Touch of Class Bus, LLC
Charter Bus, Transportation and Shuttle

Charter Bus and Transportation Services

 Touch of Class Bus specializes in senior citizen travel and also offers a wide range of travel and shuttling services for groups of all types. Our shuttles are cleaned and maintained in keeping with the highest standards of safety and comfort and feature the added conveniences of carpet, window shades, DVD systems and Wi-Fi internet. Plus, our professional drivers have more than 30 years of experience in the industry!

Our services include:
  • Day Trips, Overnight Trips & Multi-day Trips
  • Airport Shuttling Services/Transfers
  • Cruise Port Terminal Shuttling Services/Transfers
  • School & Church Trips
  • Convention Shuttling Services
  • Hotel Shuttling Services
  • Local & Nationwide Transportation
For more information on our services or to begin planning your next group trip, contact us today. One of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives will be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you get started.

Top 10 Things to Know Before Chartering a Bus

  1. You can check a company's government safety rating and insurance by visiting www.safer.fmcsa.dot.gov
  2. Availability varies depending on season, day of week, and area and may require booking 21 to 90 days in advance.
  3. Companies will typically deadhead (travel empty) in from up to 1 hour away for multi-day trips.
  4. The average deposit to book a bus is 10% for trips over the road.
  5. Full-size coaches averaged $2.66 per mile in 2004 for trips over the road*.
  6. Operators cannot drive more than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off-duty.
  7. Prices do not typically rise as the travel date draws near or in times of low availability.
  8. Companies may subcontract your trip out to another bus company if they become over-sold.
  9. Charters are typically priced by the hour for local use, and by the mile when trips average more than 300 miles per day.
  10. A majority of companies will allow alcohol on-board with a refundable deposit of $150.
    *Destinations Magazine 2004 Industry Survey

Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Chartering a Bus

  1. Does the company have its own maintenance program?
  2. Does the quote include parking and tolls?
  3. For trips over the road: How many local miles are allowed per day after reaching your destination? What is the charge for exceeding them?
  4. Does the company own the bus you will use, or will it be brokered out?
  5. What is their cancellation policy?
  6. Is the bus available for inspection before chartering?
  7. What affiliations are they members of?/How involved in the industry are they?
  8. Can they provide a insurance certificate showing they have the state required $5 million in coverage?
  9. Does the bus operator have a cell phone and the company, a 24 hour phone line in case of a breakdown?
  10. Who pays for the driver's hotel room?

Why Travel By Bus?

Buses are safe. The bureau of transportation reports that buses are twice as safe as flying and 46 times safer than driving an automobile.

 
Buses reach more destinations. Buses take you right to the doorstep of your destination. Planes and Trains only take you to the nearest stop.

Buses allow mobility. Buses are available to taxi your group around for your entire stay.

Buses are the most fuel efficient. Buses only use 797 BTU's per passenger mile compared to planes using 4847, trains using 2450, and autos using 3639 according to the US Department of transportation energy book data, 1999 (Bureau of transportation statistics, center for transportation analysis).

Buses are better for the environment. Because of their fuel efficiency, buses are better for the environment than most other alternatives.

Buses are inexpensive. Chartering a bus is typically half the cost of flying, not including benefit that buses provide local travel.

Frequently Asked Questions (when chartering a bus)

How much of a deposit is required?
10% of the charter price

When is the final payment due?
Two weeks (14 days) before departure.

What is the cancellation policy?
A Touch Of Class Bus allows you to cancel 14 days before departure.

How soon do I need to book?

Technically, you can reserve a bus right up until the day of travel, but the best time to book is at least 30 days before travel to ensure availability.

Do I need to tip the bus operator?
The standard gratuity is 10%

Do I pay for parking, tolls and other fees?
Yes, Group is required

Do I need to book the hotel room for the bus operator?
Yes, for overnight trips, it is customary to book the operator's hotel room, but most hotels will comp the bus operator's room (provide the room for free) when you book rooms for large groups. Ask for someone in group sales at the hotel to ensure the operator's room gets comped.

Is alcohol allowed?
Yes, with A fee of $150.00. No SMOKING
I have a CDL License, can I charter a bus without a operator?
No, the bus owner's insurance policy doesn't allow it.
*Destinations Magazine 2003 Industry Survey

Charter Bus Amenities

Qty. - Quantity of this type of bus the company owns.

