The wheels and the bus go ‘round and ‘round — and so do the dollar signs? Not so fast.
Not every charter bus rental has to cost an armrest and a luggage compartment. If your group requires a vehicle all to themselves and the ability to customize the itinerary, then chartering is your best option. But not every bus type breaks the bank. Need to massage that budget? A school bus rental might be just what you need for your next office holiday party or crosstown football game.
Out of all the bus types offered here at Bus.com, the school bus is the one that gets right down to business. It’s the most affordable and gives you just what you need: an inexpensive way to get from one place to the next. The school bus leaves the extravagant amenities behind in favour of simplicity. We provide the driver, you tell us where we’re going. It’s easier on the wallet and gets the job done. So how do we get to our final rental price?
Factors that Affect the Price of a Charter Bus Rental
Where You’re Headed
Life’s not always about the destination, but in this case it’s important. Your Point B will not only factor into the which-bus-to-choose decision; it’s also one of the main contributors to your final bill. The school bus is designed for shorter trips and is the most cost-effective way to bring a big group across town. People requiring a shuttle service for out-of-town wedding guests or chaperoning a class field trip often opt for the classic yellow school bus as the most affordable option
When You’re Headed There
As the seasons change, so do charter bus costs. Take that class field trip example. Most of these types of trips take place in the fall or spring, during the school year of course. Because there’s more demand, the cost of renting a school bus during those peak seasons will run a little higher. Then there’s the price of gas, something that can’t necessarily be predicted over the long term. Still, take a look at the dollar figure at your local gas station around the time of your scheduled trip, and that’ll indicate what you can expect from your school bus’ fuel cost.
Where You’re Stopping
How many bathroom breaks and fast food runs are you planning to take? Before you do, make sure you’re aware that these stops aren’t free. Chauffeurs are paid for their drive time and their on-duty time — just because the bus isn’t in motion, doesn’t mean your driver’s not on the clock. Drive time refers to the time your bus is in the motion. On-duty time on the other hand refers to the entire time your driver is working, even if they’re not driving. So every time you pull off for a snack or to sightsee, you’re still paying for your driver’s services.
Speaking of the driver, don’t forget to factor them into your school bus rental cost! While this won’t apply for day trips or short-term shuttle service, if you’re organizing a multi-day event, you need to know the regulations that are in place to protect professional drivers’ rights. Remember that they need to be rested; your group’s safety is at stake.
Here are the country-specific regulations:
- Regulated by: Motor Coach Canada Association
- A driver can drive a maximum of 13 hours per day
- On-duty time must not exceed 14 hours per day
- Off-duty time must reach a minimum of 10 hours in a 24-hour day
- Regulated by: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- A driver can drive a maximum of 10 hours per day
- On-duty time must not exceed 15 hours per day
- Off-duty time must reach a minimum of 8 consecutive hours
The Bus You’re Riding On
Each bus in our fleet has different features and therefore a different price point. While everything you’ve read in this article will go into determining your final dollar amount, a school bus rental cost ranges, on average, from $389 to $850 per day. The school bus is the bare bones of bus travel, so what you’ll be getting in cost savings and convenience, you’ll be giving up in amenities. For the most accurate outlook on price, plan your trip online with our easy-to-use booking wizard.
How to Save Money on a School Bus Rental
Go in the Off Season
One of the best ways to save a little coin on your school bus rental cost is to exploit the age old law of supply and demand. If you simply plan your bus trip at an unpopular time, you’re bound to get a better price! So when is demand lower for school bus rentals? The middle of winter and summer. As mentioned earlier, student transportation and field trips are some of the leading uses for the school bus. We know what time of year those reservations are in demand — so, as George Costanza once said: do the opposite!
Fill the Bus
The typical school bus can accommodate 47 people. So can you reserve one for a group of 25? Sure you can, but you’d be paying for 22 empty seats, not exactly a wise use of your money. So the goal here is to grow your group to as close to capacity as you possibly can. That way, you’ll lower your cost per person and get more bang for your bus. Yeah we did.
Many long-distance trip organizers get dinged in the wallet a little harder than expected due to frequent and lengthy pit stops. While that tends to be less of a problem with shorter local trips, it’s still worth understanding that those stops aren’t free. When you have a professional driver, they’re paid for their drive time and their on-duty time, explained earlier. Be cognizant of your pullovers and there shouldn’t be any surprises when you’re handed the bill. To cut costs, eliminate unnecessary stops and off-the-beaten path detours.
Now that you have a sense of the cost of your bus rental, you can start planning your trip in greater detail. And as an expert in stretching your dollar, you’ll feel great about building an itinerary that keeps costs down and everyone happy. Ka-ching!