How Much Does a Charter Bus Rental Cost?

Getting your trip budget together? National Charter Bus is here to help! There are multiple factors that will determine your trip cost, but for your reference, we’ve included the average prices of renting a charter bus below. Feel free to use the table to help you calculate, but please note that these are only examples and are subject to change.

Bus Type Per Hour Per Day Per Mile

Charter Bus

$120 - $250

$1,100 - $1,900

$4.00 - $6.20

Minibus

$108 - $225

$990 - $1,710

$3.60 - $5.58

How We Calculate the Price of Your Rental

It’s hard to figure out exactly how much a charter bus will cost until you call for a personalized quote, since prices depend on a wide range of factors. Here’s a breakdown of the most influential cost factors: 

  • How far your bus has to travel: It goes without saying that long trips will cost more than shorter trips. But, the way your price is calculated might vary depending on how long your trip is supposed to last. For example, one-day events that only last a few hours (like field trips or weddings) will probably be priced per hour, while multi-day events (like sports tournaments or long-term employee shuttle services) will probably be priced per day or per mile.
  • How many days you need it for: Similar to the point above, trips that span multiple days will cost more than one-day trips. That’s why we always recommend securing an itinerary (even if it might change a little!) before you call to book. That way, we can give you the most accurate quote based on where you plan to take your bus.
  • What time of year you’re traveling: Charter bus rentals see a “busy season” much like other industries. Our busy season usually takes place in April, May, and June, due to summer family trips, graduations, proms, and other big events. You can usually expect a higher price for trips during this period, but booking in advance will help us make sure you’re still paired with the best bus at the best price.
  • Which city you’re being picked up and dropped off in: Charter buses are easier to come by in major cities like Miami or Chicago, due to higher population. However, some older major cities like Boston might have fewer buses available due to narrow roads and limited areas that are charter-bus friendly. Meanwhile, bus availability in suburbs will vary depending on location. Your quote will also account for deadhead, which is the amount of time your bus spends traveling to you while there are no passengers aboard. So, your starting and ending locations matter a lot when it comes to your charter bus price! Try to have exact addresses for your pickup and dropoff locations when you call to book your bus, so that we can give you the most accurate quote possible.a bus drives on a long road into the sunset
  • What type of bus you want (charter bus, minibus, shuttle): Full-size charter buses often cost more than smaller minibuses, but if you’re splitting the cost of a full-size bus 56 ways, the per-person cost won’t seem so bad. Your reservation specialist will help break down the cost of your desired bus so you aren’t left with any surprises.
  • Which special amenities you request: Many amenities, such as WiFi, plush seating, and ADA-accessible features, come standard on each bus model. Other amenities, like onboard restrooms, televisions with DVD players, and electrical outlets might come at an additional charge. Let your reservation specialist know if you’d like to make any specific requests, and we’ll make sure those requests are reflected in your bus quote.
  • Keep in mind: You may also have to pay for tolls, parking, and a room for your driver (drivers need to have 8 hours of sleep for every 10 hours they drive). And at the end of your trip, you’ll want to give your driver a cash tip of 5-10%.

For an exact quote, you can contact our reservation specialists at any time of day at 1-844-755-0510.

Tips for Keeping Costs Down

While you’re organizing your trip details, here are some things to keep in mind if you’re worried about price:

  • Book early. We recommend calling 3-6 months before your trip to secure the best bus at the best price. This gives our team plenty of time to find the best bus for you.
  • Consider the per-person cost. Charter bus prices often seem high upfront, but when you get your quote, consider how much each individual passenger will pay when you split the total. Our trip examples below show that, often, the per-person cost of a charter bus is as much as or less than the price of transportation alternatives—but a bus is always more convenient!
  • Finalize your headcount. You don’t want to be stuck with a 25-passenger minibus when you only need space for 18 people. Conversely, you don’t want to book a single 25-passenger bus if there’s any chance that more people will come along. Finalize your headcount early to guarantee that you don’t 1) pay for more space than you need or 2) change your rental to include a higher-priced vehicle down the line. Plus, the more full your bus is, the lower the per-person cost will be.
  • Schedule your trip for the off-season. As we said before, our busy season usually takes place during April, May, and June, so prices are often higher for trips that take place during those months. The winter months (December, January, and February) often see the lowest prices.

