People who organize group trips often face a variety of challenges, but transportation doesn’t have to be one of them. Once you start planning a trip, you’ll realize that navigating from point A to point B is a significant factor in your travel plans. Yet, just know that you can charter a vehicle that’s the perfect size for your group and also the right fit for the length of your trip.

When should you choose one type of vehicle over another? With sufficient information, you’ll be able to make the right decision. A basic understanding of the differences between motorcoaches and mini buses can help guide you into planning an enjoyable trip.

What is a Motorcoach?

The American Bus Association1 explains what a motorcoach is by describing its size and comparing it with other types of buses that aren’t considered motorcoaches.

Motorcoaches typically transport passengers over long distances. They contain an elevated passenger deck that sits above a baggage compartment. As far as size goes, they hold more than 30 passengers and span at least 35 feet in length. City transit buses, sightseeing double-decker buses and trolleys do not fall into the category of motorcoaches.

In 2014, the United States had 3,628 motorcoach carriers, which are privately owned companies, and they operated 32,825 motorcoaches.

At US Coachways2, we have motorcoaches that are large enough to accommodate 49 to 57 passengers.


How Do Mini Bus Sizes Compare with Motorcoaches?

While motorcoach carriers also rent mini buses, mini buses live up to their name and are smaller vehicles than motorcoaches. At US Coachways, our minibuses typically seat from 24 to 30 and a maximum of 35 passengers. Minibuses are not as long as motorcoaches, and in general, they are used for smaller groups and shorter trips.

Motorcoach Trips

You’ll find that the nature of your travel sometimes makes motorcoaches the right choice. The following are just a few examples of travel where motorcoaches do a great job of fitting the bill.

Business Conferences

Business conferences, trade shows and seminars are valuable tools to expand big business and make operations run smoothly. The technology industry3 is an excellent example of sponsoring such large group events. Many tech events are on the schedule for 2018, and top technology companies will send large numbers of staff for training, education or simply to inform them about advances in the industry. Conferences can last a number of days and are geared toward B2B or B2C.

Athletic Team Travel

Whether college football teams or professional football and baseball teams, organizing travel often means moving anywhere from 40 to 65 players. Traveling to away games or playoff games are typically a two-day events for teams — one day to arrive and get settled in and the next day to play the game. Unlike high schools, colleges don’t have fleets of school buses, and renting a motorcoach is typically the favored option. The same is true for pro-ball teams.

With all the amenities a motorcoach offers — including restrooms, DVD and CD players, comfortable seats with plenty of legroom, plugs for mobile devices and WiFi — travel can be enjoyable.

Political Rallies

In 2017, mobilizing large groups of people for marches on Washington or demonstrations in other cities was popular. The electrified political atmosphere resulted in many people taking to the streets to protest or promote political agendas

According to Yahoo News4, between 3,341,823 to 4.611,782 people across the nation turned out for the Women’s March, a much larger number than was initially expected.

Motorcoaches are the ideal way to transport large groups of people to events like this. You can’t beat the fact that motorcoaches mean fewer cars congesting the highways. They also enable groups to coordinate arrival times and deal with parking hassles.

Large-Scale Evacuations

Because 2017 was a year that saw powerful hurricanes hitting Florida and Texas, motorcoaches became a means of getting people out of harms way, quickly and safely. In both leaving before the hurricane and returning afterward, Florida freeways were jammed with vehicles.

Better planning and more extensive motorcoach use can help people evacuate faster and avoid traffic congestion. With a hurricane bearing down on you, sitting in freeway gridlock, trapped in your car is no way to go.

US Coachways motorcoaches can evacuate as many as 57 people per vehicle, which helps to lessen traffic congestion. Many people may not realize it, but motorcoaches are also a very green way to travel, which helps reduce the carbon footprint on our environment.

