How Long Is A Typical School Bus? (Explained!)

How Long Is A Typical School Bus

Key Takeaways
● School buses come in different lengths, sizes, and capacities.
● You can convert most types of school buses into recreational vehicles.
● Understanding the size and dimensions of typical school buses will help you select an appropriate RV option for your needs.

Are you considering converting a school bus into an RV? If so, you may wonder how long is a school bus.

A school bus length varies, depending on the type and model. The majority of standard buses measure between 20 and 40 feet in length. However, more specialized models tend to be longer.

This post will discuss the school bus dimensions and size and how to choose the best model for your RV conversion project.

Standardized School Bus Sizes

Standardized School Bus Sizes

Standardized yellow school bus sizes were established in the 1940s, and only MINIMAL changes have been made since then [1]. Generally speaking, standard buses measure between 20 and 40 feet in length.

The most COMMON model is a short bus that measures 36 or 37 feet long and 8.5 or 9 feet tall. These models typically weigh around 14,000 pounds when loaded with passengers and cargo.

Specialized school bus models, such as buses for taller students or those with disabilities, tend to be LONGER.

For instance, a specialized bus may measure up to 45 feet in length and height 12 to 14 feet. These models also weigh more than standard buses—up to 30,000 pounds.

The Different Types of Buses and Their Dimensions

The Different Types of Buses and Their Dimensions

There are several different types of school buses, each with its distinct size and dimensions. School buses are divided into three main categories: short buses, mid-size buses, and large buses.

Short Buses

As mentioned above, short buses are the most COMMON type of mini-school bus and measure between 36 and 37 feet in length.

These models typically have a height of 8.5 or 9 feet and weigh around 14,000 pounds when loaded with passengers and cargo.

Medium Sized School Bus

Mid-size or average school bus measures slightly longer than short buses—up to 40 feet in length.

These models also tend to be higher off the ground, ranging from 10 to 11 feet tall. Mid-size buses generally weigh between 20,000 and 25,000 pounds when fully loaded.

Full-size School Bus

The largest type of school bus is a full-size bus that measures 45 feet in length or more. These models usually have a height of 12 to 14 feet and weigh up to 30,000 pounds when fully loaded.

Factors Influencing a Bus’s Size

Factors Influencing a Bus’s Size

The size and dimensions of a school bus can vary depending on several factors.

One of the most important factors is the TYPE of vehicle being used. For instance, larger buses may be required to transport students with special needs or those who are taller than average.

Another factor that can influence the size and weight of a school bus is its passenger CAPACITY. Buses with higher cargo capacities will typically be larger to accommodate the extra weight.

Additionally, buses that have been MODIFIED for use as recreational vehicles might include additional features such as slide-outs or pop-up roofs, which can also affect their overall size and dimension.

Finally, age can play a role in determining the size of a school bus; OLDER models are likely to be smaller than newer ones.

Pro Tip: Consider familiarizing yourself with the different types of school buses and their size and dimensions before you begin your conversion project.

Advantages of Converting a School Bus into an RV

Advantages of Converting a School Bus into an RV

Converting a school bus into an RV can be a great way to save money and time on your next recreational vehicle.

If you are thinking twice about creating a converted bus into an RV, here are several advantages you should consider:

Budget-Friendly Option

Converting a school bus into an RV is an excellent way to get on the road without breaking the bank. School buses can be found for much less than traditional RVs, and you’ll SAVE even more money by doing the conversion work yourself.

For example, a basic school bus could cost around $2,000 or less, while an RV can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars [2].

More Interior Space

School buses provide much more interior space than a typical RV, allowing for OPTIMAL living and storage spaces.

Depending on the size of your school bus, you can have up to four rooms or more inside the vehicle. This additional space can create sleeping quarters, bathrooms, living areas, and kitchens—the possibilities are ENDLESS!

Plus, most school buses come with large windows that allow plenty of NATURAL light into the interior.

Wide Variety Of Sizes

As discussed above, many different sizes and dimensions of school buses exist. These vehicles can be TAILORED to fit your budget and needs, from short buses to large models.

Whether you prefer a larger bus with more passenger capacity or something more lightweight and easier to maneuver, there’s sure to be an option for you.

