Most people have boarded a bus or train without pondering the competence of the driver, reputation of the company or condition of the vehicle. But when you’re the person responsible for chartering a bus, you’re in a whole new territory. All the members of your group are trusting you to provide them with a safe and comfortable ride.
So how do you know whom you can rely on? Here are ten tips to make sure you and your group arrive at your destination happy, healthy and in one piece.
- Check the company’s ID. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulates companies that cross state lines. If the charter company can produce a U.S. Department of Transportation ID number, you know they’re complying with insurance requirements and other federal and state regulations.
- Find out the date of their last inspection. To comply with state and federal requirements, commercial buses are inspected annually. Request a look at the company’s most recent report.
- Ask to see the company’s accident record. This will tell you a lot.
- Review the charter company’s insurance. It should carry at least $5 million if their buses transport more than 15 passengers or $1.5 million for smaller buses.
- Make sure the carrier has a satisfactory or better safety record by looking up the company in http://www.safersys.org
- Does your driver comply with regulations? He or she should hold a valid commercial drivers license and have passed a physical exam in the last two years.
- Check out company policies regarding employees. Does the company conduct random drug and alcohol tests? Do they follow safety rules such as limiting drivers to 10 hours of driving? Do drivers have at least eight hours off between shifts? Drivers shouldn’t drive more than 60 hours in a single week.
- What if there’s trouble outside of normal business hours? You want to work with a company that can help you 24/7. Make sure there’s a live person you can reach in an emergency, day or night.
- What’s your impression of the people representing the company? Are they clean, polite and professional? Do they look you in the eye? Do you trust them?
- What’s your impression of the bus? Try out the seat. Is it clean and comfortable? Can you imagine relaxing on this bus for a long ride? Ask the company how many buses they have, and how long they’ve been in service.
At AFC, we comply with all federal and state regulations and hire only the most competent, professional and personable drivers. We are confident you’ll be happy with our service. But if you have any questions, just ask. We pride ourselves on transparency and will go out of our way to make you, our customer, feel at home while you ride with us.