Sydney…..after more than 12 months of COVID-19, outbreaks, clusters, social distancing and lockdowns, private bus companies have done it tough. An almost forgotten sector of essential services has seen many family-run bus companies shut their doors for good.
As we are seeing zero cases in NSW, lockdowns easing and life very slowly becoming back to some normalcy, it is time to take advantage of low prices for charter buses and supporting local businesses by taking advantage of the local beauties Sydney has to offer.
Although precautions are still in place, it should not stop you for enjoying a day out with family and friends or utilising a charter bus service for any social upcoming event.
What are some of the benefits of hiring a charter bus?
On planes, trains and public transport there will always be people you do not know and during the easing of restrictions, it’s still everyone’s responsibility of keeping each other safe. On a private Sydney Charter Bus service, you can be assured your vehicle is properly sanitised, you have access to hand sanitiser and can ask the driver to wear a face mask if it makes you feel more Comfortable. On private transport, the cost of the bus can be shared with the group making it less expensive compared to taxi’s and ride sharing.
Hiring a charter bus may seem discouraging but it’s simpler that you’d imagine. Trying to coordinate schedules with taxi’s and ride sharing can be more hassle than it’s worth and it makes sense to charter a bus to take the group in one sitting and everyone arrives at the same time.
The booking process is simple and done in 5 easy steps.
The Comfort Level:
Like any automobile, there are different levels of comfort from leather or cloth seats to the type of seat, leg room and conveniences such personal A/C, reading lights and curtains. Some of the top level in luxury coaches have wi-fi, USB charging ports and video monitors to enjoy a movie or presentation during your trip. Minibuses can bring a secure, weatherproof luggage trailer for the stowing of luggage while the coaches have undercarriage storage and overhead parcel racks for hand luggage.
When you charter a bus, it can do multiple pickup locations so all the passengers do not have to make an additional trip in their car or on a train or taxi to the pickup location and at the end of the service then do the same home. It saves on the environment and it also allows the passengers peace of mind knowing they have a designated driver.
On Sydney Charter Bus tours, you are not tied down to a schedule. All itineraries are flexible and tour locations and be added or subtracted without penalty. It could be a simple drive-by a historical site or a short “stretch of the legs” photo opportunity at any one of Sydney’s breathtaking locations and lookouts. The day is about enjoyment and having fun with family and friends.
Long Distance Travel:
Booking a charter bus compared to a train or plane for those long-distance travels or bus tours makes perfect sense as you don’t have to worry about flight delays, lost luggage and actually getting lost in the hustle and bustle of airports and train stations. You don’t have to worry about booking seats so you can sit with your family and friends with the possibility that you may not get to sit together and making joint bookings for the group does not always work out the way you had planned. Booking a private touring coach eliminates all the potential mishaps and has added advantages of multiple stops for photos, meals, comfort stops and spontaneous stops at scenic locations to enjoy this vast land that NSW and Australia have to offer.
What types of buses are there?
- While there are many types of buses to choose from the most common types are:
- Micro-coach: 9 seater (becoming phased out in 2021)
- Minivans: 12 & 13 seaters
- Minibus: 20 & 21 seaters
- Mini Coach: 24 & 25 seaters
- Standard Bus (School bus): 40+ seaters and allows standing passengers
- Standard Coach: 34-65 seaters
- Luxury Coaches: 42-65 seaters
Bus Charter, Bus Hire and Bus Rental. What is the difference?
A charter bus is vehicle that is reserved for private use booked for a group travelling together with a common destination.
Bus hire is exactly the same a bus charter…. booked for hire with driver for a private group with a common destination.
Bus rental is a person renting a bus or coach off the bus company so they can use their own driver and rent the bus on a per day rate just like renting a car.
Luxury Coaches and Standard Buses:
A standard bus (also referred to a school buses) do not usually have seatbelts and depending on the age of the bus may not have air-conditioning. They do allow for standing passengers but have no compartments for luggage. These standard buses are often referred to as “people movers” as they allow for 50+ seating and 20+ standing.
Luxury coaches are sleeker and more modern with a range of comfort and safety options that the standard bus doesn’t have such as seatbelts, personal A/C, reading lights, relining coach seats, leather seats, video monitors, toilets, overhead racks for small bags and items and luggage bins for suitcases.
