Travelling by chartered bus is great way to save money and to relax on long road trips. By leaving the driving to a professional bus driver, passengers can sleep or chat (even check their email!) and arrive at their destination fresh and full of energy.
If you are considering hiring a chartered bus, make safety your number one criteria. The highway system in the United States has over 170,000 miles of interstate roads with varying degrees of complexity and in different conditions. Make sure your driver has the experience and the knowledge to maneuver a 10-ton bus through these roads.
For long or quick-turn-around trips, bus companies are required by law to provide an extra driver for the journey. Ascertain that the charter bus company you are considering follows this regulation before hiring them.
The bus industry is highly regulated. Before they can cross any state or provincial line, motor coach companies need to have federal operating authority. They should also carry current liability insurance of up to $5 million dollars. Furthermore, federal law requires all U.S. based buses to undergo an annual inspection for regular maintenance and repair and also to determine road worthiness.
A reputable and trustworthy charter bus operator will not hesitate to provide all of this information. Do not deal with any company that fails to show proof that they are in compliance with the rules and regulations governing their industry. If you do come across such an operator, consider reporting them to the American Bus Association (ABA). Shady operators should not be allowed to have their buses on the road where they can put the safety of other vehicles and their passengers at risk.
Finally, chartering a bus should also be about enjoyment. Research the bus companies that offer the features that will enhance the journey for you and your co-travelers. Does your group need a Wi-Fi environment onboard? Extra leg room? Bilingual drivers? Take a poll and make a list. Then be sure to ask the bus operators what they have to offer your group.
Charter bus companies have come a long way since the 1960’s when they first offered specialized travel in an attempt to lure more bus-riding passengers. Even if no single bus company will have everything on your list, it never hurts to ask.
Finally, ask for the bus company’s DOT number. You can use this number to search for the carrier’s safety record online.
The romance of the road beckons especially during the summer months. By doing diligent research, you can charter a bus that will bring you to your destination of choice safely, conveniently, and in style!