The key to selecting the right charter bus company: Ask the right questions!
Selecting the right charter tour bus company can be hectic, but you can avoid a lot of headaches for yourself as well as your group members if you shop carefully. Following are some questions you should ask any prospective provider of charter bus services. Any reputable company will be glad to answer them for you.
- Ask to see insurance certificates. If the bus company is authorized for interstate service, the minimum liability coverage should be $5 million.
- Ask the motor coach carrier if they do their own motor coach maintenance or rely on a second party garage. Nothing can ruin a trip faster than faulty equipment. Most states issue decals that certify passage. Executive Coach of Chicago maintains all of its own vehicles with top-notch mechanics. Youíll notice the difference.
- Is the company available for inspections? You may inspect the motor coach equipment, general offices and garage facilities before signing any contracts or agreements. You can tell a lot about a company just by taking the time to visit their operations and facilities.
- All motor coach drivers must have a valid, current CDL (Commercial Drivers License). In addition to a CDL, motor coach drivers must have the appropriate ďendorsementsĒ. These are licensing criteria that are over and above that of a truck or delivery driver. These include passenger and airbrake endorsements. A CDL is not an ordinary driverís license and it requires a great deal of extra knowledge to earn it. Surprisingly, some motor coach companies have drivers that are not in compliance and worse, may not have proper training or experience driving charter buses.
- Does the company have a drug-screening program in place? Top-notch motor coach companies like Executive Coach of Chicago have a strict drug-testing program and drug-free workplace policy.
- How experienced are the drivers? It is easy to hire inexperienced drivers in order to save a few dollars in labor costs. At Executive Coach, we refuse to jeopardize your safety and our reputation by hiring inexperienced drivers.
- Request that the company supply its DOT number. Such numbers are assigned by the U.S. Government and are required to operate legally. Please visit safersys.org to get our safety and insurance record. Our DOT number is 908066.
- For long distance trips, ask how they satisfy the Federal Motor Coach Safety Regulation (FMCSR) requirements. The FMCSR dictates how long a driver can drive before requiring a relief driver.
Bus Rental Pricing and Package Costs
- Discuss motor coach size and what amenities you would like. In your discussions with the motor coach company representative, be thorough in discussing your needs and any special amenities (such as an entertainer bus). This will avoid misunderstandings later.
- Ask about policies for deposits, final payment, refunds and cancellations.
- Are video-equipped motor coaches available? You can view educational videos or provide movies to help pass the hours. Sports teams can even utilize the travel down time to review game videos.
- Who pays for the driverís hotel room? Find out if the driverís room is included in the cost of the charter, or if you are responsible for it.
- When comparing quotes, make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Not all motor coach companies are created equal. Things like driver experience, equipment maintenance and company stability are often overlooked, but their value is of the utmost significance.
- Supply a trip itinerary to your bus company. This insures that our drivers are thoroughly prepared to execute your trip as efficiently and smoothly as possible.
You can discuss these or any other questions with your Executive Coach of Chicago representative. Weíre here to make your next trip something special!