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MArch/AprIl 2012 Published by Rankin Publishing, Inc.

IN THIS ISSUE Long Beach Transit Wins High Marks From Ridership Despite California Budget Cuts ..8

Importance Of Motorcoach Industry, Offers Agenda On Overcoming Industry Problems.............18

UMA Expo Emphasizes

Expo Highlight:

Operators Panel Discussion.............................24

Busline’s Buyers Guide To

Insurance & Financing..........................28

Busline’s Buyers Guide To

HVAC Systems......................................42

UMA Motorcoah Expo 2012

Booth Photo Gallery .............................58

Busline Vehicle Showcase:



RAPID RESPONSE.....................................Page 6 INDUSTRY NEWS ...................................Page 52 ON THE COVER: Pictured are Long Beach Transit Marketing Manager Kevin Lee and Chief Administrative Officer & Senior Vice President Marcelle Epley. See page 8.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS MAY 2012 May 6-9 APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference Long Beach, CA Info: 202-496-4845

May 26-30 Canadian Urban Transit Association Annual Conference Annual Conference Victoria, BC Info: 416-365-9800

May 9-11 WTS International Advancing Women In Transportation Annual Conference Denver, CO Info: 202-955-5085

AUGUST 2012 August 7-9 IMG Strategic Alliance Meeting Minneapolis, MN Info: 888-447-3466

May 20-25 Community Transportation Association EXPO 2012 Baltimore, MD Info: 800-891-0590

SEPTEMBER 2012 September 11-12 BusCon 2012 Chicago, IL Info: 800-576-8788

September 30 - October 3 APTA Annual Meeting Seattle, WA Info: 202-496-4800 JANUARY 2013 January 5-9 American Bus Association Marketplace Charlotte, NC Info: 800-283-2877 January 19-23 United Motorcoach Association / National Tour Association Co-located Conventions Orlando, FL Info: 800-424-8262

Busline Magazine is published 6 times a year by Rankin Publishing, Inc., 204 E. Main, P.O. Box 130, Arcola, IL 61910-0130. Publisher assumes no liability whatsoever for content of any advertisement or editorial material contained herein. Copyright 2012 Rankin Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written consent of Rankin Publishing, Inc. Subscription Rates in United States: 6 issues $25. Single Copy rate: $10 including postage/handling; Buyer’s Guide $15 including postage/handling. International rates: 6 issue annual Air Mail Subscription $60 U.S. dollars net

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March/April 2012


Rankin Publishing Co., Inc. Don Rankin and Linda Rankin, Publishers 204 E. Main Street • P.O. Box 130 Arcola, IL 61910-0130, USA Email: Website: (800) 598-8083 (U.S.) • (217) 268-4959 Fax: (217) 268-4815 Editorial: Harrell Kerkhoff, Editor Rick Mullen, Associate Editor Design: David Opdyke, Missy Larson Advertising Contact Kevin Kennedy @ 623-434-8959 Email: Or Don Rankin @ 800-598-8083 Fax: 217-268-4815 Email:

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MArch/AprIl 2012 Published by Rankin Publishing, Inc.

Busline Vehicle Showcase:


National Interstate ..........................28 Service Insurance Agency ..............30

Turtle Top.......48

Starcraft Bus.......50

Lancer Insurance .............................32 Protective Insurance Company......34 Transportation Insurance Brokers ..36 P.A. Post ...........................................38 Charabanc Financial........................40 Advantage Funding ...........................41

HVAC Systems Page 42



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37 41 11 46 14 25 23 44 56 27 40 22 13 55 42 3 54 17 33 51 7 19 53 43


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March/April 2012

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MCI reliability starts at the core.

At MCI, we are totally focused on building the most reliable coaches in the industry. Engineered for reliability. At MCI, the details are in the product. Our Semi-Monocoque construction is strong, safe and the foundation of our coach reliability. From the beginning, our experienced engineering team designed features into the J4500 frame, such as crafting it from stainless steel to resist the elements. In addition, they use one-piece tubing in critical areas for enhanced strength. Finally, our technicians meticulously weld to exacting standards, creating the fundamental building block for reliability. The assembly is then completed in our ISO 9001 certified facilities. Reliable components. Our teams constantly ask “Will it be reliable?” and “Can we make it better?” These questions along with customer feedback drive us to use proven components and constantly refine our product for long life and reliability. At MCI, reliability is not only at the core of our structure, it’s also our core belief.


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Long Beach Transit President/CEO Laurence (Larry) Jackson

Long Beach Transit Wins High Marks From Ridership Despite California Budget Cuts By Harrell Kerkhoff Busline Magazine Editor


he late English literary critic John Churton Collins once famously said, “In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends.” A classic casein-point to this quote is the relationship found between many public transportation riders and Long Beach (CA) Transit (LBT). Despite cutbacks in funding due to ongoing struggles with the California economy, Long Beach Transit has found a way to not only survive, but increase its approval ratings among the transit system’s ridership base. A recent customer satisfaction survey, conducted every year to monitor Long Beach Transit’s level of service pertaining to 15 key categories, revealed all-time high scores among eight of these categories: driver courtesy, driver safety, on-board safety, information made available, bus stop safety, schedule reliability, bus cleanliness and bus stop cleanliness. The other seven categories for 2011 also received high marks from Long Beach Transit riders. These categories were: LBT overall, LBT compared to other (systems), driver appearance, fares, route convenience, telePage 8


phone information, and bus stop convenience. Overall, the customer satisfaction index for 2011 — which combines all 15 categories — was also at an all-time high mark for Long Beach Transit.

Marketing Manager Kevin Lee and Chief Administrative Officer/Senior Vice President Marcelle Epley spoke with Busline Magazine Editor Harrell Kerkhoff regarding Long Beach Transit’s increasing approval ratings amidst California’s struggling economy.

Any transit system would be elated with such a favorable yearly rating from its ridership. At Long Beach Transit, however, this survey is even more reassuring as it comes in the wake of

March/April 2012

service cutbacks and fare increases. “A number of sacrifices have had to be made in response to everything that has happened since 2008 regarding the economy,” Long Beach Transit Chief Administrative Officer & Senior Vice President Marcelle Epley said. “This includes cutting service back by 3.5 percent and implementing two 20 percent fare increases.” She noted that LBT officials have had to deal with higher fuel costs and a $7 million state budget reduction due to fewer state funds becoming available. “We went from a regular fare of 90 cents to $1.25, which is still one of the lower fares found in the region,” Epley said. “Despite this, most of our riders have provided positive feedback. They understand the economic struggles most people and transit agencies are going through right now.” Long Beach Transit officials work hard to run as transparent of a company as possible, she added, and made sure customers were informed of both fare increases. This included public hearings. “We expected to receive a lot of negative complaints as these increases were coming at a time when rents and food prices were going

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up for everyone as well,” Epley said. “There was a percentage of negative feedback, but most of our customers remained very grateful for the quality of our transit service. “We also had to go to our employees and ask them to contribute more to their health care and pension plans. Despite this, one of the things we heard from the staff was, ‘Thank you for keeping us employed.’” She added that today’s overall outlook for Long Beach Transit remains optimistic. “There was a series of meetings that took place with our staff where we explained the current financial situation,” Epley said. “It was very heart warming at these meetings to see how much people care about Long Beach Transit. We have employees who have been here as long as 40 years. They love what they do, and show respect for our customers and company. We are very fortunate. This includes our bus operators, mechanics ... everybody genuinely cares.” “People tend to stay here a long time,” Long Beach Transit Marketing Manager Kevin Lee added. “One of the main reasons for this is that officials at Long Beach Transit work hard to hire the right people, and these employees feel respected. In return, our employees show a lot of respect toward customers. “It comes down to providing public transportation that enhances and improves the

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quality of life for our customers. It’s also important to make sure there is a standardization process in place when working with these customers. For example, everyone here answers the telephone the same way and provides the same type of answers. This helps us give a consistent message to our customers, making them feel more secure in what we, as a transit provider, are doing. According to our surveys, all of this is working. We are reaching people and they are happy.” Both Epley and Lee credit Long Beach Transit President and CEO Laurence (Larry) Jackson as setting the wheels in motion for LBT’s continued favorability ratings among riders. Jackson, who has been with the transit system since the mid-1970s, has played an instrumental role in shaping the organization’s philosophy where customer service always comes first. “Larry Jackson is the man behind our company. We have a great executive team as well, with many members having learned under his leadership,” Epley said. Originally hired as a consultant from the City of Long Beach, within two years Jackson moved up the ranks, serving as general manager and, eventually, president and CEO. “He has helped form a family atmosphere at Long Beach Transit. Visitors have noticed that when they walk around our facility, everybody waves to one another and says, ‘hello,’” Epley

March/April 2012

said. “When (Larry Jackson) started working at Long Beach Transit, it had approximately 8 million boarding customers per year. It was considered a ‘mom and pop’ operation. He helped raise the standards for the benefit of our employees and customers. “Today, we have nearly 28 million boarding customers per year (over 85,000 on an average weekday). The employee base has also grown, from 350 to over 800 employees during (Jackson’s) tenure thus far.” Serving The Greater Long Beach Area


ong Beach Transit currently provides a service area of 98 square miles. This includes the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood and Signal Hill along with portions of Artesia, Bellflower, Carson, Cerritos, Compton, Hawaiian Gardens, Norwalk, Paramount and Seal Beach. Long Beach itself is the second largest city within the Greater Los Angeles Area with an estimated population of over 462,000. The city is home to one of the world’s largest container and shipping seaports, and features such attractions as the Long Beach Grand Prix, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and the RMS Queen Mary — the famous ocean liner permanently docked in Long Beach which now serves as a hotel, maritime museum and has several restaurants. The city also features a modern

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beach front and downtown area, along with the Long Beach Convention Center. Because of its proximity to area studios and its variety of locations, Long Beach is regularly used as well for movies, television shows and advertisements. The origins of Long Beach Transit date to 1963. Prior to that, several privately owned transit operators provided transportation to area residents. “LBT was one of the first agencies to bring low-floor bus technology to the region. Over the years there has been a large population of senior citizens and disabled customers in our area. These people have benefited from this technology,” Epley said. “Not only are our buses low floor, they also feature hydraulic systems that allow these vehicles to kneel virtually to the same level as the street. “All of our buses are fully ADA accessible. We also have a patented state-of-the-art securement system in place for wheelchairs while on our vehicles. There are a number of ways that we make sure people in wheelchairs are secured and comfortable.”

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Among the transportation services provided by Long Beach Transit are fixed-route buses; Passport shut-

tles; AquaLink and AquaBus water taxis; Dial-ALift paratransit; and a seasonal Museum Express service. Long Beach Transit operates seven days a week from approximately 4:30 to 1:30 a.m. Its fleet consists of 228 buses including 185 40-foot

coaches; 30 mid-sized Passport shuttles; and 13 60-foot articulated buses. The transit system also has 16 DialA-Lift vans and 4 water taxi vessels. LBT fixed-route buses can accommodate up to 3 bicycles and Passport shuttles can accommodate up to 2 bicycles using pulldown racks. The transit system’s Passport service — featuring disThe First Street Transit tinctive red midGallery is a main consized shuttles — necting point for many travels to such stops travelers in the Long as The Queen Mary, Beach area. It feaures a Long Beach Conv wide variety of art ention Center, varidisplays including ous hotels, and mosaic sidewalk tiles. California State UniGallery photos: Billy Hustace versity, Long Beach (also known as Long Beach State.) “This service has grown in popularity during the past few years and it still remains fare-free downtown,” Epley said. “The Passport service makes traveling in and around the downtown area easy, especially for visitors.”

March/April 2012


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Lee added the free Passport service can provide a stepping stone for many riders to Long Beach Transit’s fixed-route services. “If a person can get on a shuttle downtown and ride for free, he/she can better understand how our system works and branch out to our other public transportation options,” Lee said. Although most U.S. public transit systems provide fixed-route and shuttle service of some type, there aren’t many that also offer a water taxi service. However, given Long Beach’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean, and the city’s history as an import seaport, providing such a service is a natural fit. Long Beach Transit owns and maintains four water taxis, two of which are called the AquaLink and two called the AquaBus. They are all operated by Catalina Express, a private company. The red, yellow and purple AquaLink vessels are 68-foot-long catamarans that can ferry up to 75 passengers, while the smaller red AquaBus vessels are 40-feet in length and can carry up to 49 passengers. Both travel to popular attractions on the Long Beach Harbor waterfront. Meanwhile, Long Beach Transit’s Dial-ALift is a curb-to-curb, shared ride transit service. It’s exclusively for the mobility impaired residing in, and travelling throughout, the cities of Long Beach, Lakewood and Signal Hill.

“This is a private/public partnership with Long Beach Yellow Cab. The cab company provides the transportation from vans which we own,” Epley said. “It’s been a very successful program for us and saves a lot of money by being a public/private partnership.” Along with working with the city of Long Beach in providing various public transportation services, the transit system also works hard with other city leaders and governments located within its service region. This, of course, involves a lot of coordination between all parties. “There is a balance that must take place between what the needs and demands are and what services we can actually provide,” Epley said. “Right now, Long Beach Transit is in a bit of a holding pattern as to what additional services our system can offer. We are cautiously optimistic that the economy will get a little better. As consumers increase their level of spending, there will be increased sales tax revenue, and increased funding should follow. “Although Long Beach Transit has not greatly increased its level of service during the past few years, our service planning department is phenomenal. Our buses carry an average of 41 people, which makes us a very efficient transit system. There is no room for waste. We can’t allocate any more service hours but that team does make our routes very efficient.”

She added that Long Beach Transit also has a service quality committee in place which helps LBT plan for the future. “It’s important not to become stagnate as a transit provider. We have to figure out how to expand at a slow, modest, conservative rate over the next 10 to 20 years, and to have key ideas in place,” Epley said. “One goal is to provide more frequent service in the future. If there is one thing our customers and potential customers tell us, it’s that they want our buses to run more often. It can become a balancing act as we also want to run as efficiently as possible while also managing to maintain a balanced budget.” LBT Adds To Ridership With U-PASS


eaching new riders helps Long Beach Transit add to its efficiency as a public transportation provider, along with building up its future potential. The U-PASS transit partnership program, in association with California State University, Long Beach, promotes these goals. Current students, faculty and staff of the school may board any Long Beach Transit bus for free with a valid university ID card during the school year as the university and LBT work from a negotiated contract for the U-PASS service. “This is something we started in 2008 as


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there is very little available parking at the university,” Lee said. Epley added that today’s U-PASS transit program provides an important alternative to driving automobiles in and around the busy campus. “A trial U-PASS program was started in September 2008 and daily ridership quickly increased from 1,200 to 5,000. This was at the same time that gas prices were going up. Our buses soon were packed,” Epley said. From a marketing standpoint, the U-PASS program has helped Long Beach Transit reach a younger rider which may bode well for the future. “It’s always good to get new riders acclimated to our system,” Lee said. “These are young adults and some of them are new to Long Beach. One of the barriers for new residents is the unknown associated with riding public transit. What U-PASS does is put a pass in the hands of potential new riders to help them get started. “The results have been great. These are people in our community who, when they leave college and go to work, might eventually ride a bus instead of driving a car for their daily commutes. They could become lifelong riders of transit.” LBT is extending a similar trial program for a neighborhood in Long Beach called Belmont Shore. This is an area that is home to many shops, restaurants and business offices where parking is also an issue. The new trial program is designed to provide employees of these estab-

lishments with a free public transportation option when heading to and from work. “Many of these people are also young adults,” Lee said. Long Beach is also a noted stopping point for tourists, such as those wanting to visit The Queen Mary and/or the Aquarium of the Pacific. In response, LBT officials work with local governments and organizations including the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are constantly sharing information and providing route updates. LBT enjoys a strong presence as a transit provider in association with many events that take place, including those in the downtown area,” Epley said. Long Beach Transit has greatly benefited as well from the recently renovated First Street Transit Gallery, also located in the downtown area of the city. Of the transit system’s 38 routes, 32 serve the Transit Gallery. All LBT routes serve Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro) Blue Line rail stations and two serve the Norwalk (CA) Green Line rail station. Connecting service at the Transit Gallery is provided by Metro, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and Torrance (CA) Transit. Approximately 25,000 individuals connect to their destinations through the Transit Gallery every day. What makes the Transit Gallery unique is its design and public art displays, including mosa-

