Whether you’re planning an epic multi-city sightseeing trip, simply looking for a quick and easy way to get a group across town, or anything in between, Bus.com has got the perfect vehicle for you. We offer a wide array of charter bus rentals, suitable for any group and any situation, from long-haul drives for which comfort is paramount, to high-volume looping shuttle services.
The minibus is ideal for transporting smaller groups over a short distance. A scaled-down version of a school bus rental, it’s one of our most cost-effective and versatile transportation solutions.
Student, corporate, and tourist groups frequently opt for the minibus, using it to shuttle guests between campuses, conference venues, and local tourist attractions, to name a few. It’s also great for group airport transportation, far outstripping taxis in both cost and convenience.
Your minibus rental comes with an experienced, safety-conscious driver who is familiar with area roads, so you can relax and focus on your group. For DIY-type groups who would like to save even more money, we also offer sprinter vans that can be driven by a member of your group.
Now, let’s talk about minibus rental costs. Specifically, how much does it cost to rent a charter bus, and what are the factors that determine that price?
What Factors Might Affect My Charter Bus Rental Costs?
The price of your charter bus rental should be pretty cut-and-dried, right? The bigger the bus and the more bells and whistles, the higher the cost. While bus size and amenities are factors in determining how much your rental will cost, there are other elements to consider as well. Here they are in no particular order.
Time of Booking
This one’s easy. The earlier you book, the bigger the pool of bus providers we have to choose from. We’ll still be able to sort you out if you book last minute, but we may have to look a little further down the road from you, which can up the price significantly.
Time of Year
Like most tourism-related industries, there is a high season and a low season for charter bus rentals. Springtime is busiest, with the abundance of school field trips and academic conferences driving up demand and ultimately, cost. Low season includes, naturally, mid-winter and, somewhat surprisingly, mid-summer, as there are fewer school trips and corporate conferences to contend with.
Gas prices are constantly in flux, and while these daily fluctuations won’t significantly affect your charter bus rental cost, occasional major spikes and dips will factor in.
And of course, the bigger the vehicle, the more fuel it consumes. While today’s buses are engineered to be as fuel-efficient as possible, and while renting a charter bus is one of the most environmentally-friendly ways for groups to travel, you still want to make sure you’re not paying for more space than you need. A confirmed head count ahead of time will ensure you get the most economical bus for your group.
Bus Type and Amenities
As stated above, this is mostly related to fuel costs. However, some amenities, such as A/C and audiovisual equipment, may affect your charter bus rental cost, simply due to availability (all the more reason to book early).
Minibuses are generally the go-to choice for groups who are looking for nothing more than getting from A to B safely and efficiently. While one or two extra amenities might not be difficult to accommodate, if you’re looking for a more elevated transportation experience, you might consider renting a mini coach bus instead.
Again, this relates mostly to fuel, but also to the driver’s time. Minibuses are typically used for short hops across the city and day trips, but they can also be used as a looping shuttle service for an event held at multiple venues or between hotels and airports. That can add up quite a bit of time and mileage. Having a firm grasp of your itinerary before you book can eliminate any cost-related surprises.
Given that your rental comes with a professional driver who can expertly navigate the trickiest traffic situations while making your group’s safety a priority, it stands to reason that they should be properly remunerated.
Drivers are paid for both drive time and on-duty time. The former refers to time spent on the road, while the latter includes time not spent driving but still on the clock. This includes lunch breaks and time spent at planned stops.
Many people might not be aware of this, but this factor carries the most weight in terms of determining your charter bus rental cost. Read on for how to get around it, and for other tips and tricks for saving money on your minibus rental.
How Can I Significantly Reduce My Charter Bus Rental Costs?
While Bus.com’s team of booking specialists work hard to get you the best prices out there, there are things that you can do to save money on your charter bus rental.
DIY – Drive it Yourself, That Is!
If you meet all the criteria for a minibus rental and you’re looking for ways to shave off some of the costs, why not opt for a non-chauffeured Sprinter van? Most vans seat between 8 and 12 passengers, with some accommodating up to 15. Vans are easy to operate and in most cases only require a standard driver’s licence. All you need is a group member who is ready to skipper the ship and you’re good to go!
Book Far in Advance
We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: the sooner you book, the lower your bus rental costs will be. The most important things to have down before you confirm your booking is an accurate headcount (at least to be sure you won’t exceed the limit of your vehicle and have to upgrade later), and itinerary (adding miles or stops down the road might throw your budget off).
Keep the Extras to a Minimum
Transportation organizers tend to overestimate the needs of their group and will often book bigger and more well-equipped buses than is necessary. Sure, you might impress your guests by having a luxe lounge-on-wheels roll up, but unless the drive is the main event, it might be overkill. You know your group best. Think about whether they need an on-board bathroom, A/C, or a state-of-the-art sound system.
Check Your Destination’s Social Calendar
You may not be able to control what season your rental is in, but you can look ahead to make sure your event isn’t competing with other large events in the area that can drive bus rental costs up.
You may want to avoid LA altogether during Coachella, for instance, or Orlando during Spring Break (unless that’s where your group is headed, obviously). The less competition you have for charter bus rentals, the lower your bus rental costs will be.
Remember, the more information you have on your event, your group, and your group’s needs, the better. In the meantime, feel free to play around with our online booking tool to get an idea of your charter bus rental cost. It allows you to change parameters and compare prices, commitment-free. You’re also welcome to enlist one of Bus.com’s expert booking and trip-planning specialists to help you get started. Whether chauffeured or self-driven, you’ll be on the road to a successful event in no time.