Selecting school buses for your district’s fleet is a serious task. The safety of so many students each morning and each afternoon is heavily affected by that choice. So, you’re going to want to have all the information you can before you decide. That’s what we’re here for. In this piece, we’ll cover the different options you have if you’d like to add a Blue Bird school bus to your fleet.
The Blue Bird corporation has been around since 1927, meaning they have deep roots as a leading school bus manufacturer in the country. The company makes several different types of buses that appeal to different sets of needs. We will detail each of those options as well as explain more about what Blue Bird brings to the table generally so that by the end of this blog post, you should be ready to select the best Blue Bird for sale to fill out your fleet. Let’s start with an overview.
Why choose a Blue Bird School Bus
Blue Bird is one of the premiere school bus manufacturers in the country. Safety is obviously a top concern with any vehicle, but when it comes to transporting students every day, trusting that the school bus has been built well is paramount. Blue Bird delivers on that front. Here are just a few of their advanced safety features in the construction of their buses:
- Trademark one-piece roof bows made with high strength low alloy steel
- One-piece roof sheets from window top to window top
- Riveted construction
While safety is definitely the top concern for Blue Bird and for school districts, there are other important features that make Blue Bird school buses great options. Here are a few of those positives that are present in all of the types of Blue Bird buses we discuss:
- Drip molding visors embossed on the roof sheets over each window, minimizing corrosion
- Wiring numbered and color coded
- Varieties of seat plans and configurations, including track seating and special needs options
These lists are by no means exhaustive. One element that might not be immediately apparent when you’re thinking about adding a Blue Bird school bus to your fleet is the replacement parts you might need over the years. It’s a benefit of Blue Bird that there are many body parts shared between two of the bus types we’ll discuss in the following sections, the All American and the Vision. That means it’s easier to procure replacements if the need ever arises.
Now that we’ve established Blue Bird’s leadership in the school bus market, let’s get into the different models they offer.
Blue Bird Vision (Type C)
This type of Blue Bird school bus is one of the most classic-looking. It’s a conventional model, which means the front section that houses the engine sticks out past the driver’s seat. Maneuverability is a huge part of what makes a good school bus — when the drivers are trying to squeeze through the streets, they want to know that they’ve got full control over their vehicle.
Blue Bird prides itself on safety. Visibility is an important safety factor, and that’s why this model of conventional school bus has a special angled hood to give the driver excellent forward sightline visibility compared to other buses of this type.
This model of bus has a few different fuel options: Propane, gasoline, diesel, and electric. A later section discusses the benefits of alternative fuel Blue Bird school buses, so we won’t get into that here. Just know that you can often modify a Blue Bird for sale so that it meets your exact specifications.
Blue Bird T3RE and T3FE (Type D)
Recall how in an earlier section we talked about two full-size bus options that share many parts. The Vision is one of them, and this one, the All American, is the other. It’s flat in the front, which makes it a transit model. Not only does the engine not stick out in front of the bus like on the Vision model, but you also have two options when it comes to engine placement: Front or rear.
When it comes to fuel in an All American Rear Engine model Blue Bird for sale, also know that there are three different fuel options: Compressed natural gas (CNG), diesel, and electricity. The Front Engine variation is only available using diesel fuel.
One feature particular to this type of Blue Bird school bus is the Panoramic Sightline. The enlarged driver’s side window increases the amount of the loading and unloading zone that they can see, which is an important safety feature.
Blue Bird Micro Bird
Not every job requires the biggest bus possible. If you’re looking for a Blue Bird for sale that seats 30 students or fewer, then the Micro Bird could be a suitable option. The other types of buses we’ve discussed so far have been full-size, able to transport as many as 90 students at a time in some cases. The Micro Bird is much more agile than its larger counterparts.
This type of bus is mounted on either a ford or GM chassis using thick rubber isolators. Using these components ensures smoother rides for passengers in this type of Blue Bird school bus. Another safety feature we haven’t detailed so far are exterior side rub rails. The Micro Bird has four full-length, 16-gauge side rub rails, which increase safety on side collisions. It can be fueled by gasoline, propane, diesel, or electricity.
Alternative Fuel Options for Blue Bird School Buses
These days, many school districts are moving away from traditionally powered school buses. The transportation sector accounts for a sizable percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, so if being eco-friendly is top of mind, then making green choices in the purchase of school buses is important.
Choosing a Blue Bird school bus that’s powered by alternative fuels, such as electricity, can be helpful toward achieving that goal of being kinder to the environment. Here, we’ll go over the different alternatives that can fuel your Blue Bird school bus.
