How to Select a Charter Bus Company
Selecting a motorcoach to provide your transportation needs should not be difficult. In fact, the decision you make should be based on what common sense dictates – safety, customer service, dependability, equipment, and price.
While price is important, the cost of service should include the confidence that safety, driver competence, vehicle integrity, cleanliness, and customer service expectations can and will be met. IMG is confident that its member operators can satisfy all your important questions.
Regardless, when contracting services, ask the following questions of a perspective contracting company:
The Charter Bus Company
How long has it been in business?
An established company has a reputation. A fledgling company is untested. Ask for proof of federal, state and or provincial operating authority.
How big is it?
Big is not necessarily beautiful, but those desiring to charter motor coaches should be aware that small businesses may not have the full range of technical and management support necessary to provide “world class” service.
How old are the coaches?
The vehicle’s age may be important to you. Remember, however, that modern coaches have a long life and general presentation, cleanliness, and mechanical condition may be more important than actual age.
What type of vehicle is best?
The length and purpose of the journey and any special passenger needs dictates the type of vehicle. Rate the importance to your passengers of things like bathrooms, catering facilities, TV, video, reclining seats, window shades, curtains, air conditioning, wheelchair lifts, etc. Ensure that your requirements are included in the charter price.
Does the coach operator offer a range of vehicles?
Your passenger numbers may change, so learn whether the company offers vehicles in a range of sizes that may be substituted (should your needs require).
What about safety?
Ask about safety features – antilock braking systems (ABS). Does the company comply with coach drivers’ hours regulations, compiled to avoid risks caused by fatigue. A lax attitude could prejudice the safety of your passengers. Ask to see Department of Transportation (DOT) inspection ratings. NEVER contract with a carrier having an unsatisfactory rating.
Any special requirements?
What if I need to change route or times? Check that the company is able to meet any unforeseen eventualities, within the constraints of safety limits. How does this affect price?
Any special needs?
If your group includes the very young, elderly, or people with disabilities, can the company provide appropriate vehicles and arrange stops at places where their needs can be met?
What are the standards of staff training?
Drivers should be competent in vehicle handling, people handling, and licensed. Ask to see verification. Further, ask about company policy in training drivers in essential customer care. Uniformed drivers and counter - staff speak volumes about company attitudes and standards.
What about unseen staff?
The competence of maintenance staff and their working facilities directly affects the reliability and safety of vehicles. Ask searching questions.
Does the company have a drug / alcohol testing program?
DO NOT contract with any operator unable to provide evidence that they possess and enforce drug and alcohol testing programs.
Who pays for the drivers accommodations?
Avoid any confrontation during or after chartering a coach by establishing at the outset who is booking and paying for drivers’ accommodations.
The Back Up
Can they deal with emergencies?
Even the best maintained vehicles develop faults. Vehicles can be damaged.
What systems are in place to avoid unacceptable delays?
Members of the International Motor Coach Group are a confederation of the most experienced operators, committed to providing mutual aid to fellow members (including vehicle repair / replacement and operator assistance) in order to minimize any disruption and inconvenience to our customers
Check It Out
If in doubt ask: "Can i look around your premises and vehicles?"
Reputable motor coach carriers are proud of their products, services and facilities - they have nothing to hide. Look at the operating and maintenance facility to generate the confidence of contracting with the carrier able to meet your needs.
What about References?
Avoid any company that will not identify customers for reference purposes.
Is insurance coverage in place and valid licenses held?
Ask for evidence of adequate coverage (including liability coverage of at least $5 million); that the company is inspected by the federal, state and/or provincial Department of Transportation; has documented operating authority; that checks are made to ensure that drivers continue to be licensed to drive this class of vehicle.
Charter with a member of the International Motor Coach Group (IMG) and you can be assured that they will meet your most stringent criteria. To insure your satisfaction and safety, before chartering a coach check to make sure that an IMG Member logo is located on the vehicle!