You’ve booked a bus for a trip, and are happy with the quotes you have received. Everything is close to be finalized, but you just want to request a few small itinerary changes, like pulling over at a scenic spot for a group photo, or stopping for lunch at a town known for its culinary delights instead of picking up grub at a highway rest stop. All of a sudden, the price you’re being quoted has gone up significantly. The small changes you made didn’t merit the extra digits to the final total, did it?

When planning trips for large groups going long distances—whether it’s family events, social outings, or company bookings—coach bus rentals have persisted as the simplest and most effective to get from point A to point B. It’s a one-bus-fits-all situation, but there’s a hitch: The price of coach bus, let alone getting an accurate bus rental quote.

So, What Actually Factors Into your Charter Bus Rental Quote?

Why is it that the price of charter bus rentals varies so much? The truth is that there are many factors that go into the pricing of your vehicle rental like the timing of your rental, the availability of your vehicle of choice in your area, gas prices, and the overall caliber of the bus itself. But, the most important variant in the price of your bus rental is without a doubt your driver’s overall drive-time.

It turns out that many renters can forget that there’s a difference between what’s called ‘on-duty time’ and ‘drive time’, and the difference between these times factors quite a bit in the cost of bus rentals, both in Canada and in the United States. You’d  think that the bigger or more luxurious the vehicle, the more expensive the final bill can get. The amount of time a driver spends driving is what usually what affects the price of your rental in the end.

What’s the Difference Between “On Duty Time” and “Drive Time”?

Essentially, on-duty time refers to all time a driver is working but isn’t necessarily driving; it may not include their lunch break, but any time spent on the job is time spent on-duty. Drive time, on the other hand, refers to the time that the driver is doing just that: Driving.

Even if a bus might stop on request, it doesn’t mean that the driver is going to punch out on the clock and wait until it’s time to get going again. Those hours need to be paid for, fair and square, and it’s important to remember that both Canada and the United States have their own respective regulations when it comes to the limits of a driver’s on-duty time. These rules exist to ensure that the driver isn’t overworked, and is awake and alert while driving.

How Long Can a Bus Driver Legally Drive in Canada?

For Canada, the Motor Coach Canada Association specifies that a driver can only be driving for up to 13 hours a day, no more, and that on-duty time must not exceed 14 hours a day.

Furthermore, your driver must be off duty for a minimum of 10 hours in a 24-hour day. To break this down, consider this example: Say your driver begins his or her work shift at 6:00am. He/she cannot drive past 7:00pm if they were driving continuously—which normally doesn’t happen—so even with several hours’ worth of stops, they wouldn’t be able to drive much more past 10:00pm. Drivers need to sleep like you and must take at least 8 hours off-duty before driving again.

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How Long Can a Bus Driver Legally Drive in the US?

As for the United States, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has slightly different rules: Following 8 consecutive hours off duty, driver must not drive a commercial motor vehicle after being on duty 15 hours; they can do other work after being on duty 15 hours—like supervising or maintaining the vehicle—but they can’t drive.

Drivers may only take the wheel for 10 hours of driving time after 8 consecutive hours off duty. Here’s an example: After 8 consecutive hours off to rest, your driver hits the road at 7:00 a.m. and drives from 8:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. They must not drive again until they’ve had 8 consecutive hours off the road.

Charter a bus for your next local group travel.

Whether you’re chartering a coach bus in Canada or in the United States, understanding the limits to drive time and on-duty time will help you understand what’s involved with your bill at the end of the day. If your trip is a long haul, combined destination bus tour that involves a driver exceeding his or her drive-time hours in one of the countries you’re traveling in, your trip might end up needing two drivers, and consequentially their salaries and accommodation fees.

Luckily, Bus.com can do a lot of work for you by providing accurate quotes on the cost of a trip and providing you with an easy way to book a bus, and manage your group transportation. So, the next time you’re researching the best solution for a group trip, simply use the Bus.com booking platform to figure out the price of a coach bus. It’s the easiest way to find out if the option of a bus rental is whithin budget!

More Useful Information on Charter Bus Rentals