The following is important information for music directors to be aware of when traveling in the United States by motorcoach.
The standard size deluxe motorcoach, or tour bus in the U.S.A. is a 55-seat coach. This is the size on which Music Celebrations bases its domestic coach tour prices. With a 55-seat coach, the group can utilize 54 seats, leaving one seat open for the MCI Tour Manager. There are some “off-size” coaches available, smaller coaches, or a 57-passenger coach, but because they are not as common they come at a premium price and would not bring a significant (if any) cost savings to the travelers.
In the U.S.A., a deluxe motorcoach is not allowed to travel with an attached trailer. Large instrumental ensembles may need to plan on hiring a truck to follow the group to their tour destination if there is not enough room in the undercarriage of the bus for both the luggage and instruments.
Music Celebrations requests contracts with buses not more than five years old, to ensure that the bus is in good working condition. MCI will put out to bid the contract on behalf of the group to reputable companies that service your location.
Tour Pricing based on Motorcoach Transportation
You will see on the proposal that the per-person cost is on a sliding scale, dependent upon the number of travelers you have per bus. Each motorcoach represents certain fixed overhead costs, which include driver, fuel, bus, overnight parking, overnight room for driver(s), and Tour Manager (one per bus). The best per person price is achieved by filling up each motorcoach (54 per bus), thus spreading around the fixed costs to as many people possible. If your numbers exceed 54, and are not divisible by 54, we would divide your total number of travelers by the number of buses you need to get find how many passengers you would have per bus, thus finding out what paying category your group falls into on the proposal. For example, if you were to have 70 – 80 total travelers, that would put you in either the 35 – 39 or 40 – 44 category, which is more expensive than the 50 – 54 because you have the same fixed overhead prices spread amongst fewer travelers.
We occasionally receive requests to back out the transportation from the tour proposal for various reasons; wanting to compare “apples to apples” (competing proposals don’t include transportation), school districts or booster organizations may offer to cover the cost of the transportation, or directors may have a relationship with a local coach company and feel that they can negotiate a better rate. Whatever the reason, MCI insists that it negotiate and/or sign the coach contract on the director’s behalf, thus making the contract between MCI and the coach company.
The following four (4) bullet points illustrate why it is important to have MCI be the contracting party:
- Our quotation to you will include all necessary and essential arrangements for the bus and driver, including any needed relief drivers, overnight accommodations for the driver(s), overnight parking, permits, toll fees, etc.
- Group (and MCI staff) will be covered under Music Celebrations’ Liability Insurance.
- When MCI is the contracting party, our Tour Managers and staff can work most efficiently and effectively with drivers. Our requests/instructions have much more clout if we are the party paying the bills. Our ability to negotiate with the transportation company regarding unsatisfactory service, faulty or unacceptable equipment, changes in routing or itinerary, or quick repair or replacement of equipment is vital to the smooth operation of any concert tour.
- Should the group handle the contract with the bus company and the bus break down during the tour, MCI would not be responsible for rearranging the itinerary program and no refunds will be given for any missed meals or sightseeing.