Party buses are surging in popularity across the country, and for good reason. In many ways, a party bus is the perfect transportation solution for bachelor/bachelorette parties, weddings, birthdays, family reunions, proms, fraternity/sorority formals, office parties, and many other events. But if these so-called “rolling nightclubs” get out of control, they can also be dangerous.
To be fair, any bus with “party” in its name is supposed to be fun. Party buses can and should be an enjoyable part of your event. But when alcohol is part of the celebration equation, a party bus should increase guest safety and reduce your risk–not the other way around.
With fun and safety in mind, we’ve compiled 10 commonsense do’s and don’ts for your party bus rental:
- Make a clear distinction between what a party bus is and isn’t:
What it is: A party bus is a mode of luxury transportation to and from a celebratory event, in which the bus ride contributes to the festivities and, at the same time, ensures the safety and comfort of the guests.
What it isn’t: A party bus should NOT be a no-holds-barred drunken bash in which intoxication and raucous behavior are condoned and even encouraged.
- Consider renting a party bus when you need to transport people to and from a party, celebration, or other event.
- Rent a bus from a reputable company. Verify that the company has a current permit, license, and insurance. Check references to make sure it has a good reputation.
- Beware of rogue operators. If you are offered a cut-rate price, it could mean that the operator is cutting corners in important areas, such as liability insurance, safety inspections, and properly licensed drivers. Some may be operating illegally, without the necessary Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) authority to transport passengers for hire.
- By all means enjoy snacks and beverages as part of the hospitality and entertainment while onboard your party bus. Most charter buses—especially those that market themselves as party buses—allow adult passengers to consume alcohol onboard. But use common sense and serve and drink responsibly.
- Alert the charter bus company in advance if you intend to serve alcohol onboard. You may be required to make a refundable deposit to cover any necessary cleaning or repairs. Be sure your guests are prepared to show proof of legal drinking age.
- Find out if the company allows coolers onboard. If they do, keep in mind that coolers must be small enough to fit under your seat or in an overhead bin so they don’t block the aisles.
- Follow all safety rules, listen to the driver’s instructions, and refrain from any behavior that could damage the bus or injure a fellow passenger.
- Clean up after yourself. Motorcoaches provide trash bags and receptacles for the convenience of their passengers; these should be passed around several times during the trip.
- Provide two or more responsible adult chaperones for any party bus carrying minors.
- Never hire a bus company without doing your due diligence. A company’s MDOT number, insurance status, safety and inspection record, and accident history are all a matter of public record. Take five minutes and review that record.
- No underage drinking. Period. When minors are onboard, the chaperone is responsible for making sure underage passengers do not drink. The bus driver may ask to see identification, and reserves the right to terminate the charter with no refund if underage drinking is discovered.
- No illegal substances.
- No weapons.
- No smoking. Most charter bus companies have strict no-smoking policies.
- No standing or dancing on upholstered seats.
- No behavior that distracts the driver.
- No intoxication or disorderly conduct such as fighting, verbal abuse, or behavior that could be deemed “indecent.” Any of these are grounds for the driver to terminate the charter with no refund.
- No “bus surfing” (i.e., breaking open an emergency exit hatch and climbing onto the roof of the vehicle while in motion or stopped). For that matter, don’t put any body part outside of the vehicle’s windows or emergency exits at any time. Not only are these behaviors against the law, they could result in serious injury or death.
- Don’t leave anything behind. Check for your purse, wallet, keys, phone, and jacket before you disembark at the end of the night.
There you have it: Ten do’s and don’ts for a party bus experience that’s memorable for all the right reasons.