Thomas Built's Next-Generation School Bus Headed to Kentucky

Thirteen Counties Order the Saf-T-Liner® C2 for the Upcoming School Year

High Point, N.C. – Next fall, new school buses will be turning heads in 13 Kentucky counties. The Saf-T-Liner® C2, Thomas Built’s newest and most technologically advanced school bus, was adapted to meet Kentucky’s school bus specifications. With the addition of Kentucky, the C2 is now available in all 50 of the United States and each Canadian Province.

The Saf-T-Liner C2 is the result of years of research, development and customer input. The company built a state-of-the-art 275,000 square foot facility in High Point, N.C., to manufacture the bus. The modern-styled vehicle features a body assembly that uses structural adhesives and self-piercing rivets, an automotive-style driver cockpit and a new multiplexed electrical system that has one-third fewer wires and increased diagnostic capabilities.

Kentucky conducts a state-wide bid for school buses and counties select from a list of vendors whose buses meet state specifications. Representatives from Thomas worked with Kentucky state and school district officials to design options for the C2 that meet the state’s school bus specifications. For example, school buses in Kentucky must have an additional emergency exit, a special warning-light package, different placement of the fuel tank and special graphics on the bus exterior.

A total of 58 buses were purchased from Whayne Supply, the Thomas Built dealer for Kentucky, which has ten service locations throughout the state. The buses will be delivered throughout the spring and summer and all should be in service by the time school begins in the fall. The following counties purchased C2 buses: Boone, Bourbon, Campbell, Christian, Grant, Harlan, Hopkins, Knott, Leslie, Madison, Nicholas, Ohio, Pike, Pulaski and Hazard Independent Schools.

“For us, safety is the number one concern and the C2 has great visibility for seeing children in front and on the side of the bus. Plus, it has a great ride, the driver controls are easy to access and it has a quiet Mercedes-Benz engine,” said Jim Cleaver, transportation director for Bourbon County Schools. In a pilot program, the county tested a C2 last year and has purchased two new C2s for the upcoming school year. During the test period, Cleaver noted that even his eighth-grade son noticed the difference in the ride on the C2.

Thomas Built Buses has been gaining market share in Kentucky over the past decade and is now providing approximately 30 percent of the new school buses purchased by the state. In addition to Saf-T-Liner C2 conventional school buses, Thomas Built manufactures higher capacity transit-style school buses and smaller school/activity buses.

Thomas Built Buses ( is the leading manufacturer of school buses in North America, with more than one-third of the market. Since the first Thomas Built bus rolled off the assembly line in 1936, the company has focused on delivering the smartest and most innovative buses in North America.

Thomas Built Buses, Inc. is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, the largest heavy-duty truck manufacturer on the continent and a leading manufacturer of class 3-8 vehicles. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company.

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