Churches often operate vans, carrying up to 15 people per van.  There is no more dangerous way to carry your loved ones.  Insurance companies often charge more for a passenger van than 2 school buses.  The cargo inside your vehicle is the most precious cargo on earth!  PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop this dangerous practice.  I don't want your van on trade, but I do want you to get safe, get rid of your van(s), and make safety your greatest consideration.

A step up from the van is the fiberglass shuttle bus, or as some call them, the church bus.  I do not want my family members in one of these plastic buses that crumble into pieces when in an accident.  Their impact residence is negligible, at best.  Side impacts and roll overs are about as dangerous as it gets in any vehicle.  Your passengers simply do not have much protection in a shuttle / church bus made of fiberglass.  A school bus surrounds them in metal.  A shuttle bus surrounds them in brittle plastic.

A school bus provides incredible safety.  The yellow color adds safety, but we can paint a bus any color you choose and letter one anyway you like.  Brighter colors are safer!  School bus seats are comfortable, yet very much safer than the average van or shuttle/church bus seat.  These buses even have 3 point shoulder harnesses for each child.  They seat 21 children comfortably, or 14 adults/big kids.  With high backs, compartmentalization is an important part of school bus safety.  Without seat belts, school bus seats are incredibly safe!  Also, school bus bodies are required to pass side impact, roof strength, and roll over capabilities that exceed other vehicles on the road.  Don't sacrifice safety by putting your passengers inside a van or plastic shuttle bus body!  PLEASE!!

Diesel v gas:

Diesel engines, today, have become unreliable, at best.  They have exhaust treatment systems that include a particulate filter that needs regular (expensive) servicing, diesel exhaust fluid to get sprayed into a catalyst to break down the exhaust so it can be better filtered, an exhaust gas recirculation system that is costly to repair/replace, a glow plug system that can be costly to repair, large capacity oil pans that add, considerably, to the cost of a simple oil change, electronic fuel injectors that cause trouble and cost a lot of money to repair, fuel filters that require attention in order to help reduce the trouble you WILL have with injectors, special (expensive) antifreeze that requires regular maintenance/replacement, and so much more.  The days of reliable and inexpensive operation of diesel engines are long gone.

The 6.0L gasoline engine in these minibuses is a durable, heavy duty engine produced by General Motors and common in pickups, vans, and one ton trucks/buses.  These minibuses are dual wheel, one ton, cutaway vans.  The 6 liter engine is also known as the 6.0 Liter Vortec L96 heavy duty truck engine.   It is powerful, efficient, and incredibly reliable.  General Motors uses it in many different models of trucks, and it has been around since 1999.  It happens to also be the last Vortec (Chevy small block) engine still in use by General Motors.   It is modern, efficient, powerful, economical to own and operate, and meets modern emission standards.

The cost of servicing these engines is about the same as your family car.    With 100,000 mile tune-up intervals and a very clean burn, these engines remain functional for hundreds of thousands of miles.  It is not uncommon for us to see these engines with over 300,000 miles.  The cost of getting to those high miles is so much less than a diesel engine!  I can't say every 6L engine will make 300, 000 miles.  BUT, I also cannot say every diesel engine will do it.  My experience is that it is cheaper and more likely possible to get these Vortec V8 gasoline engines past 300,000 miles than it is to get the V8 diesel engines to that same point.  Most people think diesels last longer, run cheaper, and are more reliable.  This simply is not true, anymore.  In fact, every school bus manufacturer is now offering gasoline engines, again, because diesel engines have become so unreliable and expensive to maintain that many schools are wanting to get away from them.  Of course, older diesel engines ARE reliable!

Steel v aluminum:
These Thomas Minotour bodies are built from aluminum.  This takes away the rust factor.  However, these buses came out of Riverside, California... desert heat, dry air, and no rust, anyway.   Still, aluminum offers strength, durability/long life, and takes away that fear of rust.