SALEM, Ohio — Today’s motorcoach travel is not your old, boring bus trip. Many companies are offering free Wi-Fi, bring-your-own-device onboard entertainment and first-class seating options. Travel planners are embracing the latest technology and, as a result, finding new and younger members.
For millennials and boomers alike, bus travel offers an economical option that is environmentally safe, avoids airport security hassles, lets passengers enjoy the scenery rather than fight the traffic and, most important, allows for personal interaction with fellow tour passengers.
Best of all, buses are among the safest ways to travel. While most operators take pride in safety, there are a few companies that cut corners. Fortunately, there are easy ways to check out bus companies before you sign a contract and take your group on tour.
Before choosing a bus company, you should know three key things about it: First, is it authorized to operate? All commercial bus operators that carry passengers across state lines must have a USDOT (U.S. Department of Transportation) number and be authorized by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to operate.
Next, does it regularly inspect, maintain and repair its fleet for safety? Every company should perform regular inspections of all its buses, complete required maintenance and repairs, and ensure that all safety equipment is present and working properly.
Third, does it hire well-qualified, properly licensed drivers with good safety records? And does it ensure they are medically fit to drive and obey all safety laws and regulations?
But how could you learn all that about a bus company? There’s an app for that.
Travel planners, group leaders and travelers can download the convenient SaferBus mobile app to research bus companies at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/lookbeforeyoubook.
The FMCSA brings its message of responsible motorcoach charter to all Group Travel Family events; they include seven national group travel conventions and 30 TravelTalks meetings annually.