When you’re coordinating travel for a large group, using charter bus services is often a great option. Charter bus services cover the travel both to the destination, and transportation once you’re there, making your coordination a lot easier. Not to mention, the cost of traveling by charter bus services is far less expensive per person than booking flights for them, and arranging taxis or rental vehicles once you arrive. Not to mention the carbon footprint of traveling by charter bus services is much better than almost any form of transportation — unless your group can travel by bicycle. Not mention that chartered buses are among the safest modes of transportation on the road. Yes, we just hit you with a “not to mention” that many times. Deal with it.
However, not all chartered bus services are created equal, and we want you to have the best experience possible on your trip. To help you choose the best chartered bus service for your group travel, we’ve put together a guide to questions you should definitely ask any potential bus services:
Six Important Questions Before Hiring a Bus Service
- What does your bus service’s safety record look like?
The U.S. Department of Transportation keeps a safety record for every registered chartered bus service in the country. You should make sure you look at it before making a choice, to ensure that your group is in great hands. The highest rating that the U.S. Department of Transportation offers a chartered bus line is “satisfactory.” You want to use a service that has that rating.
- What is the age, condition, and size of the motorcoach we will be using?
Buses have been around for a long time, but you don’t want to use a bus that has actually been around for a long time. Ask how old the bus is and take a look at it to make sure it is in condition that you’d be comfortable to ride in.
Your chartered bus can hold somewhere between 40 to 60 passengers. The number of riders that can travel will impact your plans and budget, and also impact driving limitations of the driver. If your destination is more than 10 hours away, you’ll need to either split the drive between two days, or bring a relief driver. If you bring a second driver, you’ll have one less seat available for passengers, and you’ll have to budget more for travel.
This goes without saying, but it’s really convenient to look for a motorcoach that has facilities on board. This reduces the need for potty breaks, and is more comfortable for everyone involved.
- Are you up to date with your licenses and registration?
There are significant regulations regarding commercial bus services, you want to make sure that the service you use is in compliance. Make sure the driver, equipment, and company are all current with licensing and paperwork. If your trip involves inter-state travel or any exceptional travel requirements (such as toll roads or airport passage), there could be additional regulations you need to inquire about.
- How often is the equipment cleaned, and how?
There is nothing more unpleasant than spending hours upon hours in an unhygienic bus. The previous travelers on the bus probably spent hours upon hours on the bus. This naturally creates trash and mess. In between each rental, a motorcoach service should have the bus professionally cleaned, so the next travelers aren’t sitting in the previous travelers filth. Make sure you ask about this (and maybe ask if you can take a look at a bus you’ll be traveling in) before making a rental decision).
- What credentials does the driver have?
The quality of your trip lies in the hands of the driver who operates your bus, not to mention, you’ll be spending quite a long time with them (such, the extent of your trip). Make sure you inquire about the driving experience the driver has, the licensing, and the training they go through before selecting a motorcoach company.
- What is the company’s emergency protocol?
Of course, you don’t want anything to go wrong while your group travels, but if something were to happen, is the driver equipped to handle it? Every motorcoach company should have a clear plan for how to handle accidents or injuries during the course of your trip.
Questions? Add them below!