There are many reasons people choose charter buses for their transportation needs, some of which are college sport teams that need transportation while on the road, family functions such as weddings or reunions, high schools trips, senior tours or day trips to casino’s or dinners and a multitude of other reasons. The responsibility to charter a bus usually falls on one person who is designated the group leader or just lost the coin flip. With so many charter bus companies from which to choose how does one compare bus companies?
Most people usually call bus companies, obtain quotes and more than likely choose the lowest price without taking into consideration many important factors. Yes price is important, especially in today’s economic times. However, one should factor safety, reliability, bus condition and age,and even driver condition and age. Company policy regarding contracts, usage, and cancellations are also very important considerations.
Ask to see the equipment you are chartering. Most reputable companies have a website with photos of their buses. You may also wish to see the bus in person to verify the website photos. Is the bus you are chartering in good condition? Does the tread on the tires look good? How about broken windshields? You don’t have to be a certified mechanic to determine if you should be riding on the bus you are looking at. Go with your gut feeling. Also don’t get too worried about the age of the bus. New does not mean better. New buses have problems just like old buses. They all break down even with proper service. When looking at a bus, ask yourself, does the company seem to have a pride of ownership? If the answer is yes, the bus should be fine for charter.
Does the company you are considering have a good track record and satisfied customers? Again look on their website. Most reputable companies post testimonials. If not ask for references. How does the company handle breakdowns? If you have a group on a multi-day trip does the company have the ability to still service your group if a breakdown occurs? Do they belong to a professional association or have agreements with other bus companies for such emergencies? Ask how they have handled this problem in the past. Believe me this has happened to all bus companies at one time or another.
Now let’s consider the driver. Today’s motor coach driver needs to be professional, friendly, and knowledgeable in motor coach operation. And most are. Ask the company to pair you up with a driver that fits your group. If you are a group leader with school age passengers, be sure the driver is not a grump and enjoys being around children. Maybe you are a sports team in need of transportation. Ask for a driver involved in sports. The driver by far is the most important ingredient in your transportation need. Be sure to quiz the charter bus company in regards to your driver.
OK, price. Yes that’s important. Bus companies are struggling across the country just like most other businesses in this economy. And yes you most likely are too. But remember that a $100 difference in price divided by the number of people in your group may only come to about $2 or $3 per person extra. Decide what is most important for you and your group and start there. Also when using the internet to search for charter buses, please remember the search engine picks up key words. Many times the top listed companies are not charter bus companies at all. They may be bus brokers who do not even own charter buses. Basically they are the middle man. They simply resell the bus to you at, you guessed it, a higher price. When using a search engine be sure to place the city in which you are looking to charter the bus from. This will help eliminate the brokers. Happy travels.