Charter Bus Rental Prices: Guide to Calculating Cost

Truth be told, there’s not a straight answer to this question. The price of your Shofur bus rental is affected by a variety of factors, many of which depend on your specific trip details, like:

  • Make and Model - what kind of motorcoach you rent
  • Distance - how far you’ll be traveling
  • Duration - how many hours or days you’ll need the rental
  • Season - what time of year your trip will take place
  • Location - the city where you’ll be picked up and the city where you’ll be dropped off
  • Amenities - the small comforts, bells, and whistles your passengers enjoy en route
a black shofur bus with a green

The factors listed above will need to be squared away before you can make a reservation, so they will be reflected in your rental quote. Keep in mind that there are other factors that will not be included in your initial quote, but you’ll still need to be mindful of:

For this reason, you’ll need to keep your trip details handy and give us a call at 1-800-436-8719 to receive the most accurate quote for your Shofur bus rental. Don’t worry—we aim to make the rental process as quick and easy as possible. That’s why our representatives are available 24/7 to help you out, our quotes are absolutely free, and there’s no obligation to book with us if you receive one.

Example Bus Rates

That being said, we understand that no one wants to jump into a large purchase blindly. For your reference, here are some of our average bus rental rates so you can know what to expect. Please keep in mind that these are only examples and may not reflect the rates in your city or the quote you receive.

Charter Bus $100 - $180 $900 - $1,900 $4.00 - $6.00
Minibus $90 - $170 $750 - $1,700 $3.00 - $5.50
Shuttle Van $80 - $160 $700 - $1,300 $3.00 - $4.00

*Please note that rates are based on averages and are subject to change based on time of booking, starting city, and other conditions. 

Pricing Examples in your City

Still need more information before you call and book? Here are some hypothetical pricing breakdowns based on trips we often service. Again, these are just examples—you’ll need to call us at 1-800-436-8719 to know exactly how much your minibus or charter bus rental will cost:

The Houston Conference

A marketing organization is hosting a conference at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. To keep everyone on time to every workshop, the event coordinator wants to establish a minibus shuttle service to transport attendees between the convention center and various hotel partnerships across town. One of the hotels offers free bus parking, but the coordinator will need to provide room and board for the driver. The conference will last 3 days, and the average daily rate in Houston is $1,125 per day. The coordinator also wants to tip the driver 15% after the conference for a job well done. That will bring the total cost of the minibus rental up to:

Minibus for 3 days
Accommodation for driver for 2 nights

The Atlanta Wedding

A happy couple is planning to tie the knot in Atlanta. While local guests are familiar with the hectic ATL traffic patterns, the couple is worried that older loved ones from out of town may have trouble getting to the venue. So the wedding planner arranges a van rental to shuttle 16 aunts, uncles, parents, godparents, and grandparents between their downtown hotel, the ceremony at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and the reception at the Peachtree Club. The festivities will span 6 hours total, and the wedding shuttle will cost a $105 hourly rate. Parking the van in downtown Atlanta will cost about $55 for the entire evening. Afterward, the couple wants to tip the driver 10%. That means their transportation will cost:

Shuttle van for 6 hours

The New York City Field Trip

A club coordinator from a New Jersey high school would like to treat 98 students and 10 chaperones to a day of museum-hopping in New York City. To accommodate everyone, they’ve opted to rent 2 full-sized charter buses. They’ll leave the school campus at 8 a.m., commute 2 hours into the city, and visit the Museum of Natural History, the Tenement Museum, and the Alexander Hamilton Grange National Memorial. Accounting for travel time and meal breaks, their reservation specialist determined the need to reserve their buses for a total of 10 hours. Charter buses in NYC generally go for $150 per hour. They’ll need to pay $20 per vehicle in tolls and $150 total to park both buses. The coordinator also wants to throw in a 10% tip. So the total will be:

2 charter buses for 10 hours

How do factors like Distance and Season affect price?

Good question! Here’s how the factors listed above play into the final cost of your rental:

Make and Model

Small buses cost less to run and maintain than larger bus models, which will be reflected in your quote. If you don’t need all of the seats or storage space offered on a full-sized, 56-passenger charter bus, opting for a smaller model might save your group a little bit of money.

Distance and Duration

How far you’re traveling and how long you’ll need your bus will determine how your trip is priced. For example, one-day trips such as field trips and weddings are often priced per hour, while multi-day trips such as weekend retreats and sports tournaments are often priced per day or per mile. Your price will be calculated based on whether your trip will cover a long distance in a short amount of time or a short distance over a long period of time.

When you call to book, be sure to have all of your itinerary details finalized so that we can provide you with an accurate quote based on how far you plan to travel. We can always edit your reservation once you’ve booked, but adding stops to your trip will result in an extra charge.


Peak travel months for charter bus companies are often April, May, and June, due to an increase in graduations, proms, end-of-year school trips, and family vacations. If your trip takes place in one of these three months, your price will be higher than it would be at other times of the year. Meanwhile, the months of January, February, and July are often less busy, as winter weather and the end of summer usually keep groups indoors. You’re more likely to get a better deal on a charter bus during those times.

Additionally, weekend trips are more expensive than weekday trips, due to a greater demand for motorcoaches.


Most major cities have plenty of bus companies and bus depots that can dispatch buses relatively quickly and keep up with a high demand. But some cities (often ones that aren’t near a metropolitan area) either don’t have many roads that can accommodate charter buses, or they simply don’t have a very high demand for charter bus trips.

If your trip is scheduled to begin and end in a city that already has plenty of available buses, your quote won’t be affected. But older cities like Boston don’t have as many roads that are conducive to charter bus travel, so there are often fewer available bus providers there. Rural cities may also have a low supply of charter buses.

If your starting city doesn’t have a high supply of buses, Shofur might need to pull a bus from another city and send the bus to you before your trip. The cost that covers any miles driven without passengers onboard is called deadhead, and that cost will be rolled into your quote.


Many amenities come at no additional cost. These include WiFi, reclining seats, and air conditioning. But if you’d like to secure additional amenities on your bus, an extra charge may be necessary. Talk to your reservation specialist about the cost of adding onboard restrooms, a PA system, televisions with DVD players, extra storage space, and more.

Factors Not Included in Your Quote

There are a few additional things to consider when you’re building your trip budget. All of the factors listed above will be rolled into your charter bus quote, but don’t forget to account for extra expenses that might arise, such as:

  • Tolls, which may or may not come up, depending on your route.
  • Bus parking fees, which will vary from city to city.
  • Room and board for your driver, which you must provide if your trip lasts more than one day.
  • Driver tip, which is strongly recommended. Most groups tip their driver 5-10% of the total rental cost once their trip has been completed.

How Can I Get the Best Rate on my Bus Rental?

Book early! The further you book in advance, the easier it is for us to find and secure the best bus for your trip.

We also recommend planning ahead to account for the factors above that might influence your trip cost. For example, if you can plan your trip outside of our peak seasons (April, May, and June), you’ll get a better rate. You can also check your itinerary and ensure that you’re traveling on the most efficient route to avoid extra charges for mileage or hours spent on the road.

Additionally, if you have any questions about your rate, our team will be happy to answer them.

Start Planning Your Bus Rental

Whether you have some questions about pricing, need to make a change to your rental, or simply want to claim your free quote, the Shofur team is always here to help. Call 1-800-436-8719 today and see for yourself how easy it is to rent a bus through us!