The Conundrum of Church Transportation

One of the biggest stresses of my ministry as a student pastor is providing transportation for trips.  I’m going to talk about driving instead of flying for this post.

I thought I would write the pros and cons with each transportation decision.

BUYING

Pros:  You have a large vehicle available whenever needed.  You won’t have to worry about rentals.

Cons:  Church buses breakdown more than any vehicle on the road.  There are several reasons for this – they only get driven a few times a year, those times they are driven is for 10 hour trips, they aren’t maintanced properly, and volunteers tend to be the ones in charge of them.  Church buses are difficult to get trained and licensed drivers for.  The cost is upfront, but then you have to cover them with insurance.  One breakdown will cost you thousands of dollars and hurt your trip.

You can probably figure out that buying a bus is my least favorite option!

RENTING 15 PASSENGERS

Pros:  You can transport a good number of students with these.  They are a more affordable option for many church budgets.  Rare breakdowns and your rental company will replace them- at least I hope so!

Cons:  The older models are known for being unsafe.  Some insurance companies won’t insure them.  Many insurance companies only insure if the backseat is removed.  There is almost no luggage space so you will have to bring a vehicle for luggage.  Drivers are less of a problem, but it is still difficult to find folks willing to drive these vehicles.

I see 15 passengers as a necessary evil in the church world.  Try to get the ones with the back up cameras.  Make sure your insurance is good with them, find drivers comfortable with them, and make sure drivers don’t speed.

CHARTER

Pros:  All students are together.  You don’t have to worry about a driver.  You won’t have to make as many stops with an emergency bathroom.  You can watch TV, get on WiFi, and sleep a lot easier on these.

Cons:  You will spend over $1000 per day on these vehicles.  Probably more.  You also have to get the driver a room and provide a tip for him.  These vehicles also need a chaperone plan.  Make sure adults are sitting throughout the bus and not just up front.  You will also have to make some tough calls on entertainment options.  Many movies that may seem appropriate aren’t on a church bus.

PERSONAL VEHICLES

Pros:  Cost to the church.  Driver is readily available.

Cons:  I always hate to ask people to put thousands and thousands of miles on their personal vehicle.  Students will be spread throughtout diffrent vehicles.  If you’ve done student ministry you know this causes a ton of problems.

Regardless of whether you buy, rent, or borrow be sure to obey all laws.  Make sure your insurance is paid and covers everything you are doing.  Bring an small emergency car that can be used if you need to make a hospital run.  Nobody wants to take a 15 passenger to the ER!  Be as prepared as you can for those long trips.

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