OTC or Blue Bird Activity Bus? What to consider.

We believe there are two issues to consider when evaluating the use of OTC (over-the-road-coach) buses to transport students. They are not built to meet FMVSS school bus standards which have specific safety requirements to protect students. And, the long-term cost-of-ownership can be expensive. In Kansas, school districts cannot, by law, purchase new motorcoach buses.

Typically, used OTC’s have over 200,000 miles on them. “We service OTC activity buses for some Kansas school districts,” said Dave McCurdy, Kansas Truck Equipment Co., parts manager. “The absence of a ready dealer network for OTC’s makes it hard to source parts. Because the parts are sometimes hard to find, they are generally more expensive than school bus parts.”

School Bus Fleet magazine (5/26/17 “Oregon District Shuns Motorcoaches, Runs Yellow Charters’) reported on how and why a Eugene, Oregon school district concluded that the school activity bus, known in the industry as MFSAB, was preferable to renting OTC’s for activity trips. The Oregon district wanted comfort and safety. Chris Ellison, director of transportation, said he recommended the “yellow charter” i.e. a school bus built to the same construction standards as a regular school bus. but equipped with enhanced features such as charter-style seats, full air-ride suspension, air conditioning, overhead storage bins and lights, and flip down DVD screens. Ellison said the district administration was further motivated to move to the “yellow charter” because of the horrific motorcoach crashes in New York and New Jersey. “…Safety is number 1. I pitched this to the athletic directors and school administrators, and they thought the “yellow charter” was a great idea,” Ellison said. He added that his Blue Bird activity buses have all the amenities of an OTC with the exception of a bathroom.

Blue Bird All American Activity Bus SAFETY Meets all FMVSS standards for student safety.

SERVICE EASE – School bus parts are interchangeable School’s bus service techs are familiar with servicing the All American.

WARRANTY – 1 YEAR/12,000 miles on parts & equipment 5 YEAR/100,000 miles paint warranty Body/Chassis 5 YEAR/100,000 miles on engine 7 YEAR unlimited on transmission

AVAILABLE OPTIONS – Ducted air conditioning Reading lights DVD Front/rear air suspension Customized paint OTC coach seats Luggage compartments

– by Rita Linnens, Kansas Truck Equipment Co., Inc.