You may not realize it, but a lot of the first websites to offer charter transportation weren’t bus operators at all! Instead, the top ranking websites in the late 90s and early 2000s were bus brokers. A broker is simply someone who buys and sells goods to others. In our case, the “goods” are motorcoach rentals. Due to the explosive growth of consumers finding services online, more and more customers found these bus brokers when looking to rent a bus.
The broker model is to take the customer’s request and pair them up with an appropriate bus operator. However, things began to get out of hand as some unscrupulous brokers began to take advantage of bus operators. Because of this, bus brokers developed a very negative connotation in the charter industry.
A story that became the norm, rather than the exception, was that the broker would charge the customer excessively. Although 10 to 15% commission was considered an industry average, some brokers inflated the price for consumers by charging 25 to 35% or more. They would then would sell the trip to a company whose rates were cheap (sometimes due to below-quality equipment and, in certain documented cases, even unsafe equipment), in order to fully maximize profits. This price-gouging, in addition to inefficient communication of itinerary flexibilities, led to terrible customer experiences and gave the charter industry a bad rap.
Some of the dominant bus brokerages from the 90s’ poor business records have caught up with them, either due to bus operators refusing to accept business from them, or in worse cases; accidents and fatalities caused by unsafe and illegal operators contracted by brokers. However, many still exist—so be certain you are booking with an operator and not a reseller.
In 2004, BusRates.com was launched to take back ground from these unscrupulous national brokers, and help charter-seeking customers easily find and contact local operators in their area. By using BusRates.com to “go direct,” customers were able to skip the middleman and get their pricing, information, and more straight from the source.
Bus operators celebrated the directory as it ranked highly in search engines, providing them with the exposure they needed to be found by charter-seeking customers online. The success of BusRates.com has allowed us to reach top ranking placement for hundreds of charter-related search terms, and may be how you found our website today.
In addition to helping charter customers book directly with service providers, BusRates.com also aims to educate charter customers and help them find the best bus operator and bus type for their group.
BusRates.com puts the resources you need to determine bus ownership right at your fingertips. We link to each operator’s USDOT and Licensing and Insurance information, and also feature customer reviews submitted by charter-seeking customers like you.
Use BusRates.com to find local operators in your area; it helps the industry and gives you a better price, service, and peace of mind.