Tips for Making the Most of Your Bus Budget

Summer Camp is awesome! As a kid I never considered the bus budget or quality of the buses I traveled on.

Many of my favorite kid-memories started and ended on a bus.  I can still feel the adrenaline and expectation of loading the summer camp bus. Mom and Dad waving goodbye.  Running into the 7-Eleven  “investing” my $5 spending money for the ride. Snickers, Twinkies and a Coke was a prerequisite to getting on the bus…racing to sit next to friends, and planning our assault on the camp lake row boats. After camp, we swapped legends of heroic launches off the diving board, and our red team dragging the blue team through the mud on the other end of the tug-o-war line.

Saddleback Church Summer Camp
Camp for Saddleback Community Church starts with a phone call, and ends with 25 buses staged and loading in grand fashion. –
“I love working with (you). Your company is always very accommodating to our large needs”
–Alaina Hart / Saddleback Church

I planned for different things then than I do now.

AS A PARENT. Now I think about safety, chaperone ratios, and if the driver has a habit of texting or talking on the phone while driving.

AS A CHARTER BUS PROVIDER. I care about quality, clean safe equipment. No matter what size, color, school bus, or motorcoach; I strive to provide the best. It’s critical we partner with companies that get great reviews.  and follow up with our customers to assure the experience was all we promised and that our partners committed to provide.

Summer is gone, but not forgotten, and will be back before you know it. As a planner you know the importance of bus budget and quality.

The best advice we can offer to help you win with your Bus Budget and Quality Experience

Book your Bus Early.

There are a few reasons:

  1. Availability is best now, rather than last minute
  2. With better availability comes better prices for your bus budget
  3. Prices now reflect this year’s rates. Booking now can improve the “cost factor” by locking in next year’s bus contract at this year’s rates
  4. Booking ahead helps you set the bus budget, and allocate the right resources and price your “bus ticket” prices as you begin to market your trip or set your department’s budget.

So, as the camps are announcing their dates, and restaurants are accepting Christmas and Year End party reservations, you should be reserving the buses you will need.

Get your quote here

 

Group Leader’s Bus Transportation Plan

Create a Group Leader’s Bus Transportation Plan to help leaders and guests have the most organized and best bus ride experience they’ve ever had.

Creating your Group Leader’s Bus Transportation Plan:

Organizing your operation is the key to any Bus Transportation Plan. Make it simple but complete, successful leaders (AKA “Sane leaders”) include a workflow from arrival on the departure date till their return date. When you’re organized you can avoid additional fees like late departures, or cost of shipping items left on your bus after the group unloaded.

students loading bus Bus Transportation Plan

Include these key components:

  • Write your itinerary and send it to your charter bus provider.
    • Make sure they correspond with proof the changes have been made on their work order. It’s a simple “this is what I want”, and hearing back from them “this is what I hear you saying you want”. (Heaps of mistakes on execution of an itinerary can be avoided at this point).
  • Create a plan. A good plan includes:
    • Create a messaging platform to communicate changes or updates with passengers
      • This can be done via text blasts, facebook, leaving updates at the central office, or posting on a facebook page.
    • Assign a bus “captain” to each bus
    • Have a master list with all bus captains cell phone numbers, and group leaders’ cell phone number (distribute to each core leader and bus captain)
    • Assign or determine how you will load the bus(es). Will guests, volunteers, or staff help the driver load the luggage bays.
    • Designate a bus NUMBER or COLOR for each bus (we like colors, keep reading for why).
    • Create a passenger manifest to each bus (manifest is fancy for passenger list)
    • Mark where the buses will “Stage” on arrival (cones with a bus NUMBER or COLOR work well here. (NOTE: the longest standard bus is a 45′ motor coach, so if you set up staging to accommodate this bus size you can pre-stage and have luggage staged for when buses arrive.
    • 8:00AM – Passengers arrive, check in
      • Check off name on passenger manifest
      • Share assigned bus
      • Hand a Bag Marker to each passenger (bag markers can be a simple ribbon, colored to match the bus “Color” so it’s easier to find the bag or have volunteers/staff load the buses according to the passenger manifest.
      • Passengers go through any medical check-in or specific group requirements at this point.
    • camp medications Bus Transportation Plan
      Some camps require medical physicals for each participant, and student camps collect meds for the staff nurse.

