Trailways Consumer Protection Tips

Trailways Consumer Protection Tips

Making the right transportation choice for your group is a snap and especially easy when you use this convenient guide to help you with the selection process.  Using this guide also assures that you have taken the appropriate steps in providing your group of travelers a safe, comfortable, and satisfying travel experience.

The guide is divided in three parts. 

  1. The Basics...your initial screening guide; 
  2. Meeting Your Needs... focuses on the specific needs of your group; and
  3. Safety Issues... probes areas usually left untouched ... until a problem occurs.
 The Basics
Tip #1 Ask the motorcoach company how long it has been in business; when was it established; and how long has it been offering group moves or charter coach services? A long record of accomplishment is generally desirable!
Tip #2 Request the motorcoach company's U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number. A DOT number is assigned by the U.S. Government; and, is required for any motorcoach carrier to legally to operate. Also, the DOT number can also be used to check the carrier's past and current safety-rating (See tip #3).

Tip #3

Ask about the motorcoach company’s DOT Safety Rating. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issues safety ratings based on the carrier's accident record and adherence to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The highest possible rating is Satisfactory. Other ratings include Conditional, Not Rated, or Unsatisfactory.

Never Charter A Vehicle From A Motorcoach Company With An "UNSATISFACTORY DOT" Rating!

Note: It is easy to review a motorcoach company's rating from the Internet. Go to http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/lookbeforeyoubook . Search by company name, U.S.DOT number, or MC number.

Tip #4

Request a Certificate of Insurance. Your motorcoach company should supply a Certificate of Insurance for your group’s journey. This certificate shows the carrier's levels of insurance and effective policy dates. Accepted levels of insurance call for a minimum of five million dollars combined, single-limit liability coverage.

Tip #5

Request the motorcoach company’s customer references. Also, request contact references from similar type groups traveling on similar type programs as your group. Never charter a vehicle from a carrier that is unwilling to provide references!

Tip #6

Ask about the size of the motorcoach company's entire fleet of vehicles for-hire. Overall charter fleet size is important.  It provides a gauge to the carrier's ability to supply alternate vehicles in the event of a mechanical problem, for multi-vehicle movements, on weekends, or during peak seasons. It also provides some insight into the carrier’s ongoing success.

Tip #7

Ask to visit the motorcoach company's location to inspect their facility and vehicles; and personally inspect the company’s operations whenever possible. Inspect the motorcoach equipment, general offices, and garage facilities; you can learn a lot about a company--just by looking.

Tip #8

Inquire about the average age of the equipment in operation. Vehicles that are more than ten (10) years old, unless properly maintained on a preventive maintenance basis, can have a greatly diminished reliability factor. The newer the coach – generally - the fewer the problems and breakdowns!

Tip #9

Learn if the motorcoach company is a full service carrier? Do they provide onsite maintenance? Can they provide a variety of vehicles to meet your special needs? Ask the motorcoach company's representative if they can help arrange tours or provide special services for your group.

Meeting Your Needs

Tip #10

Discuss all your expectations for the travel schedule and specifically detail what is involved. Be prepared to provide the motorcoach company a detailed itinerary for your trip. This information allows the carrier to accurately quote on your trip. For your safety, driver-hours are limited by Federal regulations. In addition, specify if your driver must stay in the same hotel as your group.

Tip #11

Consider your group's special needs; i.e., a video system, beverage galley, wheelchair accessibility, or other types of equipment.

Tip #12

Does the motorcoach company utilize video-equipped coaches? Video-equipped coaches can be a genuine asset. Educational videos or movies help pass the time. Sports teams can even view game tapes, which is a great way to view your opponent or review your own performance.

Tip #13

Is the motorcoach company legally licensed to show motion pictures onboard and/or enroute?  Only those carriers licensed by the Motion Picture Association of American (MPAA) may show copyrighted movies; so ask to see a copy of the it's MPAA license. 

Note: Films rented from a video store are not licensed for public viewing!

Tip #14

Become a cautious shopper. If your group or organization requires multiple quotations, make sure you carefully consider all of these Consumer Tips when weighing the “cost” factor!  A decision based solely on price may not be your best value.

Tip #15

Ask the company who is responsible for the cost of the driver's overnight hotel accommodations.  Has the driver's overnight hotel costs been included in the total price of the group move or coach charter?

If not, be sure and ask if your group is responsible for the cost of the driver's room.

Tip #16

Inquire about the motorcoach company's policy concerning "overage miles or hours" before you select a motorcoach carrier -- not once you have returned from the journey and receive an inflated invoice for “mileage or hourly overages!”

Tip #17

Check to see if the motorcoach company has had any complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau; search.BBB.org.

 Safety Issues

Tip #18

Does the motorcoach company adhere to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Driver Regulations? The DOT limits the number of hours a driver can work. A driver is limited to ten (10) hours of actual driving time. If your itinerary exceeds this limit, ask the company how they plan to handle your groups’ needs.

Tip #19

Don’t forget to ask about the motorcoach company's procedures for on-the-road emergencies. The carrier should have access to a nationwide reciprocal maintenance agreement, which will assure your group prompt servicing of equipment in all regions of the USA/Canada/Europe/etc.

Tip #20

Does the motorcoach company have a formal Drug and Alcohol Program? Has your carrier supplied you with a copy of their written drug and alcohol policy statement for your review. Never charter from a carrier that does not strongly enforce a drug and alcohol-free workplace.

Link Here If You Want More Information about Bus Carrier Safety: www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety-security/PCS/Consumers.aspx


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