5 Myths about Buses and Vans
written by: Bob Anderson | featured in "Church Executive" magazine, May 2007.
Myth #1: Fifteen passenger vans are safe. Churches simply need to be sure their drivers are well-trained.
The National Transportation Safety Board has repeatedly issued warnings against the use of 15 passenger vans. Their research indicates that these vehicles are not safe. In addition to their findings, the CBS television show “60 Minutes” (April 17, 2002) aired a special report in which engineers, who were part of the design team for these vehicles, admitted that the design of 15 passenger vans is unsafe and poses a significant safety risk.
In independent testing, these vehicles “rolled” 100 times out of 100 when making an evasive maneuver at 45 mph. Just imagine what might happen at highway speeds!
Not only are there numerous insurance companies that will no longer insure 15 passenger vans, there are some states in which the Department of Motor Vehicles will not even issue registration and plates for these non-conforming vehicles.
FACT: Fifteen passenger vans are not safe to operate!
Myth #2: Buses are very expensive. Only large churches can afford them.
There are some distributors who are very committed to helping churches obtain safe and reliable transportation at a price they can afford. For example, ChurchBus.com offers both finance and leasing assistance that can bring a monthly payment for a new bus as low as $590 per month. This low monthly payment is available with no money down, no doc fees and no payments due until 30 days after delivery.
One should also consider used buses and lease return units when there are minimal funds to spend on transportation.
FACT: Church buses can be very affordable!
Myth #3: All buses require a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) driver to operate.
In most states, if a vehicle seats 14 or fewer passengers plus the driver and has a GVW of 26,000# or less, the driver is not required to have a special CDL license to drive. Always be sure to check with a local Department of Motor Vehicles for the state requirements.
We also carry buses built to accommodate wheel chair occupants (12+2), which do not require a special CDL license to operate in most states.
FACT: There are many models of church buses that do not require a CDL license to operate!
Myth #4: Church buses are not good for long trips.
Most of the commercial-style buses that are sold today come equipped to make long trips not only possible, but enjoyable. For the driver, some options include: power steering, power brakes, cruise control, tilt wheel and instruments located within easy reach.
For passengers, some options include: overhead luggage bins, reading lights, cloth seats that recline, arm rests, retractable seat belts, CD sound systems, DVD players, plenty of air conditioning, tinted windows and more.
In addition to the interior comforts offered in church buses, there are structural designs that maximize safety and comfort for passengers. Extended wheel bases help to minimize the “bounce” in the rear of the bus; dual rear wheels add stability and eliminate sway in the back axle; and insulated walls and thick flooring combine to offer a ride that is as quiet as if riding in a car.
FACT: Church buses can be very safe and comfortable for long trips!
Myth #5: Buses are expensive to operate and maintain.
Many church buses are built on an E350 chassis (or equivalent) that uses regular unleaded fuel and gets approximately 11 MPG. This means that the fuel costs are no higher than that of a 15 passenger van.
The steel cage construction and dual rear wheels used on many church buses significantly reduce safety risks. Therefore, the cost of insurance is typically a minimum of 10% lower for a church bus than for a 15 passenger van of the same model year.
The warranty on the engine and drive train of a new bus is at least 5 years in length. This means that most repairs will be handled under the manufacturer’s warranty and will not cost the owner additional monies other than a small deductible.
Oil change and fluid checks can be handled at a local dealership for Ford or Chevy and will cost little more than the cost of the same service on a family owned SUV.
FACT: Church buses are not expensive to operate and maintain!