      8:15AM – Buse(s) Arrive.

      • Load bus with luggage, and if you will allow the group to place items on the bus, near their seats this can be done at that time.
      • Communicate with each driver the plan for departure, and drop off.
      • Introduce each bus captain to driver and communicate they are in charge of guests, and any key decisions, including RELEASING THE DRIVER AT THE DROP OFF. (More on this in a minute)
      • After luggage has been loaded have the passengers line up outside the bus door (It is our experience that everyone off the bus is the easiest way to complete an accurate headcount using your passenger manifest)
    • 8:35 – Bus captain checks off each name on passenger manifest as passengers load.
      • After all passengers have loaded bus captain count the manifest passengers listed
      • Bus captain to do a physical head count
      • Bus captain communicates directly with group leader the findings and receive the green light or further instructions regarding departure
      • After all passengers are loaded, and communication with group leader is confirmed, the group leader will dismiss each of the busses according to the itinerary
    • AT STOPS – COUNT THE PASSENGERS
      • Repeat the bus manifest check of passengers, and match with a physical headcount
      • Repeat after me “No Passengers Left Behind”
      • Bus captain releases the driver to proceed as planned on itinerary
    • ARRIVAL AT DESTINATION PROCEDURE
      • Tell Passengers to check around and under their seats to take all property off
      • Have passengers help load bags of any remaining trash (to avoid costly cleaning fees from some bus providers)
      • After passengers have collected backpacks, pillows and electronics bus captain dismisses group.
      • Unload luggage bays onto parking lot, or designated unloading space.
      • REMEMBER that handy Bag Marker now the passengers can use that as a sorting tool to find bags that might get mixed up with other buses’ luggages.
    • IMPORTANT: BEFORE BUS DEPARTURE (
      • INSPECT INSIDE AND LUGGAGE BAYS OF BUS for left behind baggage, or personal property.
      • “Lost” forgotten property, is the number one reason passengers call a provider post-trip. Save the postage and time of a phone call, by a simple check before bus captain signs the driver’s time sheet.
    • Communicate back with the office, parents, or any messaging platform you have, to share you’ve arrived safely.
  • Return Trip
    • Communicate back with your message platform (texts, facebook, office, etc) about the scheduled time of departure (ontime, late, weather dependent, etc.).
    • Follow the above loading procedure and drop off procedure to facilitate a successful end of your bus trip.
  • Run through the bus one last time looking for personal items left behind.

Driver’s Gratuities: “How much should tip my driver?”

United States service mantra seems to be consistent at 10%. However on a $500.00 airport transfer versus a $15,000.00 Yellowstone 13 day “over the road tour” a 10% service fee poses quite the difference. So what’s right, fair or expected?

First: Gratuity for a driver is a PRIVILEGE for them, not an OBLIGATION for you.  So, if you’re pleased with the service, awesome give them an expression of your gratitude in cash. If not, then your gratuity percentage or amount should reflect that.

Day Trip Gratuity: We see customers tip from $40-$150 per direction on a local mountain transfer that costs approximately $1,000 per direction on a motor coach bus.

Over the Road Gratuity: Often on an “over the road” tour type trip, customers will tip daily as the trip is going along, to share their continual gratitude and foster driver engagement. Remember, drivers are people too (we know not all people act like nice people, regardless of profession or expertise…people none-the-less) .  Rates vary by destination, but on an Over the Road trip in the US a $100-$150 gratuity is generous, and communicates your satisfaction with the service provider.

A good Group Leader’s Bus Transportation Plan takes the guessing out of the equation, plan for the expected tolls, gratuities, and staff meal costs. But never rule out the unexpected possibilities along the way.

Be prepared for the unexpected:

Communication is key. Stay in touch.

No matter how prepared you are, and how good your bus transportation plan is, remember, stuff happens.

