Although hiring a charter bus for your next trip seems simple, many factors must be considered. The difference between modern vehicles can be tremendous, from the size of the bus to included amenities.
This is why we created this article: so you can better understand the differences between the buses and choose the most suitable one for your next trip. If you are about to book group transportation services for the first time or just want to know what charter services are, this guide is exactly what you are looking for.
What Is the Definition of a Charter Bus?
The Free Dictionary defines charter as "The hiring or leasing of an aircraft, vessel, or another vehicle, especially for the exclusive, temporary use of a group of travelers".
So, what are charter buses? Unlike public transportation or a regular bus, a charter bus is specifically hired to transport people to a chosen destination. A public bus picks people up along a route, while a charter bus is handled in advance for group transportation.
A charter bus can go anywhere - the airport, on field trips, on a shopping trip, or a winery. Modern charter buses are well-equipped for even the longest of trips and have several amenities and many benefits.
The Evolution of the Charter Bus
Chartered buses have been popular since the early 1900s due to their comfort, flexibility, and privacy. The interstate highway system and a lowered cost caused their revived popularity in the 1950s. And today, they continue to be a reliable and cost-effective transport mode.
Offering efficient, comfortable, and affordable travel, charter buses come in a range of sizes with reclining seats, outlets, compartments, onboard entertainment and Wi-Fi, and luxury amenities like leather seating and TV.
What does a charter bus look like? Designs vary from plain white businesses to luxurious and unique, with features like metallic accents, color-coordinated bumpers, tinted windows, interior decorations, flat-screen TVs, and upgraded seating. The design depends on the company and service.
What Amenities Are Charter Buses Equipped With?
The price of these buses is contingent on the features offered by them. There is a great deal of discrepancy between charter bus amenities; however, some of the most common ones are:
- The restroom. A built-in toilet makes it much more convenient and comfortable for passengers to take long charter bus trips and saves lots of precious time by reducing the number of bus stops;
- WiFi and outlets. As we all like to browse the web, modern buses are equipped with all you may need: a strong internet connection and the ability to charge your device whenever your battery drains;
- AC system. Is it too hot for you on a sunny day? Or do you feel cold after the sun sets? Built-in air conditioning allows passengers to travel comfortably;
- Speakers and displays. This useful feature makes playing any audio or video you need possible. Turn on a movie, give announcements to passengers, or just play some music — the applications are countless;
- Storage. Dedicated luggage storage makes it much more convenient to travel. Passengers won't have to worry about their belongings, knowing that it’s completely safe and sound.
How Many Seats on a Charter Bus, and What Are the Common Bus Types?
There are plenty of bus types, and they differ mainly in the size of the vehicle and the number of seats. While some of them are perfect for short trips, others should be go-to picks for long ones, so choose your charter bus carefully.
Overall, charter buses can be divided into these categories depending on how many people fit on a bus:
Vehicles are the largest of their kind have 30 to 60 seats.
They usually include all the abovementioned amenities. A coach bus is a great choice for long trips with many people.
Mini Coach Bus
Mini coach buses to 28 people
Even though they are smaller than regular coach buses, there is still plenty of space for storage.
A classic school bus is great for groups of 30-50 people. However, it can be far inferior to its more comfortable counterparts in terms of amenities. The 44-passenger luxury bus from Infiniti Transportation is a great example of this
It is most efficient for short-distance trips.
This charter bus's capacity is 21 passengers.
It usually serves as a shuttle bus, and the overall cost of services is incredibly affordable.
Designed for groups of up to 15 people.
This vehicle is a great replacement for a carpool, making it incredibly environmentally friendly.
How Much to Rent a Charter Bus?
Generally, bus renting will be quoted by the day, the mileage, or the hour. It is important to remember that most trips will require a minimum duration of five hours.
Your quote for the bus rental will include your driver's wages and the bus rental cost for the entire trip.
The cost of charter bus services also depends on the following:
- The distance and travel time: longer trips over greater distances typically equate to a more costly quote than short rides within a single region;
- The departure and destination cities: certain metropolises, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, receive more visitors, driving up demand and cost for bus services;
- Travel season: demand for charter buses tends to be highest during the spring/summer seasons, whereas prices will often be lower during the off-season;
- How far in advance you book: waiting too long limits availability. Booking ahead can lead to more competitive prices;
- The model and size of the bus: bigger buses will typically come with a heftier price tag than smaller minibusses.
