List of school bus manufacturers

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A school bus is a bus that has been designed primarily for the role of student transport. In the United States and Canada, safety regulations have influenced the design of school buses to an extent that they have evolved into separate vehicles from transit buses, and that an industry has been created to manufacture them. In other parts of the world, vehicles used as school buses are outwardly similar to transit buses.

School Bus Configurations[edit]

In most instances, school bus manufacturers are second stage manufacturers; however, a few school buses (typically those of Type D configuration) utilize a body and chassis produced by a single manufacturer. The North American school bus industry produces buses in four different body configurations, listed below:

School Bus Configurations[1][2]
(Images of Contemporary School Bus Models)
Configuration Type A

2009-2011 Trans Tech/Ford

Type B

IC BE-Series

Type C

Type C school bus (Blue Bird Vision)

Type D

Type D school bus (Thomas Saf-T-Liner HDX CNG)

Passenger Capacity
(typical)
≥10

typically 16-36

≥10

typically 30-36

≥10

typically 36-78

≥10

typically 54-90

GVWR
  • Type A-I: ≤ 14,500 pounds (6,600 kg)
  • Type A-II:14,500 pounds (6,600 kg) and up
  • Type B-I: ≤ 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg)
  • Type B-II: between 10,000–21,499 pounds (4,536–9,752 kg)
  • over 21,500 pounds (9,800 kg)
  • (typically between 23,000–29,500 pounds (10,400–13,400 kg))
  • over 20,000 pounds (9,100 kg)
  • (typically between 25,000–36,000 pounds (11,000–16,000 kg))
Description
  • A bus body placed on a cutaway van chassis with a left-side driver's door
  • Single or dual rear wheels on drive axles.
  • A bus body mounted to either a stripped chassis or a cowled chassis
  • The entrance door is mounted behind the front wheels
  • In most versions (stripped-chassis models), the engine compartment is located partially inside the passenger compartment next to the driver and the hood is significantly shorter than that of conventional buses (similar to step vans)
  • A bus body mounted to a cowled medium-duty truck chassis
    • In the past, the chassis was often supplied from another manufacturer, but more recently, the chassis manufacturer and the bus body manufacturer are the same company.
  • Although typically of cowled-chassis chassis design, a few Type C buses are of cutaway-cab design.
  • The entrance door is mounted behind the front wheels.
  • The engine is mounted forward of the windshield
  • A bus body mounted to a separate chassis.
  • The entrance door mounted in front of the front wheels.
  • Single rear axle or (very rarely) tandem rear axles
  • The engine is mounted next to the driver inside the bus (front-engine/ "FE"), in the rear of the bus behind the rearmost seats (rear-engine/ "RE"), or in between the axles underneath the floor ("amidship" or "mid-engine")
    • The last mid-engine Type D school buses were manufactured when Crown Coach ceased operations in 1991.

Lists of Manufacturers[edit]

Current Manufacturers
Company Name Current Bus Production Founded Location Notes
Full-line Manufacturers
Blue Bird Corporation
  • Type A (outsourced to Micro Bird, Inc.)
  • Type C
  • Type D
1932 Fort Valley, Georgia
  • Blue Bird is a privately held company owned by The Traxis Group, a subsidiary of Cerberus Capital Management
  • In a joint venture, Blue Bird markets Girardin-produced Type A buses under the Blue Bird name.
IC Bus
  • Type A
  • Type C
  • Type D
2002
Thomas Built Buses, Inc.
  • Type A
  • Type C
  • Type D
1972 High Point, North Carolina


Type A-only Manufacturers
Collins Industries Type A 1967 Hutchinson, Kansas
Micro Bird Type A 1935 Drummondville, Quebec, Canada
  • Micro Bird (formerly known as Girardin Minibus) produces Type A school buses in a joint venture with Blue Bird known as Micro Bird, Inc.
  • Along with small-bus production, Micro Bird is also the Canadian distributor of Blue Bird full-size buses.


Starcraft Bus Type A 1997 Goshen, Indiana
  • Starcraft is a division of Forest River, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company.
  • Starcraft announced in November 2009 a joint venture with Toyota's Hino Motors to develop an all-new Type C design.[3] A prototype was unveiled in Fall 2010, but did not enter series production
Trans Tech Type A 2007 Warwick, New York
  • Trans Tech is a division of Transportation Collaborative, Inc.
Van Con Type A Middlesex, New Jersey


Type C-only Manufacturers
Lion Bus Type C 2011 Saint-Jérôme, Quebec, Canada
  • Lion Bus builds Type C buses on a Spartan Motors chassis.
  • Lion is the sole Canadian-based manufacturer of full-sized buses.
Recently Defunct Manufacturers (1980-present)
Company Name Foundation Ceased Production Location Notes