Easier To Customize

School buses are much easier to customize than traditional RVs, making it simple to create the perfect living space for your needs. This is because they are BUILT on a solid frame, so you won’t have to worry about structural issues when making modifications.

Plus, there is usually PLENTY of space inside the bus for you to add whatever features or amenities you desire. From installing a kitchen to constructing walls and adding furniture, there are endless possibilities for customizing your school bus RV.

Potential Fuel Savings

Furthermore, converting a school bus into an RV could save you money on fuel costs.

Many school buses were initially designed to run on DIESEL fuel, which tends to be much more efficient and less expensive than gasoline.

Potential Fuel Savings

Use As A Camper Or RV

Additionally, a school bus conversion can allow you to use your vehicle as a camper and an RV.

When it’s time to hit the road, REMOVE any excess furniture or equipment and use your school bus as an RV. But when it’s time to set up camp for a while, adding back in these items will transform the vehicle into an ideal home away from home.

Easier To Park

Most of these vehicles are shorter and NARROWER than regular RVs, making them easier to fit into smaller campgrounds or driveways. This can make it simpler to find parking spots when you’re traveling with your school bus conversion.

Built Like A Tank

Because they’re built on a solid frame and designed to transport large numbers of children SAFELY, you can depend on your converted school bus RV to get you where you need to go.

Less Environmental Impact

Since they are lighter and designed to be more fuel-efficient, they require less energy to run and cause less POLLUTION in the long run.

Adds More Value To Your Property

Finally, if you decide to SELL your converted school bus RV down the line, it can add more value to your property.

With their unique design and spacious interior layouts, these vehicles will surely be a hit with RV enthusiasts everywhere.

Pro Tip: Before embarking on your school bus conversion project, consult a professional for advice and guidance.

Choosing the Right Size for Your Conversion Project

Choosing the Right Size for Your Conversion Project

Before you start your conversion journey, it’s essential to do some RESEARCH and find out what size and model of the bus would work best for you.

Generally speaking, a short school bus is ideal for single travellers or couples looking to live in their RV full-time. On the other hand, if you plan on travelling with many people, a larger school bus may be more suitable for your needs.

Additionally, the CONDITION of the bus affects how much your conversion project costs. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, buying an older school bus might be the way to go.

However, if you want something newer and ready to hit the road right away, purchasing one with fewer miles on it may be worth the extra investment.

Pro Tip: Before buying a used school bus, inspect it thoroughly and take a test drive to ensure it is in good working order.

Frequently Asked Question


How Much Does It Cost To Buy A Used School Bus?

The cost of a used school bus will depend on the size and condition of the vehicle. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $3,000-$15,000 for a quality used school bus.

Is The Engine Of A School Bus As Durable As A Traditional RV Engine?

Yes, the engines of school buses are just as durable as the ones found in traditional RVs. The engines on these vehicles have been designed to last for many miles and years.

How Long Does It Take To Convert A School Bus Into An RV?

This will depend on the complexity of the conversion project and how much you plan to customize it. Generally, you can expect to spend several months converting a school bus into an RV.

Do I Need Special Training Or Licensing To Operate an RV Converted School Bus?

In most cases, a special license is not required to operate an RV-converted school bus.

However, you may need additional training depending on the size and weight of your vehicle. It’s always best to check with your local DMV for further information.

How Does The Window Rule Work?

In some states, the “window rule” applies to vehicles converted from school buses. This means that they must maintain at least four operational windows on a side of the vehicle in order to be legally considered an RV.


to conclude

School buses are an invaluable resource for student transportation, but they can also be converted into budget-friendly RVs.

If you’re considering this option for your next RV, then learning more about the size and dimensions of typical school buses is a great place to start.

A school bus doesn’t have to be just for transporting children back and forth from school. You can turn it into the ideal home away from home with creativity.

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Lisa Hayden-Matthews

Lisa Hayden-Matthews

An avid Skier, bike rider, triathlon enthusiast, amateurish beach volleyball player and nature lover who has never lost a dare! I manage the overall Editorial section for the magazine here and occasionally chip in with my own nature photographs, when required.

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