How to charter a Richards Bus
How do I start?
First, make a list of your group's needs. Be sure to include details about how many people will be traveling, where you want to go, and desired stops enroute and any other special needs to keep your group happy. Decide who will be your group's main contact for questions and arranging details, then call our friendly office staff to discuss details of your trip. If you already have an itinerary planned, you can E-Mail it or fax it to our office.
What amenities are offered on your buses?
We offer motorcoaches ranging in size from 46 to 56 passenger seats, to meet your transportation needs. Our fleet of deluxe motorcoaches is equipped with:
-Free Wi-Fi internet access
-TVs (4 to 6 monitors) with DVD player
-Enclosed overhead storage compartments
-Large luggage compartments underneath the bus
Will you assist me in planning our itinerary?
Our expert staff can help you plan your itinerary. Richards Bus Lines merged with Bennett Tours, Inc. in 2005. Together we offer over one hundred years of experience in the charter motorcoach and tour planning business.
How long should we plan to travel each day, and how far can we go?
The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates the bus industry. Bus drivers are required to carry a current DOT Physical Exam Card, be drug tested under DOT guidelines, and maintain a log of miles driven and hours of service. The DOT regulation 395.10 restricts bus driver's driving time. There are three parts:
-10 Hour Rule - The bus driver cannot drive more than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off-duty (except for emergencies).
-15 Hour Rule - After 15 hours on-duty (driving and non-driving tasks), a driver cannot continue driving until 8 consecutive hours off-duty time is taken.
-70 Hour Rule - On-duty time cannot exceed 70 hours for any period of 8 consecutive days.
Are there locations which should be avoided with a bus?
We can transport your group to virtually any location, on a paved road, which can be reached by motor vehicle. There are a few things you should remember. Weighing as much as 26 tons, our buses cannot cross some bridges which have lower weight limits. Likewise, our buses are very tall, ranging from 12 to 13 feet. Do not plan a route to travel under lower clearance bridges, or into areas where there are low hanging tree limbs or other obstacles. Some non-paved roads, which may be fine for an automobile, may not be suitable for a bus. Buses are “on-road” vehicles. There is no better way to ruin a perfect trip than for your bus to get stuck in sand or mud or in an area where there isn’t adequate room to maneuver. Your driver will inform you if he/she feels you are asking to go to an unsuitable location.
What if our group will include handicapped passengers?
Richards Bus Lines offers a bus equipped with wheelchair lift and seating. This specially equipped coach requires an advance reservation so it can be configured to accommodate your special needs.
How soon do I need to reserve buses for my trip?
The earlier you book, the more options you will have. During the busiest times of the year (fall and spring), our buses are often booked six months or more in advance. The best advice is to reserve your buses as early as possible.
Will I need to pay a deposit?
A deposit is required to secure your reservation. The amount of the deposit will vary, depending on the length and duration of your trip. Generally, the deposit is $200 per trip.
When will the final payment be due?
Unless another arrangement has been made in advance, the final payment must be paid prior to departure.
What is the cancellation policy?
You may cancel your bus, without penalty, up to 30-days prior to the trip. After 30-days, your deposit will not be refunded.
Do I pay for parking, tolls and other fees?
We try to include these fees in our initial quote, but if there are additional fees during the trip due to deviations from the initial itinerary, they will be your responsibility.
For multi-day trips, do I need to reserve a room for the bus driver?
For overnight trips, it will be your responsibility to book the driver's hotel room. Most hotels will "comp" the bus driver's room (provide the room free of charge) when you book rooms for a large group. Ask to speak with someone in group sales at your hotel to ensure that they provide a comp room for the driver. Please make sure the hotel has ample parking to accommodate a bus.
Do I need to tip the bus driver?
Although a tip is not mandatory, a portion of the driver's pay customarily comes from a gratuity, as an incentive to provide excellent service. Our drivers strive to cheerfully provide you with the best possible service, and appreciate receiving a tip for their extra efforts. If there is anything your driver can do to make your trip more comfortable, or enjoyable, please feel free to ask.
You are encouraged to contact our office with any comments (positive or negative) about your driver, the bus or the service you have received.
Can we bring food or drinks on the bus?
We do allow both food and drinks on our buses. Please use trash receptacles, which are provided at the front and rear of each bus. Please try to avoid spills and help us keep your bus clean.
At the discretion of the bus driver, we reserve the right to restrict eating and drinking on the bus if we feel you have abused or damaged our equipment. We also reserve the right to charge you for damages to our buses.
Is smoking allowed on the bus?
For the comfort and safety of our passengers, and in compliance with Federal laws, we do not allow smoking on our buses. We will provide rest stops and/or meal stops en route which give opportunities for smoking.
Richards Bus Lines, Inc. E-Mail: Operations Manager Office: 540-743-4005
311 Mechanic Street E-Mail: Charter Manager Fax: 540-743-1683
Luray, Virginia 22835 Toll Free: 800-258-8182