How Much Does a Charter Bus Cost?

Written by: Staff
Last Updated:  August 8, 2018

Buses are one of the most popular and economical ways for large groups of people to commute short and long distances.

The RSS Bus! by pheezy, on Flickr
The RSS Bus!” (CC BY 2.0) by  pheezy

How much does a charter bus cost?

The cost of a charter bus will depend on the company you’re renting from, the miles it has to drive, the type of bus, the number of days needed and the number of people.  On average, a charter bus can range anywhere from $300 to as much as $2,500 per day, depending on these factors.

Something as simple as a school bus can cost $300 to $900 per day, but for the usual charter bus, which includes several accommodations, such as TVs, a bathroom, and cushioned seats, the cost can be anywhere from $600 to $2,000.    The average charter bus can accommodate 45 to 85 people.

A double-decker bus can cost upwards of $2,500 a day while an executive bus can cost upwards of $1,500 per day.

By the hour, which is usually the rate charged by companies that stay within a 50-mile radius, can be anywhere $100 to as much as $325 per hour.  Keep in mind that most of these bus services are going to ask for a minimum number of hours, usually starting at three hours.  In addition to this time, the company may charge a sitting fee if it has to wait outside of the drop-off location.

Lastly, if the charter doesn’t charge by the hour or has a flat daily fee, then it will charge by the mile.  This pricing scheme is often charged by interstate bus rides can this can range anywhere from $3 to $5 per mile.

Refer to our table below to see what types of buses are on the market and what each one may cost.

His Majesty Coach, a bus charter service, offers three options that range anywhere from $550 for the first five hours to an additional $125 per hour.   This won’t include the fuel surcharges, tolls, city fees and hotel room for the driver.  The entertainer coach, according to the website, can cost $1,000 to $1,800 per day.

Type of BusSeating RangePrice (per day)
Charter Bus 35 to 60$750 to $1,000
Mini Bus10 to 40$650 to $900
School Bus10 to 60$500 to $750
Tour Bus10 to 20$1,300 to $1,800
Executive Coach10 to 40$1,200 to $2,000
Party Bus10 to 50$1,300 to $1,800
Double Decker50 to 90$1,500 to $2,000

Charter bus overview

The term “charter bus” can refer to many different buses, including a deluxe motor coach, minibus, school bus, executive, tour bus or double decker bus.  Most charter buses, aside from the typical school bus and smaller mini buses, should include basic accommodations such as restrooms, wifi, TVs, air conditioning and cushioned seats that may recline.  Some charter bus would also provide free snack and drinks.

The charter bus company will provide a driver for the bus, and for overnight trips, some companies include the expenses for the driver in your quote, but other companies may charge a separate fee.

Most buses are going to be able to accommodate up to 85 people.  Usually, the more people the bus can carry, the higher the price will be.

If you do decide to book with a bus charter company, most will ask for a non-refundable deposit of at least 20 to 30 percent but will apply this deposit to your total bill once the trip is finalized.

Type of BusDescriptionA/C?Restroom?TV/Entertainment?
School BusEconomical solution for field trips or those who want to travel locally.RareNoNo
Mini BusIdeal for short trips, usually less than 150 miles and for less than 35 passengers.RareSometimes, but rareUpon request most of the time
Charter BusIdeal for larger groups who want to travel across state lines. Will feature comfortable seating with more amenities.AlwaysMost of the timeAlmost always
Executive/DeluxeJust like a charter bus, but may include even more higher end amenities such as meeting room tables, a kitchen and/or a sleeping quarters.AlwaysAlwaysAlways
PartyLike the mini bus, a party bus is ideal for trips less than 100 miles. It can accommodate more people and can often have a built-in mini bar or lounging couches instead of individual seats.Most of the timeRareSometimes

What are the extra costs?

Rental rates do not include the fuel surcharge, which depends on the price of the fuel in the market and how far the bus has to travel.

If the bus has to pay any city fees and/or tolls during the trip, this will be charged to the bill.

Overnight stays will require a hotel room and food for the driver, resulting in additional charges.

Every 10 hours or 600 miles, it’s required by law to allow the driver to rest.  If you need to keep the bus moving, an additional driver can cost another $200 to $700 per day.

Gratuity is often recommended at the end of the trip, usually 10 to 15%.

Tips to know

Before you choose a charter service, be sure to check the company’s safety ratings, insurance, and inspections through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

How can I save money?

Renting a charter bus may not be logical if you do not have enough people to fill the seats. Instead, get the exact number of people that will be riding and get the right sized bus.  There are many different sizes that can range from a van that fits 10 people all the way to a double-decker bus that fits more than 85 people.  It is best to talk with a few companies to get a good quote and see which bus will accomodate your group.

Usually, the further you book in advance, the more you should be able to save since last minute bookings often can cost up to 50 percent more.

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