Surplus of yellow school buses

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aformeruser

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With the eventual withdrawal of subsided bus routes to faith schools by local councils, what will happen to the designated yellow school buses serving faith schools?

St Nicholas High School in the Northwich area and All Hallows in the Macclesfield area both have yellow buses serving them currently.
 
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aformeruser

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Depends whether they are bus operator owned or local authority owned.

The ones in Cheshire that I referred to in the original post are council owned. Even operators like First Bus and Holmeswood Coaches who have their own could well have a surplus if the bus routes have their council funding removed.
 

BestWestern

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I'd imagine there would be plenty of smaller firms willing to purchase them for their own numerous schools contracts. They would almost certainly be cheaper to run than the coaches so often used, but probably beyond the reach of many small operators when new.
 

aformeruser

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I'd imagine there would be plenty of smaller firms willing to purchase them for their own numerous schools contracts.

Would the smaller firms really want them?

One local company to me was Walkers of Cheshire (before they became part of the larger Holmeswood Coaches group.) They had around 6 old Leyland double decker buses and a large number of coaches.

The Leyland double deckers were only used on school services but they were in the normal Walkers livery and had normal bus seating, so they could have been used in an emergency to rescue the passengers from a broken down coach somewhere.

On the other hand the yellow school buses have 3+2 seating, practically no leg room and are branded all over all school buses, so are a less practical emergency rescue vehicle.

Also how many commercial school contracts are there? I imagine most designated school buses taking children to and from school are subsided with commercial services generally accepting any passenger not just school kids. The commercial contracts would be the less frequent school trips, taking children to the swimming bath trips etc.
 

Yew

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In my area the local Catholic school and the private school a few miles away fund school busses, using old leyland double deckers. These where often used by other schools (such as mine) to take on school trips for journies of 1/2 hours, otherwise coaches where provided for long distances. such as the trips to france and similar
 

Ivo

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Another question if I may. What happens to yellow school buses during holiday periods? Are they left in depots, or do they take on other work? I have travelled on a (non-yellow) 3+2 school bus on a non-school duty before now, and it felt awful; surely such seating would not be suitable for mainstream operation?

(If you're wondering, it was a B10M.)
 

aformeruser

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Another question if I may. What happens to yellow school buses during holiday periods? Are they left in depots, or do they take on other work? I have travelled on a (non-yellow) 3+2 school bus on a non-school duty before now, and it felt awful; surely such seating would not be suitable for mainstream operation?

I would imagine they schedule maintenance in during school holidays. There are also quite often residential/non-educational trips organised in school holidays that could utilise a designated school bus.

I wonder if the seating is even suitable for high schools. Year 11 and sixth formers are just as tall as adults travelling on ordinary buses.

The fact that they aren't suitable for other services is probably why only a selection of school services have switched to designated school buses and why I don't think smaller operators will be that interested in buying them off the councils.
 

overthewater

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There probley end up with First East Scotland and used on normal public service...
 

WatcherZero

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Round here theres over 100 and they are all local authority owned and just operate the morning and evening services as well as being available for schools to book for trips or things like swimming lessons. Usually each bus only operates one school route (schools have 1-3 yellow routes with a couple as many as 5) though there are a small number where the bus can operate two different schools with staggered opening hours routes.

The allotments are annually reviewed and sometimes low ridership school routes stock is transferred to other schools.

Theyve never been offered for faith school routes though some faiths schools have had a financial contribution toward bus passes based on historical agreements (like relocations and no other school available) these have all ended except for the poorest students.

I dont think size is a problem really, their used on high school and sixth form college services.
 

anthony263

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some operators I know take the vehicles off the road and store them until a week or so before school term starts.

Thats said there are some firms especially in west wales who use their schoolbuses on normal service work in between school services
 

aformeruser

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Round here theres over 100 and they are all local authority owned and just operate the morning and evening services as well as being available for schools to book for trips or things like swimming lessons. Usually each bus only operates one school route (schools have 1-3 yellow routes with a couple as many as 5) though there are a small number where the bus can operate two different schools with staggered opening hours routes.

That's similar to how the Cheshire ones operate. The same bus always runs the same route. They are used on shorter school trips but if there is a school trip for an extended day e.g. returning at 5pm, then yellow buses aren't used and a local coach operator provides the vehicle for the school trip.

Theyve never been offered for faith school routes though some faiths schools have had a financial contribution toward bus passes based on historical agreements (like relocations and no other school available) these have all ended except for the poorest students.

The actual arrangement made between the C of E and Catholic churches and the government in the 1940s was that the councils would transport children free of charge to school if they didn't live within walking distance of a faith school and in exchange the church would fund building the schools and some of the upkeep. This was made in to a parliamentary act which hasn't been abolished. It was a very good deals for both parties, as you can imagine in the 1940s any promise of providing funding for buildings went down very well and the councils were responsible for local transport and they couldn't justify a faith school in every town so having a guarantee of a transport service went down very well with the churches.

Now in the recession most faith schools are better maintained than non-faith schools, so the council taking over the school building and maintenance works instead of providing free school transport is a cheaper option for them.

