The school bus was a vehicle that was intended to appear in Grand Theft Auto III but was reworked into a more conventional Bus during development, probably removed because children were removed as pedestrians from GTA III. It can be assumed the Bus was originally to assume the appearance of a school bus, in the same vein as the Bus in Grand Theft Auto 1 (in Liberty City and Vice City).
GTA III — GTA Vice City Stories
Revelation of the buses' existence surfaced during development of GTA III, when early pre-release screenshots depict what were thought to be 1980s conventional cab school buses common in the United States. The bus comes complete with a light-adorned rear, as well as the yellow body color that distinguishes it as a school bus. In addition, the bus features only one frontal entrance on the passenger side of the bus, unlike the GTA III rendition of the Bus (which features doors on both sides).
The concept of featuring a school bus was dropped during development without a formal explanation, leading to speculation as to whether or not it was removed in attempt to avoid controversy over killing children or representations of children in the game. However, the final design of the Bus does derive its frontal design from the school bus, but features a redesigned side profile and a curved tail end.
The school bus also survives in the final version of GTA III in the form of wrecks found in the 8-Ball Autos compound and Harwood Autocrusher and Junkyard in Harwood, Portland, lacking wheels and doors, among others. The bus wreck model continued to be used in succeeding games, including Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (inside the Hyman Memorial Stadium during "Dirtring", and in Little Haiti and Little Havana), Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (in Blackfield Stadium during the "Kickstart") and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (the same locations as in GTA III).
School bus wrecks in GTA III (rear quarter view).
School bus wrecks continue to appear in GTA IV, this time in the form of two versions, one with its four tires intact, and the other without wheels and with a slightly crushed body; both versions have been extensively stripped, leaving little but their skeletal frames.
Unlike other wrecks in the game, school bus wrecks are fewer in between, appearing in at least two locations, including Firefly Island (close to the Screamer roller coaster), and Northwood (in the northwestern scrapyard). Traffic law signs throughout the city may also be found directing vehicles to stop for school buses.