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ic sidewalk tiles as well as photography and poetry exhibits. Included at the First Street Transit Gallery is the Guy B. Heston Transit & Visitor Information Center where people can not only purchase bus passes, but get ID cards processed and receive information on what to do and see in the area. There are also public restrooms at the Transit Gallery that Epley said are “kept in like new” condition. The restrooms are maintained in partnership with the Downtown Long Beach Association. There is also a bus driver’s break room at the facility. Three of the four windows at the Transit & Visitor Information Center are staffed by transit employees, while the other window is maintained by the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau. “In reality, a person can go to any window and receive a lot of help when it comes to transit travel and visitor information,” Epley said. “The art found at the Transit Gallery is very good. The facility is also completely lighted at night with eco-friendly LED lighting.” Working Toward A Greener Ride


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UMA Expo Emphasizes

Importance Of Motorcoach Industry, Offers Agenda On Overcoming Industry Problems

Deborah Hersman

Bill Allen

Tom Ready

By Harrell Kerkhoff Busline Magazine Editor


he true value of the motorcoach industry on life in the United States and Canada took center stage during the United Motorcoach Association’s 2012 Expo, held February 8-12 at the Long Beach (CA) Convention Center. With the theme, “The Year of the Motorcoach Professional” serving as a backdrop, this year’s convention featured a variety of educational programs, speakers and networking events. It also included an exposition floor filled with 150 industry-related manufacturer/supplier booths — all directed toward the motorcoach professional. As UMA President & CEO Victor Parra stated in his annual Expo show guide message, this year’s theme, “Is intended to remind us of the extraordinary service we (the motorcoach industry and its operators) provide the traveling public; and to help us focus on how we can build on this powerful legacy — not the least of which is that motorcoaches are still the safest way to travel.” Parra officially opened the 2012 Expo in Long Beach with the annual UMA Active Member Meeting on February 9, where he spoke of the many different challenges that motorcoach operators have faced since the start of the current century. “We have seen some tough issues as an industry. There were the events surrounding 9/11 Page 18


which forced a downturn in business. We have also seen sharp increases in fuel prices over this period, charter rates dropping, the country’s financial system virtually collapsing, unprecedented government bailouts and high unemployment,” Parra said. “We are here (at the UMA Expo) to address these issues head on over the next couple of days, looking for ways to help put your business on a growth path.” Parra added that the issues facing both the country, and the motorcoach industry, didn’t develop overnight. “Therefore, there are no quick fixes. It’s going to take some good hard work, which is what we are going to be addressing at this convention,” he said. Safety Policy Makers Provide Input


MA Expo attendees received a doubledose of information pertaining to the safety aspect of their industry as two high-ranking officials from the federal government spoke during the Active Member Meeting. They were National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Deborah Hersman and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Anne Ferro. “These are two special guests, both of whom help drive safety policy in Washington, D.C.,” Parra said.

March/April 2012

Vic Parra

Anne Ferro

In introducing Hersman, Parra noted that NTSB is an independent federal agency given the role of conducting accident investigations. It also promotes transportation safety by issuing safety recommendations based on its investigations. “Chairman Hersman is the 12th chairman of the NTSB, holds a CDL license and is no stranger to us. Those of you who were here in 2005 will remember (UMA) presented her with an award for her safety initiatives,” Parra said. The day prior to speaking at the Active Member Meeting, Hersman held a press conference near the convention center soon after stepping off an MCI motorcoach operated by Bee Line Transportation, of Tucson, AZ. The NTSB Chairman was transported via the coach from the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and was accompanied by Parra and other industry officials. “As a member of NTSB, I’m thrilled to be here at UMA. Vic Parra and the UMA team have always been helpful in working with us while we provide hearings and forums,” Hersman said. “I have a great deal of respect for all the professionals in this industry — from those designing the vehicles to the people providing everyday maintenance, driving and who run the companies. “The goal of (NTSB) is to see everybody move safely — whether it’s by air, rail, bus or in their cars. We know that motorcoaches provide one of the safest forms of transportation. If we can get more people to ride in a motorcoach, instead of in

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their cars, we all would be better off.” Hersman added that NTSB officials work to help motorcoach companies in good standing continue to improve in the area of safety, while making sure bad operators who are not complying with federal safety rules are taken out of service. Hersman also fielded several questions at the press conference. She was asked about her position on retrofitting three-point seat belts in older coaches. “We have made recommendations about seat belts and improving the seating compartment area for a long time. The important thing about retrofitting is making sure that the seat belt is properly supported by the structure on the vehicle,” she said. “We would like to see all buses safer, whether they are new or have been on the road for some time. It’s important to make sure (retrofitting) is done the right way with proper engineering and design.” Hersman was also asked about the importance of event data recorder technology for bus travel. She responded that the NTSB believes such technology provides valuable information for accident investigators. “(NTSB) has made a recommendation for (the placement ) of video event recorders on buses. This is not just for accident investigation purposes, but also for training and monitoring purposes as well,” she said. “A lot of people are already vol-

untarily embracing this technology. I plan to spend some time on the (Expo) show floor with manufacturers of this technology. This is something (those involved in public transportation) can do to raise the bar on safety.” A Goal Of Zero Fatalities


uring her address at the UMA Active Member Meeting, Hersman complimented motorcoach operators for their ability to transport a large number of people safely, even during today’s challenging economic times. She also noted that many motorcoach companies are family businesses that have a long and rich history in public transportation. “This year, one of your members, the Buckingham Bus Company in Groton, MA, celebrates its 100th anniversary, while Amador Stage Lines in Sacramento, CA, is marking its 160th anniversary,” Hersman said. “What is even more amazing is how (Amador) evolved from a stage line that carried (gold rush) prospectors to its wide range of services today. It goes to show just how nimble and adaptable this industry has become.” She added that bus travel positively contributes to the U.S. economy and improves the quality of life for residents in many ways. Buses have become an iconic symbol of American life. “Everywhere in our country, people are on the

road again and they are taking buses. These vehicles are carrying presidential candidates and their entourages, carrying school groups on various trips and carrying fans to the Super Bowl,” Hersman said. “I have been in Washington, D.C., for about 20 years, and I don’t know what we will see more of during the coming weeks lining the National Mall — cherry blossoms or motorcoaches. You transport more passengers each year than all of the airlines in the United States. That is amazing.” Like these airlines, Hersman said the country’s motorcoach industry enjoys a good safety record. However, there is always room for improvement. “And like the airlines, when something bad happens such as a serious accident, your industry gets intense scrutiny, major news coverage and negative attention. With accidents, it makes no difference if a company has been in business for one day or for 100 years. All the public sees is a motorcoach, and that accident reflects on all of you. Safety is not a part of your business, safety has to be your business,” she said. “At the NTSB, safety is our only business as well. As an independent agency, we investigate accidents across all modes of transportation. Our charge is to find out what happened, and make recommendations to prevent accidents from happening again.” Hersman noted that transportation officials have now seen something take place that many

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thought was impossible — entire years in the recent decade where there have been zero U.S. commercial aviation fatalities. Unfortunately, she noted, the same has not been true for the U.S. bus/motorcoach industry. “But when we look at safety overall, and the fact that there were over 30,000 fatalities on our nation’s highways last year (from automobiles), we know that thousands of lives can be saved if more people ride buses rather than ride in their own cars,” Hersman said. “We also know it’s safer for students to ride in a school bus than in an automobile to and from school. “Today, I want to talk to you about improving on an already outstanding safety record. I want to challenge you all as individuals and companies,

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as well as the entire industry, to achieve zero fatalities in the coming years.” Hersman recounted several past fatal accidents involving bus travel in the United States and what was learned from these events. She said there were several common themes — fatigued drivers, poor occupant protection and marginal operators. “These three (themes) lead directly to the three issues that are essential for safe operation — good oversight, good equipment and good operators,” Hersman said. “Regarding good oversight, our investigations have identified businesses that should have never been operating buses. In 2008, an accident in Sherman, TX, killed 17 people. The bus operator had previously failed a compliance review and

March/April 2012

applied as a carrier under a new name, obtaining a new DOT operating number,” Hersman said. “Another accident in Victoria, TX, showed that the operator was unable to attain insurance due to previous accidents, but used another operator’s authority to run trips. “There continues an effort to detect unscrupulous operators and prevent reincarnated carriers from entering the marketplace. But frankly, the barriers of entry in this industry are extremely low and the penalties are not a deterrent. Also, the FMCSA is overburdened with the work it has to do, having about 1 inspector for every 1,000 carriers.” Recognizing the challenges FMCSA is facing in oversight, Hersman applauded Administrator Ferro’s continued commitment to removing highrisk operators. “(Problem) carriers diminish the standards which all of you (at the UMA Expo) have set for yourselves and have worked so hard to maintain,” Hersman said. She also spoke of advancements in equipment that is now available for the motorcoach industry, noting that the 2012 MCI motorcoach that took her from LAX to the UMA Expo was equipped with 3-point passenger seat belts, a fire detection and suppression system, electronic stability control, automatic traction control and a tire pressure monitoring system. “For decades, NTSB has been working for better standards that protect passengers in accidents, particularly in rollover accidents. The good news is many of you are asking for, and manufacturers are producing, new technology even in the absence of federal mandates. MCI, Prevost, Van Hool and Setra have all stepped up,” Hersman said. “Some vehicles are even equipped with adaptive cruise control that will slow or stop the vehicle in advance of a collision. This helps in situations where drivers are fatigued or distracted. “While manufacturers are taking steps to put these features in their vehicles, it’s up to you (the motorcoach operator) to take full advantage (of this technology).” She added that the third and final element essential to operating safely — and the most important — is maintaining good operators. According to Hersman, people are absolutely the most important piece to the safety equation. “Vic (Parra) mentioned that I have a CDL with school bus and passenger endorsements. I have been behind the wheel and know how much attention it requires. I am appreciative of the people who do this type of work for a living,” Hersman said. Manufacturers, she continued, must ensure that a driver’s workload is not increased with new technology, but fits in seamlessly with a driver’s task. “Technology can be a great tool to improve safety, but no matter how sophisticated that technology is, it’s only as good as the performance of the operator. It’s the operator’s commitment to safety, the operator’s understanding of safety tools, the operator’s safety culture — these are

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the things that make for a safe operator,” she said. Hersman noted that a good safety culture starts at the top of a company’s operation. “How many hours do you want your drivers to be behind the wheel? How long of a day is too long? Are your mechanics trained on all of the new equipment found on your buses? Do you have a robust policy concerning distractions (while driving) at your company? Do you accept overnight charters? What can you do to reduce risks?” she asked. Hersman spoke of the Museum of Bus Transportation in Hershey, PA, which she said not only maintains a large collection of buses, but celebrates the important role the bus industry plays in the country. “My question for all of you, ‘What will the museum display about your generation years from now? What is your legacy going to be? Will you be the leaders that get us to zero fatalities?” Hersman asked. “I challenge you to bring more people into your association and make sure they are held to the same high standards. I want the public to better understand your industry, the value of your safety investments and your limitations. “I encourage you to raise your standards even higher. That is the hallmark of a strong, safe and professional industry.”

introducing a refined and strengthened motorcoach safety action plan. “At the end of the day, however, that plan doesn’t mean anything if it’s not combined with actions. And the actions you saw us take last year really formed the basis of what you can expect from us, as a federal agency, this year when it comes to oversight on motorcoach safety,” Ferro said. She added that FMCSAs National Passenger Carrier Inspection Strike Force has been busy as of late. “We have implemented more strike forces than ever before, with these strike forces in strategic, as well as non-traditional, destinations,” Ferro said. “This will continue (in

2012). It’s never my strategy to let you know where (the strike forces) are going to be next, but just expect them. And expect that local, state and federal partners will be working very closely together to ensure that our strike forces are targeting carriers that most need our attention. “Those strike forces, as well as our compliance reviews and investigative work, provide ever more robust data to populate the safety measurement system within FMCSA, further sharpening our focus. Underscoring this strike force activity is a very strong enforcement followup (process), utilizing every enforcement tool that our agency has to shut those companies down that shouldn’t be on the roads. Last year alone we issued 110

Ferro Outlines FMCSA Programs


icking up on Hersman’s challenge questions directed toward the motorcoach industry, FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro stated in her opening remarks during the UMA Active Member Meeting that these are the same challenges her agency, and the entire U.S. Department of Transportation, are working on. “Safety is the U.S. DOT’s No. 1 priority. It drives (U.S. Transportation) Secretary Ray LaHood’s focus and leadership, and it provides the platform on which everything is done at FMCSA,” Ferro said. “(FMCSA) is an agency that was created 12 years ago with the sole purpose of saving lives by reducing crashes involving trucks and buses. This is what drives our employees across the country everyday — saving lives.” She added that FMCSA concentrates on raising the bar on safety and, “Removing the bad actors from the roadways, whether it’s a driver, a vehicle or a company.” Ferro noted 2011 experienced its share of U.S. motorcoach fatalities, which served as an effective “wake up call” pertaining to motorcoach safety enforcement. “(The U.S.) Congress held hearings and we (at FMCSA) held a motorcoach safety summit. I was grateful that we had representation from UMA. There was a robust group of people at that summit to help us identify areas or gaps in plans that we (at FMCSA) thought were fairly strong,” Ferro said. According to Ferro, due to the summit and request from Congress, FMCSA will soon be March/April 2012


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out-of-service orders or unsatisfactory ratings just for passenger carriers.” Ferro also discussed the Compliance Safety Accountability (CSA) program from FMCSA which is designed to improve both commercial truck and bus safety. The centerpiece of CSA is the Safety Measurement System (SMS), which analyzes all safety-based violations from inspections and crash data to determine a commercial motor carrier’s on-road performance. The new safety program allows FMCSA to reach more carriers earlier and deploy a range of corrective interventions to address a carrier’s specific safety issues. “The great news about CSA is it’s living up to its name — Compliance Safety Accountability. I’m committed to making it become a continuously stronger tool to help identify what (a motorcoach operator) is doing well and what areas need improvement,” Ferro said. She also touted FMCSAs Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP), which is designed to help motor carriers make informed hiring decisions. This is done by providing electronic access to a driver’s crash and inspection history from the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS). “PSP provides you (as a motorcoach company) a tool by which a driver’s violation history can be screened. If you are not already using PSP, then I strongly urge you to get enrolled. It’s very affordable. Companies with best practices use it to screen drivers before they make a final hiring

decision,” Ferro said. She also discussed other “hot” topics that FMCSA is involved with pertaining to safety. They include: n Distractive driving — “Just don’t do it. We have a slogan, ‘One text or call could wreck it all.’ It’s important to make sure your drivers never text and/or talk on the phone while operating a motorcoach,” Ferro said. She said there are now fines in place for such actions. A driver can be fined as much as $2,750 and companies $11,000. n Hours of service — Ferro said a robust listening session was recently held on the hours of service topic and that more sessions will follow. “Our Motorcoach Safety Advisory Committee has formed a subcommittee to continue working on this issue,” she said. “I urge everyone to be on the lookout for more listening sessions. We have already heard from people (within the motorcoach industry) who have spoken in favor of keeping the current hours of service rules in place, but to increase enforcement. Many have also said that their electronic on-board recorders have been beneficial in tracking compliance within their own companies.” Young Guns Continue To Gain Traction


ne of the newer groups that has formed under the UMA umbrella is known as the “Young Guns,” consisting of younger professionals involved in the industry.

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March/April 2012

During the past year this group has formed, named committee members and held events, such as the “UMA Young Guns Roundtable & Dreams For The Future” program that took place during this year’s UMA Expo. Ray Land, of Fabulous Coach Lines in Branford, FL, who helped organize “Young Guns” explained the mission of this group. “UMA Young Guns is a group of young professionals driving innovation, imagination and excitement within the motorcoach industry. We are committed to building relationships, developing leaders and striving for continued excellence in the motorcoach industry — while having fun doing so,” Land said. “A Young Gun is a UMA member in good standing. If you feel that mission defines you, and if you feel young at heart, then you are certainly a Young Gun. “We try to brainstorm and create ideas that can advance our industry and do things that have never been done before.” The Young Guns leadership team consists of Land as president; Michael Giddens, of Pacific Coachways, Garden Grove, CA, secretary/treasurer; Mike Costa, of A Yankee Line, Boston, MA, activities/events; Ryan Cupp, of Blue Lakes Charters & Tours, Clio, MI, innovations/excitement; Gene Wright III, of B & W Charters, Kalamazoo, MI, education; and Sharad Agarwal, of BCI America, Pasadena, CA, recruitment. “What we have done this year is build a foundation and continue to welcome any suggestions. If you are interested in getting involved, please let us know,” Land said. “This is a forum for ideas and talking about the future of the industry, especially over the long term.” Those interested in Young Guns can visit or send an email to A goal of the group is to add at least 50 new members in 2012. Along with introductions and explaining the focus of the organization, members of the Young Guns leadership team also had those in attendance during the UMA Expo event form into roundtable groups. These groups then discussed innovations they would like to see take place on future buses/motorcoaches. Feedback from this brainstorming session was then given to industry manufacturers and is also available on the Young Guns’ Facebook page.

