How many passengers can I carry on my school bus?
My bus, a 2004 International, has eleven rows of 39 inch seats on each side of the aisle, and one row of 30 inch seats at the rear (allowing for a wider aisle near the emergency exit door). As the bus manufacturers allow a bench space of 13 inches per passenger, this allows for 3 passengers per bench, or 6 per row for the first eleven rows, and 4 passengers for the last row, for a total of 70 passengers. This is the MAXIMUM passenger capacity of my bus. Other buses may have different seating arrangements, but the allowance of 13 inches per passenger is fairly standard. With 13 rows of seats, a newer bus may have a capacity of 76 passengers.
There are certain rules that MUST be followed when seating passengers:-
All passengers must be properly seated,
Each passenger is entitled to their 13 inch space, four small elementary students on one 39 inch bench is NOT permitted, even if all can sit comfortably,
No passenger, nor their belongings can project beyond a seat into the aisle.
The maximum capacity of 70 passengers is only possible when all the passengers are small, such as the typical elementary student. Larger students, like those in junior or senior high, require more seat space than the 13 inch allowance, so usually only 2 can be carried on a bench. Each adult chaperone also requires more seating space which leaves less room for students. Therefore the typical passenger capacity of my bus is 48 larger persons. Sometimes, a group of 3 smaller students can be seated together, allowing an extra passenger space. (By this method, I can usually accomodate 52 to 54 junior high students without overcrowding)
There are always circumstances which can prevent the seat from carrying it's maximum passenger load. For example, on the new buses, the first two rows of seats, which can normally seat 12 students, are equipped with only eight small-child seat restraints which can reduce the capacity of those seats if the restraint system is used.
Older buses often could carry more large passengers
Some older buses had a different seating arrangement. Back then, the standard bench allowance was 15 inches, which is 2 inches wider than used at present.They had a 45 inch seat on one side and a 30 inch seat on the other. Each row of seating could carry a maximum of 5 passengers. A bus with 13 rows of seats was rated as a 65 passenger bus, and could often carry 60 or more junior highs. But there were some high school students who needed more than 15 inches of space which reduced the capacity of this bus to as little as 39 students
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