Charter bus rental is a great idea if you need to transport a large group of people at one time. You will eliminate the need for multiple drivers, and you will avoid wear-and-tear on personal vehicles. Best of all, you won't worry about the personal liability issues associated with transporting people who are not part of your immediate family. However, you shouldn't choose a bus charter simply because you find its name and a few good reviews on a website.

You need to spend time comparing the reputation, services, and buses of several companies in the local area. It is certainly possible to find good companies outside your local area, but you will have an easier time talking to previous customers about their experiences if you choose a local company.

An Inspection is Critical

Before you begin talking about prices with a charter bus company, you need to take a tour of the buses currently on its premises. You should take note of whether you find trash on the floors and seats, the condition of on-board bathrooms, and whether all the seats recline and the intercom functions properly. At the end of your inspection, you need to ask whether the company manager can provide a written guarantee regarding the quality of the bus you will actually receive. 

Discuss Pricing

The bus company manager needs to know the number of people you plan to transport, your destination, and stops you might want to make along the way. He also needs to know the expected duration of your trip. Each of these factors will play a role in the price you are quoted. 

Don't assume that the company offering the lowest price is the one you should select. A company that offers new buses will obviously need to charge higher rates than a company that charters vehicles with years of use. A company that maintains the highest standards will almost always quote higher rates than one that cuts corners here and there. Companies with high standards always make sure the restrooms are in working order, the USB ports are functioning, and the seat cushions are still nicely padded and comfortable. If you arrive unannounced at a charter company and ask to take a tour, you will have a better idea about the standards you can expect for your own trip.

Discuss the Company's Drivers and Its Accident History

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration maintains a data base that can be very helpful as you evaluate a charter bus company. You can find out the accident history of the company, its safety rating, inspection and compliance reports, and current licensing. Each driver should possess a valid commercial driver's license (CDL) with a charter bus driver endorsement, and the company should be willing to provide proof of each driver's driving history and his eligibility to transport your group.

Finally, make sure that you understand the company's contingency plans if your bus experiences problems on the road. You should additionally receive all information and guarantees in writing before you sign a contract and pay a deposit.