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Choosing the Correct School Bus
For Transporting Pre-School Age Children
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Aisle Width

12-inch aisle width The average width of the inside of a large school bus is about 90 inches. Small school buses range from 72 to 92 inches wide. The width of a school bus aisle depends upon the width of its seats (typically ranging from 18 to 45 inches) the wider the seats, the narrower the aisle. School buses typically are manufactured with a minimum 12-inch aisle width, except for buses with wheelchair lifts. School buses with wheelchair lifts often have a minimum 30-inch aisle from the lift to the wheelchair attachment position and between the attachment position and the emergency exit door.

Some organizations transporting pre-school age children have found it easier to carry child safety seats through aisles that are wider than the standard 12 inches. To obtain wider school bus aisles, the bus is configured with seats of different widths, such as 39-inch seats on one side and 30-inch seats on the other. Some purchasers find it beneficial to order these seating combinations in the first few rows (the rows they use for securing CSRSs). When different aisle w30-inch aisle widthidths are used, NHTSA’s school bus standards require protection for the aisle-side occupant in the first wider seat, to prevent the occupant from being thrown down the aisle in a crash. To meet this requirement, school bus manufacturers may install a safety barrier (a high, padded wall that meets the same standard as a school bus seat back) in front of that seating position. This may reduce the seating capacity of the school bus.