The key points of a coach rental in the French Alps
There are a number of points worth knowing before committing to a bus hire contract.
How can I reach Toursud by phone?
In short, we're available 24/7 in case of emergency. We give our telephone number to everyone to whom we send a bus rental quote.
We'd like to point out that it's more convenient to talk to us by email: it gives us time to analyze the details of your coach booking file and offer you the most suitable response.
However, if you prefer, you're welcome to call us (in English or French) to discuss your coach rental project or booking. We are generally available Monday to Friday from 9am to 7pm (Paris time). You'll speak with Coralie or Arnaud, and we'll be your sole contacts for organizing your coach rental in the French Alps.
As the service you've booked approaches, we'll also give you a telephone number reserved for emergency calls at night. So if you need to contact us at night, we'll also be available to answer your call.
How do you estimate the price of a coach rental?
It's quite an art! A coach hire quote depends on a number of factors:
- The size of the coach or minibus: using a minibus generally costs less than a coach, unless it's a luxury minibus of course.
- The level of comfort required: the cheapest coach is, of course, the school bus. For better quality services, we prefer touring coaches, or even luxury coaches.
- Mileage: driving 300 kilometres is of course more expensive than driving 50 kilometres. In addition to the price of fuel and wear and tear on the coach, the number of hours worked by the driver also has an impact on the price.
Note that the kilometres travelled by the coach to pick you up in the French Alps or return to its depot after your service also have an impact on the final price.
For example, if you need a coach departing from the French Alps, to travel 150 kilometres and return the same day to the French Alps:
- It would be better to use a coach company from the the French Alps area which will travel a total of 300 kilometres. This will reduce the distance covered by the coach. If the company you hire has to travel 100 kilometres to get to the French Alps, the cost will be much higher because they will charge you 100 kilometres to get to the French Alps, 300 kilometres with your group and 100 kilometres to get back to their depot, making a total of 500 kilometres.
- The date: a Sunday (or public holiday) service generally costs more than a weekday service. If the period is busy and the coach companies know that they will hire out all their coaches without a problem, prices will go up.
- Hiring a coach on a public holiday costs more because the driver is paid more. In France, public holidays are: 1 January, Easter Monday, 1 May, 8 May, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, 14 July, 15 August, 1 November, 11 November and 25 December.
- The time of day: hiring a coach in the evening costs more than hiring a coach during the day. Having a coach driver work at night is even more expensive.
- Coach driver pay: some companies pay their drivers more than others. This obviously has an impact on fares, but it is often synonymous with a better quality service. A driver who is paid more will tend to satisfy his customers better.
- The margin generated by the coach company: this is where the difference between coach companies lies. Prices for the same service can vary enormously from one company to another. Since 2008, we have worked with hundreds of coach companies. So we know exactly who we can trust.
How far in advance should I book the coach?
There are no hard and fast rules. The quote we send you is subject to the availability of the coach or minibus requested. This means that the coach company is free to hire out its coach to another group as long as you have not booked it.
But once you've booked, you can rest easy. The coach is reserved for you, and you can prepare for your trip in peace.
Simply put: first come, first served!
If you wait too long to book a coach, be prepared for the coach to become unavailable. And there's no guarantee that we'll be able to find another available company, let alone at the same price.
Every year, many groups contact us just a few weeks before arriving in the French Alps (sometimes just a few days before!). They have already booked their plane tickets, hotels, restaurants and shows.... and think that finding a coach will be easy. On the contrary, at Toursud we advise you to book your coach as early as possible, even several months in advance, so as not to find yourself without a coach.
How do I calculate the duration of a coach journey?
Our customers often consult Google Maps to calculate their journey times. It's a good idea, but the same journey takes longer by coach than by car. To put it simply, if a journey by car takes 45 minutes, a coach will take around an hour.
Twenty minutes by car? Thirty minutes by coach. Two hours by car? Two and a half hours by bus.
Beware, these bases are not always exact: rush-hour traffic and traffic jams in Paris and the surrounding region have an impact on journey times. Rest assured, we can tell you how long your journey will take, although this is not an exact science.
For longer journeys, it's best to ask us, as we have to take into account the compulsory breaks that coach drivers must respect.
Is it possible to change the route of our journey or the timetable?
As long as you have not yet booked the coach, you can change the details of your journeys as you wish. We will update the quote if your changes affect the price of the services you wish to book.
If you wish to make changes once the coach has been booked, we will first have to check with the coach company whether the requested changes are possible. This is because a timetable change on your part may have an impact on services booked by other groups.
If the requested changes are possible, we will check whether this alters the advertised fare: we will refund you part of the amount paid if the service is cheaper or we will charge you a supplement if the service is more expensive.
Is it possible to negotiate the price of coach hire?
Since 2022, the profession of coach driver has become less and less popular. Many drivers decided to change profession after the Covid-19 period. Today, coach companies are almost certain to have enough work for all their drivers every day.
There's nothing to stop you trying to negotiate, but given that the vast majority of coach operators have "too much work", prices are rising steadily and there are very few opportunities for negotiation.
Will there be toilets in the coach I'm hiring?
Only large coaches (with 40 seats or more) are generally equipped with toilets. You should be aware that coach toilets are for emergencies only.
They are not designed to accommodate several people one after the other, for the comfort of the passengers seated near the toilets, but also for that of the driver. Put yourself in the driver's shoes: he'll have to clean the toilets after several gentlemen who had trouble keeping their balance when the bus was moving...
Please note that we cannot guarantee that the coach you are allocated will have toilets. Even if we know that the coach is equipped with toilets, the coach company from the the French Alps area may need to change the allocation of its coaches at the last minute to meet the needs of its schedule. For this reason, we cannot guarantee that your coach will be equipped with toilets.
It's impossible to guarantee that your coach will have 100% toilet facilities. That would be lying to you.
Finally, depending on the type of coach you need, please note that minibuses, school coaches and standard buses are not equipped with toilets.
Does the bus driver take breaks on long journeys lasting several hours?
Bus drivers usually take a break about every two hours of driving on long journeys. This may vary depending on the schedule or traffic conditions. This allows coach passengers to go to the toilet at freeway service stations or to stretch their legs.
When we send you our quote for coach hire in the French Alps, we'll take these stops into account to offer you the timetable best suited to your needs.
Ideally, the group leader should meet with the bus driver at the start of the trip to discuss the desired stops. Of course, if more frequent stops are required, you can let the driver know.
Finally, you should know that European coach legislation requires the driver to take at least 45 minutes break for every 4.5 hours of driving during the day (4 hours at night).