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utgoing UMA Chairman Tom Ready, of Ready Bus Lines in La Crescent, MN, was recognized during the Active Member Meeting for this dedication and achievements while serving as chairman. The terms of Ready and other UMA Board members expired during this year’s Expo. “As chairman, Tom had to manage a board of 21 motorcoach executives. He was very skillful

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annual business events — the NTA Convention and the UMA Expo — beginning in 2013 (January 19-23) in Orlando, FL. “What we are doing with the National Tour Association is creating something very powerful and exciting,” Parra said while opening the 9th Annual UMA Vision Awards Banquet. Ready expressed similar thoughts The Young Guns leadership team asked attendees to divide into groups during the Vision and discuss bus innovations. Awards ceremony. with the board’s time, making sure everyone was “A joint show is coming for the travel side of able to get (his/her) views on the table,” Parra our industry. It’s something our members said. have wanted for a long time. We will now be The new chairman of UMA is Bill Allen, of able to bring the bus people and the travel peoAmador Stage Lines, Sacramento, CA. ple together under one roof,” Ready said. Toward the conclusion of the 2012 UMA “(NTA members) can now see a bus, touch a Expo, many people attending the Long Beach bus, ride a bus and even kick a tire. In return, event began thinking about 2013, and the new bus owners can meet more destination manpartnership that has been formed between UMA agement people, hotel groups and talk to the and the National Tour Association (NTA). The owners of attractions. This will be a one-stop two organizations will be co-locating their convention known as Travel Exchange.

“Our board of directors and the NTA have worked very hard and want everyone to pay attention to upcoming Travel Exchange promotions.” UMA and NTA officials also held a press event on the exposition floor where they spoke and gave a toast to next year’s events. “It’s an honor to be here. I really have to say from NTA that we are proud to be part of the UMA family, and we look forward to a wonderful experience in bringing these two cultures together for 2013,” NTA/UMA 2013 Task Force Chairman Michael Neustadt, of Coach Tours Ltd., in Brookfield, CT, said during the press event. Neustadt’s company is a member of both NTA and UMA. NTA is a business-building association for travel professionals interested in the North American market — inbound, outbound and within the continent. Its buyer members are tour operators who buy and package travel products from around the world. Meanwhile, seller members are destination marketing organizations and tour suppliers from the United States, Canada and over 40 countries. “We assure you that everything (attendees) get from the NTA (Convention) and the UMA Expo will continue, but hopefully (the co-locating of shows) will present even more opportunities for conducting business and making new contacts,” Neustadt said.

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Expo Highlight:

Operators Panel Discussion

By Harrell Kerkhoff Busline Magazine Editor


eceiving solid business advice from experienced professionals is important in any industry. Those involved with running buses/motorcoaches are provided this luxury every year during the United Motorcoach Association’s operators’ panel session, traditionally held on the first full day of activities at the UMA Expo. Five panelists, representing motorcoach companies located in various parts of the United States as well as one Canadian operator, shared their thoughts on several subjects for this year’s Expo event. The panelists were: Mike Costa, of A Yankee Line, Boston, MA; Larry Hundt, of Great Canadian Trailways, Kitchener, ON; Brian Annett, of Annett Bus Lines, Sebring, FL; Sarah Walker, of Star Shuttle & Charter, San Antonio, TX; and, Bill Allen, of Amador Stage Lines, Sacramento, CA. Serving as moderator for the event was UMA President & CEO Victor Parra, who asked the panelists various questions related to the motorcoach industry and public transportation in general.


Tell us about the past year. How did 2011 turn out? Hundt — Great Canadian Trailways “I think we have all (in the motorcoach industry) been challenged with the lowering of charter rates and increasing costs, especially on the fuel side. It really challenges your margins and makes it difficult to drive profits. “As a company, we were fortunate that our tour business, which is operated by my wife (Lorna Hundt), did extremely well (in 2011). This is a good sign.” Costa — A Yankee Line “Among the challenges in 2011 was the high Page 24


price of fuel and tires, as well as increased inspections throughout the Northeast corridor. We combated (challenges) with a solid sales plan, knowing we were going to hold our rates and win business where we could.” Walker — Star Shuttle & Charter “As a company, we were on track during the first and second quarters (to have a good year), then we had the hottest summer and wildfires (in Texas) and other unpredictable things which set us back. However, we were able to finish strong in the fourth quarter.” Allen — Amador Stage Lines “Our sales were a little bit down, but not substantially down. “We really concentrated on cutting expenses. This included cutting staff and unnecessary miles. Insurance costs did go down for us. Because of cost control, we actually came out a little better in 2011 than 2010.”


How have you dealt with the low average rates many motorcoach companies are charging today? Walker — Star Shuttle & Charter “We try to stick with our rates and I think this has paid off. Once we realized (in 2011) that we were going to get the numbers (in business) we were looking for, I think our confidence grew.” Allen — Amador Stage Lines “We didn’t drop our prices at all for our mileage runs (in 2011). Where we felt we should be more competitive against some of these low-ballers was when booking hourly trips. That is where we did attack. “I told my people that if we were going to lose a bid on price to call me, and they did call. Some of the prices we were up against were ridiculously low. We don’t look to match such low prices, but we sometimes can get within $75 to $100. In that case a lot of customers will go with us. However, we won’t do this for every trip. There is a line that you can’t cross if the

March/April 2012

Mike Costa

Larry Hundt

Brian Annett

Sarah Walker

Bill Allen

Vic Parra

price is too low.” Costa — A Yankee Line “There will always be operators who are cheaper and operators who are higher. That is just the nature of every industry. One thing I would encourage every company to do is differentiate itself. Being competitive doesn’t necessarily mean having to lower your prices to get that business. We try to differentiate ourselves by offering (high-end) motorcoaches and the highest quality of customer service through proper training of our motorcoach chauffeurs.” Hundt — Great Canadian Trailways “We try to reduce costs by slowing our coaches down a little while having our sales staff generate business from new clients. We also try to do some things with our facility. We are very fortunate in this economic time to have a large facility. Therefore, our mechanics are now also repairing trucks as we have opened a truck center. We have enough room to park trucks and also sell fuel to generate additional revenue. “We are trying to find related areas of business and use our resources to drive more revenue.” Annett — Annett Bus Lines “One of the great things about being a business owner is that there are so many things you can control. In our operation, we work on the things we can control and let the other stuff go by the wayside. “Pricing from a competitor is something we can’t control. Therefore, we don’t get tied up with that a lot, but it can be frustrating at times. In a competitive market, you do see things that will make you scratch your head, but I continue to come back to the view that we can’t control everything. Therefore, we have to maximize what we can control, such as improving our efficiency. In turbulent times, we focus on our company practices and make sure we are as efficient as possible.”

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Were there any new things your company tried during 2011? Allen — Amador Stage Lines “We had an opportunity to successfully bid on some 1997 (transit type) buses (for certain types of work). They come with reclining seats and also have air conditioning, microphones, and wheelchair lifts. We purchased 10 of these buses at a total cost of $31,000. These buses generated around $56,000 in sales during the fourth quarter (of 2011) alone, and we have around $100,000 booked for them for the first six months of this year. “It was a no brainer to purchase these vehicles despite being out of our realm as we never used transit buses before.” Walker — Star Shuttle & Charter “We really didn’t change too much in 2011. We wanted to tighten our screws and make sure our procedures were improving. One thing our company did really focus on was customer service and the training we provide for our drivers. These are areas where we could control things ourselves.” Annett — Annett Bus Lines “I feel really lucky because I work in an organization where we have great people and I also get to work with my brother (David Annett). He keeps his eyes on all the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the company, and I get to spend 100 percent of my time looking for new segments of business.

“I think it’s important for us, as an industry, to realize that we can’t continue to work just within the same type of segments and with the same type of customers year after year. I focused a lot of my time in 2011 identifying possible new ridership (segments) for our coaches. We were successful with some of this new business and not successful other times, but I think it’s important to cultivate new leads and interests in motorcoach travel. “We did have some success in 2011 with a park-and-ride service. We were able to open the eyes of some clients who, in the past, really didn’t see a bus as an option for them; and now it’s on the top of their minds.” Hundt — Great Canadian Trailways “Several years ago, when we realized that the economy was going to be challenged, we immediately had a meeting and looked very hard at our costs and our staff. We made staff reductions, which we never had done before in the history of our company. I hope that everyone has taken that opportunity to have a hard look at costs and be as efficient as possible. “I would like to get back to what Brian (Annett) was saying about looking for new clients. Having been a tour operator for most of my life, I have seen many changes in this market. People are not grouping (together) like they used to, and if people are not grouping, then they are not riding on motorcoaches (together).

“What challenges us, as an industry, is to look for, and develop, new sources of business. I’m so thrilled that we (at UMA) are going down the path with NTA (the National Tour Association) next year concerning a joint show. A lot of UMA members will have a greater opportunity to look at the tour side of the industry and the opportunities this presents. This is true even if you are not a tour-related operator.” Costa — A Yankee Line “We have been trying to improve our utilization year-around. We have been looking for more opportunities, and in some cases, trying to create opportunities. This was our focus in 2011 and will also be our focus in 2012.”


Do you see business improving in 2012? Costa — A Yankee Line “We expect 2012 to be amazing for us. First of all, we are adding new clients. In addition, we are seeing that business from our existing customers is going up. For example, a middle school trip to Washington, D.C. that may have taken two or three of our buses in 2011 now may take three or four of our buses in 2012. “We are trying to fill in those valleys of business (with more trips and customers). I also work with the Motorcoach Marketing Council which is looking at opportunities for

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March/April 2012


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the future, finding niches and new applications for motorcoach travel.” Hundt — Great Canadian Trailways “We are cautiously optimistic (for 2012). There is a sense that the marketplace will have a little bit more stability to it despite what’s going on in Europe. That is one area that concerns me a bit — inbound business that we usually get from Europeans. “I feel it’s important to also be cautious about fuel prices. As the economy starts to grow, we could hear more excuses from those trying to drive up fuel rates again.” Annett — Annett Bus Lines “We go into every new year excited. We are looking to grow a lot of the work that we received toward the end of (2011). This year (2012) looks real promising for us with new opportunities.” Walker — Star Shuttle & Charter “We are excited, too, and see things improving. Having successfully gone through some of the tough times has given us more confidence.” Allen — Amador Stage Lines “Not to put a damper on things, but we (Amador Stage Lines) are from California and Nevada, states that have the two highest unemployment rates in the country. “That being said, I do think 2012 will be good because it’s an election year. I’m sure everything that can be done to stimulate the economy and keep fuel prices down will take place to improve (incumbents’) chances of being re-elected.”


How are you maximizing your capital assets? Walker — Star Shuttle & Charter “One thing we did this past year was to reconfigure our sales office. This was done to better maximize our staff and make our sales team more effective.” Annett — Annett Bus Lines “We are more interested in making a profit than how many miles a coach runs down the road. From an operational side, we try to control costs as much as we can and have our sales side understand this focus. “Our industry must also realize that at certain times of the year, it should be harder for people to get a motorcoach, and we (as an industry) need to be properly compensated during these times. Other industries, such as the airlines and hotels, get properly compensated for similar busy times.” Hundt — Great Canadian Trailways “I touched on earlier about the resources we have in place with our building and how this has added new business. “We also really took a hard look at our sales direction and refocused some of our core businesses, particularly on the consumer and group sides. We are going to target (on Page 26


improving upon) some of the lighter times of travel.” Costa — A Yankee Line “There is a constant wrestling match that takes place within our industry to make people realize that utilization is driven by demand, and that certain times of the year a company can yield a higher rate than at other times. By finding this balance in utilization, I believe companies can help maximize their capital assets more efficiently.” Allen — Amador Stage Lines “If you are finding yourself sold out all of the time, then you are probably not charging enough. “Another thing a company can capitalize on is with its shop facility. You can open the eyes of a lot of customers when it comes to what a quality shop means, especially from a safety standpoint.”


How does your business work with controllable and uncontrollable costs? Hundt — Great Canadian Trailways “Certainly, the controllable costs should be reviewed by your staff. We have really worked hard at keeping our costs in line. “Uncontrollable costs include fuel. We were remiss (as a company) in not getting our fuelsurcharge in place soon enough (in the recent past). That is very important.” Costa — A Yankee Line “An uncontrollable cost is fuel, and the way we are trying to control that uncontrollable cost is by eliminating bus idling times. This makes a big difference.” Allen — Amador Stage Lines “Regarding fuel, the cost is uncontrollable as far as what you pay for that fuel, but you can reduce your usage. That is what we try to do through technology. All of our buses have GPS, where we monitor, in real-time, our trips. We can see when a particular bus is idling. We actually will call a driver up and say, ‘Hey, your bus is idling.’ It’s taken a few years to get everybody on the same mindset (about idle reduction). I have seen a statistic that showed 30 percent of our fuel (as an industry) is used for idling. That’s a big number. “Another way to get costs down is through accident control. Every time your bus gets nicked up, that is money pouring out of your pocket. If you can minimize that expense, such as hiring a safety director, it will pay for itself many times over.” Walker — Star Shuttle & Charter “Our (uncontrollable costs) come from fuel, insurance and some regulations. But, there are things you can do to offset some of

March/April 2012

these costs. This includes idle reduction, keeping speeds down, changing tires at the proper time, etc.” Annett — Annett Bus Lines “Technology and communication — these are two key things in our industry right now. We monitor buses and have staff meetings were we talk about idle reduction. “I wish every company had the resources to employ a full-time safety and training director. The training of motorcoach drivers should take a back seat to nothing. That is where you can control costs, with proper training. “Everybody on your staff should also understand the importance of a dollar.”


How do you not over extend your company in good times while maintaining your customer base in tough times? Costa — A Yankee Line “Everybody has seen operators (who expand too fast) and lower their rates to seek all of the available business around. Eventually, they can’t pay for their new buses. “Maintaining a managed and steady growth is key. It’s not healthy to have an explosive growth pattern.” Hundt — Great Canadian Trailways “I think any move that you make needs to be well thought out and calculated. “We have put a lot of thought into our recent expansion. I know of situations where people suddenly jumped into the tour business, didn’t hire the right people and thought it would all be easy. It ended up costing them a lot of money.” Annett — Annett Bus Lines “We make slow decisions. There is no knee-jerk reaction.” Walker — Star Shuttle & Charter “It’s natural in wanting to capitalize on things during good times. However, it can come back to bite a business if that company becomes over-extended, especially in tumultuous times when there is no longer a cushion to fall back on.” Allen — Amador Stage Lines “Slow and steady is a good way to go, but I also feel it’s important to be ready when opportunities come around. With the (transit style) buses that we bought, if we had waited six months to decide whether or not to purchase these vehicles, then the opportunity would have passed. In that case, there was a pretty small risk involved. We took the opportunity and it worked out for us. “Overall, anybody who looks at our company will know we don’t jump to any fast conclusions. We study things and then try to make the best decision and move forward.”

