How to Hire Brochure | American Bus Association

How to Hire Brochure

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.”

Download the Brochure

Before You Hire (Key Points)

Operating Authority

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.

Satisfactory Rating

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 $5 million in liability insurance coverage.

Safety Information

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.

Commercial License

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.

Safety Messaging

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.

Local Recommendations

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.

Bilingual Drivers

If you require it, check to make sure that the operator has bilingual drivers.

The American Bus Association serves a thriving industry that provides nearly 600 million passenger trips annually on charters, tours, scheduled service, and shuttles. Membership in ABA includes motorcoach operators, tour operators, tourism-related organizations, and products and service suppliers.

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