Just Askin’ | Sparkly pastel school buses?

Chicago
By Chicago 2 Min Read

Where are all of these pastel-colored school buses coming from?

This week’s question is a personal one; after a few weeks of watching pink, green, blue and white school buses pass my apartment night after night, I’ve finally taken it upon myself to find out what they’re for.

Folks who have been in the Champaign-Urbana area for a longer time may already know, but this Easter basket of buses belongs to Starr Limousines.

Starr owner H.D. Brown said it started when his insurance company told him they would not insure a yellow school bus.

Illinois Vehicle Code states that no van or bus other than an actual school bus used for its original purpose may be painted National School Bus Glossy Yellow.

National School Bus Glossy Yellow was picked out back in 1939 to make school buses stand out.

No matter the reason, Brown needed to pick a new color for his buses, so he started with sparkly “Barbie pink.”

“If I have to paint them, I might as well have fun with it,” Brown said.

Pastel shades turned out to be the right call, so he followed that up with light blue, mint green and white.

Lighter colors don’t fade as much in the sun, and they’re eye-catching — as proven by this very column.

“It’s a moving billboard,” Brown said.

The colorful buses draw in customers looking for bachelorette party transportation, shuttles to weddings and rides to barn dances.

That last option accounts for the sheer volume of bus rentals Starr is seeing right now.

Brown said the fall semester is one of their busiest times as sororities and fraternities organize barn dances (sometimes called “bances”) any night of the week.

The drivers transport the college students out to places like Miner Farm or Farm Lake, then safely back to campus after the party is over.

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