Photo Credit: Thomas Built Buses

Photo Credit: Thomas Built Buses

Student safety is in the hands of school bus drivers. The more comfortable and confident drivers feel, the more safely they drive. 

For the last 20 years, Thomas Built Buses has supplied the industry with advanced electronics engineered with safety prioritized in every detail. Our Saf-T-Liner® C2 was designed to provide the most ergonomic and intuitive driving experience possible featuring enhanced visibility, a driver-friendly design, and state-of-the-art technology.

We’re continuing our legacy of innovation with our newly introduced C2 model, which includes an advanced electrical architecture system. This new electrical platform adopted by all Daimler Truck North America brands offers a refreshed, more ergonomic interior and intuitive controls that prioritize driver comfort.

Putting More at the Driver’s Fingertips

This next step forward in technology provides many of the same enhancements drivers experience in their personal cars, adding familiarity to their daily routes.

The new cab updates feature more integrated controls that are within the driver’s reach. A new digital instrument cluster, featuring an LED screen provides clear vehicle and trip information. Drivers can navigate through the easy-to-use menu using controls located on the steering wheel. The new right-hand driver stalk improves ergonomics and puts more at the driver’s fingertips. This includes manual shifting and use of the exhaust brake, reducing the distance a driver needs to reach controls, keeping their focus on the road. The switch cabinet to the left of the driver now has capacity to hold more smart switches that can be easily moved around within the cabinet (without the need to rewire) to better suit drivers’ needs.

“As we integrate new features, we’re always mindful to ensure the design neither distracts drivers nor causes them to ignore critical alerts,” said Kendra Eads, VP of Engineering and Technology at Thomas Built Buses. “Our focus is providing drivers with tools that enhance their ability to make real-time, critical decisions, while still maintaining a comfortable, user-friendly automotive feel.”

Addressing the Labor Shortage

Like many other industries, the school bus industry is experiencing a significant staffing shortage. Recent data shows 92% of school leaders reported that a bus driver shortage constrained their operations. “Issues recruiting new bus drivers” is cited as a primary reason for this shortage. While not a holistic solution to this challenge, creating more comfortable workspaces for drivers could be a step in the right direction.

At Thomas Built Buses, we have always engineered with drivers in mind. As such, there are many existing features on our school buses that facilitate driver comfort. Driver-specific heating and air conditioning allow drivers to adjust temperature based on their needs; driver seat options including heated seats and air pedestal suspension for a smoother ride ensure seating comfort; acoustic ceilings in the cabin help cut down on noises that might echo and cause potential distractions. The Bendix® Intellipark® system – available in all C2 models with air brake option – operates with a simple electronic push button, reducing the strain a driver might get from repeatedly disconnecting the parking brake throughout the day using the traditional air valve release.

Backed by our commitment to ongoing innovation, we’re determined to outfit cabs with technology that creates a comfortable drive – which translates to driving safely, keeping students and communities safe, and helping to address driver shortages. The evolved C2 model is built with student safety top-of-mind and for driver comfort today and tomorrow.

To learn more about our buses and explore related topics, please visit our website at