For most people who want to charter a coach or hire a bus, price is the overriding consideration. Agreed that everybody has a budget, but you should should fully understand what the coach operator is offering in his quote. Can you really sacrifice safety, reliability, driver competence, cleanliness, comfort, and customer service for a few less dollars.
And if you are enquiring on behalf of a school for the transportation of your students, perhaps you should ask if they have a passenger management tracking & monitoring system, such as School Travel Manager. Such a system will offer extra protection and security for the young passengers in transit.
Price is important but so are all the criteria that are highlighted above, when negotiating with potential group transportation companies you must ask the following questions, and only when satisfied bring price into the equation.
How Long has the Company been in Business
A good sign that the transport company is reputable is the length of time they have been in operation. A brand new transportation company cannot offer testimonials from satisfied customers, and it is hard to do background checks on them.
You must ask for proof of all the necessary documentation that they are adhering to state, federal and any appropriate laws and regulations.
How Large is the Company
A large company does not necessarily mean a good company, but good large companies can offer more security than smaller operations.
Smaller coach operators may not have the full range of technical support that a large company can offer. Such things as maintenance bays, quality of vehicles, number of vehicles, roadside assistance etc.
Does the company have multiple depots? Do they have sufficient vehicles for large group transportation, or big events? Most smaller companies will not be able to answer in the affirmative.
How Old is the Fleet
The vehicle’s age you are hiring may be of vital importance, old vehicles might not be suitable for purpose. Coach operators that can offer modern coaches and buses will definitely have the edge.
Modern coaches are less likely to break down, they will have all the modern safety equipment on board, plus up-to-date entertainment systems and interiors.
Which Type of Vehicle is Best to Hire
The reason why you want to hire or charter a vehicle should dictate the type of bus or coach you should request. Do not be pushed into accepting a vehicle that is not suitable for purpose just because the coach operator does not have the correct type.
You should draw up a list of your passenger needs, and prioritise them. The list could feature:- safety, bathrooms, catering facilities, entertainment systems, window blinds, reclining seats, air conditioning, disabled facilities, luggage space, passenger space etc.
How Flexible is the Company
Can the company satisfy the extra demands your charter need, perhaps your group is young or old and need extra stops or equipment. Will they allow multiple pick ups and drop offs, can you change dates and times and itineraries without penalties?
Before Charter Check Company Out
It is always a good idea before your group travel to check out the coach operator’s premises and also the vehicles. Look for obvious wear and tear of the vehicles, and ask to see maintenance records.
Also look for insurance certification and liability coverage and if there are possible references that you can contact.
All these questions and details need to be answered to your full satisfaction, any company that is not prepared to divulge such information needs to be discarded. Your primary duty is to the safety of your passengers and that they enjoy their charter to the maximum extent.