How much to rent a bus for a day? See below:
Does My Quote Include Everything, or Will There Be Additional Costs?
When you receive a quote for your charter bus, you can be certain that it includes the services of your driver, gas, climate control, reclining seats, and storage space. Additional costs you may have to pay include tolls, parking fees, a hotel room for your driver (if the trip requires an overnight stay), and a gratuity. While gratuities aren't included in the cost of the trip, it is customary to tip your professional driver 10% of the total cost.
How Much Is a Charter Bus in Chicago?
A charter bus trip around Chicago may cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the size of the bus and the number of hours needed. For example, a 56-passenger bus for 6 hours might cost around $2,500. You can always reach out to us for an exact quote.
When Should You Consider a Charter Bus?
Our company has a wide selection of buses for any group and any necessary service.
When renting a charter bus from us, you can expect a reliable and certified driver and assurance that the vehicle meets the highest local safety standards.
In particular, we can provide wedding parties with buses equipped with entertainment systems, sports teams with extra room for equipment, and vehicles specifically adapted for passengers with disabilities for:
- Field trip bus rental for schools and colleges
- Corporate (event) transportation
- Employee shuttles
- Sports team transportation
- Weddings shuttles
- Transportation services
How Safe Is a Charter Bus?
In Chicago, charter buses must follow the same safety standards that apply to other larger motor coach buses. These safety standards include driver qualifications, vehicle maintenance, and federal minimum standards for such vehicles.
Charter bus companies must be certified by the United States Department of Transportation and be listed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Drivers must possess a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) with a Passenger and School Bus endorsement. Drivers must also submit to regular drug and alcohol screenings.
The vehicles must also pass rigorous mechanical inspections and have daily pre-trip inspections performed by the driver. The vehicles must also meet all federal regulations. This includes regular maintenance, being up to date on emissions tests, and ensuring the vehicle has the proper ratio of tires.
Additionally, larger charter buses must be equipped with various safety features such as fire extinguishers, emergency exits, and video cameras to monitor the passengers. Some companies might also require their drivers to have additional training, such as defensive driving or first aid training.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Charter Bus?
While there are many ways to get from point A to point B, a charter bus group travel has numerous benefits over all other means of transportation. These advantages include:
- Convenience and timing: Planning any event becomes much easier with a large group of people departing and arriving simultaneously;
- Price: Renting a charter bus is much more affordable than you think! And even though the price relies on many factors, choosing a charter bus over a carpool or plane trip will save you a lot of money;
- Comfort: Soft, reclining seats and modern amenities ensure maximum comfort for passengers;
- Safety: Both drivers and vehicles undergo a thorough inspection and must meet strict standards. This way, bus charter companies achieve maximum safety for their passengers;
- Low environmental impact: A single charter bus can do the job of a dozen cars. Fewer vehicles on the road mean less carbon emission. Therefore the negative impact on the environment is less significant.
How to Rent a Charter Bus
1. Find a Charter Bus Company
If you need a charter bus for family or corporate events or anything else, don't hesitate to reach out to us! You can shop around for quotes, but we guarantee you'll find the best value and service with Infinity Transportation.
2. Pick Your Destination and Who Is Coming Along
For the correct size charter bus, please provide us with the size of your group, your destination, any services you will need to make your charter bus trip comfortable, the dates on which your group will need transportation, and your itinerary. These elements help us determine the cost of renting a coach.
3. Enquire About Their Safety Protocol
Ask potential charter bus companies about their licensing, insurance, and safety records. Additionally, you can research the regulations for your state or country, as motor coach safety protocol can vary depending on location.
4. Choose the Bus You Like Best
Many charter buses come with amenities, such as plugs for charging phones and other devices, extra space for luggage, reclining seats, and more. Look for those that are beneficial for your trip. Also, consider the safety features of the charter bus, such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, and seat belts.
5. Consider the Cost
Lastly, you should determine the amount of money you want to spend before searching for charter buses to ensure that you find a bus that fits your budget.
Now that you know how to charter a bus, you know it requires thorough and careful planning. Not only do you have to choose the most suitable vehicle, but also you need to contract a professional coach bus company.
We at Infinity Transportation are experts in our field. We serve clients all over Illinois and will gladly help you choose the right charter bus for your occasion. Feel free to contact us anytime for a quick quote for charter bus services!