Which Bus is Which?

Which Bus is Which?

With so many different school bus configurations, knowing the specific types of buses on the road today can give technicians a head start to diagnosis and repair.

For instance, knowing the bus type will quickly give you an indication of the equipment levels on the vehicle, including weight class and possible chassis types. This will help you properly identify systems and or components so that the correct reference information will be used.

Here’s a quick visual refresher on the different school bus types:

The four main types of school buses are classified by Types A through D to distinguish their size and construction. A Type A bus is the smallest and is based on a cutaway van or pickup chassis:

School Bus Type A


The Type B bus is the next largest and is based on medium-sized commercial vehicles:

School Bus Type B


The Type C is the most common type when we think of school buses and is based on medium to heavy commercial vehicle chassis:

School Bus Type C


Last is the Type D or transit style bus, which has a flat front and is common in school and municipal transportation:

School Bus Type D

There are a few other vehicles that meet federal motor vehicle safety standards for school buses, but the four above are the most common that you’ll see on the road – and at the bus stop when you drop off or pick up your favorite student.

About the Author

Julius Hairston

Julius Hairston joined the Mitchell 1 commercial vehicle group in 2012 as associate editor and is currently a technical editor for the TruckLabor product. He is certified as an ASE Master Technician for medium/heavy truck and worked as a technician for three years prior to joining Mitchell 1. He holds an associate degree in automotive technology from Cuyamaca College and a bachelor's degree in business administration from Everest University.