The variables are endless, and beyond the scope of your ability to prepare, so remember to stay a little bit pliable. As changes occur the decision order should be bus captain and driver combined knowledge and experience used to assess the circumstances, then communicate with the group leader, and operate the collaborative plan.

Keep the non-passengers informed of changes too: If you need to communicate back to your message platform to inform the destination, staff, parents, or connecting transportation, airlines, etc,.

Regardless of where you travel  by bus in the United States, you need to be confident you’ve got the right bus for the job.

Charter bus group has been serving customers since 1995 as they travel to the snow, concerts, beaches, sales meetings, weddings, and special events.  We’d love to help you love your next transportation experience, make your next trip go smoothly so you can enjoy the ride and the destination.

Can we help you find the right bus for your next trip?

Contact us for a free quote at 888-442-9865.

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Charter Bus Rental Cost

Charter bus rentals are a big part of tours and church, school, sports, corporate, wedding, and charitable events. One of the biggest questions associated with renting a charter bus is, how much does a charter bus cost to rent? While there isn’t a simple, straight forward answer to this questions, a charter bus rental cost depends on several factors:

. Mileage to be traveled
. Round trip or one way destinations
. Current fuel costs
. Duration of the trip in hours or days
. Size of the charter bus required such as full size, van, double decker or mini bus
. Driver costs and expected road toll costs

Charter Bus Rental Estimates

To determine the charter bus rental cost, it is necessary to consider other luxury features desired such as onboard bathrooms, WiFi access and USB outlets, DVD players, and luggage storage capacity. These are some of the basics upon which charter bus rental prices are developed. The actual charter bus rental prices depend on these and other features specifically requested by a group or organization.

 

Deluxe charter buses (i.e. motorcoaches) costs vary by region, mileage, and several of the factors above, but on average, our packages start at the following:

  • 5-hour minimum starts at $650
  • 10-hour day starts at $1,000
  • Airport transfer starts at $400

How to Avoid Unnecessary Charter Bus Costs

Luxurious, 45+ passengers charter buses/motorcoaches may not be for every party. They are designed for long distance, comfortable tours and often come with additional amenities and excessive storage capacities. If you’re looking for transportation to and from local venues, a chartered motorcoach may not be the best option for your group. To avoid unnecessary costs, choose a bus type that provides and addresses your specific needs and ensure you compare amenities included or excluded in the costs. It may be a good idea to compare costs of luxury charter buses with standard charter buses so that the needs of each group or organization member is met and costs do not exceed budgets per person.

Charter Bus Rental Can Cost Less that Other Types of Travel

Corporate event planners often choose charter buses over other types of transportation because it is can be more economical and also allows employees of a business to continue to work as they travel in comfort to the corporate event.

In addition to convenience, comfort and amenities, rental costs for charter buses create attractive travel packages.

How to Plan for Charter Bus Rentals

To help you plan for your charter bus rental, confirm the date of the trip or tour, the secured number of bus occupants and duration of charter bus rental use. This helps formulate the estimated costs involved in the rental. Charter bus rentals are fairly easy to find online and off. Once basic details of the type of charter bus are determined, it is easier to give you a more accurate quote.

 

Availability and location of charter bus rentals will also affect pricing. For instance, travel in summer months by charter bus is usually heavier than in winter months, depending on the particular climate. This is also true for holiday seasons. Also, charter bus rental prices to a resort outside of the state may cost more than a resort located within the state.

When you’ve gathered the preliminary information mentioned above, the quickest method to get a free quote is to fill out a form here or call us directly 888-442-9865.

 

 

 

 

 

Rent a Charter Bus with WiFi Capabilities and USB Outlets in California!

If you’ve considered hiring a charter bus for your group excursion recently, you’ll appreciate the exceptional high tech capabilities of vehicles used by California’s Charter Bus Group! The buses provide customers with reliable transportation with excellent services. You’ll appreciate the ability to obtain high tech options for charter bus WiFi connectivity and USB ports to re-charge mobile devices during travel with select charter bus models. When passengers consider their experiences riding in a chartered bus, the luxury of the surroundings often contributes to their impression of the trip. Charter Bus Group ensures your rental buses (whether full-sized or small) provide modern, comfortable accommodations with select amenities included or available on request.

