Charter Bus Services

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 1,100 charter bus firms in the US provide long-distance and local transport on the client’s schedule. Charter bus firms do not operate regular fixed schedules or routes and typically do not engage in scenic or sightseeing transport. Customers include schools, churches and religious organizations, civic groups, senior living centers, businesses (retreats and conferences), government, event planners (festivals, sports competitions, conventions), sports teams, performing arts groups, and individuals (weddings, parties, family trips).

Crashes and Passenger Injury

Accidents involving injuries or fatalities create liability for charter bus services and damage their reputation with prospective customers.

Volatile Fuel Prices

Low mileage per gallon for charter buses makes firms susceptible to increases in fuel prices.

Technology on Buses

Buses are increasingly equipped with a variety of technology related to operations, safety and customer experience.

Industry size & Structure

A typical charter bus services firm operates out of a single location, employs 28-29 workers, and generates about $3-4 million annually.

    • The charter bus services industry consists of about 1,100 companies, which employ about 32,900 workers and generate about $4 billion annually.
    • The industry operates about 33,000 motorcoaches with the average firm operating 11 vehicles.
    • The average small motorcoach firm operates a fleet of up to 25 vehicles and makes about 88 million passenger trips per year. Small firms account for 15.5% of passenger trips and 47% of passenger miles.
    • Mid-sized firms operate a fleet of 25-99 vehicles and make about 87 million passenger trips annually. Mid-sized firms account for 15.5% of passenger trips and 27% of passenger miles.
    • Large firms operate a fleet of 100 or more vehicles and make about 398 million passenger trips per year. Large firms account for 69% of passenger trips but just 26% of passenger miles.
    • Most companies are small, independent operators - 90% have a single location and 68% employ less than 20 workers.
    • Large companies include US Coachways, USA BusCharter, and Dattco. BusBank schedules clients for independent charter bus firms, and doesn’t own or operate buses.
                                  Industry Forecast
                                  Charter Bus Services Industry Growth
                                  Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                  Recent Developments

                                  Dec 2, 2022 - Diesel Price Remains High
                                  • Gasoline prices have decreased significantly from the highs of mid-2022, but diesel prices are falling at a much slower pace. The national average for regular gas was only up 8 cents year over year on December 1. Diesel was $1.51 higher year over year on December 1. Experts say that winter weather is playing a key role in keeping diesel prices elevated. The oils used in heating buildings are very similar to diesel. More of these oils are diverted to heating as the temperature drops, so there is less diesel on the market.
                                  • Intercity bus operators with routes that are 250 miles less are showing more interest in electric vehicles (EVs), according to Smart Cities Dive. Experts say that electric busses have not caught on with charter services because thier range is typiclly less than required for most routes and they must recharge for 3 to four hours. Charter bus companies serving universities and other institutions that prioritize sustainability are also showing more interest. “The EV bus would give a much-needed image boost,” said Joseph Schwieterman, director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University. “The industry could use that.”
                                  • Electric motorcoaches are not catching on as quickly with charter bus services compared to the city transit and the personal sectors, according to industry experts. Electric motorcoach range is inadequate for most trips, and the 3- to 4-hour recharge required in the middle of routes would double the travel time for passengers and make the trip so long that one driver would not have the legal hours to complete it. Range is not as critical for a city transit bus on fixed routes around a community because it is able to recharge on a recharging pad at each bus stop within minutes of each other, but it is for a motorcoach that needs to get its passengers to their destination 400 to 500 miles away within a 10-hour window.
                                  • Ride sharing giant Uber is extending its ride-hailing capabilities to include group travel through a partnership with US Coachways, which has a fleet of limo buses, sprinter vans, executive buses, and school-style buses. The company will let people book large vehicles, such as party buses, passenger vans or coach buses directly in the app. The group travel service launched in major Texas metro markets, but Uber plans a nationwide rollout during the remainder of the summer.
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