Home Blog How Much Does a School Bus Weigh [May 2023]

How Much Does a School Bus Weigh [May 2023]

How Much Does a School Bus Weigh

The sight of a school bus can be very regular in daily life. Although a common sight, they play a critical role in the educational system of any country and are often taken for granted. So, if by a farfetched possibility, you happen to wonder how much a school bus weighs, this article is for you.

Considering all expenses (fuel, maintenance, acquisition of new buses, safety aids), schools spend up to $22 billion yearly on school buses. In addition, as high as 55% of all school-going students avail of school bus service to attend school. The number roughly adds up to 22 million children benefiting from the service daily.

An average school bus can weigh up to 24,387 lbs. (11,062 kg). However, this article will summarise everything you might need to know about a school bus, its weight, how much weight it can support, its different sizes and variants, etc.

Different types of school buses and their approximate weight (empty and full)

There are some standard types of school bus models. Although the weight of each bus type depends primarily on its make and model, it helps to make an educated guess if you know about the variants.

School Buses Weigh in Tons According to Type

School bus type Weight in pounds empty (approx.) Weight in pounds full(approx.)
Type A-1 10,000 14,500
Type A-2 10,000 21,500
Type B 10,000 21,500
Type C 15,500 30,000
Type D 25,000 36,000

School Buses Weigh in Tons According to Model Type

School Bus Model Estimated GVWR in tons
Chevrolet Collins 6 tons
Chevrolet Thomas 6.15 tons
2000-2002 GMC Bluebird 11 tons
2002-2005 GMC Bluebird 13.53 tons
Freightliner Thomas 14.5 tons
Thomas Saf-T-Liner EF 16.5 tons
Thomas HDX RE 17.67 tons

Weight of an empty school bus

While the brand and model of a bus mainly determine the weight of a school bus, an educated guess would be about 15000 pounds (7.5 US Tonnes). Although empty, this weight does include the engine fluids, fuel and any add-ons a bus might have. The only things excluded would-be passengers and temporarily added weight, like luggage.

How much does a school bus weigh?

As already mentioned, various types of school buses have different weights. So, let’s get into the segregated details of each type.

Type A (A1 and A2)

The smallest variant of a school bus is called Type-A. They hold up to 10-12 passengers, including the driver and helper. It resembles the shape of a van and can be segregated into two categories, viz., Type-A1 and Type-A2.

The Type-A1 bus has a GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of about 14500 pounds (6577.08 kg)

On the other hand, the Type-A2 is slightly heavier and can hold a few more passengers than the A1. With a filled-up fuel tank and fully loaded with passengers, the A2 can weigh up to 21,500 pounds (9725.23 Kg). Hence, the average weight of a Type-A bus can weigh anywhere between 14500-21500 pounds.


Type-B also falls into the “small” category of buses. The architecture allows a part of the engine to be placed below the windscreen and the remaining part rests beside the driver’s seat.

This type of bus is a bit longer than the Type-A but is similar in weight (empty and full) and capacity.


When you imagine the sight of a school bus, this is the type you are most probably painting in your mind. Type-C falls into the heavier category of buses. It is longer in size than the previous ones and holds more passengers. Type-C carries about 72 passengers. An empty Type-C’s weight is similar to a Type-A or Type-B at full capacity. It weighs between 15,500-21,500 pounds when empty and when full, it can weigh up to 30,000 pounds.


Type-D is similar in every sense to that of a Type-C, except it flaunts a flat front rather than a long nose and a hood. The bus can be as long as 45ft and holds up to 72 passengers. So, when empty, it weighs around 25,000 pounds; when full, it weighs approximately 35,000 pounds.

Final words

The weight of a school bus, whether empty or full, can depend on various factors. For example, it depends on the bus’s make and material, fuel, engine fluids, passengers and luggage.

The weight of passengers affects the weight of a bus when it is fully loaded. However, there are several things that you need to take into consideration when calculating or estimating the weight of passengers. First, the children’s age group and then the average weight will make all the difference in the weight of a fully-loaded school bus.

For larger buses, the difference between in weight of an empty and fully loaded school bus can be as high as 10,000 pounds.

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