Safety Talk 15 Passenger Vans vs 15 Passenger Buses

Author // NPR Car Talk
Posted in // 15 passenger bus, 15 passenger van, Benefits of used vs new busses

Glaval bus

One quick Google search of the term “15 passenger vans” will yield dozens of articles decrying the vehicle’s safety flaws and even more documents recommending that church groups, summer camps and other organizations avoid them at all costs. The problems of the 15 passenger van have been well documented, and most trained drivers understand that the vehicles pose a great risk of rolling over should they travel at excessive speeds or lose control around a turn. In fact, nearly a third of all the 15 passenger van accidents that occurred between 1994 and 2004 were rollover crashes.

But the other side of the story, the one that doesn’t often make it into the media, is that there’s a viable alternative to 15 passenger van safety problems — and it’s a lot simpler than you’d think. Instead of opting into 15 passenger vans, the vehicle of choice for senior homes, youth groups and other small organizations should be 15 passenger buses.

Confused about the difference? Here’s everything you need to know.

Safety Regulations

For starters, 15 passenger vans are assembled as, well, vans. That means they sport single rear wheels and reside on a basic van frame — all factors that contribute to their awful safety ratings. The more passengers you pack on board, the more the center of gravity shifts to the rear of the vehicle, greatly increasing the risk of rollovers. For 15 passenger buses, however, you have dual rear tires and steel cage construction for the frame in order to better ground and support the machine. A bus’ composition is entirely different from a van’s, and that’s what makes it safer to operate.

Seating Arrangements

The 15 passenger van safety issues don’t end at the basic layout. These vans nearly universally feature a curb-side aisle and bench seats, two factors that don’t necessarily scream “vehicle safety.” Couple that with scrunched headroom and no handles to help you inside, and you have what amounts to a rolling disaster on wheels. The buses, on the other hand, feature all bucket seats, a center aisle for boarding, plenty of headroom and handles to help you climb aboard. Those tiny nuances make a huge difference.

Cost Breakdown

Of course, 15 passenger vans are less expensive. But when it comes to investing in multiple-passenger transport options, you get what you pay for. Opting for a passenger bus instead could cost you up to $45,000 (which is about $7,000 more than it would cost for a van), but you pay more up front and less in the long run. Your insurance premiums are likely to be lower, and your monthly maintenance costs should be less, too. That could net you a total of $10,000 in total savings.

Like we mentioned before, 15 passenger van safety problems have been well documented at this point. That leaves you only one logical option if you’re in the market for a new passenger vehicle — go for a bus instead. The numbers don’t lie, after all. Read more like this.

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