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National Interstate Building An Insurance Experience Around Its Customers A Customized Approach To Risk Management n an era where customer service has come to mean cookie-cutIn an effort to reduce customer claims and keep insurance costs ter insurance policies, remote call centers and long waits on “hold,” you’ll be surprised to know there is an insurance compa- low, National Interstate provides a wide range of risk management ny that still treats its valued customers like valued customers. That programs tailored to the specific needs of each client. The company’s proactive services include risk assessments, consultation and traincompany is National Interstate. Based in Richfield, OH, National Interstate was founded in 1989 ing, accident kits, newsletters, a safety hotline, a video library, discounted compliance materials and a robust online program, which is to serve the specific needs of the transportation industry. “We understand the complicated nature of the transportation scheduled to be launched this year. Accident event recorders (AERs) were also introduced by business,” National Interstate President and CEO Dave Michelson said. “It’s in our blood. And, everything we do is National Interstate’s affiliate, SCLS, as an effective loss control tool. With more than 14,000 of the devices aimed at meeting the growing and installed in vehicles since 2006, AERs changing needs of our customers.” have proven to enhance driver behavior, What their customers needed most, reduce claims and protect drivers in accithey found, was improved customer servdent cases where they are not at fault. ice and policies tailored to their specific ¸ A leading provider of passenger “Our award-winning accident event lines of business. National Interstate has transportation insurance recorder program is a great example delivered both for over 23 years. ¸ Rated “A” (Excellent) IX by A.M. Best Company of how National Interstate responds to Recognizing the importance of oneits customers’ needs,” says Michelson. on-one service, National Interstate cre¸ Offices in Ohio, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, “The transportation industry is ated a business model aimed at fostering and Missouri always looking for ways to promote better communication and helping ¸ More than 30 programs, customized to specific safety and reduce unnecessary costs. develop meaningful relationships with lines of business This technology helps them do both.” the companies it serves. National Interstate is focused on being ¸ Long-standing commitment to customer service “Our mission is to build an insurhelpful in every aspect of its business. And ance experience around the individnowhere is that more apparent then in the ual and their company,” explains Michelson. “We believe it’s important to really know our cus- customer service department. Unlike many insurance companies who tomers. And that means listening, understanding and actually transfer their customers to remote call centers, National Interstate answers every customer query personally. Representatives, who are picking up the phone when they call with a question.” trained specifically in the transportation business, are on site and able to answer questions promptly and thoroughly. Products As Individual As Their Customers They’re also there to help clients process claims in a timely and National Interstate developed a line of products that are among the most comprehensive in the industry. The company currently efficient manner. Proactive and tenacious, National Interstate’s has more than 30 different insurance programs for a wide variety claims professionals are aggressive advocates for their customers. “Our customers really value our expertise and our commitment to of transportation businesses. These include traditional insurance, innovative alternative risk transfer (ART) insurance for commer- keeping their costs down,” Michelson adds. cial companies and insurance for specialty vehicle owners. A History Of Stability And Growth “Unlike companies which offer more one-size-fits-all By building its business on exceptional service and products, options, our portfolio is designed for specific industries,” says Michelson. “We offer unique products for the charter and tour National Interstate has become one of the leading transportation businesses, student transportation, public transit and para- insurance companies in the country. Rated “A” (Excellent) IX by A.M. Best Company, National Interstate has a long history of finantransit, too.” In addition, National Interstate provides a variety of coverage cial stability and growth. In fact, over the past 23 years, it has options. These include first-dollar, gross receipts/mileage, liabili- become what is believed to be the largest writer of passenger transportation insurance in the United States. ty and deductible options, and ART. Today, National Interstate has more than 500 employees based in “Alternative Risk Transfer is quickly becoming a preferred option for companies looking for better ways to manage their risk Ohio, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and Missouri — each of whom is committed to providing the highest level of personal service, efficient and stabilize their insurance costs,” Michelson notes. ART premiums are not influenced by the cyclical insurance claims processing and the best products. National Interstate’s unique combination of superior service, cusmarket, but rather by the policyholder’s safety record. Our ART customers pay insurance premiums similar to traditional insur- tomized policies and knowledge of the transportation industry sigance, but can receive a portion of that premium back along with nals a positive future for the company. As Michelson points out, “At National Interstate, we have the financial strength, longevity, prodinvestment income if their claims are lower than expected. With these added financial incentives, more and more best-in- uct expertise and flexibility that are not only needed in the marketclass passenger transportation companies are finding ART pro- place, but essential for protecting today’s businesses.” grams an attractive solution to managing insurance costs. In fact, since National Interstate began offering the option in 1995, hunContact National Interstate at dreds of companies have turned to Alternative Risk Transfer. And 800-929-1500 • those numbers continue to grow steadily each year.



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Service Insurance Agency Working Together Through Good & Tough Times


ords of wisdom are sometimes hard to come by, especially during tough times. Those who provide passenger transportation, however, are seeking advice on insurance and other industry-related matters at a rapid pace. With three locations and 58 years of experience providing transportation insurance Service Insurance Agency representatives have the knowledge and dedication to help motorcoach operators survive and thrive in today's business climate. With a dedicated team of customer service representatives (CSRs) and producers, Service Insurance Agency provides the value-added benefits that are critical today. The agency, with its headquarters in Richmond, VA, and offices in Knoxville, TN, and Naples, FL, can provide a variety of insurance products for the transportation industry such as Auto Liability, Physical Damage, General Liability, Worker's Compensation, Garage and GarageKeeper's Legal Liability. The agency also provides additional help in such areas as driver selection, drug and alcohol testing, DOT compliance, and safety seminars. “We are one of the largest insurance agencies in the Southeast, providing transportation insurance solutions to our 650 motorcoach clients,” said Service Insurance Agency President Tim O'Bryan. “We have a dedicated staff of insurance professionals who are committed to the motorcoach industry. With over 150-plus years of collective transportation insurance experience we are able to provide our clients, as well as our potential clients, with valuable insight.” The producers include Service Insurance Agency President Tim O'Bryan, located in Richmond, VA.; Roger Gum, of Knoxville, TN.; and Gray Poehler of Naples, FL. “From an agency standpoint, we help our clients with various situations that come up in the operation of their business, whether it's insurance related or not. Our clients know they can call us with questions that most non-transportation agents may not be aware of,” Mr. O'Bryan said. He added that a non-transportation agent or agency may not understand the unique challenges facing the motorcoach operator today. “The insurance companies provide the insurance coverages required by our clients, but we as an agency provide the customer service that our clients need in order to operate in the current business environment. Whether we issue certificates of insurance to groups who wish to travel with our clients, help our clients with driver selection and retention, provide lienholders with proof that their interests are protected, or just act as a sounding board for general business questions, we strive to be a complete business partner with our clients.” According to Mr. O'Bryan, “The number of insurance carriers

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that specialize in our industry is relatively small. Therefore, it's even more important than ever to deal with an agency that has a long standing relationship with all of these carriers. “One thing about the insurance industry is that it never stays the same. Pricing models change, natural disasters in this country and abroad affect the availability of the high limits that our clients must carry, the ever changing legal climate has a direct impact on this industry. Plus, when you consider the state and federal mandates imposed on our clients, now is the time to strengthen your relationship with your state officials and those in Washington, D.C. “As an agency that specializes in the motorcoach industry, we welcome the opportunity to work with our clients in all of these areas. Service Insurance Agency lives and breathes this industry. We serve on various state association boards to provide insight and help each member, whether or not the company is a client, stay informed. We are committed to strengthening our relationship with our clients, and the various state motorcoach associations to guarantee the stability and future of this industry that supports us,” states Mr. O'Bryan. “These are difficult times. It's important that we all work together. Communication is an essential part of the equation so please do not hesitate to call us and discuss your situation. Service Insurance Agency has been in this business since 1952, and we have guided our clients through a variety of business climates over the years. I am available to my clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We need to be available because our clients work those same hours,” states Mr. O'Bryan.

Contact: Service Insurance Agency Tim O'Bryan, President 6850 Catawba Lane Richmond, VA 23226 1-800-444-0205 ext. 303 FAX 804-288-7925 CELL 804-914-6993 Roger Gum, Producer Knoxville, TN 865-546-9697 Gray Poehler, Producer 3770 Sawgrass Way, # 3431 Naples, FL 34112-1304 239-304-2815

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Lancer Insurance Company 2011 Global Disasters Could Spur Higher Insurance Rates For U.S. Bus Operators In 2012 By Tim Delaney Tim Delaney is the co-founder and senior executive vice president of Lancer Insurance Company, based in Long Beach, NY ( Delaney has served as a director of the Lancer Financial Group since 1982. His background includes 38 years of insurance and reinsurance experience with Frank B. Hall & Company, American Risk Management, Inc. (Reiss Group), Delaney Intermediaries, Inc., and Lancer Financial Group. He also is a frequent speaker at bus and motorcoach conventions and seminars.


t Lancer Insurance Company, we believe there are some ominous storm clouds beginning to appear on the horizon for the bus and motorcoach insurance market. Thankfully, there are positive steps bus operators can take to soften the effects of a potential market contraction in which insurers either voluntarily withdraw or are forced to leave due to past inadequate pricing of their products. “We believe many newer bus insurers will need to adjust their pricing in the near future because the claim payments they are making are likely to outstrip the premiums they were collecting. And, in the absence of strong investment returns to offset their underwriting losses, they will either have to raise their prices significantly or withdraw from the market.” In fact, the A.M. Best Company has just released the 2011 Property/Casualty Industry’s results which reveal an average combined ratio of 107.5 percent. That means that, as an industry, companies were losing 7.5 cents on every $1 of premium collected. Those types of results cannot be sustained The year 2011 was the worst year ever for catastrophe claimsrelated losses in the property casualty insurance industry. From the earthquakes in New Zealand and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, to Hurricane Irene on our East Coast, and a record-breaking string of tornadoes and floods in our Midwest and South, the global insurance industry suffered a record-shattering $105 billion in claims payouts in 2011; $44.1 billion of those claim payouts were in the United States alone. And, if the early season tornado outbreak which recently devastated parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Alabama are any indication, 2012 is on a similarly costly pace. You may say: “That’s all very tragic and unfortunate for the insurance industry, but why should I be concerned? I own a 12coach bus fleet in Michigan, have a good claims record, and a bottom line finally recovering from 2008’s financial meltdown.”

Everything’s Connected The problem is that, like most of today’s financial sectors, the property casualty industry is an international enterprise, meaning that what happens in New Zealand, Japan or Alabama eventually affects the premiums you’re paying in Michigan. And the red flags are already beginning to fly as some large insurance players in the commercial auto sector have withdrawn either fully or partially from the business in the United States. One thing is for sure: More will follow. I understand that the prospect of any kind of insurance rate increase is not a popular message to deliver, and I take no satisfaction in seeing my predictions come true. But as a leading insurer of motorcoach companies in the United States since 1985, we live by the old sailor’s axiom: “A good navigator questions where he is even after he’s tied up at the dock.” Questioning what lies ahead is what separates the living from Page 32


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the dead in both our businesses. The fact is that the financials of many insurance companies are showing operating losses, and, those insurers that were under-pricing their products have no other option than to raise their premiums dramatically if they expect to stay in the bus (or any) insurance business. It starts with companies not offering renewals to their most under-priced and high loss ratio accounts. You will start to hear stories of marginal operators having insurance problems. Your first reaction is a small grin because you think it won’t happen to you. The next step is when insurers realize that getting rid of the bad risks might stem future losses, but does not help pay claims already in the pipeline. The only option is to sharply raise the premiums of their better accounts to outrun the claims tsunami looming in their rearview mirror. The lag on claims development in our business is three to five years, and we just concluded our sixth year of insurance premium cuts. The math doesn’t work. And to further complicate the problem, that $105 billion in losses suffered by the industry last year will rear its ugly head in the form of significant increases in the premiums all insurers are paying to their reinsurance companies; companies they desperately need to offer the minimum $5 million limit needed to operate in the interstate motorcoach insurance sector. Relationships Are Key Is there any good news for bus operators in all this? The answer is clearly, yes. The motorcoach companies best positioned to survive any kind of contraction or market hardening in the bus insurance environment are those that view their insurance relationship no differently than they do their banking, accounting and other pivotal financial relationships. The goal is to establish a long-term relationship with your bus insurer. Specifically, you must find an insurance company committed to the long-term financial health of its loyal policyholders and their industry, and one not inclined to put them at risk by demanding crippling premium increases. The bus specialty insurer accomplishes this in at least two ways: • FIRST, it does not follow the prices down to such a point that a crisis develops, but tries to maintain a competitive advantage through great claims service and expense management. In fact, many nervous bus insurers are now offering huge commissions to agents and brokers in an effort to move business to them. Another “too little, too late” approach because the costly claims on underpriced business is already roaring through the pipeline; • SECOND, using deductibles to handle small- and medium-size liability claims with the help of your insurer makes the system much more efficient and less prone to volatility because funding for these claims comes with no other expenses (e.g. commissions, taxes, overhead and reinsurance). At Lancer, we like to say that our long-term customers have never experienced a “hard market” because they have been protected from it by prudently accepting risk and insuring primarily to cover the large catastrophic claim which they could never handle on their own. If properly managed, there is no reason to experience the pricing cycles “the herd” has to endure. Find an insurance partner with great claims service and take some risk on your account using deductibles. The risk you take can be limited by the use of aggreContinued On Page 65

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Protective Insurance Company Providing Comprehensive Insurance Packages To The Transportation Industry For More Than 50 Years


rotective Insurance Company has provided comprehensive insurance packages to the transportation industry for more than 50 years. In 2008, Protective leveraged its expertise to expand into the public transportation market. Since that time, it has developed products and services that cater specifically to the unique needs of public transportation fleets. Protective does its best to partner with customers in meeting their individual needs.

Driven By Safety Protective’s loss prevention team members are specialists in the transportation industry. Understanding that not all companies are the same, Protective follows a collaborative approach to partner with insureds in addressing their specific safety and risk management needs. Protective supports its customers’ driver education efforts through on-site visits and online training lessons, and keeps customers up-to-date on the latest industry news through a quarterly newsletter.

Driven By Service The specialized claims staff at Protective is committed to providing customers with superior service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With an average of 18 years of insurance experience, Protective’s expert team handles claims in a professional, fair and timely manner. It takes the worry out of claims management with a paperless system and countrywide network of actively managed independent adjusters and rental companies.

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Whether a fleet includes motorcoaches, tour buses, school bus contractors or limousines, Protective is dedicated to providing unparalleled loss prevention, customer and claims management services. The company offers auto liability, general liability, garage liability, physical damage and workers’ compensation options. Protective’s policies are issued on an auditable basis for fleets with more than 10 power units.

Driven By Trust When passengers take their seats, they trust that they will safely reach their destination. When partnering with Protective, a transportation provider can trust that Protective is equally invested in the safety of a company’s drivers. Backed by its financial strength, which is proven by a consistent rating of A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, Protective is a strong and stable option for insurance needs. Protective currently insures many fleets across the country that seek specialized attention and financial stability.

What Drives You? We want to know how Protective can help meet specific insurance needs.

Contact Stacy Renz at 800-644-5501 or send an email to today.

C p

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Protective Insurance Company’s loss prevention team members are specialists in the transportation industry. Understanding that not all companies are the same, we follow a collaborative and customized approach to partner with our insureds, addressing WKHLUVSHFLÀFVDIHW\DQGULVNPDQDJHPHQWQHHGV

CONTACT STACY RENZ: (800) 644-5501

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TIB: Tough Transportation Problems Handled Every Day


IB Transportation Insurance Brokers is the largest agency in the country dedicated solely to the transportation industry. Headquartered in Glendale, CA, with offices in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Orlando, Baltimore, and New York, TIB serves more than 5,000 bus and limousine clients nationally. It’s committed to the transportation industry, and only that industry. All of its clients have commercial auto exposures with the vast majority being certificated carriers. At TIB, tough transportation insurance problems are handled every day. The company is staffed to provide clients with the finest service of any broker in the industry. TIB’s goal is to work together as a team to take care of clients. It offers high quality services, trouble-free relationships and rapid response to a customer’s needs through the strength of TIB’s national network. TIB’s specialization and commitment to the transportation industry ensures that by focusing only on this market-

place, it can devote the energy and resources necessary to be at the leading edge of the transportation insurance field. All clients have their own personal account executive. In addition, they are provided with an assistant account executive to handle their standard requests such as certificates, endorsements, filings, etc., and an accounting representative who knows their exact premium status. Clients always have total access to TIB’s corporate management team, who can provide assistance for a client’s risk management needs. The transportation industry has traditionally experienced problems securing programs which provide adequate coverage and competitive pricing. As brokers, TIB works for the clients, explaining the various plans and programs and helping them determine the insurance policies which best suit their needs. TIB is not captive to a single insurance company; therefore, it can offer options and alternatives, rather than providing a client with one —

and only one — insurance program. TIB is keenly aware of changes in the marketplace because the company is there, immersed in it everyday. Obviously, change is a part of the environment, and indeed, a dynamic force affecting all of us. TIB’s goal is to always be on the cutting edge — to discern the good from the potentially damaging; to keep the concerns and goals of its clients foremost in its actions and reactions to the times. All of TIB’s accounts are important to the company, no matter what their size, starting with the largest customers right down to individual owner/operators. The success of each and every one of these customers is an integral part of TIB’s success — this fact is always on the minds of TIB professionals as they serve the company’s client base.



Keeping You in Motion

Transportation Insurance Brokers

Exp ind You com be

Co age ent




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Public Auto Risks – We’ve Got You Covered.

Experience matters. Especially where your risks are concerned. Regulations can make the industry complicated. And the services you provide can determine your levels of risk. You need someone to look out for you – while you run the business. Knowing that your company is insured properly can make the difference between running a smooth business to being sidelined. Count on 5Star to be there for you – as we have been for 25 years. Have your insurance agent contact us when you need insurance for charters, school buses, shuttle buses, entertainer coaches, limos, paratransits and more. 5Star Service. 5Star Solutions. 5Star Specialty Programs. Specialty Underwriting for: Trucking Professional Liability Public Auto Towing & Recovery Workers Compensation Misc Business Auto Paratransit DEALERsure Waste PARKsure


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P.A. Post: Since 1915, Serving The Industry That Moves America


ince its founding in 1915, P.A. Post Agency, L.L.C., has remained a premier family-owned insurance agency.

