One of the many services we offer our groups is to plan their transportation to and from their destinations. Charter motor coaches have always been the most economical form of moving large groups, however, since the pandemic we have been overwhelmed by the stark increase in these costs. Even though our service fees have not risen, the overall costs have skyrocketed making it almost embarrassing sending out motor coach quotes.
With so many group leaders shocked by these increases, we reached out to several owners at motor coach companies to learn more about the internal causes for the huge spike in motor coach charters:
1. FUEL COSTS: The cost of diesel needed for the operation of the coaches has increased at rates much faster than inflation. As one of the largest costs associated with operating a motor coach, these costs are directly factored into the retail cost.
2. DRIVERS: The pandemic and associated mandates encouraged many drivers to either find other places to drive or simply retire. Drivers are in short supply and those that are driving are at much higher costs to the coach companies.
3. VEHICLE INVENTORY: When the pandemic began, many coach companies sold a portion of their fleets in order to stay solvent. As such, many coach companies are operating with 25% fewer vehicles than they had pre-Covid.
4. SUB-OUTS: Pre-pandemic, many coach companies would sub out (hire affiliated coach companies) to handle smaller jobs so that they could fulfill requests for long-haul charters. Since then, many of the smaller companies have closed and the larger operators do not have the inventory to handle all the business.
OVERALL: Although this is not the complete list of reasons, they are the most common and largest factor in the costs of coaches today. The good news is, when comparing round-trip charters to airfare plus local transfer costs, charters coaches are still a less expensive option….but not by much.