From annual youth mission trips to daylong outings for seniors, every church needs group transportation from time to time. What type of vehicle will serve your church best – a van or a bus? Each church has unique needs and patterns of transportation.
If your congregation is trying to make the decision of van versus bus, consider the following:
Passenger Needs – Are you primarily transporting children, teens, or older adults? If your church vehicle will regularly be used by seniors or small children, consider the height of the vehicle from the ground. Buses are higher off the ground for safety but use lower steps and have a center aisle, making it safer and easier to get in and out. Additionally, they provide handrails and a wider door. Finally, consider if your passengers will need a wheelchair ramp or lift, an option typically not found with a 15-passenger van.
Qualified Drivers – Any vehicle over 15 passengers (including the driver) requires a commercial driver’s license (CDL). For churches who don’t want a van, but do not have anyone with a CDL, a 15-passenger bus is a great solution. In addition to the ease of entry and exit, buses also offer the option for rear storage.
Safety Factors – Buses have a lower chance of rolling over than vans. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board has issued several warnings about the unsafe nature of 15-passenger vans, and many insurance companies today are reluctant to insure them. In addition to the reduced rollover risk, buses are designed with steel cage construction and side impact beams, offering more protection for passengers in the event of an accident.
Budget – While purchasing a church bus may seem like a large investment, consider the unmeasurable benefits: children who discover and grow in faith at Bible school and summer camp, communities and people who receive help and aid during mission trips, and seniors who are able to feel a sense of Christian community through church events. Many companies offer custom financing options designed to meet a variety of budgets.
Shopping for Transportation?
If you’re in the market for church transportation, but need guidance on what to look for, download our handy Bus Selection Checklist. It will help you pinpoint your needs and narrow down options. In addition, the sales team at Carolina Thomas is always ready to answer questions and learn more about your congregation’s needs. As a full-service facility offering mobile parts and services support, Carolina Thomas backs every sale with personalized care and service for the lifetime of the bus.