Blog Posts

We ARE The Greenest Way To Travel

When we say we are the greenest way to travel, people laugh. We can’t seriously believe those big diesel engines that have that puff of black smoke as they pull away are actually green vehicles. Well no, they aren’t. We are not saying the vehicle is green, but the mode of transportation is…let us explain. Motorcoaches achieve 206.6 passenger miles per gallon (MPG) of fuel. In other words, we can transfer 55 passengers about 3.75 miles per gallon of fuel (55×3.75=206.25 MPG). A hybrid car will get 46 passenger MPG. An airplane will get about 44 passenger MPG. If you take the train that number drops to about 31.4 passenger MPG and personal automobiles average 27.2 passenger MPG. Each full motorcoach has the potential of removing 55 autos from the highway, reducing congestion, cutting energy use, and reducing emissions more than any other form of travel. Motorcoaches also emit the least carbon dioxide per passenger mile when compared to every other form of transportation (even with that little puff of black smoke!)

Your Guests Aren’t Cattle

I remember getting a frantic call in the middle of the night from a lady a few years ago who needed help right away. She said she had contracted a local competitor to move her folks in and out of a private residence here in Richmond. The private way was not large enough for a bus to safely travel in and out. On the way in, the driver had cracked three windows, but on the way out he had put a large branch right through two windows on the opposite side injuring a couple of the guests. The passengers were terrified and she needed us to come out and rescue the group. We did, but the cost for her and the other company was far more than they had planned. Not to mention, it was probably the one thing the guests remembered about the event. One of the most important things to know before booking your venue is the ability to get large vehicles in and out safely. So many new venues have materialized over the past few years that it is hard to keep up. Everybody and their mother think their large house is perfect make money as a venue. When we haven’t done work there before or we cannot tell from overhead, a site inspection is required. Since there is a cost involved in the inspection, most folks will have the venue owner call us to try and explain over the phone that buses can get in and out. If I had a nickel for every time a venue owner told me, “we have trucks in here all the time”, I would be a rich man. I only wish just one time I could say, “great, let’s load all the guests in a truck like cattle and send them in!” Seriously, so many times a venue looks perfect until the client finds out there is no way to move large groups of people in and out safely. The best thing to do is get with your transportation company and have them help you do the research up front to make sure you can do what needs to be done. Don’t be that person who doesn’t account for it up front and make for a nightmare your guests will never forget. Contract with a company who thinks about those things and can avoid turning your event into an experience they will wish they could forget!

Gratuities are a personal thing.

One of the most common questions we receive from our customers is “how much should we tip the driver?” That is a difficult question to answer for several reasons, but here goes… If you simply want to be in line with what others typically give the driver, 10% is the average and is a good rule of thumb, but a gratuity is a reward for going above and beyond what is expected. Here lately, gratuities are expected for nothing extra. I see gratuity jars at cash registers which are supposed to reward the cashier for actually ringing up my purchase. Panera Bread encourages me to pay a gratuity with my purchase and they also expect me to clear my own table, sort my trash and dishes into the proper bins before I leave…really? The best way you can express your group’s appreciation for the service our drivers provide is to extend a gratuity. While a gratuity is “customary, but not obligatory” we do encourage our customers to tip our drivers if they are pleased with the service. Some groups “pass the hat” and give it to the driver at the end of the trip. Other groups set the money aside before the trip and present it to the driver personally. And still others take advantage of our prepayment option and include a gratuity with the cost of the trip. All of these are perfectly acceptable. Our drivers never expect a gratuity, but they love getting them. They don’t expect gratuities from school children on field trips. They don’t expect it from shuttle type work where the passengers are not paying for the service directly or indirectly and they certainly don’t expect it from anyone who cannot afford it. You should give what you want to give, not what you feel compelled to give. You should get a good feeling from giving it and you should get a grateful reaction and a thank you for the gift. It’s a personal thing.