School Bus Requirements

On February 13, 2019, Mayor Cantrell signed an ordinance, passed by the City Council, to amend chapter 162 of city code relating to for-hire vehicles. Among these changes are provisions requiring school buses, drivers, and attendants (aides) to be permitted by the Ground Transportation Bureau.

All school bus regulations can be found in 162:1800 of the City Code of New Orleans.

Driver and Aide Requirements

All drivers and attendants (aides) must be permitted prior to operating. Information on the requirements can be found under driver requirements. Note: all drivers are required to undergo 44 hours of pre-service training and 8 hours of in-service training biannually. See our list of approved school bus driver instructors.

Vehicle Requirements

A school bus may obtain a CPNC if:

  • The vehicle has a current and valid proof of liability insurance, providing a minimum coverage of $1,000,000. The City of New Orleans must be listed as a certificate holder.
  • The vehicle is not more than 25 years old
  • If used on daily routes, the number of years shall be determined from the date of the model year.
  • If used as a backup or activity bus, it cannot be more than 15 years old from the date acquired by the current owner. (Note that a backup bus cannot be used for more than 60 consecutive days in a school year)
  • The bus has a current and valid CPNC inspection sticker and brake tag.

School Bus CPNC Fees

A school bus CPNC expires on April 30 of each year and must be renewed by May 31. The application fee is $150.

  • If a CPNC is renewed in June, there is a $150 penalty fee in addition to the renewal fee.
  • If a CPNC is renewed in July, there is a $300 penalty fee in addition to the renewal fee.
  • A CPNC will be revoked after July 31.

An extension may be granted for a maximum of 90 days. Additional extensions may be granted but the total time of extensions is limited to a maximum of one year. There is no fee for the first extension. Additional extensions are subject to a fee of $50.00 per month.

There is a $50 fee for all CPNC inspections, including reinspection after failure.

School Bus CPNC Inspections

Each school bus is required to undergo two CPNC inspections a year.  One must be performed in June-August. Any vehicle that passes an inspection will receive a CPNC inspection sticker. Any vehicle that fails an inspection will be given a time period to have the vehicle repaired and return for inspection. An additional inspection fee will be required upon return.

There is a $2 per day late fee for any CPNC inspection sticker that is expired.

Random Inspections

School buses, like all CPNC vehicles, are subject to random field inspections by a member of the GTB. Vehicles will be issued a correction slip for delinquent items and given an amount of time to have the vehicle brought into compliance and reinspected.

Vehicles with improper emergency safety equipment, non-functioning stop arms or signals, no brake lights, broken door handles, balding tires, or other safety hazards will be barred from operation until the vehicle is brought into compliance and reinspected.

Items Checked During Inspection

Inspection requirements are found in Chapter 162 of City Code of New Orleans (162:380), (162:1825), Title 55 of Louisiana Administrative Code (LAC 55:III.811, 821-823), and LDOE Bulletin 119 Supplement, Volume I, adopted by the Louisiana Department of Education. 

See the GTB inspection sheet here: GTB-School-Bus-Inspection-Form.pdf

Internal Items

  • Seating components must be secured to the floor with no exposed padding, springs or wires. Any rips over 3 inches in length may be taped, however no more than three pieces of tape may be used per seat.
  • Seat belts must not be torn or frayed. Must buckle properly
  • Webbing cutter - Each bus shall be equipped with a durable webbing cutter having a full width handgrip and a protected, relaceable or non-corrodible blade. The required webbing cutter shall be mounted in a location accessible to the seated driver in an easily detachable manner.
  • The bus shall have a removable, moisture-proof and dust-proof first aid kit, securely mounted in an accessible place within the driver's compartment. The first aid kit must contain the supplies necessary to administer first aid in an emergency situation.
  • Each school bus shall contain at least three retroreflective triangle road warning devices that meet the requirements of FMVSS No. 125, warning devices. They shall be mounted in an accessible place.
  • Fire extinguisher must be a UL-approved pressurized ABC type of dry chemical fire extinguisher. It must have a gauge and at least a 5 pound capacity. It must be mounted in the manufacturer's bracket of an automotive type. It must be located in the driver's compartment in a clearly marked location or in full view of, and readily accessible to, the driver. Fire extinguishers must have a valid and up-to-date certification.
  • Defrosters must be capable of keeping the windshield, driver's left window and glass entrance door clear of fog, frost and snow.
  • Auxiliary fan must be at least 6 inches in diameter. The fan must be located in the center of the windshield to provide maximum effectiveness to the right side of the windshield and the service door.
  • Stepwell, guard rails, aisle and floor covering must be intact and secured.
  • Sun shield must function properly
  • Interior Mirror (student mirror). Type A bus shall have a minimum of 6” x 16” mirror and type B, C and D buses shall have a minimum of 6” x 3” mirror.
  • The instrument panel must have a lamp which effectively illuminates all instruments and gauges. All gauges must be operational.
  • The school bus must be equipped with an operational beam indicator to indicate the bright/dim setting on headlamps. All wiring under the instrument panel must not be hanging. Wiring must be tucked under the panel.
  • ADA required equipment (wheelchair ramps, lifts, securement devices, etc) must be functional.

