BusRates.com Receives Recognition for Carrier Safety Education
The online group travel directory BusRates.com was featured in an ABC News 7 report regarding the evaluation of motor carrier safety on July 30, 2014.
The report featured BusRates.com’s direct access to federal safety records for listed operators. Near each company’s name and address, BusRates.com links to the U.S. Department of Transportation SAFER system, a barometer for safety across the motorcoach industry, and encourages consumers to look before booking.
“If there is an alert on the [Safety Measurement System] scores, we encourage them to call the company and say, ‘Hey, we see an alert. What are you doing about it?’” said Victor Parra, the president and CEO of the United Motorcoach Association. Unlike national bus brokers, BusRates.com provides direct contact information for each of its listed operators, so that questions like this can be answered swiftly for the consumer.
BusRates.com also publishes a user-friendly Operating Authority Guide for group planners that explains the details of the SAFER system on its website. It walks first-time group planners through the MCS-150 form, motor carrier docket number details, and the SMS system. In addition, the BusRates.com directory provides information for consumers to verify licensing and insurance in the United States and Canada, along with tutorials, frequently asked questions, and other “travel tips” for planners. These resources were viewed more than 26,500 times over the past year.
General Manager of BusRates.com, Eric Elliott, says, “Our mission is to facilitate direct contact between the bus operator and the group planner, but we also strive to ensure that planner makes the most informed choice in order to find the best bus company to meet their needs.”
In addition to federal records, BusRates.com also maintains a database of consumer-submitted reviews that are accessible on each operator’s profile. BusRates.com also monitors its listed operators and removes companies that lose their operating authority with the FMCSA.
BusRates.com was launched in 2005. It was developed as a dual resource for the bus charter industry by providing free comprehensive and easy-to-use charter information for consumers and group travel planners, and as an economical venue for bus owners to promote their many services. The site draws over 100,000 group travel planner visits each month, and reaches the international market with more than 130,000 group travel planners from outside the U.S. visiting the site annually. On June 10, 2011, BusRates expanded its directory with listings for hotels, restaurants, attractions, events and all other group activities to create an all-encompassing experience for group travel planners.