies period. Every RV park in my area that I called said no way to a skoolie, even though it is registered as a motorhome. They all had no-older-than-10-years rules, although one was sort of open to the idea that a newly-completed skoolie might count as a brand-new RV. I said it was "built on a school bus chassis" which is maybe technically correct but misleading.
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