What school buses look like in 12 countries around the world

Twitter/8GearSchool buses in Japan are occasionally shaped like cartoon characters.
  • School buses look different from country to country.
  • They vary in size, shape, and durability, although in most places, school buses are required to be yellow.
  • In some countries, school buses are a service reserved only for private school students.

If you’ve never been to a school outside the United States, you might be surprised by how different they are from country to country.

The same goes for school buses, which depending on the part of the world you’re in, can be small, crowded, and even sometimes shaped like Pikachu.

Although school buses come in all shapes and sizes, it’s almost universal to see them painted their distinctive shade of bold yellow, chosen for its high visibility from long distances.

Here’s what school buses look like in 12 countries around the world:

In Gaya, India, school vans are a common sight. But last year, van drivers learned that their vehicles may be phased out in favour of larger buses.


Source: Hindustan Times

This bus was spotted in Tambunan, Malaysia. Most Malaysian school buses are more than 20 years old, a spokesman for the national bus organisation said.

Wikimedia Commons/CEPhoto

Source: The Star

Not all school buses are yellow. This Mercedes-Benz school bus from Germany resembles a charter bus you’d see in the US. School buses in Germany are generally run by regional transportation groups, not the local government.

Wikimedia Commons

Source: Internations

The buses in Vietnam need to navigate flooded roads during the rainy season. Fewer and fewer students are riding to school as the country’s fleet of buses continues to age and break down.

Shutterstock/Anna Lo

Source: Vietnam News

Here’s a bus in Makueni County, Kenya. In January, Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i called for measures to regulate school buses around the country, including a requirement that they be painted yellow.

Shutterstock/Authentic Travel

Source: The Standard

Havana, Cuba, has a fleet of yellow school buses imported from Canada. But you won’t find students going to school on these — they’re used for standard public transportation.

Shutterstock/Konstantin Aksenov

Source: International Studies Abroad

This bus in Novy Urengoy, Russia, says CHILDREN in capital letters. In Russia, the Pavlovo Bus Factory makes buses that are used throughout eastern Europe.

Shutterstock/Art Konovalov

Source: PAZ

Here’s a fleet of buses in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. School buses in Dubai have mandatory GPS tracking systems and CCTV cameras.

Shutterstock/Philip Lange

Source: Gulf News

Students at this primary school in Marrakesh, Morocco, take a yellow van to school. Most public schools in Marrakesh don’t provide transportation for students, while many private schools do.

Shutterstock/Philip Lange

Source: Marocmama

Here’s a school bus in Sabha, Libya. Like many other countries, in Libya, school buses are a luxury reserved for private school students.

Shutterstock/simona flamigni

Source: The National

Most schools in Australia don’t have dedicated buses for transporting children. Schools in the city of Wagga Wagga are an exception.

Wikimedia Commons

Source: Busabout Wagga Wagga

In Japan, some school buses are modelled after beloved cartoon characters. Children at an Osaka kindergarten ride to school inside a giant Pikachu. Other bus characters include Thomas the Tank Engine and Hello Kitty.

Flickr Creative Commons

Source: Japan Secret

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