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Contracting for motorcoach services can be very complicated. Unless you carefully prepare your specifications, your groups could end up high and dry on the side of the road! Making decisions strictly on price can leave the person responsible for securing the transportation in a very precarious position.

To help you get all the service and reliability you want and need, we offer these tips for better chartering. We hope that they will help you be better informed and keep your groups safe, comfortable and satisfied.
Does your group have any special needs that must be met?
Things like the need for video, microphone, or other special equipment.
Clearly spell out your schedule and what is involved in detail.
Be sure the company knows what hours the driver must be available to the group.
Ask how long the company has been in business.
Find out when the company was established, and how long it has been offering charter motorcoach services. A good track record is always desirable.
Request that the company supply its ICC and DOT Numbers.
Such numbers are assigned by the U.S. Government and are required to operate legally.
What is the company's DOT Safety Rating?
A satisfactory rating is standard. Never charter from a company with an unsatisfactory rating. Call the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Motor Carriers at 1-800-832-5660 to verify a carrier's safety rating.
Ask for references.
Request and contact references from similar type groups travelling on similar type programs. Never charter from a company unwilling to provide references.
Ask how many coaches are in their fleet.
Overall charter fleet size is important. It provides a gauge to the operator's ability to supply alternate vehicles in the event of a mechanical problem, on multi-motorcoach movements, or on weekends and during peak seasons. It also provides some insight into the success of the company.
Request a Certificate of Insurance.
Your carrier should supply a Certificate of Insurance. This certificate shows the carrier's level of insurance and effective policy dates. Accepted levels of insurance call for a minimum of $5 million for combined single limit liability.
Is the company adhering to Department of Transportation driver regulations?
The DOT limits drivers to 10 hours of continuous service. If your itinerary requires more than the limit, ask how the charter company is going to handle it.
Ask the company's procedures for on the road emergencies.
The operator should have access to a nationwide reciprocal maintenance agreement which will assure you of prompt servicing of equipment in all regions of the USA.
Is the company available for inspections?
You should inspect the motorcoach equipment, general offices and garage facilities before signing any contracts or agreements. You can tell a lot about a company just by looking.
What is the average age of the equipment operated?
Vehicles that are over 10 years old, unless properly maintained on a preventive maintenance basis, can have a greatly diminished reliability factor. Generally, the newer the motorcoach, the fewer the breakdowns.
Are video equipped motorcoaches available?
Video-equipped coaches can be a genuine asset. You can view educational videos or provide movies to help pass the hours. Sports teams can even view game videos; a great way to see your opponent, or review your own performance.
Is the carrier legally licensed to show first-run motion pictures?
Only carriers which hold such a license may show these films. Request to see a copy of the license.
Does the company have an ongoing driver safety incentive program?
Constant monitoring and recognition by a Safety Director provides piece of mind.
Does the company have a drug screening program in place?
Specify that your carrier supply a copy of their written drug policy and drug testing program. Never charter from a carrier that does not strongly enforce a drug-free workplace.
Can the company supply a list of qualified drivers?
Ask the carrier to submit a list of current qualified drivers, who have a CDL Ð commercial driver's license, have passed the DOT physical examination requirements, and carry approved driver qualification documentation.
Does the Company comply with the NYS Education Commissioners rules and regulations?
Regulation 19A specifies safety regulations that must be adhered to when transporting school children. This includes FBI screenings including fingerprinting and criminal history checks.
Who is responsible for extra mileage costs above the contracted amount?
Find out the carrier's policy before the trip, not when you get the bill!
Is the carrier a full service company?
Do they have their own maintenance facilities? Can they provide vehicles to meet special needs?
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