Author Topic: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?  (Read 1270 times)

KaleidoscopeHarmony

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Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« on: January 09, 2017, 09:03:28 PM »
My husband and I have three kids and we're currently pregnant with TWINS. We won't be able to fit everyone in our current vehicle, so we're trying to figure out the best way to "upgrade." We've found some really good deals on used school buses (the short ones), but can't find much information about how they will work as a family vehicle. Ex. will car seats work, are they safe for infants, can you lock them up, etc. We have the big car seats that won't fit in a traditional van and don't want to put any of them in booster seats yet.  We couldn't do a standard van - would have to be a three-row one. 

Any advice or links would be very much appreciated. Is there something we're not considering?  We're just trying to think outside of the box here. 

Also, regarding gas, we don't do a lot of trips around town with the whole family, so it won't be used on a daily basis or anything close to that.
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seattlecyclone

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2017, 10:35:28 PM »
Interesting idea. I remember riding in such a "short bus" a couple of times when I was in school. These ones were built off of a pickup truck body, so the front doors and seats were just like a pickup truck (with locking doors and everything) and they had a bus body behind there. Check if it has seatbelts. Attaching car seats could be difficult otherwise.
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thesvenster

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2017, 10:39:58 PM »
Do you do a lot of winter driving? How far are you driving? Are you ok with going really slow? Are you and your spouse comfortable driving large vehicles? Do you have the mad skillz for the inevitable breakdown? Will you buy gas or diesel?

I think it could work if you don't drive a lot. And definitely have a back up vehicle or a loaner available.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 10:42:16 PM »
What about a real passenger van? Think Ford Transit or Nissan NV. There are large families who show off theirs on youtube- it's pretty entertaining to watch.

They're commercial grade vehicles and can offer virtually any seating configuration of your choice.

KaleidoscopeHarmony

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2017, 08:11:00 AM »
Do you do a lot of winter driving? How far are you driving? Are you ok with going really slow? Are you and your spouse comfortable driving large vehicles? Do you have the mad skillz for the inevitable breakdown? Will you buy gas or diesel?

I think it could work if you don't drive a lot. And definitely have a back up vehicle or a loaner available.


This vehicle would be for family outings - maybe once every week or two, and more often in the non-snowy months.  My husband is very comfortable with large vehicles and does all the repairs on our current vehicles.  He's looking at diesel buses right now. 
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thesvenster

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2017, 10:03:21 AM »
Do you do a lot of winter driving? How far are you driving? Are you ok with going really slow? Are you and your spouse comfortable driving large vehicles? Do you have the mad skillz for the inevitable breakdown? Will you buy gas or diesel?

I think it could work if you don't drive a lot. And definitely have a back up vehicle or a loaner available.


This vehicle would be for family outings - maybe once every week or two, and more often in the non-snowy months.  My husband is very comfortable with large vehicles and does all the repairs on our current vehicles.  He's looking at diesel buses right now.

Well I'd say go for it then, if you can afford it. A little bus could double as a neat RV.

Jakejake

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2017, 10:28:07 AM »
If you really only go out as a big group 2 to 4 times a month, would it make more sense to have a regular minivan as a second vehicle, and just take two cars for the rare times you need it? 

Also, I notice you said your husband is comfortable with large vehicles, but would he be taking the nonbus to work and leaving you to drive a school bus most days? Are you comfortable with that? Or are you both retired or working from home?


KaleidoscopeHarmony

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2017, 11:35:21 AM »
If you really only go out as a big group 2 to 4 times a month, would it make more sense to have a regular minivan as a second vehicle, and just take two cars for the rare times you need it? 

Also, I notice you said your husband is comfortable with large vehicles, but would he be taking the nonbus to work and leaving you to drive a school bus most days? Are you comfortable with that? Or are you both retired or working from home?

I have a small car to take to work.  Hubby is going to stay home with the twins and the next-oldest one.  The oldest two will be going to school.  He does part-time construction/remodeling work.  He may still do some on the weekends, but anyways . . . we're just finding really good deals on these used buses.  He's talking about adding a changing table to the back, having lots of room for strollers, wagons, a big cooler, etc.  I don't care about how it looks - more worried about safety. 
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thesvenster

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2017, 11:40:22 AM »
If you really only go out as a big group 2 to 4 times a month, would it make more sense to have a regular minivan as a second vehicle, and just take two cars for the rare times you need it? 

Also, I notice you said your husband is comfortable with large vehicles, but would he be taking the nonbus to work and leaving you to drive a school bus most days? Are you comfortable with that? Or are you both retired or working from home?

I have a small car to take to work.  Hubby is going to stay home with the twins and the next-oldest one.  The oldest two will be going to school.  He does part-time construction/remodeling work.  He may still do some on the weekends, but anyways . . . we're just finding really good deals on these used buses.  He's talking about adding a changing table to the back, having lots of room for strollers, wagons, a big cooler, etc.  I don't care about how it looks - more worried about safety.