 

Stay connected or enjoy streamed content as you travel. Access the Internet on demand to plan your next stop while allowing group to re-charge their mobile phones and other devices.  California’s Charter Bus Group strives to help you make a truly outstanding impression when you rent our well-maintained vehicles for your group. As an experienced charter provider, we know the value of superb customer service!

Enjoy Modern Amenities

Of course, a lot of high tech capabilities won’t matter if the tour bus itself fails to perform well. We understand the importance in providing charter mini-buses and full-sized buses in excellent condition. Because of regular maintenance throughout the year, our buses provide smooth rides and are dependable. These vehicles can tackle all seasons’ mountain roadway conditions. You’ll also appreciate the attractive, clean vehicle interiors.  When you use one (or more) of our vehicles for your next charter group, passengers will quickly notice the comfort of their travel accommodations. Our bus interiors make an excellent first impression! The availability of several additional high tech communication and infotainment amenities, such as WiFi or USB charter bus outlet ports, gives an additional level of comfort. Leather seats, power outlets, fabric reclining seats, seatbelts, and many more options can make your road-sickness a thing of bus trips gone by.

WiFi: An Essential Technology Feature Today!

Most groups chartering buses or minibuses today appreciate the ability to utilize WiFi to enjoy Internet connectivity during travel. Whether you choose to keep in close communication with a tour organization during the course of your journey, or you simply wish to enjoy streamed music or infotainment while traveling, this features holds broad appeal. A WiFi enabled charter buses allow the use of many types of high tech devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Additionally, it remains important to recognize some of the limitations of WiFi capabilities for many mobile devices: these tools won’t necessarily function well in every type of terrain. The availability of charter bus WiFi will depend upon the region, so each group should take the time to confirm the details surrounding this feature well in advance to avoid disappointment later. Today, online connectivity enhances many charter group excursions in California, contributing significantly to passenger enjoyment.

Consider Charging a Laptop As You Travel

The availability of 110v outlets and USB Ports during charter mini-bus and bus tours enables members of a group to re-charge items of mobile technology conveniently while traveling. This feature contributes to the experience during a charted excursion. For instance, if you plan to relax during a ski trip into the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, taking along a fully charged mobile phone during your visit to a remote destination often proves quite useful. If members of a charter group become separated, a functional cell phone helps them re-unite more easily prior to the return leg of the journey. No one appreciates lengthy departure delays caused by a member of the party forgetting to charge a cell phone or other mobile device! When you arrange to charter a bus or mini-bus, ask your provider if they will have outlets on your coach. Ask us about power port availability in advance of your chartered bus trip, so everyone in your group can focus upon fun-filled recreation on the ski slopes instead of worrying about mundane communications details and charging options!

Impressive Technology Capabilities Over The Road

Consider chartering a comfortable, modern mini-bus or full-sized bus equipped with all the in-demand high tech capabilities your group prefers. Today, its impressive connectivity features make WiFi a highly desirable option for most chartered excursions. Built-in communications capabilities in the vehicle assist sponsors as they strive to furnish pleasant infotainment options for their members, for instance. Whether your passengers choose to listen to streamed music or educational content, or to watch video presentations while traveling, the availability of these options promotes satisfaction. You’ll appreciate the great feedback you receive as a charter sponsor by taking the time to ensure your group members obtain access to all the technology and communications charter bus outlet features they prefer. During previous eras, passengers sometimes regarded riding on a chartered bus as a boring experience. Today, the trip itself should prove both relaxing and very enjoyable!

 

We pay attention to the technology needs of passengers and want to provide the services you desire to ensure a comfortable, dependable, and connected ride. By hiring a luxurious California Charter Bus Group vehicle, you’ll make a wise investment in your trip ahead!

 

For a free quote, please fill out this form, or call us directly at 888-442-9865

 

 

The Best Reasons to Rent a School Bus for Your Wedding

Every bride wants to make her wedding day a memorable day, for herself and her guests. There are so many great ideas for how to make your wedding day amazing and it can be a challenge to pinpoint the most important elements to include. Your wedding day transportation will make all of the difference in your guests’ overall experience, and renting a school bus will make it a day they won’t soon forget.

