Tips on Hiring a Motorcoach for Your Group

Bringing a group to Arlington so they can discover the capital region? Chances are that booking one or more motorcoaches is on your list of things to do, and the Arlington Convention and Visitors Service is here to help. Here are some things to consider so that things go as smoothly as possible.

From a pre-call checklist and common questions, to on-board amenities and parking information, here are tips to ensure you have a great motorcoach experience in Arlington:

The Basics

Before you call a motorcoach company, you’ll want to have the following information handy:

  • Group size
  • Any special Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements, such as a lift, wheelchair storage or other accessibility-related needs
  • Dates and times of motorcoach travel, including the total hours each vehicle is needed per day
  • Your itinerary, including specific pick-up and drop-off locations
  • Desired amenities, such as a restroom, TV monitors, a microphone/sound system, Wi-Fi, electrical outlets, a DVD player or extra storage

Also, don’t forget to ask about food and drink policies on board, trash cleaning fees and prohibited items.

Before You Sign on the Dotted Line

The American Bus Association (ABA) recommends asking several questions of prospective bus service providers.

Questions to ask before you finalize a contract can include:

  • Do you have proof of operating authority, issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation, required for crossing state lines, and what is your U.S. DoT number?
  • What’s your rating from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration? Can you provide proof of a valid, current insurance certificate with at least $5 million in liability insurance coverage?
  • How old is your fleet, and can you tell me about your latest inspection, bus maintenance and repair information?
  • Do all your drivers have a valid, current Commercial Driver’s License?
  • What is your safety messaging plan for passengers?
  • Do your motorcoach operators speak multiple languages?
  • Does the company have a driver drug and alcohol testing program in accordance with federal regulations, and does the company perform background checks?
  • Do your buses have seat belts?
  • Will your driver provide a cell phone number?
tour bus in arlington va
Tour Bus Parking

Tour Bus Parking in Arlington

For complete details on local tour bus parking locations, hours and fees, plus printable maps highlighting spots in each neighborhood, see Arlington County’s Tour Buses page.

Not sure which provider to use? ABA’s Public Member Search helps you locate motorcoach and tour companies by state. Sites like BusRates.com and Yelp aggregate tour bus operators, ratings and amenities, and getting two or three price comparisons is a smart idea.

For any Arlington-specific questions as you plan your visit, feel free to call Senior Destination Sales Manager Portia Conerly at (703) 228-0873 or send her an email for assistance.

Photo courtesy @educational_tours

Author: Kathleen Murphy