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  #16   Spotlight this post!  
Unread 07-25-2006, 11:22 AM
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RoboMadi RoboMadi is offline
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Re: Charter Bus teams, how do you handle them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Martus
Over the years one special driver - Lois - have taken a huge interest to our team. She requests that she be our driver. As a result she knows the students and staff and plans stops and events that are of interest on long trips.
One must agree that a Bus full of FIRSTers is always Fun'n Frolic.

I handled this issue for our team last year (2006 season). First thing you want to make sure is that you think ahead of time and Book it at least a month before the departure date. I had to call 79 companies in our area, only because i started a week before...(I was too busy building a robot )
As members have mentioned before it depends from town to town, county to county. I think you should contact your School or County Education Department and ask them for the List. Most of the time, they have a updated list with all the Companies; mentioning whether they are insured or approved by the County's/Town's Education Department or not.

Most of the Bus Companies try to converge their schedule with yours and make it as easier as possible. For example, if a team is attending a regional and only need transportation from and to regional, thats possible too. If one wants to keep the bus with them all the time and use it, thats possible too; one only have to pay for the parking and bus drivers room.
Its pretty much what you ask them for. You are paying them for the service and its part of the customer satisfaction rule to accommodate anything possible.
(Another Customer Satisfaction Rule is to satisfy the FIRST teams as much as possible )
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Unread 07-25-2006, 11:30 AM
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Re: Charter Bus teams, how do you handle them?

Many, many, many thanks for responding to this thread. I am glad I started it. Seems to be tons of information here for those that are just getting started into Charter Buses.

Our team is not part of the high school so we can't use any "yellow buses". We are strictly a 4-H group. Because of 4-H insurance rules, they limit us to no more than 8 passengers per vehicle if we get the parents to drive our team for us. This means we can not rent 15 passenger vans. we have to step up to a "contract" service which only includes charter bus services. I only mention this because Mike Martus was talking about his relationship with the school, where we don't really have one.

I found a place in Indiana, actually Fort Wayne called Excellent Adventures. The Fort Wayne Wizards and Comet Hockey team uses them and I already got a quote from them. They worked out the same contract which most of you have stated, we supply a room for the driver and the driver stays with us the whole time. They are responsible for their food. They contracted 10 hours of bus use, I think we will need to extend that or I need to ask what they really mean by "10 hours".

For example, it only takes 2 hours of drive time to get from point A to point B, but they contract 10 hours of bus use. If the driver is sitting in the stands with us for 12 hours, which would be 14 hours total, does that mean I need to negotiate a longer contract, even though we aren't on the bus? I assume the driver is paid for 10 hours. Just trying to read the mobo jumbo legal stuff.

PS: Mike, thanks for beating me up on the silent auction at IRI.... ;-)
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Unread 07-25-2006, 04:01 PM
John Gutmann John Gutmann is offline
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Re: Charter Bus teams, how do you handle them?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sanddrag
We had a pretty large charter bus with us for the whole trip to Phoenix. We had to give the driver his own room. He watched the competition and ate meals with us. The bus was a few thousand dollars.
That is wayy better then paying 350$ for a flights for 30-50 kids.
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Unread 07-25-2006, 04:54 PM
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Re: Charter Bus teams, how do you handle them?

Even if you aren't a local public school, stop by the office of your local school and get a copy of the "approved vendor list." There is a reason that companies are removed from this list.

Band groups are often the most similar to what goes on at a FIRST regional. Ask for advice on which company to use.

Draft a grid worksheet, with categories such as "cost for 47 passenger, cost for 52 passenger, hours (many have a set figure and then overtime kicks in), how much deposit and refund rules, etc.

Call around. You will be surprised at how different the price quotes will be. Watch if one is a lot lower. You might have forgotten one of the many categories that should be on the grid above. Never just get one quote (unless the driver is the father is someone on the team-and then still get another quote-long story there...)

Having a bus lets you look at less expensive hotels for overnight trips. Consider the costs if you don't do an overnight (if trip is under 90 minutes).

Besides sharing with another team, also consider asking for "donations" from parents, etc, who ride with you, to offset the price. Use this for the tip. Yes, you need to tip.

Bus prices have gone way up, because of gas and insurance.
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Last edited by RoboMom : 07-25-2006 at 04:57 PM.
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