Full-line Manufacturers
AmTran
(American Transportation Corporation)
1980 2002
  • Produced Type A, C, and D buses.
  • Marketed school buses under the Ward name from 1980-1992 (commercial buses adopted AmTran name in 1980.)
  • Re-branded as International, then IC in 2003 after being purchased outright by Navistar International in 1995.
Carpenter Industries, Inc. 1919 2001
  • Produced Type A, B, C, and D buses.
  • Carpenter was shut down in May 2001 by parent company Spartan Motors.
Crown By Carpenter 1996 1999 Richmond, Indiana
  • Produced Type A, B, C, and D buses.
  • Crown by Carpenter was a 1996-99 re-branding of Carpenter using the rights from the purchase of the Crown Coach name.
  • The Crown name was dropped from Carpenter for the 2000 model year by Spartan Motors.
Les Enterprises Michel Corbeil (Corbeil)

1985

2007

St-Lin-Laurentides, Quebec, Canada
  • Produced Type A, C, and D buses.
  • Type C and D full-size buses sold in Canada only.
  • Assets acquired by Collins Industries in 2007
  • Exists today in the United States as Collins subsidiary Corbeil Bus Corporation.
Superior Coach Company
  • 1982
  • 1985
Lima, Ohio
  • Produced Type A, B, C, and D buses.
  • Superior employees created Mid Bus in 1981.
  • Full-size bus production ended after 1985 (design later used by New Bus, Inc.).
Ward Body Works 1933 1980
  • Produced Type A, B, C, and D buses.
  • Filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1980; re-organized as American Transportation Corporation (AmTran) in 1981.
  • Successor AmTran continued use of Ward brand name (on school buses) until 1992.
Wayne Corporation
1837 1992
  • Produced Type A, B, C, and D buses.
  • Wayne underwent several changes of ownership before ending up as Richmond Transportation Corporation from 1985-92.
  • Wayne Wheeled Vehicles (the successor to Wayne Corporation) was a subsidiary of Harsco Corporation and ceased operations in 1995.
Wayne Wheeled Vehicles 1992 1995 Marysville, Ohio
  • Produced Type A, C, and D buses.
  • Wayne Wheeled Vehicles (the successor to Wayne Corporation) was a subsidiary of Harsco Corporation.
  • Continued production of Wayne Corporation products.
Type A-only Manufacturers
Coach and Equipment Manufacturing Penn Yan, New York[4]
  • A manufacturer of van conversions to Type A school buses from the early 1970s to the mid-1990s[5]


Liberty Bus Lima, Ohio
  • Produced a small number of Type A school buses in early 2000s.
Mid Bus Corporation 1981 2008
  • Created by employees of Superior Coach Company to continue production of Type A school buses.
  • Acquired by Collins Bus Corporation in 1998.
  • Since 2008, Mid Bus products are re-badged Collins models.
U.S. Bus Corporation Suffern, New York
  • Producer of Type A buses in 1990s and early 2000s.
Type C/D-only Manufacturers
Crown Coach Corporation 1904 1991
  • Produced Type D buses
  • Subsidiary of GE Railcar from 1987-1991.
  • Rights to the Crown name were purchased in May 1991 by Carpenter Body Works.
Gillig Corporation 1890 1993 Hayward, California
  • Produced Type C and D buses.
  • Ended school bus production in 1993; still produces mass-transit buses.


New Bus, Inc.[6][7][8] 1988 1990 Chickasha, Oklahoma
  • Produced a small number of Type C and Type D buses in the late 1980s.
  • Type C buses were continuation of Superior production.


TAM-USA[9] 1991 1991
  • TAM-USA was an importer of Yugoslavian-built TAM buses
  • A small number of school bus bodies (Type D) were manufactured in Yugoslavia and fitted with American drivetrain components in California.


Historical Manufacturers (before 1980)
Company Name Ceased Production Location Notes
Hackney Brothers Body Company[10] c. 1966 Wilson, North Carolina
  • Produced Type C buses on Ford chassis.
Kenworth-Pacific 1957 Renton, Washington
  • Produced Type D buses.
  • Kenworth subsequently sold their bus tooling and equipment to Gillig.
Northern Coach[11] Wisconsin
  • Produced a small number of "Northern-Air" Type C buses in the late 1970s.
Oneida Products Corporation[12] 1960
  • From 1952-1960, Oneida was owned by professional car manufacturer Henney Motor Company.
  • Oneida was purchased in 1960 by Marmon-Herrington.
Perley A. Thomas Car Works 1972 High Point, North Carolina
  • Produced Type C and D buses; best known for streetcar production.
  • Perley A. Thomas Car Works was re-organized into Thomas Built Buses in 1972.
Union City Body Company[13] 1957 Union City, Indiana
  • Produced Type C buses.
  • Union City is now a supplier of bodies for UPS.

See also[edit]

References[edit]