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One of the most noticeable vehicles on American roads are yellow school buses carrying students. These vehicles are tasked with handling a variety of automotive roles, but their main purpose is to transport kids to and from school. At some point in your life, you have likely ridden on a school bus, and there are a variety of manufacturers that construct these kinds of vehicles. But, just how many kids can fit on one of these buses?

How many kids can ride a school bus?

The number of children that can ride on a school bus varies on its capacity. Generally speaking, a school district must adhere to the manufacturer’s recommendation. As those suggestions help to ensure kids are safe while riding in these yellow vehicles. But, there are also some varying regulations as well. 

A yellow school bus convoy.
School bus convoy | Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

For instance, according to the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education, the back of each passenger must come into full contact with the seat back. And that means that there must be sufficient space in order for that to happen. A good estimate is roughly 72 elementary school kids can fit on a bus, with the capacity being less for high school-age children. 

That number will be even less for adults who might be riding in a school bus.  

Why are school buses painted yellow?

The answer to that question is fairly simple; yellow is a highly visible color. Even in inclement weather, it can be easy to see these vehicles because of their bright color. Additionally, the black lettering on a bus will stand out over the color yellow. Which is another perk of using this kind of paint.     

School buses | Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
NEW JERSEY, USA – FEBRUARY 01: School buses are seen as snowfalls view in Weehawken, New Jersey, United States as massive snow storm hits the east coast on February 01, 2021. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

School bus yellow was initially created in 1939. And in today’s world, it is known as “National School Bus Glossy Yellow.” It might not be the prettiest color to paint a vehicle, but school buses are not built to be pretty. They are built to safely haul passengers, getting from point A to point B. 

Can you buy an old bus?

Whether you are interested in upfitting one of these vehicles to handle van life or your organization needs a mode of transportation, you can buy an old bus. And oftentimes, they are cheaper than you might think. At the same time, you will likely need to know someone or somewhere that can handle working on a diesel engine. So, that is something to keep in mind. 

There are plenty of Youtubers and other folks who have bought old buses with the intention of turning them into mobile offices or living spaces. It can be quite a task to undertake, but as you can see in the video above, the results can be pretty cool. 

If you are interested in buying a school bus for conversion, there are a range of folks who will sell one to you. Unlike the Grumman LLV mail truck, buses are not as difficult to buy. In addition to the cheap initial costs, that is likely why they have become popular among hobbyists.


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