Having entered its fourth generation, P.A. Post Agency continues to provide clients with a blanket of financial security through both traditional and alternative insurance products and services. Whatever the needs may be, P.A. Post Agency has a specialist on board with the ability to meet your specific requirements. P.A. Post Agency invites you to put over 90 years of insurance experience and relationships to work for you! The company takes pride in managing risk well. Service highlights for P.A. Post Agency include: client specific account manager; claims management and assistance; in-house safety and loss prevention services; top rated insurance companies; and innovative insurance products. The P.A. Post Agency is one of the country’s largest brokerage firms dedicated to the public transportation industry.

It provides protection for: n CHARTER BUSES; n SCHOOL BUSES; n TRANSIT BUSES; n COMMUTER BUSES; n AIRPORT BUSES; n SIGHTSEEING BUSES; n LIMOUSINES; n PARA-TRANSITS; n TAXIS. Contact: P.A. Post Agency, L.L.C., One International Blvd., Suite 405 Mahwah, NJ 07495-0025 Phone: 201-252-3010; Fax: 201-252-3011. Web site:


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PRICE Is what you pay.

VALUE Is what you get.

SHRIVER = VALUE Shriver Insurance

800-841-1217 Going on 50 Years

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Charabanc Financial Full Service Provider For Passenger Transportation Industry n Free Company Value Assessment — As a true advisor to comharabanc Financial offers a wide variety of services for the panies in the transportation industry, Charabanc Financial provides passenger transportation industry. These services include: free company evaluations. Charabanc will assist in answering key n Seller & Buyer Representation — Charabanc Financial repre- questions while helping to determine what a company is worth; n Loans & Leases — Charabanc Financial has been established sents companies during their acquisition of other businesses as well as company sales and liquidations. The management team at as a creditable industry source in attracting new money to the pasCharabanc Financial is a seasoned group of professionals in negoti- senger transportation market. While it works with many finance and ating, advising and mentoring in all facets of the sale or acquisition bank leasing companies that are traditional bus industry lenders, process. Charabanc Financial’s value is well-documented by buyers relationships have also been established with numerous independent finance and bank leasing companies that are not known to the pasand sellers, as indicated below; senger transportation industry. Charabanc offers highly competitive interest rates on all loans and trac leases for new and used buses and ACADEMY EXPRESS LLC (Hoboken, NJ) coaches. It also offers tax leases and sale lease back products that has acquired may be more helpful to a business; ENTERTAINMENT TOURS, INC. n Refinance/Debt Consolidation — Charabanc Financial is COACH NEW ENGLAND LLC (Braintree, MA) highly creative at refinancing a company’s entire fleet whether it be The undersigned initiated this transaction assisted in the cash flow improvement or interest expense savings. Call for a free negotiations, and served as financial advisor to consultation to find out if your fleet is a candidate to be refinanced; ENTERTAINMENT TOURS, INC. n Real Estate/SBA — Charabanc Financial provides a compreCOACH NEW ENGLAND LLC hensive approach in seeking ways to improve, expand and/or provide And ACADEMY EXPRESS LLC for a company’s financial products to benefit that company’s longCHARABANC FINANCIAL SERVICES, INC. term sustainability and growth. By offering real estate or SBA loans Mergers and Acquisitions, Private Debt Placement nationwide, Charabanc has enabled many transactions that could not (770) 888-9981 • be completed conventionally; n Sales of Buses & Coaches Nationwide — Charabanc Financial This announcement appears as a matter of record only. Continued On Page 65



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Advantage Funding Offering High Level Of Flexibility In Structuring Finances


dvantage Funding is the leader in commercial transportation equipment leasing and financing and has a “GET IT DONE ATTITUDE.” Being an independent company enables us to offer you a high level of flexibility in structuring your financing needs. We have the knowledge and expertise to design a program that is right for you, saving you both time and money. We are the best value for your money and work hard at maintaining long-lasting relationships. Financing your commercial equipment is our specialty. With over 15 years of industry experience, Advantage Funding provides special finance programs for the ground transportation industry. Whether you want to expand your business with a new motorcoach, minibus, school bus, paratransit van, sedan, SUV or truck Advantage will make the process extremely easy. Advantage Funding provides fast and simple financing and leasing solutions you need to improve profits and productivity. At Advantage Funding, we are committed to being the best at what we do — developing and funding our clients' vehicle and fleet acquisition strategies. Experience A Competitive Advantage Putting vehicles on the road is what drives your business. Whether your focus is on sedan, limousine, SUV, van, tow truck, mini or motorcoach operations — or all of the above, Advantage Funding has more than 15 years of success putting our clients’ vehicles on the road; and our practical advice and innovative financing solutions

ensure they stay ahead of the curve. Call or email us directly so that we can have a short conversation to discuss your individual needs. We’ll be more than happy to show you how our financial products and services, designed specifically for the commercial transportation professional, can help you, too. Advantage Funding offers: n 15 years experience supporting commercial transportation operators; n Largest independent livery lender; n A direct lender: No brokers or extra fees; n New and used equipment; n Fleet expansion and financing plan development; n Competitive rates; n Same day approvals; n Structured programs for C and D credit; n 100 percent financing available on every unit with approved credit; n Programs available for all credit types; n Deferred payment programs (60/90 days without payment); and, n Skip payment programs available on coach and school bus units. For more information about Advantage Funding, call 866-392-1300 ext. 375; email: or visit

In the competitive world of commercial equipment financing, it can be difficult to find a qualified finance partner who is also experienced in the intricacies of the bus industry. For over 15 years, Advantage Funding has been helping businesses connect with the equipment they need by providing exceptional financing solutions. tFlexible Finance and Lease Terms tAvailable for New and Used Equipment tMini Bus, MFSAB and All Other Commercial Buses tUp to 7 Year Trac Lease & Balloon Financing on New Equipment tCash Out Refinancing tSkip Payment Option tDeferred Payment Programs

The Complete Source for Bus Financing.


866-392-1300 1111 Marcus Ave., Suite M-27, Lake Success, NY 11402

March/April 2012


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ACC Climate Control 22428 Elkhart East Blvd. Elkhart, IN 46514 USA 574-264-2190 FAX: 574-266-6744 E-mail: Web Site: Company Officers: Kevin Searer, OEM Sales; Forrest Fields, Regional Sales; Rick Stephens, Director of Sales; Scott Hamilton, Operations Manager; Casey Cummings, President Products: Manufacturer and distributor of automotive heating and air

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conditioning systems for buses, emergency vehicles, and other specialty vehicles. 12 American Cooling Technology, Inc. (See Ad On Page 46) 715 Willow Springs Lane York, PA 17406 USA 877-228-4247 FAX: 717-767-3658 E-mail: Web Site:

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Company Officers: James Schreiber, President; J.R. Lucas, Vice President; Dave Oberdorff, General Manager Products: A.C.T. is a manufacturer of bus air conditioning systems for all bus types and sizes. A.C.T. air conditioning products include “split” type air conditioning systems, roof mount condensers, and complete roof mount air conditioning systems. A.C.T. offers replacement air conditioning parts for most brands. It specializes in air conditioning specification review and preparation; and technical support and training. 12 BITZER U.S., Inc. (See Ad On Page 44) 4031 Chamblee Road Oakwood, GA 30566 USA 770-503-9226 FAX: 770-503-9440 E-mail: Web Site: Company Officers: Matt Lish, Director of Transport Sales - North America Products: BITZER is a transit-style air conditioning compressor manufacturer for buses and coaches. BITZER has operations around the world, including two new factories and four facilities in North America. BITZER A/C compressors are high-end, technologically advanced for bus builders and operators. It offers the lightest weight (by over 60 pounds), smallest size (by 40 percent), yet largest capacity compressors for all styles of buses, according to the company.

Standard features include blocked suction style unloaders and advanced clutches using any belt profile. Additionally, BITZER offers a large range of hermetic horizontal scroll compressors for electric applications such as hybrid buses and rail air conditioning applications. Visit one of the company’s new factories in Atlanta, GA, or Syracuse, NY. 12 Espar Heater Systems (See Ad On Page 42) 6099A Vipond Dr. Mississauga, ON L5T 2B2 CANADA 905-670-0960 FAX: 905-670-0728 E-mail: Web Site: Products: Espar is committed to the environment and helping customers achieve a higher quality of life. Espar’s air and coolant heaters will significantly reduce idle time, which means extra savings for customers while traveling in comfort. 10 Mobile Climate Control (See Ad On Page 43) 3189 Farmtrail Road York, PA 17406 USA 800-673-2431 FAX: 717-764-0401 E-mail: Web Site:

Welcome on board. Carrier North American Bus Air Conditioning Division joins MCC! Whatever you’re looking for in customized HVAC systems you can find it in our extensive range. We now supply an unrivalled choice for transit, intercity, school and shuttle buses in North America. And with our wide reaching network you are always close to an MCC dealer and service provider. Step on board for a better climate!

Visit us at March/April 2012


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Company Officers: Curt Kiser, Director of Sales- Bus / Commercial, School, and Service Parts; Steve Preisler, Director of Customer Care; Karl Nicholson, Senior Sales Manager / Transit Bus; Doug Barton, Sales Manager / Service Parts Products: Mobile Climate Control designs, manufactures, installs and services a complete system solution for buses: by providing maximum heating, ventilating, air conditioning and windshield defrosting/defogging for both conventional and hybrid vehicles. 12

FAX: 336-861-4646 E-mail: Web Site: Company Officers: Brad Matthews, President; Cheyne Rauber, General Manager Products: Manufacturer and installer of climate control systems specifically designed to meet the demands of the medium duty bus market. Specializing in school bus and shuttle bus markets. 12

ProAir, LLC (See Ad On Page 46) 28731 County Road 6 Elkhart, IN 46514 USA 574-264-5494 FAX: 574-264-2194 E-mail: Web Site: Products: Manufacturer of air conditioning, heating and defrost systems for all types of buses and shuttle vehicles. Specializes in climate control systems for driver and passenger areas and also stocks a complete line of related parts. 11

SMI-Pretoria 1975 Joe B. Jackson Pkwy. Murfreesboro, TN 37127 USA 615-867-8515 FAX: 615-867-8790 E-mail: Web Site: Company Officers: Mike Hagan, Director of Sales & Marketing Products: Pretoria ducting systems are designed for all of the major air conditioning manufacturers’ units. Pretoria’s duct systems are engineered for optimum air delivery with the manufacturers’ various options including side mount, rear mount and roof mount units. The insulatory aluminium composite panels used as ducting adds in reducing condensation, and eliminates vibration/drumming and air noise in the ductwork. 12

Rifled Air Conditioning, Inc. 2810 Earlham Place High Point, NC 27263 USA 336-434-1000

Some of the Many Features: - Highest Reliability - Lightest and most Compact Design in the World - Highest Speed Range of any Transit Compressor in the World - German Designed, American Built

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Sutrak Corporation (See Ad On Page 45) 6899 East 49th Avenue Commerce City, CO 80022 USA 303-287-2700 FAX: 303-286-1005 Web Site: Products: ISO 9001 Certified. Heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems for light rail vehicles, people movers and buses, including school buses. 10 Teleflex Canada Limited Partnership 3831 No. 6 Rd. Richmond, BC V6V 1P6 CANADA 604-270-6899 FAX: 604-270-7172 E-mail: Web Site: Products: A bus heater manufacturer, Teleflex produces the M and X series auxiliary heaters for the transit and motorcoach industries. Supplies idle reduction, cost and energy saving solutions. 10 Thermo King Corporation 314 W. 90th St. Minneapolis, MN 55420 USA 952-887-2200 Web Site: Company Offiers: Ray Pittard, President of Thermo King North

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America; Martin Duffy, Vice President, sales and market development North America for Thermo King; and Neil Tamppari, Director, bus heating, ventilation and air coditioning, (HVAC), for Thermo King North America Products: Thermo King offers a complete line of HVAC solutions for transit, coach, shuttle and school bus. Among Thermo King’s recent product offerings are an all-electric heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system powered by a state-of-the-art engine-driven alternator and inverter package, a new brushless motor package that not only improves operational efficiency but reduces system weight by 115 pounds, and the exclusive fuel saving screw compressor. Thermo King has also released the IntelligAIRE III, a control-area-network-(CAN) based control system used for coach and transit bus climate control. The upgraded system features more communication capability, is more configurable and offers additional diagnostic and monitoring capabilities. 12 Trans/Air Manufacturing (See Ad On Page 45) 480 East Locust St. Dallastown, PA 17342 USA 800-673-2446 ext. 233 FAX: 717-244-7088 E-mail: Web Site: Company Officers: Rick Lehnert, President; Mark Slobodian, Vice President Products: Trans/Air Manufacturing is an ISO 9001 registered firm, manufacturing a full line of climate control systems for the school, commercial, and electric/hybrid vehicle markets. Units, parts, service, training, warranty, and new or aftermarket installations are available through factory-owned operations or a network of distributors throughout North America. 12



AMERICAN COOLING TECHNOLOGY, INC. 715 Willow Springs Lane, York, PA 17406 Tel: 717.767.2775 - Fax: 717.767.3658

Toll Free: 877-228-4247 “Success Through Simplicity� ACT 4.5x7.5 AD.indd Page 46



March/April 2012


1/29/2012 10:07:26 PM

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Rotary Lift Adds New Operator-Friendly Mobile Column Lift To Line Rotary Lift introduces the RCH4 mobile column lifting system. According to the company, the RCH4 has an easy-to-use, operator-friendly design for greater bay productivity and reduced vehicle downtime. The RCH4 is sold in sets of four, six or eight battery-operated columns. Each column is identical and has a rated capacity of 18,000 lbs., for total lifting capacity of up to 144,000 lbs. The speedy RCH4 can lift a vehicle 70 inches in 78 seconds. The RCH4 also features Rotary Lift’s automatic steering system. Fixed forks fit most large tires without time-consuming adjustment. “The new RCH4 is an excellent choice for maintenance managers who are looking for a mobile column lift that’s affordable and has the features and benefits they need to improve shop productivity,” says Dave Spiller, product manager. Every column is equipped with Rotary Lift’s patented control panel. These controls include a

graphic layout of the column set-up, real-time height reading and error display, battery indicator, programmable height limit settings and one-touch controls. Lifting and lowering of all columns is automatically synchronized, and there is a slow-lowering function for precision vehicle positioning. Technicians can operate the entire lift from whichever column is most convenient. The RCH4 needs just three cables connected in a horseshoe shape. One end of the lift is always open, making it easy to quickly position vehicles on the lift. The lightweight cables feature a quick-connect design and are 33 feet long for added flexibility. The RCH4 is battery operated with an internal charger. Its hydraulic cylinder is inverted so the chrome piston rod is protected from debris and damage at all times. Optional accessories include: high-efficiency LED lighting system provides hands-free lighting under the vehicle; steel reducer sleeves slide onto the forks to allow proper contact with smaller radius tires; large wheel riser kit raises tires on ramps to allow for proper fork placement; and, the weight gauge shows technicians the load weight of the vehicle being lifted.

The RCH4 mobile column lifting system has been third-party tested by ETL and ALI certified to meet industry safety and performance standards.Visit

Brown Coach Purchases 2 ABC, M1235s “The two M1235’s we just purchased have coach style interiors with full height windshields, air ride suspension, and offer the efficiencies that a front engine chassis provides. ABC was able to offer us Amaya A2-Ten model seats with 3 point belts and added leg room,” Stephen Brown, vice president of Brown Coach said. The organization has more than 250 vehicles, operates 46 coaches and 225 school buses serving the Capital District of New York and parts of New England. For more information, contact ABC Companies at 800-222-2875 or visit

March/April 2012


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Turtle Top

Turtle Top

Odyssey XLT

Odyssey XL

The Odyssey XLT shuttle bus and motorcoach series of buses that provide up to 47 passenger capacity are available on the Freightliner FM2 chassis. Bus road stability, passenger comfort, dependability, quality and safety are important features for owners of an Odyssey XLT. More passenger capacity for church buses, college buses, city and county transportation authorities, assisted living buses, cross-country touring companies, excursion companies and many more transportation customers can be found selecting the Odyssey XLT.

The Odyssey XL shuttle bus provides up to 30 passenger capacity and is available on the Ford F550 and Freightliner FM2 26K. Road stability, passenger comfort, dependability, quality and safety are main features standard in the Odyssey XL. This series fits the needs for church buses, college buses, transportation authorities, assisted living facilities, plus many more bus applications, and is available with wheelchair lifts.