To get an idea of what your trip might cost, take a look at the following examples: 

Corporate Trip in Las Vegas

An e-commerce company needs to book shuttle services for an industry event at the Wynn Las Vegas. They’ve requested a minibus for 23 employees that will go from McCarran International Airport to the Wynn and then to restaurants and sightseeing destinations throughout the city. They will need the minibus for 3 days, and the bus is $1,100 per day. The Wynn offers free parking, but they will have to pay for accommodation for their driver and a tip. Their total comes to:

Minibus for 3 days:                                         $3,300
Accommodation for driver for 2 nights:  $338
Tip:                                                                     $364
Total:                                                                 $4,002

 

Field Trip in Atlanta

An administrator from a Douglasville middle school would like to rent full-size charter buses for a field trip in Midtown Atlanta. The sixth-grade students will go to the High Museum for an educational tour and finish the day with recreational time at nearby Piedmont Park. They plan to leave the school by 8 a.m. and return by 4 p.m., so they will be charged an hourly rate of $145.

Since there are 102 students in the sixth grade and they are accompanied by 9 teachers, they will need two 56-person charter buses. The High Museum does not charge buses for parking, but they will still need to tip their driver.

2 charter buses for 8 hours:                $2,320
Tip:                                                              $232
Total:                                                          $2,552

Wedding in New York City

A wedding planner wants to rent shuttles for an upcoming wedding with 48 guests (including the lucky couple). The elegant affair will begin at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan and end with a rooftop reception at Hotel 50 Bowery NYC, and the celebration will span 6 hours in total. The wedding planner has opted for one 55-person charter bus.

Because the bus is only needed for one day, the hourly rate will be $155 (note that the NY hourly rate is higher than the one in Atlanta, as an example of how costs can vary from city to city.) Because parking is incredibly limited in NYC, they have set aside $120 to pay for metered charter bus parking as well.

Charter bus for 6 hours:                           $930
Parking                                                          $120
Tip:                                                                 $105
Total:                                                             $1,155

Sports Training Camp in Austin

A high school football coach in Lakeway would like a charter bus to transport his team to Austin for a summer training camp at Austin Sports Center. Since they have 30 players and 2 coaches but only a short drive ahead of them, they’ve decided to book 2 minibuses for their trip. The minibuses will drop them off at training camp, wait for them to finish playing, and then drive them back for a total trip time of 10 hours. The hourly rate for the minibus is $145, so their total will be:

2 minibuses for 10 hours:                         $2,900
Tip:                                                                  $290
Total:                                                              $3,190

Family Reunion in New Orleans

A woman wants to arrange a bus rental for her upcoming family reunion. She and 51 of her relatives plan to travel from Charlotte to New Orleans on a charter bus. Because the trip will last four days, she booked a room at their hotel for their driver, and they will also have to pay for overnight parking for the bus. Their daily rate is $1,400. Therefore, their costs will come out as the following:

Charter bus for 4 days:                                   $5,600
Accommodation for driver for 3 nights:    $290
Parking for 3 nights:                                        $138
Tip:                                                                        $603
Total:                                                                    $6,631

Senior Citizen Trip in Orlando

An assisted living community administrator contacts National Charter Bus Orlando to arrange a minibus rental for their next social outing. Members of the community will travel to see the Orlando Philharmonic Symphony perform at Bob Carr Theater. Since several of the residents use wheelchairs, the minibus needs to be ADA-accessible, which won’t cost any extra (but they will need to give at least two weeks’ notice.)

With 3 staff members and 15 residents in attendance, our reservation agents paired the group with a compact minibus. The total outing will take about 4 hours, at a rate of $125 per hour, and they will have to pay $10 for parking.

Minibus for 4 hours:                                   $500
Parking:                                                         $10
Tip:                                                                  $51
Total:                                                              $561

Plan Your Charter Bus Trip

Now that you have an idea of how much your trip may cost, you can call National Charter Bus for a free, personalized quote. If you like the quote we give you and decide to book, you’ll need to pay a deposit in order to hold your reservation. Our partners usually request full payment at least 30 days before the trip. Need to book less than 30 days in advance? We can probably still help you, but you might have to pay for the entire trip when you make your reservation.

You’ll also want to ask about cancellation policies when you make your reservation. If you have to cancel a month or less before your travel date, you unfortunately may not receive a refund. If you cancel several months before, you might get part of your deposit back, depending on the charter bus company’s individual policies.

When you call 1-844-755-0510, we can give you your customized quote and answer whatever questions you have about how to reserve and pay for your bus. With service in more than three dozen cities, we’d love to help you get to where you’re going.