Hiring a motorcoach company for your next charter or tour is an important decision and there are several factors to consider, among them safety.
The American Bus Association, along with the Bus Industry Safety Council and the Student Youth Tour Association (SYTA) have created this brochure called “Before You Hire a Motorcoach Company-What You Need to Know.”
Before You Hire (Key Points)
Motorcoach companies must have federal operating authority if they cross any state or provincial lines, and should be able to offer you proof of that authority, which is issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) or Transport Canada. Additionally, many states and provinces require that a carrier obtain operating authority for interstate operations.
All motorcoach companies that are members in good standing within ABA must have and maintain a ‘Satisfactory’ rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Ask for proof of a valid, current insurance certificate that provides a U.S. minimum of five million dollars in liability insurance coverage.
Ask for the carrier's U.S. DOT number. Carriers are required to have a U.S.DOT number clearly displayed, and it should be either five or six digits long. By using that number, you can view the carrier's safety information online.
All U.S. based motorcoach companies must be inspected every three years. You can call the individual motorcoach company to inquire about inspection, bus maintenance and repair.
All U.S. drivers are required to have a valid, current Commercial Driver's License (CDL), with a "passenger" endorsement printed on the license itself. CDLs are only issued after drivers have demonstrated their abilities through on-road skills and a knowledge test.
Hours of Service
Long or quick-turn-around trips may require an extra driver to adhere to federal Hours of Service safety requirements.
Make sure the company complies with FMCSA pre-trip passenger safety messaging requirements. Ask them if they show ABA's safety video, play ABA's audio CD, or are equipped with ABA's seatback pocket safety message cards. Check Out the Safety Messaging
For scheduled intercity service from your town to points everywhere, research online and crosscheck your available choices with the ABA companies.
Ask the operator for recommendations on lodging, restaurants, destinations, and tourist attractions. Remember that motorcoach and tour company professionals deal with these companies daily. As "preferred customers," they can often negotiate favorable group rates for you and even provide some extras.
If you require it, check to make sure that the operator has bilingual drivers.