Compressed Natural Gas
Blue Bird’s history with this fuel option goes back to 1991 when it became the first major school bus manufacturer to offer CNG in full-size buses. The exact benefits of using CNG instead of traditional fuels will vary depending on lots of different factors, but it’s safe to say that it easily passes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s thresholds for tailpipe emissions. Also, natural gas is a low-carbon fuel. That means opting for it instead of traditional fuels can help reduce emissions of hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, and greenhouse gasses.
Battery-powered vehicles have had a surge of popularity recently with the rise in traditional fuel costs, and they make for a great option if you’re looking to add Blue Bird school buses to your fleet that don’t add pollution to the atmosphere.
An electric Blue Bird school bus can charge overnight and then be good to go for up to 120 miles. You won’t ever have to fill up a gas tank, and what’s more, you don’t need to worry about oil changes or any of the other maintenance associated with traditional engines or transmissions.
Making sure there is an adequate place to charge the buses can be a barrier to entry in buying electric school buses. However, there is a lot of funding out there to subsidize the initial costs. One of the main benefits to electric Blue Bird school buses is that there is so much money out there to help you pay for them.
Also called liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), this form of fuel is a popular alternative to diesel and gasoline buses.
You can find a Blue Bird for sale that runs on propane autogas, but it’s also possible to convert a used, gasoline-fueled bus to be able to run on propane. With all of the benefits of this kind of alternative fuel, you can understand why this is an attractive option for many school districts.
There are other benefits to choosing a propane-powered Blue Bird school bus. One of them is that this type of fuel is mostly made in America, meaning that when we increase our use of propane fueled vehicles, we decrease our dependence on foreign oil. Another lesser known benefit to choosing this type of Blue Bird for sale is that they’re so quiet while they’re running. So, they don’t disturb the neighborhoods they drive through like some other loud school buses do. It also won’t smell unless there’s a leak — propane is naturally odorless, but a scent is added to it to alert you of danger in the event of a malfunction.
What to look for in a Blue Bird for sale
The first consideration is usually the size of Blue Bird school bus you’re looking for. How many students do you need to accommodate? This will dictate whether you opt for a full-size school bus or whether you’d be better suited to something like the Blue Bird Micro Bird, which we detailed above.
Another aspect of the Blue Bird for sale you’ll have to decide upon is whether you want a front engine or a rear one. There are different pros and cons to each configuration. Of course, if you would rather have the Blue Bird Vision or the Blue Bird Micro Bird, then you’ve only got one choice when it comes to engine placement. And if you choose an electric Blue Bird for sale, then there’s no engine to speak of. However, if you’re trying to decide between the T3RE and T3FE, then you’ll need to know a little something about engine position in order to make the best decision possible.
On top of those considerations, you’ll also want to revisit the alternative fuel options in a Blue Bird for sale and choose which one will suit your district’s needs the best. It might be in your best interest to opt for a diesel or other traditional fuel, but if the alternative fuel options are appealing at all, then you should do some more research.
Keep in mind that each state has different specifications for school buses. Here at Central States, our team of school bus experts can help you navigate your state’s rules and regulations.
Used Blue Bird school bus?
We’ve narrowed our focus for most of this piece to looking at new Blue Birds for sale, but there are also lots of used Blue Bird school buses on the market. There are plenty of reasons to choose used, but at the end of the day, it comes down to upfront costs for many districts.
If you’re interested in a used Blue Bird for sale, but you’re not sure if making that purchase is wise, know that these buses last for a very long time on average.
There are lots of options when you’re looking for a used Blue Bird for sale. It’s a valid choice for lots of school districts.
Now you can select a Blue Bird for sale.
Looking for a Blue Bird school bus is already an excellent decision for your district’s fleet. Narrowing down your options within the offerings from this top-tier manufacturer might not come easy, but at least now that you’ve reached the end of this guide, you should have a good place to start.
Now, you’re aware of the different types of buses Blue Bird has for sale, and you’ve also got a good grip on your different fuel options when it comes to those different buses. Take into account all of the considerations we’ve raised about what makes the best addition to your school bus fleet, and then select a Blue Bird for sale. You won’t be disappointed.
One quick caveat before we wrap this up: We’ve touted the benefits of alternative fuels throughout this piece, but that doesn’t mean traditional fuels don’t also have their selling points. You’re going to get a safe, well-performing school bus no matter what kind of Blue Bird for sale you choose.
If you’re interested in buying a Blue Bird school bus through us here at Central States, you can view our Blue Bird inventory, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you need any clarification. We look forward to hearing from you.