School Bus Sizes - Sizes of Objects and Stuff (2024)

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Every day, millions of students rely on school buses to get to and from their educational institutions. School bus sizes vary, designed to cater to different routes and numbers of passengers.

The dimension ranges of the most common school bus types are:

Bus TypeLengthWidthSeating Capacity
A-113 to 17.5 ft7.75 ft30 students
A-213 to 17.5 ft7.75 ft30 students
B10.8 to 21.7 ft7.75 ft45 students
C20.9 to 38.9 ft7.75 to 8 ft78 students
D27.3 to 39.1 ft7.75 to 8 ft90 students

This guide will describe how buses are categorized, the dimensions of common school bus types, and what each size has to offer.

School Bus Sizes - Sizes of Objects and Stuff (1)

Categorizing School Buses

When it comes to transporting students, not all school buses are made equal. Different categories of school buses can help school districts make informed decisions based on how many students need rides.

By Passenger Capacity

One of the primary ways to categorize school buses is by the number of passengers they can accommodate. Buses are designed to fit different numbers of students, keeping safety and comfort in mind.

  • Small Buses: These buses typically seat up to 30 students. They’re commonly used for routes with fewer students or to navigate areas with narrow roads.
  • Medium Buses: Medium-sized buses can carry between 30 to 60 students. They strike a balance between size and capacity, suitable for most urban and suburban routes.
  • Large Buses: These buses are designed to carry over 60 students, some even accommodating more than 90. Large buses are commonly used for longer routes or areas with a higher density of students.

By Bus Length

The length of a school bus often determines its maneuverability, storage, and, of course, its capacity.

  • Short Buses: Ranging between 20 to 25 feet in length, these are agile and can easily navigate tight turns and smaller roads.
  • Medium-length Buses: Falling in the 25 to 35-foot range, these buses are versatile and are a common sight in many school districts.
  • Long Buses: These are typically over 35 feet, reaching up to 45 feet. Their size makes them more suited for wide roads and highways.

By Purpose and Functionality

Beyond size and capacity, school buses can be categorized based on their specific use or features.

  • Standard Buses: These are the typical yellow buses used for daily student transport. They come in various sizes but share common safety and design features.
  • Special Education Buses: Tailored for students with disabilities, these buses come equipped with features like wheelchair lifts, special restraints, and additional space for aids or caregivers.
  • Activity Buses: Unlike regular school buses, activity buses transport students to extracurricular events, such as sports matches or field trips. They may have extra storage compartments for equipment.

Types of School Buses

Open your front door during any school day and you’ll undoubtedly see a yellow bus driving down the road. While they may share similar features, they come in distinct sizes based on type.

Type A-1 Buses

  • Length: These buses measure between 13 to 17.5 feet in length.
  • Width: A consistent width of 7.75 feet characterizes the A-type.
  • Seating Capacity: Designed to carry up to 30 students, A-1 buses are ideal for shorter routes and areas with lighter student traffic.
  • Features: A-1 buses are compact, making them perfect for navigating through tighter streets and alleys where larger buses might face difficulties.

Type A-2 Buses

  • Length: Just like the A-1, the A-2 buses fall within the 13 to 17.5 feet range.
  • Width: They maintain a width of 7.75 feet.
  • Seating Capacity: With a capacity to seat 30 students, they mirror the A-1 buses in size and function.
  • Features: While dimensions are similar to A-1 buses, A-2 buses might feature variations in internal configurations or amenities, offering a slightly different ride experience.

Type B Buses

  • Length: B buses vary more in length, ranging from 10.8 feet to a more extended 21.7 feet.
  • Width: These buses have a consistent width of 7.75 feet.
  • Seating Capacity: Capable of carrying up to 45 students, B buses are a step up in size and capacity from the A-type buses.
  • Features: B buses strike a balance between size and maneuverability. They’re versatile, apt for both urban routes with dense student populations and suburban areas with more widespread stops.

Type C Buses

  • Length: C buses present a broader range in length, spanning from 20.9 feet to a sizeable 38.9 feet.
  • Width: They fluctuate slightly in width, ranging from 7.75 to 8 feet.
  • Seating Capacity: Designed to hold up to 78 students, C buses are among the larger standard buses seen on the roads.
  • Features: These buses are tailored for longer routes or areas with a higher density of students. Their design prioritizes safety and comfort, ensuring a smooth ride even when packed to capacity.

Type D Buses

  • Length: D buses are the giants of the school bus world, with lengths between 27.3 to 39.1 feet.
  • Width: Their width varies slightly, between 7.75 to 8 feet, providing ample space inside.
  • Seating Capacity: With the ability to seat up to 90 students, D buses are the go-to for districts with substantial student populations.
  • Features: The design of D buses caters to maximum passenger load while maintaining safety standards. They’re commonly used for longer routes and are equipped to handle diverse terrains, from highways to busy city streets.


1. Why don’t school buses have seat belts?

School buses are designed using a concept called “compartmentalization.” This means that the seats are built close together and have high, energy-absorbing backs. In the event of a crash, students are protected by these padded seats, which create a safe compartment.

2. Can I buy a school bus?

Yes, you can buy a school bus. Retired school buses often go up for sale when schools upgrade their fleets. There are specialized dealerships and auctions where these buses can be purchased. However, if you plan to use it for personal transport, you may need to make modifications to meet local regulations.

3. How do I drive a school bus?

To drive a school bus, you’ll need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with a school bus endorsem*nt. This requires you to pass both written and driving tests. Additionally, training specific to handling a large vehicle, managing student behavior, and understanding safety protocols.

School Bus Sizes - Sizes of Objects and Stuff (2024)


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