Turtle Top 67819 State Road 15 New Paris, IN 46553 800-296-2105 Fax: 574-831-4349 Email:

ODYSSEY XLT FEATURES • Aerodynamic automotive styling • Clear view windows, contoured, curved, tinted • Up to 47 passenger capacity - CDL required • Wide interior with double row luxury seating • Flexible floor plans including wheel chair capability • Meets and exceeds FMVSS regulations • Qualifies for Buy America • Steel roll cage with full perimeter steel floor • Body and air conditioning warranty second to none Page 48


March/April 2012

Turtle Top 67819 State Road 15 New Paris, IN 46553 800-296-2105 Fax: 574-831-4349 Email:

ODYSSEY XL FEATURES • Aerodynamic automotive styling • Clear view windows • Up to 31 passenger capacity on the Ford F550 - CDL required • Up to 41 passenger capacity on the Freightliner FM2 26K - CDL required • Wide interior with double row luxury seating • Flexible floor plans including wheel chair capability • Meets and exceeds FMVSS regulations • Qualifies for buy America and is Altoona tested • Steel roll cage with full perimeter steel floor • Body and air conditioning warranty second to none

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Turtle Top

Turtle Top

Odyssey Van Terra & Terra Transport The Van Terra and Terra Transport shuttle buses were developed to replace the standard 15-passenger van. All types of passengers, including senior living agencies, find it easy to enter and exit with ample headroom and aisle passage. The Van Terra and Terra Transport maneuver like a van but have the stability of a dual rear wheel bus. Extended rear wheel stance (with a full roll cage, styling and quality construction) makes this the most affordable and practical choice for safe dependable transportation, according to the company. Turtle Top 67819 State Road 15 New Paris, IN 46553 800-296-2105 Fax: 574-831-4349 Email:

VAN TERRA & TERRA TRANSPORT FEATURES • 15 - 18 passenger alternative * • Low, wide enclosed entrance • Wide aisle with interior headroom • Wide wheelbase stance for road stability • Flexible floor plans, including wheelchair capability • Meets and exceeds FMVSS regulations • Altoona tested • Steel roll cage with school bus roll-over crush test • CDL license not require in most states ** • The most storage in its class * Some floorplans include wheelchair/luggage areas that reduce the number of seats. 18 seats is the maximum possible occupancy in this class. ** 15 and under do not require CDL in most states. 16 passenger and above do require CDL

The Odyssey shuttle bus family of buses provides passenger capacities up to 23 on Chevrolet and Ford chassis. The Odyssey shuttle bus with Innovation, Styling and Quality is the bus of choice for church buses, day care buses, airport shuttle buses, assisted living buses, college buses including sport team transportation buses. Turtle Top 67819 State Road 15 New Paris, IN 46553 800-296-2105 Fax: 574-831-4349 Email:

ODYSSEY FEATURES • Aerodynamic automotive styling • Clear view windows • Up to 23 passenger capacity - CDL required • Low wide enclosed entrance • Flexible floor plans including wheelchair capability • Meets and exceeds FMVSS regulations • Qualifies for buy America and is Altoona tested • Steel roll cage with full perimeter steel floor • Body and air conditioning warranty second to none

March/April 2012


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Long Beach Transit: Continued From Page 16

Starcraft Bus

Starlite, Starquest, Allstar, Ultra Star, XLT, Xpress Due to strong product engineering, styling and purchasing power, Starcraft Bus has been the nation’s largest Ford Shuttle Bus pool account manufacturer for the past five years, according to Starcraft. These vehicles are produced in an ultra-modern facility and are backed by the financial resources of Berkshire Hathaway. Starcraft Bus features include a strong steel jig welded frame to provide a solid foundation; a wide variety of exterior materials including aluminum, fiberglass or composite; and many standard items such as LED stop/tail/turn lights, 36-inch electric entry door, street side exhaust, custom manufactured electronic circuit boards and computer tested wire harnesses. Starcraft exterior widths range from 84-inches to 102-inches, and lengths from just over 20-feet to 40-feet. The chassis range is from 11,500 through 26,000 GVWR. Starcraft Bus • 2367 Century Dr., Goshen, IN 46528 574-642-3112 • Fax: 574-642-3301 Email: •

Model .........................Starlite, Starquest, Allstar, Ultra Star, XLT, Xpress Seating Capacity.......................................................................................8 - 24 Length.......................................................................................................21’ - 27’ Width ....................................................................................84”, 88”, 96”, 102” Height...................................................................................................114” - 122” Wheelbase.........................................................................................138” - 233” Overhang (front/rear) .................Varies by WB & Model Consult Dealer Inside Height (min./max.) ...................71” through 83” Varies by Model Turning Radius ...........................Varies by WB & Chassis Consult Dealer Tire Size ................................................................................Varies by Chassis Engine....................................................................................Varies by Chassis Transmission.................................................................................Chassis OEM Brakes .............................................................................................Chassis OEM Fuel Tank Capacity.............................................................Varies by Chassis Chassis..................................Ford E350-E450, GM 3500-4500, Ford F650 Air Conditioning .............................................................Trans/Air or Carrier Baggage Capacity .................................................................Consult Factory Wheelchair Lift Option ..........................................................Braun or Ricon Steering.............................................................................................Power OEM Suspension...........................................................................OEM or Mor/Ryde

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operating a public transit system in the state. Nearly half of Long Beach Transit’s fixed-route vehicles are hybrid gas-electric. Remaining buses operate using ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and are equipped with particulate traps to further reduce emissions close to those of a CNG/LNG vehicle. Long Beach Transit was the first transit agency in the nation to utilize production model gas-electric hybrid technology, according to LBT officials. There are also plans to use CNG vehicles in the near future. “Our board of directors approved a fuel diversification strategy a couple of years ago. This has led the push toward using CNG buses. We just received our first CNG bus which is absolutely beautiful, and we will modify our North Long Beach facility to accommodate CNG vehicles,” Epley said. “Long Beach Transit plans to have 64 new CNG buses available by the end of this year. “We also received a grant to purchase electric vehicles which hopefully will be put into service in a couple of years. When this takes place, our fleet will consist of electric, CNG and hybrid gaselectric buses. “The objective is to have electric vehicles for our downtown area that come with a ‘wow’ factor,” Epley said. “It’s important these buses are aesthetically pleasing and fun to travel in for those in our downtown area.” Along with meeting clean air requirements, alternative-fuel vehicles help offset problems associated with rising fuel prices that continue to make headlines. Epley said rising fuel prices can present both opportunities and challenges for a transit agency. Higher prices can mean more people wanting to take public transportation, but at the same time, the public transportation entity must often pay higher fuel prices itself to run equipment. “We have found that $5 for a gallon of gas is the breaking point where many people decide to stop driving their cars and use public transportation instead,” Epley said. “We saw this happen during the summer of 2009 when Long Beach Transit experienced an 8 to 10 percent increase in ridership. Unfortunately, this came at a time when we couldn’t add any more to our service level due to budgetary constraints. “Our call centers, which normally receive about 400 to 500 calls per day, were surpassing 1,000 per day during that summer. Many of these calls were from people simply asking the best way to ride our buses. It was a positive experience in that Long Beach Transit was able to reach new riders. On the negative side, our buses were overcrowded.” It remains to be seen whether this summer’s fuel prices will simulate 2009 and translate into higher demand for Long Beach Transit’s services. Lee added, however, that the transit system doesn’t just rely on higher fuel prices to reach new riders. In fact, LBT uses an advertising agency that caters to local markets, including those people in the Hispanic community. “Not only do we provide traditional advertising, such as print ads found in magazines and newspapers, but we are also on Facebook, which is another way to reach customers,” Lee said. Epley added that in terms of marketing Long Beach Transit, protecting and building up the transit system’s brand remains vital. “For example, you won’t find graffiti on our buses. We will pull a bus off the line and clean it up before we operate the vehicle with graffiti,” Epley said. Another important step to building the brand is providing strong customer service, which includes hiring and maintaining a solid work force. “A strong focus on employee recruitment can be found throughout our organization,” Epley said. “We look for people who are able to work well with the public. A lot of people who we are recruiting right now have recently been laid off. They used to be

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managers and supervisors and are now trying to find another stable job. “When it comes to customer service, it’s important to make sure every customer feels he/she is being listened to, respected and taken seriously.” Employee training is also taken very seriously at Long Beach Transit. This is especially critical when hiring bus drivers. The transit system has a vigorous eight-week training program in place, according to Epley. “We make sure that by the time those eight weeks are over, our new drivers are ready and qualified. This is true from both a safety and customer service perspective,” Epley said. “The position of bus operator ranks in the top as being the most challenging jobs. We certainly have a tremendous respect and appreciation for our operators and what they are dealing with on a daily basis. We teach our operators that they are in charge of their buses.” All LBT buses have a state-of-the-art communications system that features two-way text, data and voice communication capabilities. It includes as well automatic stop announcements and a global-positioning vehicle location system, which enables the dispatch center to track the exact location of all buses, improving performance and security. This communications system can also provide real-time schedule information to cus-

tomers’ mobile phones, to the LBT website and to electronic displays found in the Transit Gallery and at over 60 major bus stops. “It’s amazing how many people have a mobile phone these days. With these phones, people want to know in ‘real-time’ when a bus will arrive. They now have this ability,” Epley said. “Our buses also run very close to the actual posted schedule. Our rating right now is 97 to 98 percent when it comes to on-time performance, which is very good.” Looking Ahead At Challenges, Opportunities


espite budgetary constraints and a slow economy, both Epley and Lee are optimistic about Long Beach Transit's role in the future as a key provider of transportation to area citizens and visitors alike. Epley said local commitment remains very strong for public transportation in the Los Angeles area, including Long Beach. “We work extensively with cities, businesses, builders and planners to make sure public transportation is involved with anything new coming up. We enjoy tremendous support at the local level,” Epley said. Lee added there is a large area focus in place for the use of alternative forms of trav-

el. This includes different bus options, biking and walking. In fact, Long Beach officials have a vision to make the city the most bicycle-friendly urban city in the nation. “There has been a lot of infrastructure and development taking place downtown to make this vision a reality. This includes bike racks on our buses, bike-only dedicated lanes and a new bike center on First Street. The center is very modern looking and beautiful,” Epley said. “(California State University, Long Beach) is also working on bike programs and bike sharing. For Long Beach, there is definitely a strong message resonating that being green and multimodal are important.” Moving forward, Epley said Long Beach Transit will continue to work hard at maintaining its high quality standards while also looking at the possibility of future expansion if the economy gets better. “Public transportation is becoming a more attractive travel option. Transit agencies from around the country would agree that public transportation is at peak popularity right now. We need to keep that momentum going.”

March/April 2012

Contact: Long Beach Transit, 1963 E. Anaheim St., Long Beach, CA 90813. Phone: 562-591-8753. Website:


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MCI Honors Ambassatours Gray Line At UMA Expo For Efforts To Cut Emissions Supporting industry initiatives to reduce emissions, MCI honored Ambassatours Gray Line of Halifax, Nova Scotia, at UMA Expo. MCI presented Ambassatours with a poster-sized photo of its MCI J4500 used to launch the operator’s emission-cutting policies in cooperation with IDLE-FREE Guy Ron Zima, founder of The Children’s Clean Air Shown from left are Brian Gillis, vice president of Ambassatours Gray Network. Line; Chato Patterson, OEM account manager, Allison Transmission; The presentation, coand Pat Ziska, vice president of sales and marketing for MCI joining sponsored by Allison Ron Zima, “The IDLE-FREE Guy,” founder/chair, The Children's Clean Transmission, took place Air Network in support of cutting emissions and saving fuel. at the MCI booth during The Children’s Clean Air Network began as the recent UMA Expo. Since joining the Children’s Clean Air Network two years ago, a grassroots campaign in 2006 at Kingswood Ambassatours has experienced substantial fuel Elementary School, near Halifax. Zima savings and reduced its carbon dioxide emis- attended UMA EXPO on behalf of MCI and sions by an amount equivalent to the weight of Allison Transmission to encourage more comsix motorcoaches, according to Brian Gillis, panies to follow Ambassatours’ example. Visit Ambassatours vice president of charters.

Kingsmen Coach Drivers Receive Lancer’s Driver Safety Awards Lancer Insurance Company has announced that Kingsmen Coach Lines’ drivers Stephanie Blanchard, Henrietta Chatman, Melvin Collier, Melvin Jefferson, Sylvester Clark, James Harris and Bernard Barnes received Driver Recognition Safety awards for 2011.

Walter Hubbard, owner, and Bernard Barnes, safety director, presented the awards to the drivers at a luncheon. Lancer, a provider of liability and physical damage insurance coverages to passenger transportation companies, instituted its Driver Recognition Safety Awards program over 20 years ago to single out for recognition professional drivers who demonstrate the highest commitment to safety to their passengers.

Leading in heavy-duty lifting

As number 1 in heavy-duty vehicle lifts in the world, Stertil-Koni is synonymous for superior solutions and expert service. Our customized systems are entirely made in the USA by specialists with unique expertise. Thanks to their quality, our superior solutions and in-house production, Stertil-Koni continues leading by example in heavy-duty lifting.




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MCI Launches Coach Critical Parts Guarantee Motor Coach Industries is launching a Coach Critical Parts guarantee. According to MCI, the Coach Critical program guarantees that parts deemed most essential to coach uptime will be in stock and available to customers experiencing a coach-down situation. MCI guarantees that it will ship the Coach Critical part or a suitable substitute by the next business day, or it will credit 50 percent of the part price, up to $150, to the customer’s account. MCI’s Coach Critical list starts with 1,000 parts and will include 1,500 by June 2012. The list, compiled with the input of operators of MCI coaches and in-house technical experts, includes both high- and low-volume parts, including those that are sometimes hard to come by. MCI says it has made an investment of $7 million in parts inventory for the new program. MCI has also formed a Coach Down Committee, comprised of parts engineers and technical experts who meet by phone each morning to review any open coach-down customer situations. MCI says it has enhanced its parts procurement process to make dealing with coach-down

parts orders simpler, quicker and more systematic. MCI says that fulfillment rates have risen 37 percent over the past year alone. The Coach Critical parts list can be obtained through an MCI customer service representative. The program is available to private-sector operators who order over the phone and agree to pay for expedited shipping for their emergency order; web orders do not qualify. Additional terms and conditions apply, visit For parts in the United States, call 800-323-1290. In Canada, call 800-665-0155.

Clean Energy Celebrates 15th Anniversary As Natural Gas Provider Clean Energy recently celebrated its 15th year as a provider of natural gas for transportation. The company has grown from one CNG fueling station in Southern California 15 years ago to 287 CNG and LNG fueling stations open today and 150 LNG truck fueling stations planned for America’s Natural Gas HighwayTM in 33 states. The company also has operations in 25 countries around the world. “We are pleased with our progress over 15 years and excited to see our activities ramping

up dramatically in 2012,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, Clean Energy president and CEO. “At the beginning there were three employees and now we have over 1,000 employees in the United States and worldwide. “We delivered our first gallon of CNG in March 1997 and now we are closing in on 1 billion gallons of CNG and LNG delivered to our customers. We started as a CNG provider and now we provide both CNG and LNG — and are the largest provider of natural gas fuel for transportation in the United States. “We began by operating fueling stations and now we design, construct, operate and maintain fueling stations; build and install the compression equipment to outfit them; build and install cryogenic equipment for LNG stations; convert light- and medium-duty vehicles to use CNG; and produce RNG (renewable natural gas or biomethane) for power generation and to reduce the already low greenhouse gas emission profile of natural gas.” Littlefair added: “We took the company public in 2007, raising $100 million for growth, and raised $450 million in the latter half of 2011 alone to support our expanding infrastructure development program. We have been a champion of natural gas fuel for transportation and in 2012 are seeing our claims come true as vehicle fleets in increasing numbers are converting to natural gas.”

