Group leader’s guide for a successful trip
When the bus arrives for your trip, introduce yourself to the driver as the person in charge. Your driver needs to know who is in charge of things like when all passengers have boarded and you are ready to depart, confirm destinations and time schedules, etc.
Sit in the front of the bus where you can easily communicate with the driver. If you have booked multiple buses for your group, the overall group leader should ride on the first bus in line. Sometimes last minute “executive decisions” need to be made en route, and it is difficult to do that when there is no one in charge on the first bus. The bus leader on each bus should sit in one of the front seats of the bus for easy communication with their driver, or at least be prepared to move to the front quickly when needed.
Make sure your group understands that you are the person in charge of the trip. Introduce yourself to the group (and other bus leaders) as the “go to” person if there is a problem or a decision that needs to be made on behalf of the group. Don’t put your driver(s) in the position of having to negotiate between passengers, bus leaders, and previously arranged trip plans. The group leader/bus leaders should be the contact between the driver and the group.
Allow time to review trip plans with your driver before you depart from the pickup point. Our drivers are good at double checking trip plans with the group leader/bus leaders, including the route, plans for rest stops and meal stops etc. If your plans have changed since the original itinerary was submitted to our office, it can be difficult for your driver to make adjustments once on the road. It is helpful to review the day’s schedule each day with your driver before departure. Once on the road, your driver can not easily research directions, places to stop and parking.
Remember, your driver needs rest stops and meals too. Groups will occasionally try and make up time by eating meals on the bus or not making rest stops. Unlike passengers, your driver can't walk to the back of the bus to use the restroom while on the road, and should not be expected to eat meals while driving, or to skip meals. Make sure your driver has time off — 30 minutes, at least — to get a meal and eat before he/she has to continue driving at meal times. Since your driver must be the last person off the bus, and the first back on, it is sometimes helpful, especially when stopping at fast food restaurants, for him/her to be allowed to go to the front of the line or to eat first in restaurants.
We allow both food and drinks on our buses, except drinks in glass bottles and chewing gum. 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 your 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.
Allow adequate time for rest stops along the way. Our buses are all equipped with a restroom but it is not really designed to handle everyone on the bus, using it multiple times during the day — the restroom is there for emergency use for those who just can’t wait until the next rest stop. With a full bus, you need to allow a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes every 1.5 to 3 hours for a restroom break. Even those passengers who don’t need the restroom break will enjoy being able to get off the bus and stretch their legs.
Exchange cell phone numbers with your driver. This will usually be initiated by the driver, but don’t hesitate to ask if he/she forgets. You may not need to use the cell phone numbers, but just in case — things do change — you want to be able to communicate with your driver. He/she needs your number, just as you need theirs. Please don’t give your driver’s cell phone number to the rest of the passengers — give them yours, instead and you be the person to communicate with your driver.
Bus drivers rely on gratuities for a substantial part of their income. That is good for you and your group — a sort of merit-based pay system! 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.
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