Monday, March 31, 2014

MnDOT offers tips on renting limousines, party buses for prom

ST. PAUL, Minn. — It’s that time of year when prom goers are out in full force, renting buses, limousines and other passenger vehicles to get to their destinations. The Minnesota Department of Transportation has some tips about renting vehicles so the trip is safe.

“One of the best things to remember is that the cheapest price doesn’t always mean it’s the best option,” according to Mike McKay, Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations, which licenses and regulates more than 400 limousine operators and 350 passenger carriers in the state.

In the limousine industry, there are many variances of quality and price. Shopping for a service based on price alone can mean the limo/bus won’t show up or be late, McKay said. It also can mean the limo/bus could break down on route to the prom or getting a chauffeur without the proper insurance.

McKay said limo/party bus renters can make sure the limo/bus operator is licensed and has liability insurance by checking with MnDOT. All for-hire motor carriers/limousine services are required to carry commercial insurance and register with the state. McKay said potential renters should ask to see copies of the vehicle’s most recent annual inspection report, limousine operator certificate, certificate of registration, and identification of authority card.

Other tips for choosing a safe and licensed limo/bus operator:
·         Shop for the best company. Check online reviews and the Better Business Bureau.
·         Choose your ride. Figure out exactly how many people will be in your group and that will determine the type of vehicle you need. Ask the company to show you the specific vehicle you will be renting.
·         Get a signed contract. Reliable and professional services will provide a signed service contract.
·         Read the contract carefully. The contract should include terms such as cost, deposit required, refund and tip policies, pick-up/drop-off times, arrival and departure locations, specific type of limo requested, and services expected.  

McKay also reminds renters that alcoholic beverages are not allowed for minors. If alcoholic beverages are found in limos and buses carrying only minors, the driver is normally required to return the passengers to their original pick-up location.

MnDOT routinely conducts inspections of limos/buses during prom nights with the State Patrol, McKay added.

For questions, contact MnDOT’s Office of Freight and Commercial Vehicle Operations at 651-215-6330.