Charter Bus Prices: How to Calculate Your California Bus Rental Costs

You may be wondering how much it would cost to rent a charter bus in California. This depends on many factors, but here is a general breakdown to get you started in terms of charter bus pricing:

Bus Type Per Hour Per Day Per Mile
Charter Bus $148 – $160 $1,490 – $1,930 $5.25 – $6.50
Minibus $148 – $190 $1,460 – $1,815 $5.00 – $6.25

*Daily rentals require a 5-hour minimum. Daily rentals may incur additional costs for mile overages.

**All prices in the table above are estimates. Bus rental costs are influenced by seasonality, availability, and more (see below).

Calculating the Cost of Your Charter Bus

charter bus rentals in california for all events

The above table is just an estimate. Depending on the details of your trip, your actual cost could vary. Some of the details which affect the cost of your California charter bus rental are:

  • Number of Passengers: Larger charter bus rentals cost more money than a smaller California minibus rental. And depending on how many passengers you have, you may need a larger model or even more than one charter bus. It’s important to have a solid headcount for your trip when you call the reservation team to ensure you get matched with the right size charter bus and avoid overpaying.
  • Distance: How far you are traveling can also affect your cost. Most local trips are quoted by an hourly rate, with a five-hour minimum on all rentals, while longer trips may be subject to daily or per-mile rates.
  • Time of Year: The demand for California charter bus rentals is often higher during specific times of the year. The busy season for bus rentals is usually from April to June. With renting a California charter bus, you also want to be cognizant of major events during the year, like The Rose Bowl in Pasadena during New Year’s. 
  • Other Travel Factors: If you have an overnight trip, you will need to rent a hotel room for your driver to ensure they get a good night’s sleep. You may also need to factor in parking permits, toll fees, or other expenses. A tip isn’t required, but it’s industry standard to tip your charter bus driver 5-10% of the cost of your rental for a job well done. 

We aim to be as open and transparent as possible with our charter bus quotes when you call and never hit you with any hidden fees. Considering these factors, along with our above table, can get you a rough estimate of what your California charter bus will cost to rent. 

Below are a few examples of some itineraries that we have provided group transportation for, including their passenger count, distance, dates, and the final cost of their California bus rental.

The State Championship Football Game

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In Santa Clara, longstanding football rivals Wilcox High School and Santa Clara High School have made it to the state championship, and their coaches are looking for reliable transportation to the big game. They have decided to rent a California charter bus for the game due to its advantages over a regular school bus: seat belts, air conditioning, a PA system, and plenty of storage space. 

Each coach rents a 56-passenger charter bus rental for their team, which is around 40 players. Because both schools are only two miles apart, and they are both heading to the same stadium for the game, their quote is nearly identical. The Wilcox High School coach and the Santa Clara High School coach are both quoted at $1,050 for their bus rental, which is from 5:00 PM before the game starts, until after the game around midnight. Both coaches tip their drivers 5% for getting their players to and from the game safely.   

The College Tour of Berkeley

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An AP science teacher at Albany High School named Dr. Thomas wants to take her class on a tour of the University of California at Berkeley. She will need school field trip transportation for the 20 students in her class for the entire school day, starting at 9:00 AM and ending at 4:00 PM. Once she gets every permission slip back from each student, she realizes only 17 students have parents that have agreed to let them go. This will make a difference in the cost of her rental, as she can book an 18-passenger minibus instead of a 20-passenger minibus

Dr. Thomas calls the 24/7 reservation team with the trip details and is set up with a quote of $1,120 for the seven hours, which averages out to $66 per student. She also is sure to tip her charter bus driver 15%, bringing the final cost to $1,176

The Beach Wedding in Malibu

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Hannah is ready to marry the woman of her dreams in an intimate small beach wedding in Malibu for 25 people. When looking into booking group transportation, she realizes the benefits of renting a wedding shuttle bus. She decides to book an 18-passenger minibus for a joint bachelorette party for 12 people to avoid splitting up the group and to allow everyone to indulge in Malibu’s nightlife with a designated driver. She has the minibus rental from 8:00 PM to 2:00 AM, giving her group plenty of time to have fun. Hannah also books a 25-passenger minibus rental for the day of the wedding to shuttle her guests from The Malibu Beach Inn to the venue, The Sunset Restaurant. 

The cost of her 18-passenger minibus for the joint bachelorette party ends up costing $1,080 for the night, and the 25-passenger minibus costs $1,500 for the day. She decides to tip both drivers 5% each for making sure her loved ones are safe during her special day.