I dont think size is a problem really, their used on high school and sixth form college services.

In the case of Holmeswood Coaches they've taken what were built as 53 seater coaches consisting of a back row of 5 seats and 12 rows of 4 seats in 2+2 formation with an aisle and turned them in to 70 seater coaches still with a back row of 5 and 13 rows of 5 seats in a 3+2 formation with a very narrow aisle. (The aisle is narrower than the seats hence why the back row is still 5 seats and not 6.)

Like I said earlier I'm not convinced these are suitable for high schools with sixth forms due to the older pupils being adult sized. There's no way they should be used for bus services carrying only adults. They aren't even permitted to have passengers standing.
 

Schnellzug

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I've never really bought into this vogue for "American style yellow School buses". American style school buses are some of the worst kinds of buses there are, horrendously crude truck-style things with high floors, multiple steps and seating that makes a class 142 look like a Pullman. They're hardly a great advertisement for what modern Buses can be like, are they. it's only thanks to the Simpsons that local authorities thought they were the way forward. I bet they're a factor in putting American kids off using buses for life, if they think that every bus is going to be like that.
 

aformeruser

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I've never really bought into this vogue for "American style yellow School buses". American style school buses are some of the worst kinds of buses there are, horrendously crude truck-style things with high floors, multiple steps and seating that makes a class 142 look like a Pullman. They're hardly a great advertisement for what modern Buses can be like, are they. it's only thanks to the Simpsons that local authorities thought they were the way forward. I bet they're a factor in putting American kids off using buses for life, if they think that every bus is going to be like that.

I imagine the idea behind it was that school buses in the UK were mainly old vehicles near the end of their lives. The bus/coach companies didn't want to put their nice new vehicles on school routes and have paying adults complaining about horrible old vehicles. However, the fact that they were old vehicles saw on some routes children showing a lack of respect and leaving litter lying around, playing with things causing them to wear out quicker and in some cases serious vandalism.

The idea behind a yellow bus is everyone has a designated seat so if they leave a lot of rubbish in their area or recklessly break their seat then they have to suffer as a result, not someone else and it's obviously easier for the driver to know who was responsible.
 

Ploughman

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I've never really bought into this vogue for "American style yellow School buses". American style school buses are some of the worst kinds of buses there are, horrendously crude truck-style things with high floors, multiple steps and seating that makes a class 142 look like a Pullman. They're hardly a great advertisement for what modern Buses can be like, are they. it's only thanks to the Simpsons that local authorities thought they were the way forward. I bet they're a factor in putting American kids off using buses for life, if they think that every bus is going to be like that.


The only problem with them is that the operating procedure was left back in the states.
If the regulations about their use in the states had been copied and introduced over here then there would be a dramatic increase in safety for the kids.
But probably howls of anger from the passing drivers (or not passing as the case may be)

As I understand it when the bus puts its stopping lights on everything on the road has to stop, no matter what type of road it is, and wait until the kids are across the road if required and the lights are turned off.
Correct me if I am wrong in this.
 

fairysdad

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I've never really bought into this vogue for "American style yellow School buses". American style school buses are some of the worst kinds of buses there are, horrendously crude truck-style things with high floors, multiple steps and seating that makes a class 142 look like a Pullman. They're hardly a great advertisement for what modern Buses can be like, are they. it's only thanks to the Simpsons that local authorities thought they were the way forward. I bet they're a factor in putting American kids off using buses for life, if they think that every bus is going to be like that.
I didn't even realise before reading this thread that we even had any yellow school buses over in the UK, except possibly where a local bus/coach company had yellow as their livery...
 

aformeruser

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The only problem with them is that the operating procedure was left back in the states.

Slightly related to this. What's the exact rule on the yellow sign that has to be placed on the back of any school bus, is this not a legal requirement? If so what purpose does it actually serve considering they aren't generally removed when the vehicle is being used on a non-school service?

The Bluebird school buses in the UK do have a CCTV camera on the rear with a monitor next to the driver's seat. I don't know if that's to make it safer for the bus to reverse or safer for children.

I didn't even realise before reading this thread that we even had any yellow school buses over in the UK, except possibly where a local bus/coach company had yellow as their livery...

They seem to be more of a North of England thing and only run on a selection of routes.

Cheshire introduced them in 2000 and they haven't really expanded and taken over on school routes but the ones introduced have been kept.

I think West Yorkshire was later on as they had a yellow school bus with big lettering saying 'School Bus Demonstration Project' in around 2005. First Huddersfield/Calderdale also painted some of their B reg double deckers in yellow and branded them as school buses around that time but didn't refurbish them with higher density seating, unlike what other operators have done.
 

BestWestern

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The initial US-style school buses were quite a few years back now, but very thin on the ground. I recall West Sussex Council obtaining a batch of old style Bluebirds, I think, which ran in various places including around the Chichester area. Seem to remember though that they wore a blue and white livery, rather than yellow, but they were to 'yellow schoolbus' style. I presume they were also built to right hand drive.

The current generation seem to be largely with First in many areas, and they use an ugly flat fronted thing called a Scholabus I think. Have a feeling they're made by Irisbus?!
 

