Tour Bus Companies; How Do You Pick the Right Motor Coach Company?
by The Coach Team
All the companies in the charter bus industry would like you to believe that we all can take care of your every need. However, that’s usually not the case. There are many factors that determine how to choose the right match for your bus tours, whether you need a minibus or a luxury motor coach. We’d like to help you plan your motorcoach tour.
Bus Tours – Big or Small / Far or Near
The first thing you need to decide is how large a bus you need. This depends on how many people you have for your trip, how far you are going and amazingly enough how big your friends are. It also depends on what you plan on doing on the bus, whether you intend to show movies, home videos, sing karaoke, or drink large quantities of beer and other alcoholic beverages during a bus tour pizza party!
You also need to know that some companies are reluctant to travel to destinations where safety inspections might be performed by state and local officials. These places often include amusement parks, casinos, race tracks, large museums, national monuments, and other bus tour favorites.
Let’s tackle the easy questions first:
Motor Coach Travel Bus Size – Comfortable Minibus or Luxurious Motor Coach
Tour bus coaches come is about 3 or four sizes, and mini buses in about five sizes. The smallest mini is 18-20 passengers and has regular suspension. They are good for local trips (20 miles) on good roads, and most have air conditioning – but it’s always best to ask. The small mini buses generally do not have rest rooms or space for luggage.
The next size mini has luggage space and is good for the same type of local trip, perhaps a bit further up in range to about 50 miles, and it seats up to 26-32 passengers. These bigger mini’s may have small restrooms, air conditioning, and reclining seats. You should inquire about the amenities, which vary between tour bus companies.
The most luxurious category is the Full Size Motor Coach. They seat from 43 to 57 passengers and vary in length up to 45 feet. These coaches are the Luxury Highway Coach. They have reclining full width seats, full luggage compartments underneath the coach, additional space for carry-on bags above the seats, rest rooms, video monitors, DVD players, public address systems and some have power outlets for computers and Wi-Fi. They are considerably more comfortable and quieter than the smaller mini bus and are operated by professional coach drivers. Full size luxury motor coaches are much higher off the road, have large capacity heat and air conditioning, reading lights, air vents at each seat, and are designed to be operated at highway speeds. All these features combine to make full size motor coaches the most comfortable of all the available buses. For adult passengers of medium to large size, the extra seating capacity and width of the Highway Coach should be considered. It’s also the ultimate choice for long trips if you are planning destinations 200 miles from home, or want to spend multiple days away.
Pertinent Additional Questions for your Charter Bus Company to Insure a Great Tour Bus Experience
- Can your group drink alcoholic beverages and eat on the coach? You have to ask! Don’t just assume you can. If you are allowed, you might want to take a ride to the company garage and make sure that the bus doesn’t smell like last night’s beer party or that old pizza from the last week won’t be part of your new trip.
- Ask if there is an extra charge for cleaning up upon return if you and those in your group drink and eat. And ask who decides if you have to pay for the cleaning.
- If your group is going for more than one day ask where (or if) the bus will be cleaned and where the rest room will be serviced, it will make your trip much more pleasant and comfortable for all on board.
- It also is wise to ask what will happen if your bus has any mechanical difficulty, who supplies and pays for the replacement bus if yours isn’t fixable and who arranges for your group to get home.
- Make sure the bus company has a contingency plan if you miss things you were scheduled to see. If you end up needing twenty cabs to get your group to the play, track, game, casino, hotel, or whatever destination – who pays for them? If you pay, will the bus company reimburse you?
All this pre-planning should not be frightening – it’s all to insure that your motorcoach travel will be memorable for good things. In the end it will make all of your fantastic plans much more relaxing if you know that you’ve asked all the right questions. So before your get on the road. make sure you are totally comfortable with the answers you received.
Motor Coach Travel Assistance from Coach Tours
Do you want a helpful checklist of what to look for and how to plan your motor coach travel?
Call Coach Tours and we’ll be happy to email one to you – at no charge – no matter what company you end up choosing .(…of course we’d like you to choose Coach Tours first!)
In future blog posts we’ll look into how to plan your daily itinerary when you decide to take a trip, so your passengers can survive to the next day, and see more wonderful sights and events. Our experience can also assist you in choosing the right time of the year and best price for your bus tour to any destination.
Happy Motor Coaching!!!