Thomas built buses started in 1917 as Perley A. Thomas Car Works, borrowing its name from the founder. Perley had background, education, and experience by the time he started making Thomas Buses. Before Thomas bus hit the scene, Perley started with street cars. By 1934, the demand in the automobile market had shifted focus towards the bus industry, and the first Thomas buses were built. By 1936, Thomas bus had completely discontinued their streetcar business and were solely focusing on bus models, namely the school bus. When Thomas bus entered the school bus market, they came with a passion. At the time, market standards for school transportation were extremely low. Most of the time, the transportation was a flat-bed truck with some wooden benches and a canvas roof. The Thomas school bus came in and changed the school bus industry with their high standard of quality for their products. By 1938, Thomas built buses introduced their all steel-body school bus design. By the end of World War II, the Thomas school bus became a significant force in the school bus body market. By 1980, Thomas built buses was among the six largest school bus manufacturing companies.

It was 1972 when Thomas built buses officially became Thomas Built Buses, Inc. Up until 1978, Thomas bus was only manufacturing bus bodies, which they were building onto truck chassis. In 1978 that changed and these new Thomas built buses did well because by 2000, Thomas bus was one of only three of the most significant bus manufacturers in the U.S. In 1998, Thomas built buses became a subsidiary of the Freightliner group of Daimler AG. Thomas buses still employs 1600 people across the world.

Thomas Buses

Thomas built buses has always been known for its quality of safety in a market where safety is highly valued: for schools and churches. Most Thomas built buses are the Thomas school bus, approximately 80% of the models they produced in fact. They have at least two Thomas transit models, outside of the Thomas school bus.

Other models (passengers): Saf-T-Liner HDX (seating 66 - 90), Saf-T-Liner EF (54 - 84 seats)

Used Thomas Buses

Obviously if you're looking for a school bus with good safety standards, the Thomas school bus is a good place to look. One particular model (the FS-65), which just recently was discontinued, has three different engine options so if you're looking at this model of the Thomas school bus be sure to inquire about that. Actually, regardless of what the use of the bus will be, if safety is your primary concern, Thomas built buses is a good starting place.

Links: The Thomas Bus website. Find out more about Thomas coaches and Thomas motorcoaches, as well as the Thomas bus line in general, facts about Thomas Built Buses company, and the superior Thomas school bus.

Thomas Minotour School bus. The quintessential mini schoolbus
Thomas Saf-T-Liner C2 Schoolbus. A perfect example of a quality full-size coach for school.