 

The Ceremony

Of all of the things the guests will cherish and remember the most, it is your ceremony. Seeing the expressions of love on your faces and sharing in your special moment is a once in a lifetime experience. Many recently married women report that the details that went into planning the ceremony really paid off when it came to making the wedding memorable.

Getting to the wedding ceremony site on time and in style is essential. By renting a school bus, you can give your wedding a fun and whimsical touch. Your bridal party will love bouncing around town in your school bus adorned with wedding decorations. If you have a large wedding party, a school bus means that there is room for everyone, with space to spare.

 

The Photos

Of all of the things that will have a lasting impression, your photos are at the top of the list. You will be able to look back at them for years to come, remembering the wonder and emotion of your day. Having your school bus as a backdrop for your photos will make your photos even more amazing. Imagine having the yellow painted bus as a focal point against your dress and that of your bridesmaids. A yellow school bus is the excellent complement to fall photos, and has a sunny personality in summer pictures. Your photos will recall memories of school days and will serve as not only a prop in your pictures, but nostalgia about life as well.

Many brides and grooms find that school buses make it easier to get the entire bridal party to photo locations following the wedding. Instead of waiting for every member of the bridal party to get into their cars and drive individually to another location, they simply use the school bus and travel together. This means you can get pictures taken quicker and spend more time mingling with guests at your reception.

 

The Reception

The reception is the time to kick up your heels and celebrate your union with your friends and family. One of the things that guests most appreciate is transportation from the ceremony site to the reception site. If you are not holding your wedding and reception in the same place, consider hiring a school bus to transport your guests. Since school buses can hold up to 58 passengers, you will only need a few buses, even if you have a large wedding. For guests with mobility issues, you may hire smaller motorcoaches, or school buses that can accommodate wheelchairs. When you are considering ways to make it easy for your guests to get to your reception, consider a wedding school bus rental.

Guests love not having to get back into their cars to drive to another location after your wedding. By providing a means of transportation, your guests will be able to enjoy themselves at your reception and enjoy alcohol without worrying about immediately driving home.

 

The Pre-Wedding Parties

The pre-wedding parties are a way for the bride and groom to enjoy a few last celebrations before settling into married life. Renting a school bus to transport you and your fellow party goers around town is a fun way to get to your destinations safely. Wedding school buses are also great if you plan to be drinking and don’t want to worry about designating a driver. Your friends will have a great time taking photos in front of the bus and sharing their photos on social media.

Some brides will also use school buses on the day of the wedding to transport everyone to wedding day appointments. They use the buses to transport everyone from the hotel to the nail salon, hair salon and to pick up dresses and accessories for the wedding. They may also use them to pick up other members of the wedding party like parents of the couple, flower girls, ring bearers and other attendants. A school bus is not only fun, but functional, especially on a wedding day when time is short.

Some brides and grooms schedule bachelor and bachelorette weekends that take them on getaways where they can bond and enjoy a fun experience before the wedding. School bus shuttles and transport are best for local transport; we suggest no more than two hours away from your departure to location. There are two major amenities that school buses lack…air conditioning for the hot months, and bathrooms for your guests.  School buses are best for short trips only.

 

Wedding School Bus Rental and Parking

If you are having your wedding in a city location that has limited parking, you can use school buses as shuttles to take your guests from parking lots to the ceremony and reception site. Because school buses can hold up to 58  guests at a time, you can avoid guests having to wait as buses fill up. Schedule the buses to pick up at the parking lot at designated times to make it easier for your guests to get to the ceremony on time. Nobody wants to be driving around looking for parking and miss the ceremony. Rent buses and give your guests the peace of mind that their cars are safe and that they can get to the ceremony on time.

When you want to enjoy a memorable wedding that neither you or your guests will soon forget, consider a school bus rental for wedding. Whether you want to use it to get the bridal party to the church on time or to transport your guests to the reception site, you will find that school buses are both fun and convenient. Rent your wedding school bus today.

Call us at, 888.442.9865 or fill out a form to get a quote today.

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