Chicago Fact: The Loop is so named because Chicago's elevated train tracks (locals call it The El) surround the area.
When renting a charter vehicle, each group has certain requirements. When you rent from Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. we don't just want you satisfied - we want you thrilled! Here's a list of questions to consider before you contact our charter sales team at 773-648-5000 or request a quote online.
Not all charter companies are the same and therefore other factors need to be considered in addition to price. To help you get all the service and reliability you want and need, we offer these tips for better chartering. We hope that they will help you prepare a better quote request and keep your groups safe, comfortable, and satisfied.
1) Does your group have any special needs that must be met?
2) Clearly spell out your schedule and what is involved in detail.
Be sure the company knows what hours the driver must be available to the group. OSHA requires breaks for all types of employees including our drivers.
3) Find out when the company was established, and how long it has been offering charter services. A good track record is always desirable.
4) We've heard some companies charge by the number of stops they make on your behalf.
That's crazy. Don't rent from them.
5) Ask how frequently the trolleys are cleaned.
Chicago Trolleys and Double Deckers are cleaned each time they return to our barn. Every day.
6) Request a Certificate of Insurance.
Your carrier should supply a Certificate of Insurance. This certificate shows the carrier's levels of insurance and effective policy dates. Accepted levels of insurance call for a minimum of $5 million for combined single-limit liability.
7) Ask for references.
Request and contact references from similar type groups traveling on similar type programs. Never charter from a company unwilling to provide references.
8) Ask how many trolleys are in their fleet.
Overall charter fleet size is important. If they have 3 trolleys and they tell you they specialize in weddings, ask them which bride doesn't get her trolley if one has a mechanical problem. You need to gauge the operator's ability to supply alternate vehicles in the event of a mechanical problem, on multi-vehicle movements, or on weekends and during peak seasons. It also provides some insight into the success of the company.
9) Is the company adhering to Department of Transportation driver regulations?
The DOT limits drivers to 10 hours of continuous service. If your itinerary requires more than the limit, ask how the charter company is going to handle it.
10) Ask the company's procedures for on-the-road emergencies.
The operator should have access to a nationwide reciprocal maintenance agreement which will assure you of prompt servicing of equipment in all regions of the USA / Canada.
11) Is the company available for inspections?
You should be allowed to inspect the trolley or bus equipment, general offices and garage facilities before signing any contracts or agreements. You can tell a lot about a company just by looking.
12) What is the average age of the equipment operated?
Vehicles that are over 10 years old, unless properly maintained on a preventive maintenance basis, can have a greatly diminished reliability factor. Generally, the newer the trolley, the fewer the breakdowns. We don't buy second-hand trolleys - Chicago Trolleys are built to our specs.
13) Does the company have a drug-screening program in place?
Specify that your carrier supply a copy of their written drug policy and drug-testing program. Never charter from a carrier that does not strongly enforce a drug-free workplace.
14) Does the company have qualified drivers?
Every driving employees must have a CDL commercial driver's license, have passed the DOT physical examination requirements, and carry approved driver qualification documentation.
15) Who is responsible for extra mileage/time costs beyond the contracted amount?
Find out the carrier's policy before the trip not when you get the bill!
16) Is the carrier a full service company?
Do they have their own maintenance facilities and mechanics? Can they provide vehicles to meet special needs such as wheelchair lifts?
Please familiarize yourself with our standard contract terms and conditions:
(1) A deposit of 50% is required upon receipt of the charter reservation form to confirm your order.
(2) Final payment for charter service is due and payable at least 14 days in advance of the charter date.
(3) Charters booked less than two weeks prior to departure must be paid in full with a money order, bank check or charge card at time of booking.
(4) When making payment, please indicate on your check or other mode of payment, the date of your trip and your Charter Confirmation Order Number to insure proper credit.
A charter receipt confirms your order. The Chartering Party must notify the Company of cancellations. There will be no cancellation fee if the cancellation is made more than 14 days prior to the Charter Date for one-day trips.
When the Chartering Party requests any change in service that results in an increase in hours to that specific charter, an additional charge may be necessary for that additional service. Tolls, highway fees, etc. will be separate and additional.
Extended Day Trips
A detailed itinerary is required for extended day trips at least two weeks prior to departure. Itineraries are subject to review by a safety officer of the Company. Prices are subject to change based on the final itinerary. The Chartering Party is responsible for reserving a room(s) for the driver(s). If staying at an expensive hotel or other accommodations, please contact the charter department.
Damages to Trolleys or Buses
The cost of repairing damage to buses resulting from the conduct and actions of passengers on that specific charter shall be charged to the Chartering Party and is payable as soon as such cost is determined.
The company reserves the right to refuse to transport persons under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, or who are, or are likely to become, objectionable to other persons.
Conduct of Passengers
Passengers shall not interfere with the operator in the discharge of his duty or tamper with any apparatus or appliance on the bus.
Any person or group which requires an ADA accessible bus is requested to inform us at the time of reservation and must notify us in writing no later than 48 hours prior to the Charter's departure.