With prom season on its way, the American Bus Association (ABA) developed the following set of guidelines to assist parents in finding a safe and reliable motorcoach company from the prom or any other event.
- Motorcoach companies must have federal operating authority if they cross any state or provincial lines, and should be able to offer you proof of that authority, which is issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) or Transport Canada.
- Ask for proof of a valid, current insurance certificate that provides a U.S. minimum of $5 million dollars in liability insurance coverage.
- Ask for the carrier's DOT number. Carriers are required to have a U.S. DOT number clearly displayed on their coach, and should be either five or six digits long. By using that number, you can view the carrier's safety information online.
- Give the charter company your itinerary ahead of time so that they can make sure that your trip adheres to federal hours-or-service regulations.
- All U.S. based motorcoaches must be inspected annually. You can call the individual motorcoach company to inquire about their inspection practices, bus maintenance and repair history.
- All U.S. drivers are required to have a valid, current Commercial Driver's License (CDL), with a "passenger" endorsement printed on the license itself. CDLs are only issued after drivers have demonstrated their abilities through on-road skills and a knowledge test.
- ABA members are some of the best motorcoach companies in the country. You can find an ABA member in your area by visiting www.buses.org and typing your zip code into the green box that reads: “Find A Bus Company.”
- Provide your contact information to the bus company and the driver in case of emergency.
“Recently some high school students and parents in Alabama were taken advantage of by a group of unethical people who had set up a phony motorcoach company online. The parents made a reservation paid the money and the bus never showed up. Doing your homework, asking questions and working with ABA members is the best way to make sure you have a great experience with a charter company,” said Dan Ronan, the ABA’s sr. director of communications.