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The Perfect Bus? Gwyn Lawrence 6-6-04  
The purpose of an American school bus is to safely transport children between home and school. Depending on location (urban or rural) the average school bus travels about 75 miles a day. For half this distance the bus is empty. For only a small fraction of time is the bus full. Buses spend a lot of time waiting and idling. Typically a bus will be sold when it is 12-15 years old, with about 150,000 miles on the odometer.
I live in Antigua, Guatemala. American school buses form the backbone of the intra urban public transportation system. Here they travel full (or overfull) 16 hours a day. With the Andes mountain range dividing the country these buses work for a living. So I went to a Camioneta (Chicken Bus) factory and asked them how they made light duty buses into heavy duty buses.
This is their 'perfect bus'
Chassis Ford or International
Body Bluebird
Size 10 (28 inch) windows
Engine DT 466 or Cat 3208
Tranny 6 speed manual
Rear axle Split with 4.7:1 ratio
Brakes Air
They extend the seats to take 6 adults per row. Add a reinforced roof and roof rack. 2 ladders up the back. Sound system and a paint job.
There you have it, from school bus to Chicken bus.

With the turbocharged and intercooled Cat engine, 325hp and 12 forward speeds gets you over the Andes, with 60 people and a full roof rack!

Would anyone like to comment on how this configuration could be improved?
Re: The Perfect Bus? LonePilot 6-25-04  
Where's the moderator on that one!
Re: The Perfect Bus? phil 7-6-04  
What do they do with all the old busses down there? I've been to a few bus auctions here in the US and theres always 20 or so maxicans bidding on the busses, which drives the price up too high. I ended up buying a blue bird TC2000 (flat front) for 1850.00 from a school district here in Michigan. Its a 72 pass. 5.9 cummins, this same bus in an auction seems to go for about 3,000. My question is how much is it worth down there? and dont they have enough busses down there already, every auction I've been too ends up with at least 2/3 of the busses heading to mexico.
Re: The Perfect Bus? Gwyn Lawrence 8-12-04  
First, how do you know that they are all Mexican?
Used school buses are operated all over Latin America. In Guatemala they will only buy Bluebird bodies (they like the rounded windshields, all other bodies have a more 'slab' front.)
I cannot speak for other countries but I am sure they have their favorites as well. There's a whole continent south of the U.S. Apart from Brazil, it is all Spanish speaking. From Mexico to Argentina Hispanics are buying U.S. school buses. Import duty on a $5,000 bus entering Guatemala is around $4,000. Shipping from the U.S. around $2,000. By the time the bus enters service in Guatemala it has cost around $30,000. The preferred body syle is conventional. Hope that helped.
Re: The Perfect Bus? jeremiah 12-21-04  
Used chevrolet gas manual school bus for sale
Re: The Perfect Bus? Jim Boaz 8-17-04  
Once I was up in Peten' province and was amazed that people were hanging on the windows with someone inside (relatives?) holding their arms to keep them from falling off. Maybe an improvement would be some kind of strap that could be buckled around the wrist so the relative could rest and enjoy the trip
Re: The Perfect Bus? melissa 10-3-06  
Gwyn, is your chicken bus still for sale? where is it? how's it running? how much would you want for it?

thanks, melissa
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