Passenger buses come in different varieties and sizes. Costs, passenger seating, storage space and whether the vehicle has restroom facilities on board are important factors to consider when choosing a bus to rent or ride.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that a motorcoach is meant for long-distance traveling of passengers. It has a baggage compartment and a passenger deck. A mini-bus can also go long distances, but it carries fewer passengers. Limousines and passenger vans are for small group outings. Yellow buses are for carrying children to and from schools.
The FMCSA says motorcoaches, mini-buses, school buses, limousines and passenger vans are modes of transportation meant to carry small to large numbers of people. A motorcoach carries 40 to 50 passengers, a mini-bus carries 16, a school bus can transport up to 80 people and limousine and passenger vans can carry up to 15 people.
Driver Safety, Comfort and Storage
The FMCSA says motorcoach drivers must be off-duty for at least eight hours before putting in a 10-hour driving shift. If a bus company employee has been on duty for 15 hours, he cannot drive before being off duty for at least eight hours. Mini and school buses are also subject to time limits. Motorcoaches have ample storage and restrooms aboard. Mini buses, limousines and passenger vans do not have restrooms and have varied amounts of storage capacity. School buses have no restrooms or storage.
Vehicle and Passenger Safety
Vehicle crashes can be caused by a number of factors, including driver fatigue, faulty tires and brake and other mechanical malfunctions. The FMCSA and other federal and state organizations are stepping up vehicle inspection and safety programs, which include shutting down what they call "chameleon" transportation businesses that are facing penalties or legal action. These companies change their names and business models instead of fixing their buses.
- US Department of Transportation: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Passenger Carriers for Consumers
- US Department of Transportation: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Passenger Carriers-Commercial Vehicles
- US Department of Transportation: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Hours of Service Regulations
- US Department of Transportation: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Passenger Carriers-Additional Safety Information
- US Department of Transportation: Motorcoach Safety Action Plan
- US Department of Transportation: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Commercial Vans and Small Passenger Carrying Vehicles
- Photo Credit Bus. Bus in parking area/ parking lot/ car park image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com
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