If you’re planning a student trip this spring, don’t miss the bus! Motorcoaches are in short supply for 2022.
Across the United States, there are roughly 3,000 private bus companies. Most are small, family-owned businesses that handle a variety of transportation services, including student travel. Typically, they average annual collective revenues of around $15 billion. However, as of August 2020, they were on track to bring in only a fraction of that.
What Does This Mean for Your Trip?
What does this mean for your trip? There are lots of factors in play that will affect transportation to your favorite destination. Here’s what you need to know:
Many motorcoach carriers expect to sell out in spring 2022. They simply don’t have enough equipment to meet a surge in demand.
Similar to rental car companies, some motorcoach businesses were forced to sell parts of their fleets when no one was traveling during the pandemic. Now that vaccines are making travel accessible again, demand is up but the numbers of available buses are down.
Private bus companies were hit especially hard this past year, with an estimated 83% of the industry’s 88,800 full-time workers unemployed. Additionally, these same companies were virtually excluded from any federal assistance.
As a result, many furloughed drivers have now found other employment and are not available for trips.
As companies work to grow their employee base, they’re bringing in new drivers to fill the vacancies. These new, entry-level drivers must undergo rigorous training and learn new safety protocols. Training programs take time – and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Our children are precious cargo!
Dropped Fleet Insurance
Many motorcoach carriers took the insurance and licensing off some of the equipment in their fleet in order to save on expenses when business came to a standstill. Now that equipment must be insured and licensed again. It will take companies a little time to re-insure properly.
Additionally, motorcoach companies must perform maintenance on the motorcoaches that have not been operating to be sure they are functioning properly. Again, this will take some time.
Look Before You Book
It can be tempting to search for motorcoach companies on your own when faced with a transportation crisis. Beware of brokers that promise buses when supply is low. It’s difficult to know if you’ll get a reputable company, reliable equipment, or fully insured motorcoaches.
Look before you book! Check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to research company safety records online and verify that the company is authorized to operate. You can also confirm that the company has the required liability coverage.
This story is courtesy of Kaleidoscope Adventures, a full-service student trip planner with more than 26+ years of inspiring student travel and a former educator as CEO. Read more here.