Charter Bus Prices: How to Calculate Your Des Moines Bus Rental Costs

We understand that one of the biggest concerns when renting a bus is the cost. Especially if you’ve never booked a charter bus rental before, knowing how to budget for your group trip can be a daunting task. That’s why we at Des Moines Charter Bus Company have put together this guide to Des Moines bus rental pricing, a breakdown of what goes into the final cost of your bus rental, and a few example estimates so you know what to expect.

Bus Type Per Hour Per Day Per Mile
Charter Bus $160 – $230 $1,620 – $2,100 $5.75 – $7.20
Minibus $145 – $200 $1,500 – $1,920 $5.00 – $7.00

*The prices listed above are estimates. Rates will vary depending on the season and trip specifications (see more details below).

**Daily rentals require a minimum of 5 hours. Daily rentals may incur an additional cost for any mile overages.

the Des Moines skyline at sunset

Factors that Determine the Cost of Your Des Moines Charter Bus

Generally, the final cost of your charter bus or minibus rental will be determined by the hour, with a five-hour minimum for all reservations. That being said, if you’re traveling over a long distance or you’ll be on the road for multiple days, your rental may be charged by the mile or by the day. Contact our 24/7 reservation team at (515) 461-8565, and we’ll be happy to hash out your specific group transportation details with you.

Here are just a few of the group trip specifics that may affect how much your Des Moines bus rental will cost:

  • When you’re traveling — The time of year you hit the road will affect your rental rate. Due to availability, it generally costs more to book a bus during high-traffic travel seasons like the holidays or over the summer.
  • Duration and distance — Multi-day and high-mileage group trips cost more on average than short-distance and local trips.
  • Number and location of drop-offs — Traveling outside Des Moines city limits and planning a route with many drop-off points can also affect the price of your charter bus rental.
  • Passenger count — The type of motorcoach you book depends on how many passengers need a ride. Large buses and multiple vehicles will increase the price of your reservation.
  • When you book — Reserve your Des Moines bus as far in advance as possible to ensure the best rates. Generally, we recommend calling us 6 months ahead of your departure date to secure your ride.

Our team strives to be as transparent as possible when it comes to how much your Des Moines bus rental will cost. That means when you call us for an estimate, the price you hear is what you’ll pay and you’ll never be surprised with hidden fees without notice.

What’s Included in Your Des Moines Charter Bus Rental Cost

  • The hourly or daily cost of your rental
  • The services of a professional bus driver
  • Fuel
  • Full coverage insurance

What’s NOT Included in Your Des Moines Charter Bus Rental Cost

  • Parking and tolls outside of our control
  • Lodging for your bus driver on multi-day trips
  • Tips for your driver — Though not required, we encourage groups to tip 5-10% of the total cost of your trip if you are satisfied with their service.

Below, we’ve mapped a few examples of cost breakdowns based on group transportation services we often provide in the Des Moines area:

Hockey fans cheer from the stands at a game

A Game Day Bus Rental at Buccaneer Arena

A local fan group wants to cheer on the Des Moines Buccaneers on their home turf. The 16 fans want to avoid putting miles on their personal vehicles, so they rent an 18-passenger minibus to be their DD to and from Buccaneer Arena. The match starts at 8 PM, so the fan club plans to be picked up around 5 PM so they can grab pre-game drinks at their favorite bar—and they plan to be dropped back off at their cars around 1 AM.

Their reservation agent quotes their sporting event bus rental at an hourly rate, bringing their total to $1,240 ($155/hour x 8 hours). The Buccaneers fans pool together $99—an 8% tip— for their bus driver as thanks for their attentive service.

Estimated bus rental cost: $1,339 or $84 per passenger

Close-up of a groom on his wedding day

A Wedding Shuttle Service at the Rollins Mansion

James and Derek are getting married at the Rollins Mansion soon, and want to provide a stress-free wedding shuttle service for their out-of-town loved ones. The happy couple wants a shuttle service running between a local hotel and the venue throughout the festivities, between 5 PM and midnight. They think two 20-passenger shuttle bus rentals will offer guests plenty of comfort while on the road. The big day is planned to take place during the peak summer wedding season, which means their shuttle rental rate will be on the higher end due to availability.

The grooms’ reservation representative quotes their shuttle service at an hourly rate for a total of $2,800 ($200/hour x 2 minibuses x 7 hours). James and Derek decide to roll a 10% driver gratuity into the final cost of the bus rental so the guests won’t have to worry about it—which amounts to a $280 tip to split between the bus drivers.

Estimated bus rental cost: $3,080

A crowd of students with backpacks run toward the entrance of a building

A School Field Trip to the Iowa State Capitol

A collection of fourth grade classes want to tour the Iowa State Capitol. This school group is traveling from across the state with 50 students and 5 chaperones total, so the coordinators want to ensure everyone stays comfortable for the long haul by booking a full-sized charter bus rental. The bus-load of students and chaperones will depart from Cedar Rapids at 8 AM, stop for an early picnic lunch when they arrive in Des Moines, and tour the historic capitol building before arriving back in Cedar Rapids around 4 PM—with the onboard DVD player keeping the kiddos entertained all the way home.

A Des Moines Charter Bus Company representative quotes the school at a by-mile rate for a total of $1,620 ($6/mile x 270 miles roundtrip). The staff and chaperones offer the driver a 5% tip after the final drop-off, which is $80.

Estimated bus rental cost: $1,700 or $31 per passenger