Conventional school buses with a hood in the front and the front door behind the front wheels, also known as type C models, typically have a capacity of about 80 passengers. These capacities are calculated with three students per seat. The stereotypical school bus seat is 39 inches wide and is considered to have a seating capacity for three students. Federal regulation does not specify the number of people who can sit in a school bus seat.
School bus manufacturers determine the maximum seating capacity of a school bus. Manufacturers use this number, which is based on seating three small people of elementary school age for every typical seat on a 39-inch school bus, to determine the gross weight of the vehicle and the number of emergency exits. School transportation providers generally determine the number of people who can safely fit in a school bus seat. Usually, three younger people of elementary school age or two adults of middle school age can fit in a typical 39-inch school bus seat.
A conventional school bus has 13 rows of seats on each side. However, the number of rows of seats is determined by the type of vehicle being used. People who are not seated or partially seated outside of school bus seats will not have the occupant protection provided by school bus seats. They base the calculation according to the federal standard size of a school bus seat, which is 39 inches.
Along with the calculation, the number of emergency exits and the type of school bus are also considered. Type C is the conventional school bus that is frequently used and can accommodate 72 elementary school students or 41 high school students. The NHTSA recommends that all passengers sit fully within the limits of the school bus seats while the bus is in motion.