There are even star ratings in the luxury coach range with five-star luxury coaches offering a power supply, USB inputs, Wi-Fi, personal heat/cool outlets and fold-down table with cupholder.
You can always discuss your options with the bus company to suit the requirements of the group. Why not take a look at our fleet for bus and coach options.
What are the Seating Options in Buses?
Charter buses come in a range of different sizes and seating options from the small 12 seats up to 65 seats and everything in-between. Your group may only be 20 passengers which would comfortably fit in a 21 seater minibus but you may want each passenger to have a double seat for their comfort or social distancing in which case you may want to book a 42 seater coach with all the luxuries of a modern coach. Your group may need some privacy and work on their laptop’s whist the bus in in service so upgrading to a luxury coach with power options may be a benefit for your company.
Eating and Drinking on a Charter Bus:
NSW law states there is no food or drinks allowed on a bus (unless for medical reasons) except water. Alcohol consumption is not allowed on a charter bus and during COVID-19; restrictions and social distancing for venues are enforceable and as soon as a passenger is allowed to consume alcohol on a charter bus the pus becomes a venue where social distancing rules apply. NSW has party bus services that allow alcohol but with restrictions in place they were limited to the capacity of the party bus and when the bus may have carried 30 or 40 party goers they were limited to 5 or 6 in the party bus which doesn’t make much of a party. If you want to eat on a charter bus you will need to contact the service provider and request that you’d like to eat on the bus. Generally, snacks are permitted but hot meals are discouraged as the smell gets into the A/C and stays for days. Any hot food spilling onto cloth seats becomes stained and bus companies will have to charge a cleaning fee. For long distance travels the bus can make comfort stops for meals and toilet breaks.
Sleeping on a Charter Bus:
Most coaches will have reclining seats that allow for relaxation and sleeping but like an aeroplane it can be quite difficult to have a solid sleep. If your journey is a few hours or more and you feel you may want to sleep then it’s best to prepare for comfort by bringing an inflatable neck pillow and a light blanket. Some minibuses have reclining seats also but the mid-range 20 seaters do not.
Stowing Luggage on a Charter Bus:
In the coach range of charter buses there will be undercarriage luggage bays for large suitcases and other large items that would not fit under the seat or in the overhead racks such as prams, golf clubs, surfboards, boxes and any other oversized item you may bring.
Minibuses can tow a luggage trailer that is weatherproof and secure. Luggage trailers come in different sizes depending on the passenger capacity of the bus. Allowing every passenger 1 x large suitcase and 1 or 2 small carry-ons means a 20 seater minibus will pull a luggage trailer large enough for 2 suitcases and a 12 seater pulls a smaller 12 suitcase capacity luggage trailer. In cases where a coach has too many suitcases and risks being over weight and over loaded then a second coach may be required or a luggage truck that takes just the suitcases only. This is usually applicable for transporting cruise passengers that need 2 or 3 suitcases each plus carry-ons.
Additional Stops / Additional Pickups and Drop-offs
All good charter bus companies will offer comfort stops enroute to any destination and for long distance travel these stops are planned in the itinerary. Additional or random stops may incur an additional fee depending on the length of time it takes. Usually, a good bus company will allow stops for toilet breaks and allow an additional non-scheduled drop-off proving it is enroute. When the bus is on a freeway there are not too many places to pull over with the safety of passengers as a top priority so it is unlikely to stop unless it is a designated rest stop or refuelling station. Having to pull off the freeway could mean 20 or 30 minutes before finding a route back on to the freeway which either becomes part of the overall days charter time or additional time which could be added to the cost.
Planning and Booking your Charter Service:
Planning a tour itinerary, a corporate event or just a social outing can be enjoyable and a team effort but it can also be frustrating as roads and traffic are constant shifting patterns of delays and closures. Booking restaurants, wineries, events and the general logistics of planning events can be difficult when not knowing the local area and its traffic patterns, peak hours and which roads are accessible for your bus. Most people rely on online maps to give estimates of the time it will take to get to the event and back but there are other factors to consider. All the passengers showing up on time is a rare event in the charter bus industry and it is typical for buses to be at least 15 minutes past the departure time because of late arrivals. With traffic snarls and even the alighting of passengers and gathering of personal items can be longer than you plan so it is always best to allow 30 minutes extra in travel time to have that buffer for delays and it is always best to arrive 10 minutes early than 30 minutes late.