WatcherZero

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Greater Manchester has over 100 of them. Their mainly viewed as more robust with higher crashworthiness, more noticable to other traffic, seatbelts, assigned seating and permanently assigned driver.

The early ones were US imports but I think laterly their variations on European designs just made from steel rather than aluminium.
 

aformeruser

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The initial US-style school buses were quite a few years back now, but very thin on the ground.

The original 3 Cheshire Bluebirds have V reg registration plates, so that gives away when they were registered.

Here's a picture of one of them:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildmoreway/5706199999/

And this is how it compares to an older US school bus:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ICCE_Illinois_School_Bus.jpg

And a more modern US school bus:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Blue_bird_all_american_A3_re.jpg
 

michael769

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As I understand it when the bus puts its stopping lights on everything on the road has to stop, no matter what type of road it is, and wait until the kids are across the road if required and the lights are turned off.
Correct me if I am wrong in this.

Technically in most states the rule applies whenever it is carrying children, even if the lights are not lit. However as the lights are supposed to be used to indicate that it is "on duty" most Highway Patrols are unwilling to prosecute if the lights are not lit.

jcollins said:
Slightly related to this. What's the exact rule on the yellow sign that has to be placed on the back of any school bus, is this not a legal requirement?

It is a warning sign and as such has no legal standing whatsoever. Most council contracts now require that it is displayed on School Buses. DfT guidelines say that it should be removed when not carrying school children but there is no law to back that up so compliance is poor.
 

anthony263

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First cymru had a few yellow school buses at their Llanelli depot (I am sure Greenback can confirm this) as well as at Carmarthen.

Edwards coaches had a few Bluebird schoolbuses which did make appearances on service work occasionally however a few oeprators I know tend to prefer to use full size coaches fitted with 2+2 or 3+2 seating with seatbelts and CCTV.

Certain councils have actually banned double deckers from contracted school routes Swansea being an example although Neath & P/Talbot council dropped this because the cost of contracts shot up sharply and a few routes were taken on commercially by a few operators
 

Yew

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Wasnt the main selling point of an american school bus that they where built like a tank in case of a crash?
 

MCR247

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Aren't a load of Versas being built as yellow school busses for Manchester now? Would be quite short sighted if there might be a surplus?
 

aformeruser

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Aren't a load of Versas being built as yellow school busses for Manchester now? Would be quite short sighted if there might be a surplus?

That's one of the problems with leased buses being used in Manchester. When new buses were introduced on the free city centre services the Solos were off-lease so GMPTE let them go off-lease and didn't care where they finished up.
 

Schnellzug

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Slightly related to this. What's the exact rule on the yellow sign that has to be placed on the back of any school bus, is this not a legal requirement? If so what purpose does it actually serve considering they aren't generally removed when the vehicle is being used on a non-school service?

The Bluebird school buses in the UK do have a CCTV camera on the rear with a monitor next to the driver's seat. I don't know if that's to make it safer for the bus to reverse or safer for children.
I think that's a fairly standard fitment on a lot of buses; there's a screen in the cab that shows the picture to the rear when reversing, and also on some it also shows the view from the interior CCTV.


They seem to be more of a North of England thing and only run on a selection of routes.

Cheshire introduced them in 2000 and they haven't really expanded and taken over on school routes but the ones introduced have been kept.

I think West Yorkshire was later on as they had a yellow school bus with big lettering saying 'School Bus Demonstration Project' in around 2005. First Huddersfield/Calderdale also painted some of their B reg double deckers in yellow and branded them as school buses around that time but didn't refurbish them with higher density seating, unlike what other operators have done.

First Hampshire did have some for a while as well, I think they were those Turkish BMC things. (o the irony. Do they still make Leylands in India?)



**

Dorset County Council has a few Scania/Irizar schoolbuses, basically the lower floor version of the regular coach painted yellow, but they put most school buses out to tender using regular ordinary Buses (Fist use Olympians, and Damory use all sorts of things including Olympians and regular coaches).
 

aformeruser

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Pretty sure the West Sussex batch were the 'pioneers' as it were, being on 'N' plates. Here's one preserved (!)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/markusgl1/2693510934/

When I said original Cheshire 3 I meant the first 3 to turn up in Cheshire. I mentioned them being V reg because it is more than just a few years when they were introduced. These are all used on services between Winsford and St Nicholas Catholic High School, which are routes under threat due to the council withdrawing faith school transport funding.

Expect passenger numbers to go through the roof at school start/end time on Crewe-Liverpool and Manchester-Chester via Altrincham train services as a result of this.
 

BestWestern

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When I said original Cheshire 3 I meant the first 3 to turn up in Cheshire. I mentioned them being V reg because it is more than just a few years when they were introduced.

Well thank you for your comprehensive and mildly sarcastic explanation ;) I was merely pointing out that I understand the West Sussex examples to have been the first to be used over here, I wasn't attempting to challenge your statement about the Cheshire trio.

Interesting that somebody has taken the trouble to preserve one of these beasties, I suppose they do represent a significant development in the UK bus scene.
 
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