Trips for Nonprofit Organizations

Emergency travel is rare compared with the number of pleasurable trips taken for recreation or entertainment. Nonprofit groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America often plan events for young folks to go camping or visit national landmarks. When troops are large, more than 35 members, or when several troops plan outings together, a motorcoach is the perfect travel solution.

The convenience of an onboard restroom can spare you from having to make numerous rest stops. Your whole group can arrive at the same time, and it’s much easier to pull off organized activities. Not to mention, singing camp songs on the bus can be a fun way to pass away the time!

Speaking of singing, large church choirs and university choir groups find motorcoach travel convenient as well for music tours. Combing performances with sightseeing makes an exciting getaway.

Mini Bus Travel

Not all events are mega events and not all groups are large. The mini bus came into existence as a solution to group travel that had too many passengers for a van but not enough to warrant a motorcoach. Many of the first mini buses were converted from vans or were body builds from a van or light truck chassis. However, auto manufacturers also produce their own models of minibuses and sizes vary.

Typically, for day trips with groups of more than 15 – 35 passengers, a mini bus will serve your needs. You’ll enjoy many of the same amenities that a motorcoach has — high back reclining seats, TV monitors, DVD, and AM/FM Cassette/CD. Typically, there are no onboard restrooms, but for short trips, they’re not usually needed.

What types of trips are good candidates for minibuses?

Transit to and from Airports

Large corporations may have clients or staff arriving at airports to attend conferences. When the group’s size is right for mini buses, there’s no easier way to travel to the conference destination. Everyone in your group arrives at the same time, which is to your advantage. Not to mention, you can eliminate the problems of trying to navigate traffic in unfamiliar cities and dealing with parking hassles and directions. For companies that focus on team building, group travel is another way to do things as a group.

Seminars and Trade Shows

When a large company sends a number of executives to a seminar or account executives to trade shows, they often use mini buses. It’s convenient for employees to leave their cars in a company parking lot where a mini bus can pick them up and drop them off. Co-workers can discuss business along the way or coordinate plans for a trade show. It’s also a great way for staff to simply spend time getting to know each other better.

Sports Events

Some amateur sports teams may not be large enough to need a motorcoach for transport. Even so, getting everyone to travel together in a mini bus can build morale. Players have time to bond with each other and share excitement about the game. Some may even discuss a few plays and strategies with their coaches.

Community and Social Group Activities

Whether you’re a group of relatives gathered for a wedding, a senior’s club planning a day trip to a casino or music fans going to a concert, group travel is fun. A mini bus is the right choice for a small group of 15 to 35 people, and when the occasion is festive, you can even charter a type of mini bus called a party bus.

A party bus has unique features that make your travel even more luxurious. Amenities typically include fiber optic lighting, perimeter seating, TV monitors, and surround sound, along with DVD and CD players. Be sure to inquire because some party buses also have onboard restrooms and a wet bar for beverages.

Reserve Your Mini Bus

Connecting online has become the fast and easy way for shopping, booking hotels and engaging in many other types of services. Online booking is also available for reserving transportation. Our site’s interactive form was designed for your convenience and after a few clicks you’ll be done. Simply fill in your information, and we’re glad to give you a quote.

At US Coachways, our professionals enjoy helping you plan safe, affordable and seamless travel. If you have questions about pricing, amenities or other aspects of travel, our agents are standing by to answer your questions. For assistance with coordinating your trip, give us a call at 1-888-340-9122.


  1. American Bus Association
  2. US Coachways
  3. Technology industry
  4. Yahoo News

2 thoughts on “Mini Bus Series: Mini Bus vs. Charter — Your Guide in Choosing

  1. I run a small company called The Vine Lady. My website goes right now to Boisset, as I market the Boisset wineries as an independent ambassador. I would like to organize a field trip to wineries in Wisconsin. What is the cost of a minibus for 10-40 people. It would be one entire day from early morning. Do you have a flat fee, or is it according to miles? I can look for the itineraire if required. It has not been defined yet. I first would like to know costs estimate on transportation in order to provide estimate ticket pricing.

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