Obtaining a Bus Quote:
The more information you provide the charter bus company about your event, the better understanding the bus company has to provide an accurate quote. Always get your quote in writing via email.
Take the time to consider all options and don’t be afraid to ask questions no matter how trivial it may seem. It’s best to get all the answers so there are no misunderstandings on the day of the service.
What the charter bus company requires for quoting:
- Departure date/s
- Departure time (or an ETA you wish to arrive by)
- Pickup Location/s
- Return departure time (or ETA you wish to be back by)
- Return locations/s
- Additional waypoints forward or return
- Total passengers
- Amount of luggage
- Special requests or requirements
- Bus type preference
- Additional information
Once your bus quote has been received and you are happy to use the company, it’s time to get the service booked and locked in. Once the bus company has received your booking it’s time to work out the logistics of the service. You want to make sure your pickup location and destination have access for the bus size you require and the last thing you’d want happening is the bus not being able to go any further because of a narrow road and you and your passengers having to walk to the bus which could be a short 2 minutes’ walk or a long 10 or 15 minutes’ walk so best to sort out logistics so you potentially do not have any hiccups on the day.
Some of the potential hazards for buses and coaches are narrow streets, hairpin bends, dead-end roads with inadequate turning areas, tree lined streets with low overhanging branches, road weight limits and many more potential hazards but there are also other factors to consider like clearways coming into effect, no stopping zones etc. A simple solution to a lot of issues is to have the pickup at the rear of the location as with Sydney traffic and especially in Sydney CBD a request to pick up out the front of the premisses maybe a easy pickup but if blocked or a clearway or some other issue it could take up to 20 minutes for the bus to go around the block and during peak times could be longer so it is very important to sort out the logistics of pickups and drop-offs prior to the service.
Mini Bus & Coach Choices:
With COVID-19 still fresh in people’s minds, many clients and businesses may choose to upgrade to a larger bus just to allow some social distancing and give the passengers some peace of mind. The bus hire company will be able to help choosing the right bus for your requirements.
Over long distances you may want to upgrade from a minibus to a coach for those comfortable coach reclining seats, personal A/C and personal reading lights.
It is best (where possible) to take all bags and belongings with you in-between services as any good coach company will sanitise the bus in-between shifts and you don’t want your personal belongings getting potentially spoiled. It is always good practice to allocate a team leader with any type of group and this person can be the last off the bus and take in visual inspections to see if anyone has left anything behind. The driver will also provide this check but more thoroughly once he/she gets back to the depot and hand in any lost property items which will be registered in our Lost Property Register and we will contact you to arrange a safe return.
Most 40+ seater luxury coaches with have a toilet for passenger convenience but there are a lot of coaches in Sydney that do not have toilets and some coach companies choose to use the toilet as storage and lock it (out of service) to passengers. For long distance journeys the coach company may utilise the restroom for passengers and some may offer regular comfort stops. Always check with the coach company before booking. The use of toilets on coaches brings OH&S policies up as any heavy vehicle having to perform an emergency brake during transit with the toilet occupied makes it a hard decision to close the toilet off to passengers whist bus is in motion.
The Last Step:
Once your charter bus is booked and confirmed, it’s time to prepare for the journey. It is always best to print the booking itinerary to a PDF document and email to the other passengers so they have a better understanding of the service ahead and all the instructions regarding pickup location, waypoints, comfort stops and destinations. If it’s a long-distance journey then remember to bring water. If any passengers have special needs or requirements then make sure the charter bus company is aware.
Sydney Charter Bus offers an honest and ethical charter bus hire service and we are reliable, punctual, friendly and clean. We focus on customer satisfaction and value customer feedback to improve our services. Sydney Charter Bus is a safe and convenient, private group ground transport service provider and one of the most sought-after names in the bus and coach industry for its reliable transport and customer service.
We offer a wide range of bus and coach services for all occasions: corporate bus hire and social coach charters Sydney wide.
Sydney Charter Bus Australia: Raising the standards in bus and coach tourism services and charter bus hire in Sydney.