When chartering a bus or a shuttle service, your main concern should be safety. Typically, if you will be traveling with a group on a bus you will be going quite fast on various highways. Therefore, you should make sure that the vehicle you get is up to date and is properly maintained. The last thing you want when going on a trip is to get stuck in the middle of the road because of a faulty engine. Not only will that be an inconvenience and may delay your plans, you may also be putting yourself in physical danger.
Therefore, you should always inquire about the type of vehicle you are chartering. You should make certain you get an up to date bus that is regularly maintained. If a bus company shows you images of the vehicles they have available, always ask if you will be getting the exact vehicle pictured; this way you do not get any last minute surprises.
Furthermore, you only want to charter a bus that is fully licensed and insured in the state of operation. When a bus company is licensed and insured it guarantees that they must follow all the safety regulations and undergo regular inspections that ensure that everything is in working order. Be sure to request all the proper documentation from the bus rental company that proves that all the licensing and insurance documentation is up to date.
The next most important thing about your rental should be the driver. You need to ensure that the driver of the bus you will be renting is fully licensed and his license is in good standing. All this documentation should be presented upon request by the rental company. If the company is refusing to present such documentation, this should be a sign that something is not right. It would be best not to rent from such companies.
If you are making the rental reservations in person, it is always a good idea to meet the driver and make sure that he will be able to accomidate your needs. Furthermore, you will want to make sure that he is respectful and pleasant; the way the driver acts when you meet him is usually a good indicator of how he will conduct himself during the trip.
Moreover, the best way to know if a company is suitable is to check their track record. This includes checking with the better business bureau to make sure there are no complaints filed against the company, and even asking the company for references from previous clients. Another very good resource is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). This organization focuses on safety and security of transportation companies. You can also learn more about rules and regulations of the transportation industry by visiting the United States Department of Transportation website.
Always remember, that you are the customer who will be paying money to charter the bus; therefore, the rental company should accomidate you and present all the necessary documentation to ease your safety concerns.
Although you may spend countless hours planning and finalizing your trips, things can always go wrong. You should always have a backup plan in place in the event of unforeseen delays or cancellations. Furthermore, you should make sure you have all the contact information for the company in the event there are mechanical failures or any other disruptions. As the saying goes, you should “expect the best but prepare for the worst”. This way if any issues arise during the trip, you will be well equipped to handle them.