50 people, 200 miles, no bus
September 29, 2005 1:59 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to transport 50 people 200 miles at a reasonable price?

We had a bus to take care of it, but that bus was earmarked for relief efforts so it's no longer available. The cost was originally going to be about $2,600.

I though about renting passenger vans, but none of us are old enough (we're all ~18) to drive a rental. Is there anyway to hire drivers?

The solution MUST be around the original dollar amount and private.

I'm going from Austin to Dallas if that helps.
posted by mr.dan to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
That's $52 per person to get to Dallas. Is it one-way or round-trip?

A straight, undiscounted round-trip fare on Greyhound is $55. If you have student IDs, you might knock a few bucks off that. Which is probably pretty much the solution you originally had, I'm guessing?

Round-trip airfare from Austin to Dallas is about $165 on American Airlines... depending on how much lead time you've got and which flight you book, you might (a) get everybody on the same flight and (b) be able to negotiate a better rate with the airline buying a block of 50 seats. But probably not *that* much better.

There are a couple of rental car companies that will (or at least used to) rent to drivers under 22-25, but at a ruinous premium (I was travelling on business at around age 19 and found this out the hard way. It sucks.) The ones I remember using were Alamo and Enterprise.

Good luck.
posted by enrevanche at 4:16 AM on September 29, 2005

A quick run through the Greyhound site says that you can probably get round trip tickets for about $55 each, so if you've got lots of time and aren't hauling a lot of stuff, they'll get you there. $2750 not counting whatever taxes there are, and it might be worth a call to find out if they offer group discounts.

Other than that, call around for other local charters, but you're probably screwed. I work with a local high school band, and our trip to our first competition is probably going to be cancelled because our school system has disallowed all use of activity buses. ("All" here of course means "all but athletics"—it's about fuel prices here, not relief efforts—but that's a rant for another day.) The only bus we've been able to find was going to cost $1520 for a 20-mile trip.
posted by phrits at 4:22 AM on September 29, 2005

Bah. I spent too long ranting and playing with links. What enrevanche said about that.
posted by phrits at 4:23 AM on September 29, 2005

Have you looked at trains? Amtrak's Texas Eagle hits Austin & Dallas. A quick fare search came up with $22 one way. Takes a little under 6 hours.
posted by justkevin at 5:03 AM on September 29, 2005

Takes a little under 6 hours.

Hahaha, you've obviously never ridden the Texas Eagle. I've never had it be less than an hour late. Sometimes substantially more. Be sure you're going on one of the days where it starts in San Antonio, not Los Angeles.
posted by grouse at 5:44 AM on September 29, 2005

The question specified "private" transportation, which I assume rules out scheduled service from Amtrak and Greyhound. A single bus is probably still the most economical option, so I'd start looking for a replacement. Are all buses in Austin earmarked for relief? Greyhound does charters too. Alternatively, try calling the limo and shuttle companies in town and see what they could offer. They'll probably be more expensive (mostly because you'd be hiring multiple drivers), but they could get you there and back.
posted by blue mustard at 6:14 AM on September 29, 2005

Buy an old school bus on ebay, then re-sell it when you are done. If you buy it from a dealer, you may a temporary tag that will last through the trip. To be legal, you will have to find someone with a bus license to drive with more than 15 people (I think this is pretty standard across the country, that's why those vans top out at 15 pass.), but I don't know texas law. But I think it will be much easier to find an off duty school bus driver than a whole bus.
posted by 445supermag at 7:12 AM on September 29, 2005

Or what about somehow affiliating with a local school or college, getting their sponsorship on the transportation part of your trip? You could pay them the $2,600 to offset their expenses/insurance/whatever.
posted by lorrer at 9:21 AM on September 29, 2005

to be clear: lots of schools and colleges have big busses that they do not use all the time, and maybe even extra drivers. You could also contact larger businesses in the area, particularly if they specialize in transportation.
posted by lorrer at 9:22 AM on September 29, 2005

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