What is a Charter Bus?

Have you ever tried to organize a class field trip, corporate outing, or sports game using only personal vehicles as transportation? For many, this experience is nothing less than a nightmare. A charter bus is a much easier way to transport a group of individuals.

What is a charter bus?

A charter bus is a private vehicle rental used by private groups to take them, and only them, to their destination. With a charter bus, your group has the vehicle to themselves and gets to customize their itinerary as much as they’d like. Charter buses typically feature perks like a driver, undercarriage storage space, onboard bathrooms, free WiFi, and more.

The next time someone asks you, What is a charter bus? — you’ll respond, It’s the best way for groups to travel.

A (Very) Brief History of Charter Buses

Coaches have been used for transportation since as early as 3000 B.C.E. — but of course, in those days, the carriages were drawn by horse. They were also only available to society’s most powerful, and useful only where the roads were of high enough quality.

A vintage coach bus from the 1960s.

Coach buses as we know them today got their start in the early 20th century, when motors began to replace horses and the vehicles were made available to schoolchildren, workers, and tourists rather than solely the rich.

In the 1920s, operators such as Leyland Motors and Southdown Motor Services rose to prominence with their heavyweight passenger buses. Today, large-scale operators like Coach Canada and Greyhound serve millions of customers each year in hundreds of locations across North America with fleets of thousands of buses. And the buses? They’ve made some improvements on those over the years too.

Charter Bus Types

Staring at a list of bus types with no real clue of which one to choose? There’s a method to the madness of booking a bus, and it starts with one simple question: How many people am I travelling with?

Once you have a headcount, you can narrow down your options. Then, you’ll be able to compare two or three buses based on price, amenities, trip distance, and more. But start with a number.

Coach bus

A modern coach bus.

  • For 30-55 riders
  • Extra legroom, luggage space, and on-board bathrooms
  • Special requests like WiFi

Simply put, the coach bus is our most luxurious option. It’s pricier than the others, but you get what you pay for.

Minibus charter rentals

Mini coach

  • For 28 riders or less
  • Large overhead and undercarriage storage compartments
  • Air conditioning

The mini coach is a great opton if you’re a smaller group, but you still want the comforts of the coach for a long — or special — trip.

School bus

A classic yellow school bus.

  • For 30-47 riders
  • Budget-friendly
  • Nostalgia included free of charge

The school bus is a great opton if you’re not going too far, and you need the convenience of a single vehicle rather than a carpool.


One possible minibus configuration.

  • For 21 riders or less
  • Most cost-effective
  • Intimate for small groups

Minibuses are convenient for a group of tourists hopping from one attraction to the next, or as a shuttle service from airport to hotel.

Sprinter van

Sprinter vans are an underrated, versatile vehicle.

  • For 8-15 riders
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • DIY: Drive it yourself

Sprinter vans are great if you prefer to keep your small group together rather than taking two or three cars, plus you don’t mind driving yourself.

Most Popular Reasons to Rent a Charter Bus

The money makes sense

Bus travel gets you the best bang for your buck. You can rent a school bus to transport 45 people for as little as $389 per day. For the same group, you’d have to rent nine cars — a fleet that would run you well over $400.

Bonding experience

It’s just more fun on the bus. Corporate groups, sports teams, and classmates get to spend more time together on the road getting to know each other, telling stories, and laughing. Team building is travel time well spent.


Rather than organizing a complicated carpool with various meeting points, travel directions, and gas receipts, a charter bus keeps everyone together throughout the trip. One pick-up and one drop-off location — plus your professional driver takes care of the wheel. 

Societal responsibility

By slashing the number of cars your group puts on the road, you’re helping to cut back on greenhouse emissions. You’re also contributing to less congested roads — not to mention the sanity of your passengers that don’t have to stop-and-start through frustrating traffic jams!

It’s soooo easy!

Booking a charter bus through Bus.com’s online booking tool is a breeze. You can plan your itinerary, get access to our vast fleet of buses, and get a quote all on one page within a few clicks. If you need more help, you can connect with our customer service team by chat or by phone.

In conclusion, a charter bus s a privately rented vehicle that makes group travel easy, convenient, and cost-effective. For field trips, wedding parties, corporate outings, and many more types of travel, the charter bus is the answer.

Do you have a need for a charter bus?

Our online booking tool is the easiest way to get instant prices and options