5 Alternative Uses for Buses [Infographic]

Thanks to their large frames and spacious interiors, buses are especially versatile vehicles that can be used for a whole lot more than just ferrying commuters to and from work. Over the years, we’ve seen enterprising individuals transform buses into all sorts of things—from tailgating hot spots at football games to mobile shelters for the homeless. Used school buses are particularly popular options for bus conversions, because they are abundant and relatively inexpensive.

With all these great conversion ideas in mind, we put together a handy infographic that outlines 5 of our favorite alternative uses for buses. Check it out, and get some inspiration for your very own bus conversion!

5 Alternative Uses for Buses [Infographic]

Old School Buses get a New Lease on Life in Central America

Old School Buses get a New Lease on Life in Central America

Have you ever driven past a parking lot full of old school buses and wondered what becomes of them in their old age?

Well, they don’t just sit around in a junkyard forever. You might be interested to learn about what Guatemalans call “chicken buses.”

Once an American school bus has been shuttling kids around from home to school to soccer games for about ten years, or when they reach about 150,000 miles on their odometers, they’re resold to places like Guatemala where they’re prepared for their “second lives.”

After some engine rebuilds, seating reconfigurations, and some seriously cool paint jobs, these yellow student-carriers are turned into off-roading buses that carry Guatemalans and their belongings from rural areas into city centers, where they trade goods to make money, go to work, go to school and live their lives.

The name “chicken bus” may come from one of two places—some say that the buses are called “chicken buses” by the locals because they are so packed with people they look like livestock trucks. Others say that these buses earned their name because they are often actually used to transport live animals, like chickens.

Either way, these very special buses, are given colorful new lives in South America thanks to the efforts of their devoted drivers. Although if you take a look at the video below, I think you’ll agree our kids’ school bus drivers tend to play it a little safer when it comes to obeying the rules of the road!


VR School Bus Gives Students a Chance to Visit Mars

VR School Bus Gives Students a Chance to Visit Mars

In addition to their applications in gaming, virtual reality platforms have gained a lot of interest from the educational community in recent years.

Imagine teaching engineering students how to work on complex equipment in a virtual laboratory, for example. Or teaching history students about the Civil Rights Movement by allowing them to sit in on the court cases where landmark decisions were made.

The only trouble with virtual reality experiences is that they’re usually limited to one person wearing a headset.

That’s why Generation Beyond, an educational subsidiary of Lockheed Martin, has turned a school bus into a huge, mobile virtual reality platform that allows a whole classroom of students to take a shared tour of Mars. They call the bus the Mars Experience

Each of the windows in the bus was replaced with a transparent 4K display and a layer of glass film which becomes opaque when an electric current is applied to it. This lets the vehicle transform from an ordinary school bus to a roving VR platform at the flip of a switch.

  • Once the VR is enabled, the simulation begins tracking the movement of the bus to create a dynamic virtual experience.
  • Each time the bus turns, hits a bump in the road or changes speed the simulation of Mars reacts accordingly.
  • The system’s designers mapped their simulation onto the streets of Washington, D.C. so the bus can move freely around the city while maintaining the virtual environment in a 250 square mile area.

The simulation was designed by Framestore, the same VFX studio that created many of the landscapes in the sci-fi thriller The Martian. In addition to the VR-enabled window panels, the team also outfitted the bus with a surround sound system to add an extra layer of immersion to the experience.

To learn more about what went into the creation of the Mars Experience, check out this video from the design team!


NHTSA Advocates for Seat Belts on School Buses

NHTSA Advocates for Seat Belts on School Buses

Ever wonder why school buses don’t have seat belts? You’re not alone.

Currently, only six states require school buses to be outfitted with seat belts – a remarkably small figure that has troubled many parents and educators for years.

After all, why wouldn’t there be some kind of legislation that requires such basic safety features in the vehicles that take millions of kids back and forth from school every day?

It turns out the lack of seat belts on school buses was a function of their original design. For decades, school buses have been built with “compartmentalization” in mind.

The idea is that by keeping kids contained in wide, tall cushioned seating areas, any physical harm incurred from an impact will be fairly minimal.

  • This design principle is often colloquially referred to as the “egg carton” theory.

The trouble is that compartmentalization doesn’t do much good in the event of a rollover. Once passengers are thrown out of their seating areas there’s nothing to stop them from crashing into one another and the hard interior surfaces of the bus. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates these types of accidents are responsible for four deaths every year on school buses. According to CBS, “the agency believes seat belts would cut that number in half.”

The cost to retrofit millions of school buses with seat belts would be enormous – billions of dollars, by some estimates – but many industry authorities believe that the cost would be worth it meant preventing future injuries and deaths in America’s school buses.

The push for new regulatory legislation will likely be a long and slow process, but it’s a cause that many parents feel very strongly about. Mark Rosekind, administrator at the NHTSA, estimates that the push for new legislation could take close to a decade to accomplish.

Check out a Few of Our Favorite Tailgating Buses

Check out a Few of Our Favorite Tailgating Buses

With football season in full swing, superfans are posting up in stadium parking lots all across the country and showing their team spirit with some truly wild custom bus conversions. For these fans, tailgating is an essential component of the football experience. And to tailgate right, you’re going to need a pretty serious home base. That’s where the tailgate bus comes in.

The Master Gator

Because nothing says “tailgating” like a bus with a back porch. Some serious work went into converting this Ford B700 school bus into a rolling advertisement for the University of Florida’s football team.

  • In addition to its signature back porch, the Gator also features an exterior shower and an impressive sound system powered by two 1000 watt power amplifiers.

The First Class Tailgaters

Tennessee Titans fans know that a good tailgate vehicle should have everything you need at arm’s reach. That’s why they outfitted their limo touring bus with a towing package so they could haul a mobile kitchen and bar (capable of serving up to 100 people) to the game.

  • The bus also features a 32” flat screen TV and with a Direct TV satellite tracking system so you can catch the game even if you don’t make it in the stadium.

The “Extreme Tailgating Bus”

Made by Texas-based custom automotive conversion company Imagi Motive, this tailgating bus is unique in that it wasn’t built with one team’s allegiance in mind. Rather, it’s a blank canvas for hardcore tailgaters to decorate with the colors of their favorite team.

  • Featuring a full kitchen, hydraulic gullwing doors, and a beefed-up motor to accommodate all the extra weight, this bus is truly built for extreme tailgating.

Want to make your very own tailgating bus for football season? At Las Vegas Bus Sales, we carry a number of used options ideal for creative conversions.

Take a look around our inventory page to find the bus that’s right for you!