SAFE, STURDY & DURABLE Safety Step will meet all your transportation needs…

s Safety Steps full line of transportation steps are designed specifically for the transportation industry s Anti-tip design makes it impossible to tip over with normal use s Transportation models provide a 6”, 8”, 10” or 12” boost s The 10" and 12" steps have brackets for extra durability s Rugged all-aluminum welded construction s All models are lab tested to hold over 1,000 pounds, but weigh a mere 7 pounds s Non-slip angled rubber leg tips and gripper strips keep your passengers and your Safety Step securely in place s Durable powder coat finish available black, silver or safety yellow

To view all our transportation steps or to order online, visit our website: or call (888) 448-4237 March/April 2012


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Van Hool Finalizes Site Selection For New Manufacturing Plant Long-time ABC partner, Van Hool, has announced the site selection for an additional manufacturing plant to support its North American customers. After an in-depth feasibility study, the company’s management says it has selected a location in Macedonia, near Skopje as a

prime location for the new facility. “We are excited about this decision to expand production capacity, which was solely driven by our shared vision to invest in the North American market,” said Dane Cornell, president and CEO, ABC Companies. “The commitment to increasing their manufactur-

ing capabilities directly correlates with growing U.S. demand for European technology that enables American operators to continuously evolve and innovate fleet operations.” For more information, contact ABC at 800-222-2875 or

ACT Introduces New Low Profile Roof Top CR-4 Bus AC Condenser American Cooling Technology (ACT) has recently released its new high performance CR-4 roof mount condenser unit. The CR-4 further expands ACT’s existing North American product line that includes a full range of split system air conditioning units including roof mounted units for school and shuttle buses. The CR-4 unit is smaller and lighter. At less than 10 inches tall, the company says the low height of the CR-4 unit increases roof clearance and provides a cleaner, sleeker look to the air conditioning installation. The low profile and tapered leading edge of the unit eliminates the need to install a branch guard typically required on a standard rooftop condenser. The CR-4 is available in both 12 volt and 24 volt and can be supplied as a dual loop unit to be connected to two automotive style compressors or as a single loop to connect to a single high capac-

ity transit compressor. This flexibility makes the CR-4 a good fit for both conventional- and hybrid-drive buses. By relocating the air conditioning condenser from the typical position under the bus floor to the roof of the bus, the capacity and operating efficiency of the air conditioning system improves because the system uses cleaner air from the top of the bus through the unit’s heat exchanger.

All ACT Split Systems use non-ozone-depleting HFC-134a refrigerant and the CR-4 delivers a high cooling capacity (165,000 Btu/hr. IMACA). It also is easier to install than its predecessors. The design specifications of the CR-4 unit include a one-piece “drop in” construction to dramatically simplify and reduce the time it takes to complete the installation. In addition, the unit’s modular construction allows for improved access to internal components, making it easier to service. This translates to less downtime, which is critical for bus fleets operating on tight budgets. ACT’s CR-4 rooftop condenser can be matched with other ACT components to provide a complete HVAC system that meets various vehicle sizes, duty cycles and geographic locations. Call 877-228-4247 or visit for more information.


WEH® offers a wide range of NGV1 compatible products for safe and easy CNG vehicle refueling:

» Fueling Nozzles » Receptacles » Breakaways

» Check Valves » Filters » Hoses

WEH Technologies Inc. Call us: 832 331 00 21


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National Interstate’s Affiliate Recognized By Best’s Review For Innovation National Interstate Insurance Company announced that its affiliate, Safety, Claims and Litigation Services, LLC (SCLS) has been recognized for its accident event recorder program in the Innovators Showcase, published in the January 2012 edition of Best’s Review magazine. The program provides commercial transportation insurance to customers with access to Accident Event Recorder (AER) technology. Company spokespeople say that AERs, which record video and audio when a driving incident occurs, can help to improve driver performance, reduce accidents and save lives while controlling losses and reducing insurance premiums. Since launch of the program in 2006, SCLS has helped install more than 14,000 of the recorders in customers’ vehicles. Reviewer William Panning, executive vice president, Willis Re, wrote, "This project achieves its objective by gathering or assembling and making available to clients, in a convenient format, relevant data to which clients would not normally have access. The focus is on proactive preventive actions rather than on post-loss attempts to minimize loss costs." Innovators Showcase is a forum for recognizing forward thinking among insurance organizations. A panel of insurance industry experts assessed the relative merits of nearly 70 submissions. National Interstate and its insurance subsidiaries, which include Vanliner Insurance Company and Triumphe Casualty Company, are rated "A" (Excellent) by A.M. Best Company.

Temsa TS30 Unveiled During UMA Expo CH Bus Sales and Temsa Global unveiled the new Temsa TS30 during the United Motorcoach Association’s Expo 2012. This new coach has been constructed and designed specifically for the U.S market. The Temsa TS30 is a 30 foot coach with an integral stainless steel structure, for added durability and safety. The TS30 has a Cummins engine, Allison transmission, independent front suspension, and is delivered standard with 34 reclining seats, a restroom and overhead parcel racks. This fuel efficient coach offers a luxurious and spacious interior, and includes an ergonomic cockpit. Speaking at the event were, left to right, Duane Geiger, executive vice president, sales and service, CH Bus Sales, Inc.; Wim Van Hool, executive board member, Temsa Global; and Bob Foley, president and CEO, CH Bus Sales, Inc. Visit or for more information.

THE NEW Model F1 Fare Box

Stainless Steel Construction Easy Front Loading Vault Handle on the left or right side. Push button Dump option Cool White LED Lighting Standard Floor Mount Stand Option with 1” Height Adjustment Made in the U.S.A.

Serving The Industry Since 1947 800-343-1009 816-421-8363 March/April 2012


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Eberspaecher Buys Global Division Of Sutrak Eberspaecher, based in Esslingen, Germany, and the parent company of Espar Heater Systems, the manufacturer of auxiliary fuel operated heating systems, has recently acquired the global division of Sutrak, manufacturer of motorcoach, transit and school bus air conditioning systems. This new Air Conditioning Business Unit will be called E-Climate Systems in North America. "With this new acquisition, Espar will now refocus its sales and marketing efforts into the North American bus segments,� John Dennehy, vice president of marketing & communications said. “Forming strategic alliances and partnerships for sales & service will be one of the top priorities as we move forward and establish sold footing back into the market place. With this new acquisition, Espar can now bring the total comfort package into the bus sector. This includes engine pre-heat and compartment heat comfort as well as air conditioning capabilities.� Espar heaters are designed for mobile applications such as truck, bus and automotive. The systems utilize 12- or 24-volt battery systems and gasoline or diesel as an on-board fuel. They operate as diesel or gasoline furnaces with sealed combustion chambers. Espar air heaters use forced air as a heating medium while the Espar coolant heaters circulate the engine coolant to transfer heat. Visit for more information.

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Chairman Deborah Hersman visited the Prevost booth during the 2012 United Motorcoach Association’s Expo. She is pictured with Prevost CEO Gaetan Bolduc. Chairman Hersman was shown various safety features available on Prevost vehicles including Prevost AWARE adaptive cruise braking, Prevost electronic stability program, tire pressure monitoring system, fire suppression system, three-point seat belts, front underrun protection system, and front impact protection system.

New Leadership At DesignLine

Prevost recently presented its Sales Team Leader awards for 2011. Prevost Regional Sales Managers Tony Febbo (left) and Ward Hicken (right) were recipients of this award. Febbo and Hicken appear with Prevost Vice President of Seated Coach Sales Robert Goodnight (center).

The Board of Directors of DesignLine Corporation announces the appointment of Joseph J. Smith as Interim Chief Executive Officer. Smith currently serves as a consultant to Cyan Partners, LP, the sole arranger of DesignLine’s November 2011 debt and equity capital raises. In his capacity as a consultant to Cyan, Smith also serves on the company’s board of directors. Prior to his retirement in December 2010, Smith held three executive leadership positions at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a component unit of the state of New York, including president, MTA Bus Company; president, MTA Long Island Bus and senior vice president, Department of Buses, MTA New York City Transit. Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, DesignLine is a designer and manufacturer of Commercial All-Electric, Range-Extended Electric and CNG Buses. Visit for more information.

Painting Ricon Lifts Fabrication Vinyl Graphics Collision Repair Certified Welding Frame Straightening :$YDORQ5G‡-DQHVYLOOH:, 3+21(  ‡)$;  72//)5((   Page 56


March/April 2012

O B I T U A R Y Frederick Dunikoski, who served on ABC Companies’ Board of Directors for the past 24 years, recently died. Mr. Dunikoski worked for Greyhound Bus Lines for 45 years starting his career as a clerk/typist in the New York City dispatch office and retiring as president and CEO in 1987. Dunikoski was active in numerous travel-related organizations including the Phoenix Visitors and Convention Bureau, as well as civic organizations including the Devereux Center and ASU's Sun Dome Performing Arts Association.

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Prevost Introduces Liaison 2.0 At UMA Expo Prevost introduced the latest version of its Liaison telematics system during the United Motorcoach Association’s (UMA) Expo 2012. Prevost says Liaison 2.0 offers more reliable communications, more efficient data transfer, more advanced features, and an easier to use interface. The telematics now utilizes a cellular network to improve signal reliability and provide wider coverage. More efficient data transfer results in more data sent more often. Reporting is possible every 5 minutes and “Fault Alerts” are provided in real time. Fault Alerts also display current hardware and software installed in the vehicle, for faster and easier troubleshooting. Fault Alerts can be customized by vehicle type. Liaison 2.0 also adds new Locate Features such as “Engine status On/Off,” Direction, Speed and Odometer readings, Vehicle Coverage inside buildings, and faster response times of about four seconds. Other new features include Vehicle Performance Reports which can be scheduled up to three times a day, and a smaller antenna, minimizing the likelihood of damage. According to Prevost, the upgraded system also introduces a feature which makes driver/dispatcher communication more efficient. A Driver/Dispatcher Messaging system allows preset or customized messages to be sent from the dispatcher to the driver or from the driver to dispatcher. These messages are visible on the Driver Information Display (DID) on the dashboard. An example of dispatcher to driver pre-set messages include: “Please Call,” “Vehicle Due for Maintenance,” and “Received Your Request, Sending Mechanic.” Driver to Dispatcher messages are also built in to the system, such as

“Pre-Trip Check OK,” “Trip Leg: Completed,” and “Stopped: Off Duty.” Prevost developed its own telematics system, developed specifically for their motorcoaches. Prevost Liaison keeps operators connected to their Liaison and continuously monitors many electronic systems on the motorcoach, including

engine, transmission, ABS, Tire Pressure Monitoring System, Diesel Particulate Filter, and Prevost Electronic Stability Program. The system reads fault codes from the motorcoach’s electronic systems and builds a report of all faults, together with the ECU hardware and software part number. This report is easily accessible and is extremely useful info to keep track of the vehicle’s health. The mission critical codes are filtered and sent more frequently (on occurrence). These show up as a separate report. Mission critical code occurrences can be configured to send an e-mail to your office or mobile device. The mission critical faults come with a snap shot of several parameters indicative of the vehicle state when the fault occurred (i.e. engine running or not, vehicle speed, engine temperature and more). This extra information greatly helps troubleshooting. Liaison lets users monitor the vital statistics of each motorcoach at any time, or on a set schedule. Data reports from vehicles include informa-

Prevost Offers Operators Marketing Tools Prevost has developed a set of marketing tools for operators to use and customize to promote companies and operations as well as the coach industry overall. The tools are available at and available for download. Whether it's print, web, on-coach promotion or tradeshows, Prevost has created these materials so they might become an integral part of any operator’s marketing plan. Choose from a series of print ads to promote the fun and convenience of coach travel. Or for more of an educational tone, use the slide shows, videos and press releases to emphasize the importance of safety and the environmental benefits of coach travel.

Prevost says it is easy to download the assets and customize them by inserting your logo for a unique message from your company. For further customization, Prevost encourages collaboration with its agency to make sure your materials carry a message specific to your needs. “Prevost is committed to being the best business partner to our customers. We developed these tools to make our operator partners’ marketing plans easier to fulfill. Any way that we can help to promote motorcoach travel is good for the entire industry,” said Mike Power, director of marketing and communications. Visit for more information.

tion on: Fuel use, distance traveled, and resulting MPGs; How often vehicles are in the “RPM sweet spot,” Adherence to preset speed ranges; Use of cruise control; Idle time and fuel used; Weekly fuel use, summarized by coach (to reduce the possibility of fuel theft); and, Factors connected to safe driving practices (Prevost ESP). Prevost says Liaison improves an operator’s bottom line by providing both a Mileage Guide for figuring the most economical routes and an Online Fuel Tax Tool. The Liaison hardware and software systems were developed by Prevost and Volvo, global suppliers of transportation systems and partners who know the motorcoaches they manufacture better than any third party provider. Prevost Liaison is standard on all Prevost and Volvo coaches. Visit

Prevost Announces Spring 2012 Webinar Schedule Prevost has announced the Spring 2012 schedule for Prevost Connection, its series of webinars focused on customer education. The 2012 line-up will include in-depth education on the Volvo 9700 and Prevost motorcoaches. Sessions will also include presentations on the Prevost Parts eCommerce site and Prevost Liaison telematics system. Prevost Connection is a continuing series of on-line presentations and discussions for motorcoach operators, drivers and maintenance personnel. The program educates, reviews and reminds customers about important topics regarding new and existing Prevost vehicles, vehicle maintenance and customer service programs. Each session also allows for discussion between Prevost product and service experts and webinar attendees. During webinar registration, attendees can submit questions for the presenter to address during the session and can offer suggestions for specific areas of concentration. During the webinar, attendees view and listen to the presentation by connecting to the webinar through a simple internet link and calling in to a toll free number. Attendees can ask questions throughout the presentation and discuss points of interest with the subject expert. After the webinar, attendees are invited to offer suggestions and topics of interest for future webinars. The Prevost Connection schedule of webinars for Spring 2012 can be accessed directly at, where attendees can register for upcoming sessions or view recordings of past webinars. Upcoming Webinars: n Prevost H3 HVAC controls Troubleshooting 1997 to 2004 — 4/19/2012 at 2:30 p.m.; n Volvo 9700 Function Group 2 — 5/3/2012 at 2:30 p.m.; n Volvo 9700 Function Group 3 — 5/17/2012 at 2:30 p.m.

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Prevost Motorcoach manufacturer Prevost features a product lineup that includes motorcoaches, conversion shells, parts and repair service. Shown is the Prevost H3-45 motorcoach.

Bitzer Bitzer supplies the bus industry with air conditioning and compressor parts and systems. Shown is Norman Gillespie, application engineer.

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January/February 2007

Lancer Insurance Lancer Insurance Company is a provider of various insurance products and services to the bus and motorcoach industry including bus and limo, general and property damage. Shown, left to right, are John Annunziato, Jr., film & video division - director/editor; Randy O’Neill, senior vice president; Steven O’Shea, marketing representative; and Robert Crescenzo, vice president.

Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation Among the products and services from Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation are contract management, fuel reduction technology, fuel systems and conversions, intelligent transportation systems, used bus sales and solar electric systems.

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SEFAC Products provided by SEFAC include lift and maintenance equipment along with parts. Shown, left to right, are Gary Mason, vice president of sales; Allister Collings, president; Richard Baxendale, regional sales manager; and La Joy Ray, marketing.

Budget Truck and Auto Collision repair and coach conversion, along with graphics/decals and design work, are among the services provided by Budget Truck and auto. Shown, left to right, are Mark Polzin, vice president; and Joel Salter, sales and service coordinator.

Willingham Inc. Serving as a bus and motorcoach interior specialists, Willingham Inc., supplies such products as driver seats, seat cover replacements, seating parts and accessories, upholstery and embroidery. Shown, left to right, are company representatives Jason Willingham and Gene Willingham.

Alexander Dennis Alexander Dennis Inc., produces a wide range of innovative and fuel efficient low-floor single- and double-deck buses, plus a full portfolio of coaches and mini-vehicles.

January/February 2007


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Motor Coach Industries Serving as a motorcoach manufacturer, Motor Coach Industries (MCI) also produces conversion shells and sells used buses. The company has a parts network in place along with service facilities. Shown is an MCI J4500 motorcoach.

Protective Insurance Company Among the different types of insurance provided by Protective Insurance Company for the bus and motorcoach industry are general, bus and limo. Shown, left to right, are company representatives Scott St. Clair, Stacy Renz, Trevor Eisele and Jeff Morgan.

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March/April 2012

Stertil-Koni Stertil-Koni provides a wide variety of lift equipment and parts for the bus, motorcoach and other industries. Shown is Donald Kennedy, western regional manager.

Vanner Among the products provided by Vanner Inc., for the bus and motorcoach industry are batteries and accessories, electrical systems and components, and converters.

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Trans/Air Manufacturing Corporation Trans/Air Manufacturing Corporation specializes in air conditioning parts, systems, refrigerant and service. Shown, left to right, are Chris Clark, regional sales manager; and Mike Bratton, national sales manager.

Transit Sales International Among the product offerings from Transit Sales International are transit, paratransit and used bus sales; bus rentals and bus repair and service. Shown, left to right, are company representatives Brian Rippie, Richard Sullivan and Peter Mobley.

