Transportation decisions are an important aspect to any off-site Girl Scout activity, and your greatest concern is always safety. If you or the girls are arranging group transportation, whether for a day trip or for a much longer travel event, consider the basics of both private and public transit (which is preferred).
Public transportation includes trains, subways, buses, ferries, and airlines. Public transportation is regulated, which makes it preferable to chartered vehicles, but this mode of transportation is not without challenges. The biggest challenge with any public transportation is staying together as a group, so be sure everyone has directions and a map, and always designate a meet-up area if anyone gets separated. Girls also need to be vigilant for criminals, both those who might do them bodily harm and those who are interested in stealing their money, jewelry, and electronic devices. As long as you prepare them for their exciting journeys on public transportation, they’ll have an adventure they’ll remember for years!
Private transportation includes private passenger vehicles, rental cars, privately owned or rented recreational vehicles and campers, chartered buses, chartered boats, and chartered flights. Each driver of motorized private transportation must be at least 21 years old and hold a valid operator’s license appropriate to the vehicle—state laws must be followed, even if they are more stringent than the guidelines here. Anyone who is driving a vehicle with more than 12 passengers must also be a professional driver who possesses a commercial driver’s license (CDL)—check with your council to determine specific rules about renting large vehicles.
Please keep in mind the following non-negotiable points regarding private transportation:
- When renting, leasing or borrowing vehicles (including buses) the council should enter into a written agreement with the leasing company, which sets forth their respective obligations. Even though written agreements are always required when renting or chartering, you are not authorized to sign an agreement or contract—even if there is no cost associated with the rental. Such an agreement must instead be signed by the director of regional services and be leased on behalf of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio.
- Check with your council to make sure you are following accepted practices when using private transportation; this ensures that both you and your council are protected by liability insurance in the event of an accident.
- If your council has given permission to use a rented car, read all rental agreements to be sure you comply with their terms and avoid surprises. Note the minimum age of drivers (often 25), as well as the maximum age (often under 70). Be sure the car is adequately insured, knowing who is responsible for damage to or the loss of the vehicle itself. Also, ensure you have a good paper trail, with evidence that the vehicle rental is Girl Scout–related.
- Obtain parent/guardian permission for any use of transportation outside of the meeting place.
- When leasing a bus, the driver must be an employee of the bus company.
- The bus company must provide a certificate of insurance. The minimum limits of liability on any leased bus/van must be at least $1,000,000 per occurrence for bodily injury and property damage. If interstate highway travel is planned, there must be $5,000,000 per occurrence for bodily injury and property damage.
- The certificate of insurance and leasing agreement must be submitted to the director of regional services or her designee for review and approval.