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What Is a Charter Bus?

It is possible to charter specialty buses.
Open-air charter bus for touring.
Charter buses are often used for sightseeing.
A charter bus.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 July 2014
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A charter bus is a bus that is hired by a person or organization to transport people to a specific destination. These buses are typically run by private companies, rather than by public transit agencies, and they may include a number of amenities designed to keep people comfortable, including air conditioning, entertainment systems, reclining seating, and so forth.

When people charter a bus, they may pay a flat fee or be charged a fee based on the mileage. The bus comes with a driver who has been trained to operate the bus safely, and holds a license that permits the bus driver to drive passengers. Rather than following a set route, as is the case with buses used for public transit, a charter bus travels at the direction of the person or organization who hired it. Classically, the passengers meet the bus in a public location like a parking lot or airport, although the bus may also pick people up at their homes, making a number of stops to collect passengers.

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There are a number of reasons for people and organizations to use a charter bus rental. Renting a bus is far cheaper than buying and maintaining one, especially when transportation is only periodically needed, which makes charters appealing. Groups may charter one for the purpose of touring an area, as for example when people want to go wine tasting in a big group, and they can also use a charter to move a large group of people who would otherwise travel independently, potentially wasting time, money, and fuel. For example, students preparing for an class trip overseas might use such a bus to get to the airport, rather than driving themselves.

Charter buses can also be used to provide transport to people who would otherwise be unable to travel. Some facilities designed for seniors and people with disabilities use the buses to take residents on trips, or for more routine tasks like getting people to the polls, the grocery store, and other destinations. They can also be used for tasks like emergency evacuations, moving sports teams, and transporting bands.

Many urban areas have several companies that offer bus rental, and people in more remote areas may be able to find a company in the vicinity that will offer services to their area. When renting a vehicle, people should inquire about the rates, possible additional fees for mileage, and the type of insurance the company carries. Some other concerns include the safety record of drivers, the maintenance record on the bus, and the type of amenities the company offers on its bus fleet.

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Discuss this Article

anon354984
Post 5

In marching band we were getting quotes from our school district's transportation department and from a private charter bus company. Surprisingly, a 200 mile trip using three buses would cost us $9k with the school and only $3k with a charter bus.

clintflint
Post 4

It's actually a really good idea if you have a big group going to a sports event or something, to pass a hat around and get a chartered bus. It's not all that expensive if you fill it up and it means you can all relax without having to worry about transport, or about people getting drunk and trying to drive and so forth.

It can actually be a lot of fun as well. I have some pretty awesome memories of sing-a-longs in buses like that. It just seems like the kind of atmosphere that helps everyone to get along and have fun.

Mor
Post 3

@pastanaga - Yeah, a more important feature these days might be a wireless internet connection for the passengers to use. If you want, you can still assign a particular video to the class, but they might actually be able to hear it properly, which was always my problem with playing videos on transportation.

The only problem is that you run the risk of the students getting into sites that they shouldn't, since the connection probably won't be locked down the way it would be on the school grounds.

pastanaga
Post 2

I remember my high school used to use a charter bus for field trips and they often got one with a TV set at the front for everyone to watch. It was pretty awesome, because it kept everyone busy so we didn't get too rowdy and it made the trip go much faster.

I guess these days half the students would have their own ipads anyway, so it might be a bit redundant. I can still see how a resourceful teacher might play a video related to the trip in order to maximize the time with the students though.

anon258281
Post 1

Different from public transportation systems, charter buses have the amenities stated above: great air control, entertainment systems, reclining seats, etc. Plus, it will take you wherever your group wants to go. You're the navigator - let the driver worry about everything else.

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