Booking a bus isn’t the most glamorous task. However, securing rides for friends and loved ones attending your celebration will ensure their safe, prompt arrival at your event. Here’s how to get on the bandwagon:
Assess Your Needs
Are you expecting a large number of out-of-towners? How far apart are the venue and the hotel where guests are staying? Considering these questions will help you decide if you need to book transportation, says Laurie Johnson, business development director at Premier Transportation Services, in Dallas. Plus, notes Gina Rodriguez-Gross, a reservations agent at Petaluma, California-based Pure Luxury Transportation, “some venues require that you provide shuttle services if they don’t have room for parking.”
Karen Dhooge Schindler, a sales manager at Absolutely Charleston, in South Carolina, recommends securing your fleet at least six months before your wedding. “But if your date is set for a peak time, like June, or is in a popular location, do it as soon as you’re able,” she says. “The earlier you book, the better the selection of vehicles, too.”
Calculate Your Costs
Most companies charge by the hour, not by head count. The average cost to reserve a standard bus, which can seat around 32 people, is $400 for four hours. That’s a base rate, though -- to which administrative fees, a fuel surcharge, and often a 20 percent gratuity will be tacked on.
Note: While some companies require couples to reserve vehicles for a minimum of four hours, others charge by the amount of time transport takes, and they’re likely to also bill for “wait time,” or how long the driver idles in between shuttling guests, says Mario Da Rocha Jr., of Silver Star Limousine, in New York City. Request an estimate so you’ll know where you stand.
Ask About Discounts
“Small price cuts are sometimes applied to large-scale services,” says Johnson. Some companies also offer complimentary honeymoon airport transfer the next day. Other ways to keep costs down: “Booking one big vehicle, like a bus or van, is usually less than getting multiple cars,” says Schindler. The smartest way to save? “Designate one central pickup and drop-off location,” says Rodriguez-Gross, “rather than stopping at every hotel or lodge along the way.”