I'm Safety Manager for a living, so yes, you could be safe. School bus accidents are rare enough to make national news. I'd get a hold of your county's or any old county's school bus safety manual to get some tips for good operation.

Make sure any cargo is secure in the bus. You might have to add aftermarket seatbelts too.

AMandM

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2017, 06:02:48 PM »
I would check the space between rows of seats to make sure your car seats will fit.

Sounds like fun!  My BIL's neighbors have a schoolbus that they painted blue and labeled OUR TARDIS.

I miss our old 15-passenger van, even though we have too few kids left at home to justify driving something that big.

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2017, 09:55:45 PM »
Having driven school buses (very limitedly) I found them to handle surprisingly well. I would imagine the smaller ones even more so. Interesting idea; let us know how it works out.
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LoganRivera

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2017, 02:19:05 AM »
My husband and I have three kids and we're currently pregnant with TWINS. We won't be able to fit everyone in our current vehicle, so we're trying to figure out the best way to "upgrade." We've found some really good deals on used school buses (the short ones), but can't find much information about how they will work as a family vehicle. Ex. will car seats work, are they safe for infants, can you lock them up, etc. We have the big car seats that won't fit in a traditional van and don't want to put any of them in booster seats yet.  We couldn't do a standard van - would have to be a three-row one. 

Any advice or links would be very much appreciated. Is there something we're not considering?  We're just trying to think outside of the box here. 

Also, regarding gas, we don't do a lot of trips around town with the whole family, so it won't be used on a daily basis or anything close to that.

It is a very good option. But before you get the vehicle do send it to the workshop for maintenance and check out whether it is in a good condition for a carrying lady to travel.


hoping2retire35

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2017, 09:40:04 AM »
that's only 5 kids, not 19 kids and counting.

just get a used Ford econoline or chevy express. cheaper and easier to repair. dodge and gmc are brands to search also.


plherrin

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2017, 08:11:45 PM »
We fit two big car seats and an infant one in a Mazda3 for a while and it worked fine. Since then we've purchased a minivan. I'm certain you could fit an infant between 2 larger car seats (you may need to shop and find the most narrow out there) and then in the middle section you could fit 1 toddler and the other twin. Go to a dealership with the carseats and ask to play with the spacing I'm sure they'll let you. The schoolbus will be difficult in daily life (parking, etc) and will likely be odd to insure. Make sure the minivan option is eliminated first and then move on to a full sized van.

Dee18

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2017, 08:47:44 PM »
Would a school bus seat have the right anchors for car seats? I wouldn't think so.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #15 on: March 10, 2017, 03:50:18 AM »
Would a school bus seat have the right anchors for car seats? I wouldn't think so.
Would be a very easy thing to add. The open floor plan of school buses makes changes like these about as simple as can be.
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gimmi80

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2017, 05:58:11 PM »
Recently I've seen a used Tesla model s with rear facing seat for $35k.
I would get that one.

Awka

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #17 on: March 22, 2017, 06:38:07 AM »
Interesting.   I love bus conversions, so perhaps asking more details about carseats on a forum for families using them as RVs would help you?

What seats are you using that won't fit in a van or SUV? My son is 12, but had a beast of a Britax Regent and a Recaro Signo until he maxed out. The Regent went to 100lbs, he has a long torso, and it fit easily in my old Honda Pulot with other kids still in seats. 

I know seats change, so maybe outdated. The Regent was BIG tho. I'd run the numbers in terms of car seat configurations too.  There are forums where techs and Crazy Car Seat Ladies/Gents will show what combinations of seats, and higher weight harness seats fit in which vehicles.   

Awka

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #18 on: March 22, 2017, 06:44:24 AM »
My thought with running numbers and seat configurations, is you might find purchasing a regular van, minivan, etc and swapping to other higher weight harness seats the most cost effective. There are higher weight harness seats that have a more narrow profile than others, and if you buy one of those now, it can still be safely used by one of the younger kids after the older sibling eventually moves to a booster. (Assuming that's going to happen before a new seat would expire.)

Notasoccermom

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #19 on: March 22, 2017, 11:05:06 AM »
What ages are your older kids? Are they almost in the booster age? I switched my kids when they turned 4

BlueHouse

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #20 on: March 22, 2017, 01:49:26 PM »
Lots of old school buses and passenger vans currently for sale on government auctions  https://www.govdeals.com/

tip:  go to searches and search by location.
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Kaybee

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Re: Would an old school bus be a safe family vehicle?
« Reply #21 on: March 22, 2017, 03:01:21 PM »
The schoolbus will be difficult in daily life (parking, etc) and will likely be odd to insure.

I also think parking might be a bit of an issue.  My friend's mom drove a minibus when we were younger and if she took that bus anywhere to run an errand, she would have to either go to the empty end of the parking lot of find multiple empty spots next to each other as the bus wouldn't fit in a standard spot.  That might not be a major issue depending on where you're going but some businesses with limited parking areas (like restaurants), might get a bit annoyed if you block off parking for their other patrons.

Also, I'm not sure at which point a special driver's license would be required but that's something to consider.
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