Buses

A bus is a motor vehicle that is designed for carrying and transporting more than nine passengers, including the driver and used to transport passengers.

A bus must be registered as a for-hire bus or a not-for-hire bus. The person registering a bus must provide the use of the bus to the BMV at time of registration. Please read below for additional information about the various bus types.

For-Hire Bus

A for-hire bus is a bus that is used to carry passengers for hire or operated for compensation.

A person registering a for-hire bus must declare the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) of the bus to the BMV at time of registration.

Not-for-Hire Bus

A not-for-hire bus is a bus that is used to provide incidental transportation to a passenger at no additional charge to the passenger.

The following bus types are registered as a not-for-hire bus:

  • School Bus
  • Special Purpose Bus
  • Church Bus
  • Private Bus

A bus that meets the definition of a not-for-hire bus but does not meet the definition of school bus, special purpose bus, church bus, or private bus is registered as just a Not-for-Hire Bus.

School and Special Purpose Bus

A school bus is a bus used to transport preschool, elementary, or secondary school children to and from school, school athletic games, or contests or other school functions.

A special purpose bus is a motor vehicle:

  • That is designed and constructed for the accommodation of more than 10 passengers;
  • That:
    • Meets the federal school bus safety requirements under 49 U.S.C. 30125 except the:
      • Stop signal arm required under FMVSS no. 131; and
      • Flashing lamps required under FMVSS no. 108;
    • When owned by a school corporation and used to transport students, complies with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations as prescribed by the United States Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as set forth in 49 CFR Chapter III Subchapter B; or
    • When owned by a school corporation and used to transport students, is a motor coach type bus with a capacity of at least 30 passengers and a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 26,000 pounds; and (3) that is used by a school corporation for transportation purposes appropriate under IC 20-27-9-5 (use of school buses); and
  • That is used by a school corporation for transportation purposes appropriate under Indiana Code 20-27-9-5.

All school and special purposes buses are required to have a safety inspection completed by the Indiana State Police (ISP). ISP will determine at the time of inspection if the bus meets the definition of a school bus or a special purpose bus.

A school bus being used for official business is registered with a permanent Municipal School Bus license plate. A school bus not being used for official business is registered as a Not-for-Hire School Bus.

A special purpose bus is registered as a Not-for-Hire Special Purpose Bus.

Church Bus

A church bus is a bus that owned and operated by a religious or nonprofit youth organization and used to transport individuals to religious services or for the benefit of the members of the religious or nonprofit youth organization.

A church bus with a passenger capacity of 13 or less, including the driver, is registered as a Not-for-Hire Church Bus.

A church bus with a passenger capacity of more than 13, including the driver, is registered as a Not-for-Hire Church Bus – Private Bus.

Private Bus

A private bus is defined as a motor vehicle that is designed to transport more than 13 passengers, including the driver, and used by any of the following: 

  • A religious, fraternal, charitable, or benevolent organization.
  • A non-profit youth association.
  • A public or private postsecondary educational institution. 

A Certificate of Passed Private Bus Safety Inspection – State Form 55962 is required to be completed upon each new issuance and renewal of a private bus registration. The passenger capacity must be declared on the form by the owner/registrant.

If the passenger capacity is more than 15:

  • A Private Bus safety inspections must be completed by a person authorized by the Indiana State Police. The authorized person must certify on the Certificate of Passed Private Bus Safety Inspection – State Form 55962 that they are authorized to perform the inspection and that the inspection was completed according to the requirements, as specified on the form.
  • The operator must carry the completed certificate of inspection in the vehicle at all times and present it upon demand of any law enforcement officer.

If the passenger capacity is only 14 or 15, a safety inspection is not required, however the Certificate of Passed Private Bus Safety Inspection – State Form 55962 must still be completed to declare the passenger capacity.

A private bus being used for a religious, fraternal, charitable, or benevolent organization is registered as a Not-for-Hire Church Bus – Private Bus.

A private bus being used for a non-profit youth association or a public/private post-secondary educational institution is registered as a Not-for-Hire – Private Bus.

Registration Fee and Taxes

For-hire buses are subject to a registration fee and annual county and municipal taxes.

Not-for-hire school, special purpose, and church buses are subject only to a registration fee. All other not-for-hire bus types are subject to a registration fee and annual county and municipal taxes.

Registration Options

Applications for titles and registrations for a bus being used for official business, a school bus, or a special purpose bus must be mailed. For more information on how to apply for a title and registration, please visit: Central Office Titling

Applications for titles and registrations for all other bus types may be processed at any license branch.

Registration renewals may be processed online. However, if a safety inspection is required, the renewal must be mailed in or processed at a license branch.

Contact Information

For information or questions related to school bus conversion or safety inspections please visit:

Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division
CVDInfoandHelpline@isp.in.gov
Telephone: (317) 615-7373