If you have a group of people you need to get someplace, you may want to consider renting a bus. Charter buses are great options for transportation that are also very environmentally friendly. It has been estimated that motorcoaches are much better at reducing CO2 emissions. When compared with commuter rail, they are three times more fuel efficient. They are six times as fuel efficient as transit buses. At least 55 personal cars can be taken off of the roads for every full motorcoach that is being used at any given time.
There are things you can do to make sure your experience with charter buses is great. When you look into chartering a bus, here are some tips to get the right company for your needs.
- Ask about the charter bus company’s safety record. This is a time when you should “trust but verify.” Ask all of the companies you are considering hiring about their safety record but do not take their word for it. You can check with the Department of Transportation (DoT). Be forewarned, the highest rating a company can get from the DoT is “satisfactory.” Do not be alarmed by this.
- Ask what kind of bus they will use for your group. Not all charter buses are created equal. Most of the motocoaches used for charter bus rentals can seat between 40 and 60 people. Some buses have restroom facilities on board and some do not. You may want to make sure you have that if your trip is long or your party may need it. Not all drivers are able to drive all charter buses. Also, commercial and charter bus drivers are only legally allowed to drive a certain number of hours. If you trip is going go longer than the 10 hours allowed by law, you will need to arrange a relief driver with the charter company.
- Make sure the bus will be clean. If your bus has a restroom, make sure it will be cleaned and serviced before your party gets on board. Ask how often they clean the buses. Most charter buses are very clean and the companies take pride in keeping them clean for their customers but asking about it before you rent a charter is never a bad idea. A bus full of people can get very dirty and messy very quickly. Riding on a dirty bus can be very unpleasant for everyone.
- Are there entertainment systems on the bus? What kinds of entertainment does the bus offer? Is there WiFi? What about DVD players? If your charter bus trip is to get somewhere and is not a sightseeing trip, you may want something to entertain your party. If you are going to a city or region, you may want to show a video about where you are going to get people in the right mood.
- Ask about the licensing of the company and driver. One of the last things you need is to have your charter bus pulled over on the highway only to find the driver does not have a commercial driver’s license. Ask the company in advance about all licenses and permits. Ask about their policy regarding tolls and that sort of thing as well. As for proof of all of this. If they balk, go with a different company. There are a lot of charter buses to choose from.
- What is included in the fee? Before you sign anything, you need to know what the rate is that you will be charged and what that includes. Do you need to pay extra for tolls and fuel? Make sure you have a clear understanding of what is and is not included in the charter bus fee. Do you need to tip the driver? You will save yourself a lot of stress later by going over all these details before you sign anything.
- What is their cancellation policy? Hopefully it will not happen but sometimes trips need to be cancelled at the last minute. What is their policy if something unexpected comes up? Make sure you know.
If you are planning a trip, charter buses may offer you the best way to get there. Follow these tips and your charter bus experience will be great.