If you’re planning a school, family or corporate event that requires transporting large numbers of people, you might be drowning in carpool plans, trying to fit the right number of people into each car for maximum efficiency. But engaging charter bus services can transport all those people more safely, efficiently and affordably than individual passenger vehicles. If you’ve never gone through the process before, here’s how to charter a bus—making an informed decision—in four steps:
- Collect Your Details
You’ll need to know how many people are coming, where you’re going, any stops you’d like to make and how long you’d like to stay. All these details will be necessary in order to get an accurate quote. You may be able to make slight adjustments later, but don’t bother getting quotes until you have a pretty solid idea of your plans.
- Comparison Shop
Although some companies may offer an online system, it’s best to call for estimates, since there are several variables involved. This will also allow you to develop a rapport with a representative and get a feel for each company. When you get quotes, make sure they include all surcharges. Ask about a base price plus fuel, tolls, parking, gratuity and driver accommodation.
Since motor coaches are operated by commercial drivers, charter bus services must adhere to federal hours of service, which regulate the number of hours a driver can operate a vehicle without resting. If you are taking a long trip, this means you may have to stop at certain points. But you should actually be glad that the bus line is adhering to the law, since those breaks reduce driver fatigue and keep passengers safe.
- Ask for Insurance and Safety Information
Bus carriers are regulated by the federal and state governments, and must have both operating authority and a Department of Transportation number. You can ask for these to look up safety information on prospective companies. By law, buses must be inspected annually to ensure safety. (Overall, motor coaches are actually the safest form of surface transportation, according to government statistics.)
You should also ask for proof of insurance and keep a copy for your records. You should see a minimum of $5 million in liability coverage.
Once you’ve picked a company and verified their information, you’re ready to book! When it comes time for your trip, you’ll be able to sit back, relax and let someone else do the work.
Did you know that charter bus services are better for the environment in both carbon emissions and fuel consumption? Does that make you more likely to consider chartering a bus in the future? Let us know in the comments.