External Items

  • Lighting system—all lights must be operational to manufacturer’s specification. This includes interior lamps as well as exterior lamps. Stop arm lights must be be visible at 500 feet in normal sunlight.
  • Reflectors must be operational as originally equipped
  • The alternately flashing lamps (both red and yellow) must function with a manually activated switch only. No brake operated switches are allowed. The school bus must be equipped with an audible or visible means of indicating to the driver that the signaling system is activated.
  • Stop arms must function properly. Two stop arms are required for all type B, C, D buses. The entire surface of both sides of the stop signal arm shall be of reflectorized material with type III reflector material that meets the minimum specific intensity requirements of 49 CFR 517.131. When two stop signal arms are installed on a bus, the forward side of the rearmost stop signal arm shall not be reflective and shall not contain any lettering, symbols or markings.
  • Every school bus shall be equipped with a crossing control device actuated by the driver and operated in conjunction with the stop arm. The crossing control device shall pivot out from the right side of the front bumper to prevent persons from walking directly in front of the bus 
  • Backing alarm must be capable of emitting sound audible under normal conditions from a distance of not less than 100 feet. The alarm shall also be capable of operating automatically when the vehicle is in neutral or a forward gear but rolls backward.
  • Exterior mirror must have one or more left and one or more right hand mirrors with a minimum of 50 square inches of reflecting glass.
  • Exterior cross-view mirror must provide a clear, unobstructed view of the area in front of the bus; the area immediately adjacent to the left and right front wheels and the entrance door.
  • Service door and emergency exits must be functional and have a proper gasket which furnishes a proper seal. Handle must function from the inside and out. Each emergency exit must be equipped with an alarm buzzer that alerts the bus driver to an unlatched or open window.
  • Bumpers must be permanently affixed to the vehicle and not protruding or hanging.
  • Tires must have 4/32 inch tread on steering axle and 2/32 inch on the rear axle. No sidewall cracks or exposed belting or separation of tread. No re-grooved or re-capped tires are allowed on the steering axle.
  • Wheels must be in good condition. All lug nuts must be present, with center hub and valve stem intact (no leakage from hub).
  • Mud flaps must be secured

Mechanical and Electrical Components

  • Braking system (an air or hydraulic brake test will be performed). All warning devices must function properly and all parts of the braking system must be in good condition.
  • Hoses and belts must be in good condition and within manufacturer’s specification. No leaks allowed.
  • Steering and suspension must operate as equipped. All parts in good condition.
  • Drive shaft and U joints must be in good condition.
  • Batteries must be secured to the bus. No cords or wire may be used to secure the battery. Battery compartment must be labeled on the outside in 2-inch lettering.
  • Exhaust system will be checked for holes or broken parts. Engines must not give off excessive smoke/fumes or noise.
  • Frame must be in good condition

Windshield & Windows

  • No cracks over 1/4 inch or intersected by another crack are allowed. Nicks or chips may be no more than 3/4 inch in diameter and cannot be within 3 inches of another damaged area.
  • No window may be broken or have any exposed sharp edges. No window may have any cracked or separated glass allowing one piece of glass to move independently of another.
  • Side windows must open and close properly.
  • Windows must have exposed edge of glass banded.
  • Driver side windows and service doors shall not have window tint.

Markings & Appearance

See our appearance diagram for a visual representation of the external CPNC and company marking requirements.

  • The words "School Bus" must be on the front and rear of the vehicle in plain, black letters at least 8 inches in height.
  • The CPNC holder must be displayed on the sides at the bottom center of the bus.
  • CPNC identification number must be located on the sides of the bus between the rear wheel and bumper and on the front and rear.
  • The bus company name must be displayed at the belt line.
  • The location of the battery(ies) must be identified by the word “battery” or “batteries” on the battery compartment door in two-inch lettering.
  • The words "Emergency Exit" or "Emergency Door" shall be marked directly above the door on both the inside and outside in letters at least 2 inches high.
  • The bus must be painted national school bus glossy yellow, except for the roof (may be white, except for the vertical portion of the front and rear roof caps), chassis and front bumpers (shall be glossy black), and the wheels (shall be black). Paint must be well-blended with the natural configuration and color of the vehicle. Repairs should have a smooth surface.
  • “Firearm-free zone” (RS 14:95.6) and “drug-free zone” (RS 17:405) signage required inside the bus
  • “Handicap” symbol, identifying the bus as equipped for or transporting student with disabilities; however, the symbol shall not be placed on the glass of the rear emergency exit.