Seats. - The number of seats available for your group.

Bus Type. - 50-57 Seats

Year. - 2004 and Newer

OTR. - Is the company willing to take this bus "Over The Road" which is usually defined by traveling long distances out of state and overnight.

Rstrm. - Restroom on board.

VCR. - There are usually 5 to 6 TV monitors on board full-sized deluxe motor coaches with a VCR. Most buses do not receive any channels unless equipped with satellite, which is uncommon.

DVD. - There are usually 5 to 6 TV monitors on board full-sized deluxe motor coaches with a DVD player. Most buses do not receive any channels unless equipped with satellite, which is uncommon.

CD. - CD player on board. PA. Public address system on board to help make announcements to the group.

ADA. - Wheelchair elevator on board.

Alch. - Alcohol is allowed on board.

Trnsfr. - Any pick-up and drop-off typically from a hotel to an airport around 15 miles of travel (excluding 10% gratuity).

5 hrs. - 5 hour rates are based on 5 hours of local use, low miles (excluding 10% gratuity). Bus companies most commonly have a 5 hour minimum of use with the exception of transfers.

Day. - Day rates are based on 10 hours of local use, low miles (excluding 10% gratuity.)

Mile. - The rate per mile of travel. Quotes are calculated per mile or per day whichever is greater. Trips averaging over 300 miles per day are usually priced per mile and not per day.

Other amenities found on buses are cassette, tables, booth-like seating, convertible bunks, shades, carpeting, satellite and catered food. Minibuses have luggage racks and reclining seats.

The Components of a Quote

Local Use Charters

  • Hours of use: Local travel is most commonly based on hours of use. The national average rate per hour for a full size deluxe motor coach is $85.00-$120.00 with 5 hour min.
  • Gratuity: The standard bus operator gratuity for chartering a bus is 10%.
  • Sales Tax: There is no sales tax when chartering a bus in most states.

Over the Road Charters

  • Mileage: Buses traveling out of the local area and overnight are quoted based on miles. The average charge per mile across the nation is $3.10-$5.00
  • Day Rate: The minimum charge per day if the per-mile charge is not more than the combined day rates. The average day rate is $850-$2760
  • Driver Change: For every 10 hours of driving, or 15 hours of stand-by time, law requires 10 consecutive hours of rest. If you plan on driving over 10 hours, an operator change has to be made. Bus Operator changes range from $200 to $900 depending on how far from the departure city the change has to be made.
  • Local Travel: The amount of local mileage allowed per day once the bus reaches the destination city.
  • Driver Hotel: Usually the customer books and pays for the operator's hotel room, but most hotels will comp the operator's room at no charge when you book several rooms for your group. Ask for someone in group sales at the hotel to ensure the operator's room is complimentary.
  • Gratuity: The standard gratuity for trips over the road is 10%.
  • Sales Tax: There is no sales tax when chartering a bus in most states
  • Other expenses: Depending on your destination, you may encounter other fees such as bridge tolls or airport taxes, most companies include these in your initial quote, and some have you pay for them as they are incurred.
*All contracts (current & prior) are subject to an "Energy Surcharge" ranging from (2-30%)
*Destinations Magazine 2004 Industry Survey.

Charter Bus Safety Regulations

The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the charter bus industry. Bus operators are required to carry a current DOT Physical Exam Card, be drug tested under DOT rules and regulations, and maintain a log for miles and hours of service. Coaches are not required by state or federal law to have seat belts. Some states require that operators be certified for all school sponsored trips, grades 12 and under.
The DOT regulation 395.10 restricts the bus operator's driving time. There are three parts:
  • 10 Hour Rule. The bus operator cannot drive more than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty (except in emergencies)
  • 15 Hour Rule. After 15 hours on-duty (driving and non-driving tasks), an operator cannot continue driving until 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time is taken.
  • 70 Hour Rule. On duty time cannot exceed 70 hours for any period of 8 consecutive days.

Bus Industry Terms

  • Deadhead - Miles traveled without passengers before the pickup or after a drop off.
  • Live Miles - Miles traveled with passengers on board.
  • Over the road - Refers to longer trips out of the local area and typically overnight.
  • Pax - A written abbreviation for "passengers."
  • Pick and Drop - Bus returns home after dropping passengers off at their destination. The bus does not provide local travel
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