GOSHEN, Ind. — Starcraft Bus has introduced the next generation of its Type A school and activity buses.

The Generation II buses have dual rear wheels (DRW) and are built with one-piece hoop construction. The company’s first-generation single rear wheel buses will continue to be built with steel-cage construction.

David Wright, general manager of Starcraft, told SBF that the main reason behind the change in construction for the new generation is uniformity with the company’s forthcoming Type C school bus (a number of which will be built this year for dealer inventory and shows, with full production beginning in 2012).

“We wanted to standardize the way our dual rear wheel buses are built,” Wright said. “So both the A and the C are built exactly the same way: one-piece hoop construction, which the industry is more familiar with.”

The Generation II line includes the Quest DRW yellow school bus and the Prodigy DRW white activity bus. Both are available now, having gone into production at the beginning of this year.

The new Type As also have a one-piece fiberglass rear cap, another change for more uniformity with the Type C.

The buses are available on Ford or GM chassis and come with a three-year, 36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty.

Standard features include 45,000 BTU rear passenger area air conditioning and 7-inch round LED stop/tail/turn lights with 4-inch LED back-up lights.

Also, Starcraft is now making lap belts standard equipment on all of its buses, with the option to upgrade to lap-shoulder belts.

“We just thought that it was something that was going to come to commercial and school buses anyways, so why not get ahead of the curve a little bit, make it standard,” Wright said. “Some people say, ‘Well, the kids won’t use them, and the school district won’t enforce them.’ That’s OK. We’re making [lap belts] standard so they’re available.”

(In October, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration final rule will go into effect, mandating that all school buses under 10,000 pounds be equipped with lap-shoulder belts.)

Other features on the Starcraft Generation II buses include a switch panel positioned on the engine cover within the driver’s reach and a standard printed circuit board with LED diagnostic lights for ease of troubleshooting.

The Quest DRW school bus has a standard composite stop arm with incandescent flashing lights and high-intensity prismatic grade decals. The Prodigy DRW activity bus has a standard child-check reminder system.

Wright said that in addition to the three-year warranty and the standard lap belts, he believes that transportation managers will appreciate the price of the new buses.

“Because of [parent company] Forest River’s buying power, the buses are priced very aggressively,” Wright said. “I think it will be good value for their dollar.”