Licensing and Insurance

For Passenger Carriers in the U.S. and Canada

All charter bus operators should be able to quickly provide appropriate licensing and insurance information to potential charter customers prior to affirming a booking. The documents are often emailed as a .PDF or faxed.

IMPORTANT: USA interstate carriers are operators that can cross state lines, USA intrastate carriers are operators that cannot leave the state. Canadian carriers all follow different regulations.

Companies listed in the BusRates.com directory are initially verified and routinely checked, but it is best practice for charter groups to personally verify operating authority and compliance prior to booking with a potential carrier for charter.

Sufficient insurance is not an indication of authorized operating authority, but is a requirement. The following should be of assistance in determining whether a selected operator is authorized for passenger transportation.

USA Inter-state Passenger Carriers

Passenger carrier operating authority and licensing and insurance requirements in the United States are mandated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Each carrier of passengers must register a USDOT number and obtain a minimum of $5 million insurance (associated to an MC docket number) searchable in the FMCSA’s databases.

BusRates.com has compiled its own tutorial for navigating the publicly available resources provided by the FMCSA in a helpful Operating Authority Guide.

The Operating Authority Guide (accessible by clicking the image above) includes an overview of licensing and insurance requirements, including safety results and other aspects of the FMCSA’s SAFER Company Snapshot.

USA Intra-state Operators

Intrastate operators (carriers that are not authorized for out-of-state trips) may not require a USDOT registration. The FMCSA provides information regarding which states are exempt from a USDOT registration requirement.

If an intrastate carrier does not have a USDOT number, ensure they are registered for passenger transportation in their state. Many states have specific permits and licenses necessary for the transportation of passengers that are publicly available online (such as California which requires companies obtain a Transportation Charter Permit or TCP).

Canada Passenger Carriers

In Canada, passenger carrier operating authority including licensing and insurance requirements are determined by each province or territory. Depending on provincial regulations, Canadian operators are often only permitted to pick up groups from specific areas in which they obtain permits.

Often a Carrier Abstract can be requested from the operator or governing department of transportation providing helpful information regarding the safety record of the company over the past two years. Below are helpful links to each province and territory’s transportation departments.

Provincial Transportation Links

Alberta Transportation

British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation

New Brunswick Transportation and Infrastructure

Newfoundland Department of Transportation and Works

Northwest Territories Transportation

Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure

Nunavut Department of Economic Development and Transportation

Ontario Ministry of Transportation

Prince Edward Island Transportation and Infrastructure

Quebec Ministry of Transportation

Saskatchewan SGI

Yukon Highways and Public Works

If you have any additional questions or concerns regarding licensing, insurance or operating authority you may contact the BusRates.com team at 866-375-0800 or [email protected].