Navigating a charter bus, especially one filled with over 50 passengers, is no small task. The driver is tasked with more than just getting from point A to point B; they bear the significant responsibility of ensuring the safety and timely arrival of every individual on board. From conducting pre-trip inspections to managing various road conditions, a charter bus driver plays a crucial role in ensuring your journey is safe and smooth.
Displaying good passenger etiquette is a gesture of respect to the driver and fellow passengers. Here are some do’s and don’ts for charter bus travel to ensure everyone has a comfortable trip.
- Respect the rest periods
- Give them their space
- Grab all your belongings
- Be punctual
- Keep it clean
- Offer a meal or a ticket, but don’t be offended if they turn it down
- Conversation is OK, but don’t distract
- Say “thank you” as you get off the bus
1. Respect the Rest Periods
Rest periods are crucial to the safety and efficiency of your trip. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandates that drivers need eight consecutive hours off duty for every 10 hours spent driving or 15 hours on-duty.
Here’s a little behind-the-scenes for you: Drivers start their work even before your bus rolls up to your pick-up spot. From conducting detailed pre-trip checks on the vehicle, ensuring all maintenance tasks are sorted, to handling necessary paperwork – it’s all in a day’s work for a motorcoach driver. Plus, the time spent on loading and unloading your luggage, and overseeing the vehicle during stops, also ticks away at the 15-hour on-duty clock.
Did You Know? CharterUP automatically flags all trips that will require a rest period for the driver. Your Customer Success Account Manager will work with you to book overnight accommodations for your driver or secure a second driver for the trip.
2. Give Them Their Space
Your driver may be staying at your hotel on your overnight trip, but that doesn’t mean you should knock on their door to ask about the next day’s route. Off-duty means off-duty — and yes, that includes a quick question about the route or other trip-related questions. Write it down so you don’t forget and ask them tomorrow after they’ve rested and are back on duty!
3. Grab All your Belongings
Tracking down your driver to unlock the bus while they’re off-duty is not just disrespectful – it’s against regulations. Returning to the vehicle to assist with luggage resets that eight-hour rest period clock. We suggest making a checklist of things you need to ensure you have with you when disembarking the bus; that way, you don’t forget anything.
4. Be Punctual
If the driver is on the bus waiting, the clock is running. Being punctual ensures you’re respecting both their time and your own! If a group is late, they might not reach their next destination before the driver is required to go off-duty per the FMCSA rules.
5. Keep It Clean
Bus drivers aren’t paid to clean up the sand you drag in from your beach trip or food wrappers from your pit stop. Most charter buses come equipped with waste disposal bins, and we recommend using them accordingly. If something gets spilled, notify your bus driver promptly so you can safely clean up.
Make sure to keep the aisles clear, too. Luggage blocking the aisles or people moving about the bus is a safety hazard for everyone involved.
6. Offer a Meal or Invitation, but Don’t be Offended if they Turn it Down
Inviting your driver for a meal or excursion is nice, but sometimes, the driver uses the alone time to recharge and rest. It’s the thought that counts! Extending an invitation goes a long way to show respect and consideration for your driver and they will greatly appreciate it, whether or not they take you up on your offer.
7. Conversation is OK, but Don’t Distract
Can you chat with your bus driver? Of course, you can! But don’t demand or expect an engaged conversation while they’re trying to keep their eyes on the road. Going back to rule No. 6, extending an invitation to your driver is a great way to keep the conversation going without distracting them from the road!
8. Say “Thank You” as You Get off the Bus
Bus driving can often be a thankless job; one small thank you can go a long way. We also recommend greeting your driver as you board the bus.
Charter buses are a convenient and enjoyable mode of travel, but they require passengers to be courteous and respectful of others (just like on a plane or other shared space). Following some basic passenger etiquette do’s and don’ts can help ensure a smooth and pleasant journey for everyone. Whether you’re on a short day trip or a longer cross-country excursion, remember to be considerate and mindful of your fellow passengers.
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