by Hunter R. Slaton | April 01, 2008

This checklist was compiled with the help of New Orleans-based Hotard Coaches (800-553-4895; www.hotard.com).

DETERMINING NEEDS

  • Will transportation be needed to and from the airport?
  • Will you need transportation for special events?
  • Will a shuttle be required between hotels and the convention center?
  • Is VIP transportation required?
  • Will transit be required for attendees with special needs?
  • Will there be guest/fam tours of the area?
  • Estimate the number of people requiring transportation for each event.
  • Establish sites for attendee pick-ups/drop-offs, limiting the number of stops to no more than five.
  • Will attendees be moved in one trip, or will buses make multiple trips?
  • Establish peak and nonpeak transit times.
  • If considering shuttle service, are any of the hotels on the shuttle route walkable?
  • SELECTING A GROUND OPERATOR

  • Request information on ground operators from hotels, the CVB and the convention center.
  • Ask if the company offers corporate accounts, and check references.
  • Check the company’s safety rating with the Department of Transportation’s Office of Motor Carrier Federal Highway Administration (800-832-5660; www.safersys.org).
  • What is the company’s specialty (e.g., convention services, local charters, out-of-state charters)?
  • How many vehicles does the company have? What is the seating capacity?
  • What is the condition/age of the fleet? If you can, inspect the vehicles and the facility.
  • Do vehicles have air conditioning, seat belts, public-address systems, rest rooms and other facilities you’ll need?
  • Do the vehicles meet ADA requirements?
  • How much advance notice does the company require to accommodate people with special needs?
  • Does the company have a two-way radio system?
  • Does the company have 24-hour on-call service?
  • What are the emergency procedures?
  • Are all vehicles insured? Ask for documentation.
  • Ask the insurance carrier if you can be added to the policy. Include an indemnification clause in case of an accident.
  • What is the company’s driver policy? Does the company limit driver shifts to 10 hours of actual driving time?
  • If your itinerary exceeds 10 hours, how will the company meet your group’s needs? Is there an additional cost?
  • Do quoted costs include fuel, equipment, signage, maintenance, union fees, taxes, surcharges and tolls?
  • Are gratuities added to the bill, or are they optional?
  • Ask for a complete cost breakdown of driver time, waiting time, dispatcher and anticipated overtime.
  • Does the company do background checks on drivers?
  • Do the drivers belong to a union? If so, when will their contract expire?
  • What is the company’s drug and alcohol policy?
  • What is the company’s policy on mileage over the contracted amount?
  • Does the company offer complimentary service hours or discounts?
  • IMPORTANT POINTS TO CONSIDER

  • Is the company’s proposal detailed and well-written?
  • Did the proposal stay within your budget? If not, was the company willing to make adjustments?
  • Are there any cancellation provisions?
  • Did the company readily provide a list of clients, insurance certificate, safety rating and site inspection?
  • Notes: