Choosing the Right Bus For Your Basketball Team

So coaches, here’s the score! When coaching a school or any recreational basketball team eventually travel becomes an issue. Whether your team is competing in all star events or just traveling to local game venues, choosing a basketball activity bus isn’t exactly why we signed up to be coaches is it? As coaches we are not necessarily bus guys, and I certainly don’t know a whole slew of folks that own buses as personal vehicles. If you’re having trouble determining what to look for when buying a bus for your basketball team it’s not a surprise and don’t worry you aren’t the first to have this problem.

Let’s Find A Bus for Our Basketball Team!

How to Pick A Basketball Team Shuttle Bus

So let’s cover some of the most important aspects of what to look for when trying to find an activity or school bus to transport your basketball team from game to game. Obviously most of us are not coming out of pocket for th purchase of the bus, so our budget is an important factor in the decision. Also unlike many other sports you may not have to give consideration to purchasing a bus with room for lots of equipment, and as such a smaller activity shuttle might be what we are aiming to purchase.

Considerations Before Buying

  • What is the target age group for the team you need to transport?

    When shopping for a children’s basketball team bus or shuttle it’s important to know a few specifics. Most activity style shuttles such is the one pictured here most commonly have school bus seating which accommodates to child passengers each. If you are transporting high school-age students, you may want to give consideration to individual seats that offer a standard amount of room for each passenger.

  • How many people will you shuttle?

    This is possibly the most important aspect of your decision making process. The number of passengers is the single most important piece of information you are going to need. Referring to the above age descriptions, once you have decided on purchasing a bus with school bus seating or passenger seats, you need to know how many! School bus style vehicles often refer to the amount of child passengers they carry when listing a passenger capacity, this is very important to note while browsing inventories! Determine the seating capacity you need before moving forward.

  • How much room for equipment are you going to need while on the road?

    Have a storage area for equipment may or may not be at the top of your list. Most often when traveling for basketball games bringing a bunch of equipment is not needed. Most basketball coaches will most likely not need a dedicated luggage area. Any additional room for equipment could be stored more loosely in the back of the bus.

  • Do you have or want to acquire a special licensing to operate the vehicle?

    Something else that plays one of the largest role in your decision should be whether you need a special license to operate your basketball team’s school/shuttle/activity bus. Buses that transport under 15 passengers are usually referred to as Non-CDL. Non CDL simply put means they require no special license to operate. This is often a major factor in buying an activity shuttle. Rules and laws can vary from state to state and can even differ based on the specific age group you are transporting. It’s a good idea to check your state’s laws and regulations for operating a vehicle without a certified driver’s license. Additionally you should pay close attention to the specific laws dealing with the transportation of children. These laws and regulations often times vary from area to area. Sometimes a school bus driver’s license may be required even when operating a 14 Passenger Shuttle bus (Not a school bus!).

  • What safety precautions are necessary, seat belts, etc?

    Obviously safety is at the forefront of our minds as coaches and this does not change when transporting our team to its destination. Many times this will be decided by your school or youth group coordinator, however as a coach we know it’s our job to lookout for our team! Choosing a bus with the right safety mechanisms can be a personal decision and should also be considered before purchase. From a bus buyer’s perspective, one of the most important safety issues can be safety/seat belts. Believe it or not many older school buses don’t actually have seat belts! So make sure to ask questions when purchasing, especially when looking at older model school buses.

Perfect Examples of Basketball Team Shuttle and Activity Buses

10 Passenger Basketball Activity Bus
Interior Team Seating Area
Small 10 Passenger Non CDL Mini Activity Basketball Team Bus

I started with a smaller style sports team activity style bus because of the loose driving requirements. This style 10 passenger activity bus is perfect for a younger basketball team such as youth group or county recreational teams of children requiring group transport to games. Almost all states will allow the operation of a vehicle like this without any special licensing whether transporting children or adults. This is also a gasoline engine, as compared to many buses which are diesel fuel and can often make the most sense for team shuttle buses.

14 Passenger Non CDL Basketball Activity Bus
14 Passenger Seats School Bus Style Interior
14 Passenger w/ School Bus Style Seating (No Special License)

Moving just a bit upward in passenger capacity, this next mini shuttle is also a good choice for small children’s basketball teams or even high school-age children. Many times the seats in these types buses can be easily removed. Taking away a couple seats from the back of a 14 passenger should allow room to store any additional equipment your basketball team needs on the road. This unit is also another example of a gas powered engine.

14 Passenger Non CDL Sports Bus
Interior Individual Seats For Team Players
14 Passenger Team Shuttle w/ Individual Player Seating

Next up is an example of a 14 passenger team shuttle with individual seating, all equipped with seat belts. This is definitely a step up from the first two bus options. This gets us away from school bus style seating, and this type of team shuttle is more suited to older children or adults. If you’re interested in transporting the team in some comfort, or you have an older group, this style may be a good option to check out.

Classic 72 Passenger School Bus
Interior Area Seating
Full Size School Buses 72 Passengers

I’ve also included a full size 72 passenger school bus example, for what I hope are obvious reasons. Should you be transporting a large group of children, whether it’s multiple teams or varying groups headed to the same destination a full size school bus gives you many options. Seats are easily removable to make additional storage room for equipment or anything your team needs to win the game! Keep in mind that once you make the choice to purchase a full length school bus you may be required by law to have a special license(s). It’s best to contact your local officials to determine what rules apply to driving these vehicles and be careful to observe any special regulations dealing with the transportation of children.

I am both a children sports team coach, as well as personal bus enthusiast. I hope that this article has helped shed some light on the facets to consider when purchasing a shuttle for your basketball team. Check out our other sports related articles for introductions to other team sports shuttle buying guides.

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