School buses are a popular choice for personal use. Many people want the reliability, performance, and comfort of a large vehicle without spending the money on a full-size pickup truck or luxury SUV.
School buses offer those benefits at a more affordable price point. However, registering a school bus as your vehicle can be challenging.
There are additional regulations and safety checks in place for school buses that don’t apply to other types of vehicles, especially when you want to convert them to personal use. Therefore, what is the best way on, how to register a school bus for personal use?
Can You Register a School Bus For Personal Use?
While a school bus can be registered as a private vehicle, only special school bus operators can do so. If you are not a certified school bus operator and already own a bus, you will still need to register and title it in the state of residence.
Operators can register their bus for personal use under the following circumstances;
- The operator is the only person who lives on the property where the bus is located.
- The operator lives in the state where the bus is registered but owns property in another state.
- The operator’s primary use of the bus is for personal use.
School buses for personal use are also common in states with reciprocity agreements. Under these reciprocal agreements, a driver from one state can drive a bus registered in another state without having any additional state-specific licensing or registration.
How To Register a School Bus For Personal Use
Registering a School bus for personal use is a lengthy process. First, you will need to register the bus in the state where it is currently licensed. Next, you will need to register it in your current home state as a private vehicle.
The latter step is generally more involved since it requires a special license. Generally, you will need to pass additional safety inspections to obtain a special license to drive a school bus.
1. Inform The DMV
The first step to take to register a school bus for personal use is to inform the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your state. It is best to notify the DMV in the early stages of the purchase or renovation of the bus.
There are several requirements needed to register a bus for personal use. These requirements differ for different states, so you should confirm all the requirements needed in your state before starting the process.
2. Collation Of Documents
You may need to document the process of converting the bus. Some states require photo documentation of the conversion process of the bus.
In addition to this, you would have to collate the documents required for the registration such as the current title of the bus, proper driver’s license, the purchase receipt of the bus and if need be, a certified weigh ticket.
When you register a bus for personal use, you will need to provide a few additional pieces of information. You will need to provide the make, model, and year of the bus. Then you will need to provide the VIN of the bus.
The VIN is the serial number stamped on the chassis of the bus. You will also need to provide the bus’s gross weight, passenger capacity, and the state where it is currently licensed. In some states, you may also be required to pay an annual fee when you register a bus for personal use.
3. Application Submission
After showing proof with the necessary documents of the bus or undergoing inspection by the DMV official, the next step is to submit your application and wait for the approval.
Do I Need a Special License To Drive a School Bus?
If you do not currently own a commercial license or a special license for a school bus, you will need to obtain one in your state of residence to drive a school bus. Generally, you will need to pass a commercial driver’s license (CDL) exam and pay fees and taxes.
You may also need to obtain an endorsement on your license to drive a school bus. Under some state laws, a school bus driver must have a passenger carrier license. In other states, you only need to have a regular commercial driver’s license.
To find out what license requirements apply to you, you will need to consult your state’s Department of Transportation website.
What Personal Things Can You Do With a School Bus?
School buses are designed for carrying a lot of people and a lot of stuff. They are ideal for transporting students and sports equipment, but they can also be used to transport freight.
The large body of a school bus makes it a safe vehicle for transporting people and cargo. Airbags, seat belts, and other safety features are standard on large buses to protect passengers.
Because school buses are built for long-distance travel and are certified for commercial use, you can also transport goods with them. Operating a school bus for personal use opens up new opportunities for transporting goods.
Pros Of Registering a School Bus For Personal Use
- School buses converted for personal use offer a reliable way to get around town while in your comfort zone.
- They are comfortable, with lots of space and air conditioning.
- They are reliable, with a proven track record as a safe way to transport large numbers of people.
School buses are available in most areas, so you will have one to use whenever you need to travel long distances. – Depending on where you live, you may be able to register a school bus as your vehicle without any special license at all.
Cons Of Using a School Bus For Personal Use
- They are expensive to purchase and operate. The conversion process of a school bus for personal use will attract a large number of expenses.
- They have a large investment to make up front, as a new bus will cost several hundred thousand dollars. Getting a new bus for conversion may cost less than converting a school bus.
- They are time-consuming. Conversion of a school bus for personal use takes a lot of time and can be quite exhausting.
- You have limited parking options if you intend to travel on the converted school bus.
Running a school bus for private use is a full-time job. It takes a lot of time and effort to operate a bus for personal use. You will have to show proof of commercial insurance to operate a bus as a private vehicle.
School buses are a great way for people to travel on the road without having to buy a new pickup truck or SUV. However, only people with certified commercial driver’s licenses can legally drive them.
This can make registering a bus for personal use more challenging than registering a car or truck. It is worth checking in to see if it is possible to register as a private vehicle and make sure you have a full idea of what you getting into.