Your Ultimate School Bus Website

Your Ultimate School Bus Website

School Bus Glossary:

Need to know what a certain word means? What exactly is a rub rail? Check here to find out!

General Terms:

-Blackout Paint Scheme/ Package: A type of paint scheme used most commonly on New York buses, and partially in North Carolina and California. The blackout is where the rubrails and area around the warning lamps is yellow instead of black. New York buses are the best example of this.

-Rebody: A option to putting a new body on an old chassis. When this procedure is done the chassis is refurbished and the engine is normally overhauled. This is most typically seen on Carpenter and Thomas bodies.

-Type A/B: These are buses are on a van or cutaway chassis. These buses usually hold under 36 passengers. Type B usually refers to where the chassis is somewhat built into the body. Thomas did this with the "Vista" body scheme, and Ward did this with the Patriot. These special buses could be ordered to hold up to 72 passengers. The Patriot and the Vista body styles have since been discontinued in the late 1990s.

-Type C: Conventional bus. The most common of buses, where the engine is in front of the main body. These buses can be ordered to hold from 36 passengers to 78.

-Type D: (Also known as Transit/ Flat Nosed Bus) These are normally the biggest of buses. They are Rear Engine and Front Engine buses. The engine is built into the body, and does not stick out in front like a Conventional. Most people unknown with this term usually refers to these buses as "Flat-head" or "Flat-Nosed" buses.

-"3-2, 2-2" Seating: This is a type of seating arrangement in a bus. Example: 3 people seat on one side and 2 on the other side of the aisle.

-FE/RE: (Front Engine/ Rear Engine) See Type D.



-Ambers: On an 8-way warning light system, these are the inner two lights that appear orange. They warn oncoming traffic that the bus is about to make a stop. In Wisconsin and Canada, these inner two lights are red instead of orange, due to these states never adapted to the new 8-way system.

-Dog House: This is a area hood seen on the inside of a Front Engine bus next to the driver. The engine can be accessed from this compartment to be serviced.

-Five/ Six point wheels: Star looking wheel commonly used on older buses and heavy duty chassis applications.

-High Headroom: This simply means a raised roof on a bus. This option is common on buses transporting adults or high school students. High headroom is optional on most buses, however IC has made it standard on their buses.

-Impact Shield: The impact shield is a line of very strong steel on the above the top rubrail of pre-1985 Carpenters,
pre-1987 Wards, and all Superior buses. The impact shield has been replaced on many buses with another rubrail.

-LED: A group of lights running at once to create one light appearance. These lights are much brighter than bulb-style systems.

-Pushout/ Kickout Window: This is a window in the passenger area on the bus that when you lift a lever, that the window can be pushed out, therefore making evacuation of the bus easier. Most states have made these a requirement nowadays. Common Pushout Window configurations are Two (One on each side in the middle), Four (Two on each side) and Six (Three on each side).

-Roof Bow: The upper most frame inside a bus body that supports the roof panels.

-Roof Hatch: This is a hatch in the roof that can be opened up incase of a emergency. It can also be popped open for ventilation.

-Rub Rails: These are formed metal strips that go around the outside of the bus to add strength to the body. These can be seen on the side of the buses as the black lines.

-Side Emergency Door: The side emergency door is a option (most commonly) on the drivers side of the bus that students can open up to evacuate the bus in a emergency. Most states, such as Kentucky and California, have made this a requirement on all buses. Some states, such as New York, require side emergency doors on both sides of the bus, depending on passenger capacity.

-Stanchion: A Guard bar that goes in front of the first seats of the bus. This is similar to the standing bars of public transit buses. These bars were used mostly on pre-1979 buses.

-Strobe Lights- A very bright flashing light on the roof of the bus used in fog or bad weather, or at nighttime.

-Warning Lights: These are the lights near the top of the bus that flash when it is getting ready to stop. There are two kinds of warning lights, 8 ways and 4 ways. Eight ways have 4 lamps in the front and four in the back (Inner two are Amber, outer two are Red). Four ways are commonly found on many pre-1978 buses (Red Only). However there are a few states that still allow 4 ways to be used, such as WI. However due to new regulations, four way systems can no longer be purchased generally on school buses.


Special Thanks to Alex Y. for help with the glossary.