National Interstate Insurance Company A provider of different insurance services for the bus and motorcoach industry is National Interstate Insurance Company. Programs include traditional insurance and captive options for transportation companies. Shown, left to right, are Kristyn Lebovitz, marketing representative; Amy Bensen, commercial lines marketing manager; and James Parks, vice president.

Turtle Top Turtle Top is a manufacturer of mid-size, paratransit and electric/hybrid buses as well as limousine coaches. The company also sells specialty vehicles.

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5Star Specialty Programs Among the types of insurance provided to the bus and motorcoach industry by 5Star Specialty Programs are bus, limo and physical damage. Shown are Dennis Weckerly, commercial underwriter/public auto; and Valerie Kline, executive senior underwriter.

Espar Products Espar Products, Inc., provides air conditioning and heating parts and systems to the bus and motorcoach industry.

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March/April 2012

Temsa Bus and motorcoach manufacturer Temsa produces vehicles for the North American and European transportation industries. Since 2001, Temsa has extended its bus and coach product range.

Charabanc Financial Services Charabanc Financial Services offers a wide variety of programs for the passenger transportation industry. This includes seller and buyer representation, loans and leases, and sales of buses and coaches. Shown, left to right, are company representatives Jason Cash and Brian Mumaw.

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Relational Bus Systems (RBS) Among the products and services offered to the bus and motorcoach industry by Relational Bus Systems (RBS) are computer software, consulting and training.

Transportation Insurance Brokers (TIB) Providing various types of insurance for the bus and motorcoach industry including bus and limo as well as workers compensation is Transportation Insurance Brokers (TIB). Shown is Benjamin Cook, regional sales producer.

Enghouse Transportation Announces Strategic Partnership With Paradigm Technologies Enghouse Transportation (formerly TranSched Systems and Ontira Communications), a division of Enghouse Systems Limited (TSX:ESL) has announced a strategic partnership with Paradigm Technology Consulting, LLC to provide a complete software offering to the Motorcoach and Tour verticals. As part of this partnership, Paradigm will package the CoachWorks and TourManager applications together with the complete Paradigm Transportation Suite of applications to provide a comprehensive software solution. This integrated suite of products includes: CoachWorks, TourManager, Operations, Fleet Maintenance, Financial, GPS/WiFi, Customer Relationship Management, Driver and Labor Management as well as Human Resources. "As our new partner and with over 10 years of experience, Paradigm Technologies will certainly help Enghouse Transportation build a deeper footprint in the world of transportation software. Our existing clients will see a great deal of benefit from this new relationship as we will be able to better manage their expectations," says Brad Cameron, general manager, Enghouse Transportation. Bridgette Hobart-Janeczko, president of

PTC stated, "After undertaking our due-diligence for the past year, it was apparent that they had invested significant resources in the development of their product. It was very important for us to partner with a large, financially stable organization such as Enghouse Transportation for the operational piece of the suite to help ensure the future enhancements as needed by our customers." Enghouse Transportation (formerly TranSched Systems & Ontira Communications) has been developing and deploying software solutions to the transportation industry for

over 25 years. The company says its products provide their customers with the latest technologies available to support their operations. The company also says its solutions have been developed to handle the operational challenges of agencies of all sizes. In addition to its Motorcoach and Tour software, its solutions also support Fixed Route Scheduling, Integrated Driver Timekeeping and Dispatching, Demand Response Scheduling & Dispatching and Complete Traveler Information. Visit

Holdsworth Parent Company Camira Group Receives Health & Safety OHSAS 18001 Accreditation According to Holdsworth parent company, Camira group has received certification to the OHSAS 18001 accreditation, recognized as a symbol of commitment to a world class health & safety management system. The Occupational Health and Safety Management System provides a framework for the company to identify and control its health and safety risks, reduce the potential for accidents, comply with legislation and improve operational performance.

The framework is compatible with the ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 standards that the company have been accredited to for nearly 20 years. Holdsworth representatives say the trio of standards demonstrates the company’s commitment to producing the highest quality products, using environmentally sound processes, backed by robust health and safety systems. For more information, call 317-484-0305 or fax 317-484-0706.

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Freightliner’s S2C Cutaway Provides Options For Coach Designers Introduced in 2010, the S2C Cutaway commercial bus chassis built by Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) — featuring a near-complete shuttle bus cab — continues to provide coach designers with many options as they craft their vehicles to fit customers’ specific business needs. The S2C Cutaway also satisfies specific production requirements of OEMs for simplicity and ease-of-build. According to the company, the S2C Cutaway is designed for commercial bus manufacturers desiring an alternative to the traditional truck chassis. A variation of the well-established FCCC S2 chassis, the S2C Cutaway was FCCC’s first foray into the commercial bus cab cutaway market. “The goal of the S2C Cutaway was to take a proven FCCC product and develop upon added customer and market specific needs such as a different air ride suspension, a different steering system, a different cooling package, Sachs shocks, etc. Basically, (FCCC) is using a proven commercial truck cab and placing it on a chassis truly developed for commercial bus applications,” FCCC Product Manager of Commercial Bus Chassis Business Tony Sippel said. Changes have also been made inside the cab for commercial bus applications, added FCCC Manager of Product Marketing Bryan Henke. This includes the electrical architecture underneath the dashboard, dual air conditioning, larger alternators and instep lifts. “We (FCCC) understand the commercial bus market with a significant amount of experience under our belts. Customers can feel confident that our S2C Cutaway is factory supported and factory warrantied,” Henke said. “FCCC also provides 24/7 support, staffed with people who have an average of 16 to 20 years experience. The support we provide is key.” Bus manufacturers working with the S2C Cutaway can benefit from the product’s allinclusive chassis design as they only need to address the vehicle’s body, seating and wheelchair capabilities. All other integral parts of the vehicle have been taken care of by FCCC. The S2C Cutaway also enables body builders to meet specifications of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Company officials noted that understand-

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Freightliner’s S2C Cutaway commercial bus chassis.

ing maneuverability is a primary challenge for shuttle bus operators, the FCCC S2C Cutaway features a 55-degree wheel cut. The chassis ensures best-in-class ride and handling for maneuvering in and out of tight spaces, and, according to the company, is an effective solution for airport shuttle, park and ride, assisted living, charter, rental, church and university transportation needs. Freightliner says the S2C Cutaway is designed to provide a smoother ride during passenger transport. “When your cargo is human beings, obviously there is an expectation for a soft ride, whether it’s from parabolic springs on the front axle or an air ride system on the rear axle,” Sippel said. “You can get an air ride experience from a truck chassis, but it’s still tuned for a commercial application, where as the S2C Cutaway is tuned for a bus application with the help of Sachs shocks. “Passengers on the S2C Cutaway won’t feel all of that stiffness when the bus they are traveling in goes over potholes, railroad tracks and bridges. This is true for both the driver and passengers.” Henke added that the noise level while traveling in a bus using the FCCC S2C Cutaway is noticeably quieter compared to a truck chassis. “A commercial bus shell is like a big drum. If a bus is using a driveline designed for a truck and that driveline starts to whine

January/February 2007

— all of that vibration and noise gets translated into the body of the vehicle for all the passengers to hear,” Henke said. “We took this into consideration with the S2C Cutaway, using a driveline that keeps vibrations and noise to a minimum.” According to Sippel, the S2C Cutaway is a premium product with a life cycle of 10 to 15 years. “It’s ideal for such end-users as hotel shuttle service providers who travel in downtown metropolitan areas, or for large church organizations and smaller universities that don’t require a 55-passenger/45foot motorcoach,” Sippel said. “The S2C Cutaway is also ideal for rural transit providers who need a 10-year-plus bus that comes with Altoona testing to meet their various transportation needs,” Henke added. FCCC manufactures premium chassis for the motor home, delivery, walk-in van, school bus and shuttle bus markets.

Visit for more information.

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Lancer Insurance: Continued From Page 32 gate stop-loss protection. The result will be a low overall cost with no volatile pricing swings. It’s that simple. The only variable left in the equation is reinsurance cost, so make sure your insurance company retains a significant amount of risk so it isn’t subject to huge jumps in its reinsurance premiums. For those who might not now view their insurer as a key business partner and are only interested in finding a company that will give them the cheapest price, beware of the gathering storm. Those who understand the importance of “building a bank” and working closely with their bus insurer to help guide them through tough times, whether it is a serious claim or an insurance market contraction, will be well served in the months and years ahead.

Charabanc Financial: Continued From Page 40 is an active reseller of all types of buses and coaches nationwide, including motorcoaches, small “cutaway” buses, school and transit buses and conversion buses. Charabanc has a variety of vehicles in stock to choose from, and through its vast network, can easily locate a specific vehicle as well; n Sales of Trucks & Trailers Nationwide — Charabanc maintains affiliations with banks and leasing companies providing liquidation services of off-lease and repossessed vehicles. From tow trucks and dump trucks, dry van or refrigerated trailers, over-the-road and vocational trucks — it has all types of vehicles available for sale; and, n Asset Management — Charabanc Financial provides asset management services to banks/leasing companies. Charabanc can handle all the logistics of repossession, storage, appraisals, condition reports, due diligence, repair and remarketing. Additionally, ASA-certified equipment and MAI real estate appraisal/valuations are offered. Call 866-888-9942 for more information.

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Please call ahead! March/April 2012


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SEFAC, Inc., Announces Addition Of OMER Product Line SEFAC, Inc., which has been in the heavyduty mobile lift industry for over 30 years, has added OMER lifts to its product line. SEFAC has been a major player in the mobile lift industry for nearly 40 years. OMER has carved a path for its products based on the similar core values. SEFAC Vice President of Sales Gary Mason explained, "The relationship works on a number of levels. While SEFAC will always be recognized for its mobile lifts, we have always had customers who need a fast, easy to use drive-on lift for quick turn around jobs. OMER was the right choice for us based on the excellent reputation that this product enjoys. Both the SEFAC and OMER lifts will be marketed under the SLEC brand as SEFAC by SLEC and OMER by SLEC. For some 30 years and prior to 2002, SEFAC had traded as SEFAC Lift and Equipment Corp. and this minor name change allows us to bring two products together under one banner.� For field service, the SEFAC team is comprised of directly employed, factory trained service technicians with more than 70 year experience in the mobile lift industry. SEFAC offers a number of service packages

and provides free telephone technical support to customers. Allister Collings, president, explained, "I

am extremely proud of our achievements in the area of after-sales support. With nearly 40 years in this market, it is evident that we intend to be there to support our product in the long term and our ability to provide a high level of after-sales support is fundamental to this obligation.� SEFAC guarantees parts availability for 25 years after a lift is retired from production. With one-man portability, a SEFAC lift can be raised in any working bay and even outside.

A SEFAC lift takes up no more room than the vehicle being lifted and provides unobstructed access to the vehicle underbody. If the lifts are not required for vehicle maintenance duties, they can be stored in a compact area. The S3 model is rated at 18,000 lbs, and with a touch screen pad, the operator selects the operational mode (all lifts, pairs or single), the preferred lift speed (3 settings) and in the event of an error, on-screen instructions walk the operator step by step through the fault finding process. Without the application of power it cannot move, and it does not rely on a locking mechanism to grab the load in the event of a failure. SEFACŽ lifts comply with OSHA, UL-201 standards and are built to the ANSI standards. They are also independently tested and certified by the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) to ANSI, ALI/ETL ALCTV–2008 standard. Using engineering principals dating back to the 1600’s, the Omer “K Series� Pantograph lift raises the vehicle vertically. There are no mechanical crossbeams linking the runways, making it easy for the operators to wheel tools, oil drainer or transmission jacks under the vehicle. These lifts are available in capacities of 55,000 lbs (KAR 250) and 77,000 lbs (KAR 350) and in runway lengths up to 36 feet. Visit for more information.



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2112 Bumble Bee Hollow Rd. Off Rt. 15 s Mechanicsburg, PA 717-697-5383

991 Carlisle St., Rt. 94 s 717-632-7531 350 Eisenhower Dr. s 717-632-0005 1448 Baltimore St. s 717-630-0337



4230 Trindle Road s 717-737-3896

CARLISLE 60 Noble Blvd. in Super Walmart 717-960-9400 608 E. High St. s 717-249-7721 1176 Harrisburg Pike s 717-243-7774 905 Walnut Bottom Rd. s 717-249-0694

CEDAR CLIFF Exit 19 off I-83 s Camp Hill, PA 717-737-6404

CHAMBERSBURG 1075 Lincoln Way East s 717-263-4601

NORTH CHAMBERSBURG 2891 Philadelphia Avenue (US 11 N.) 717-263-2970

CLEONA 493 W. Penn Avenue s 717-272-5677

COLUMBIA 1788 Columbia Ave., off Rt. 30 717-684-7048

DILLSBURG 898 North US Rt. 15 s 717-432-9500

King & Water Streets s 717-299-6699 Manor Shopping Center 1296 Millersville Pk. s 717-293-5706

NEWPORT Rt. 322 and Rt. 34, Newport Exit 717-567-9344



Rts. 11 and 15 North across from Radisson Hotel s 717-761-7992

901 E. Main St. s 717-838-6815

2929 Paxton St. s 717-561-8050 LEBANON 4605 Jonestown Rd. s 717-652-7035 1202 W. Maple St. s 717-273-8691 7845 Linglestown Rd.s 717-545-8580 757 E. Cumberland St. s 717-273-9023 Rt. 83 and Union Deposit Rd. 1725 Quentin Rd., Lebanon, PA 717-564-9320 717-306-6565 4403 N. Front St. s 717-238-1048 LITITZ Harrisburg East Mall/Rt. 83 and Paxton St. 990 Lititz Pike, Rt. 501 N. 717-561-0703 717-627-4666 Eisenhower Blvd. I-283, Exit 1 LITTLESTOWN 717-939-6972 430 North Queen St.s 717-359-8946 5590 Allentown Blvd., Rt. 22 LYKENS VALLEY Exit 26 off I-81 s 717-652-9123 4660 Rt. 209s 717-362-8416 Kline Plaza, 101 S. 25th St. MANHEIM 717-232-0008 711 Lancaster Rd., Rt. 72s 717-664-4944 Uptown Shopping Center MECHANICSBURG 720 Division St. s 717-236-6226 Wesley Dr. Exit, Rt. 15 Harrisburg Airport s 717-948-3900 717-761-7525 6535 Grayson Rd. in Wal-Mart KMart Plaza, 5600 Carlisle Pike 717-561-0445 717-766-9675 HERSHEY 6250 Carlisle Pike in Wal-Mart Rts. 39 and 322 s 611 E. Main St., 717-591-9864 Hummelstown s 717-566-6041

PINE GROVE I-81, Exit 31 s 717-345-6400

RED LION 897 West Broadway s 717-246-1802 655 Lombard St., Cape Horn Plaza 717-246-7801

SCOTLAND 3347 Black Gap Rd. s 717-263-7507

SHIPPENSBURG 333 East King St. s 717-532-7945

SHREWSBURY Exit 1 off I-83 s 717-235-4663

SILVER SPRING Rt. 114 and Shadow Oak Dr. Mechanicsburg, PA s 717-697-3460

SPRINGETTSBURY Hallam Exit off Rt. 30, Rt. 462 717-757-9655

WAYNESBORO 302 East Main St. s 717-762-9201

YOCUMTOWN Exit 14A off I-83 s 717-938-5705





4245 North George St. s 717-266-3170

Rt 72 & I-81 s 610-562-8462

11924 Buchanan Trial West 717-328-0111

2125 York Crossing Dr & Rt 74 717-767-1381 Exit 4, I-83, 133 Leader Heights Road 717-747-9191 York Galleria Mall s 717-757-3026 60 Arsenal Rd. s 717-699-4600 Exit 6W off I-83 s 717-845-9360 3141 Carlisle Road, Dover 717-767-2594 144-158 S. George St. s 717-846-1021 Rts. 30 & 74 in Wal-Mart s 717-764-8923 380 Memory Lane s 717-757-2912



1284 S. Market St. s 717-367-6471

1880 Hempstead Rd. s 717-509-6988 Willow Valley Square s 717-464-5119 1829 Oregon Pike s 717-569-7898 1434 Manheim Pike s 717-394-3417 Rt. 30 and Centerville Rd. Lancaster, PA s 717-393-9523 68 East Town Mall, Rt. 30E Lancaster, PA s 717-394-8957 1755 Columbia Ave. Millersville Exit off Rt. 30, Rt. 462 717-397-5112 575 N. Franklin St., next to McCuskey High School s 717-394-7938 2034 Lincoln Hwy East in Wal-Mart 717-390-1099

ENOLA Enola Rd., Exit Rt. 11 15 S. off Rt. 81 s 717-732-4228

EPHRATA 140 N. Reading Rd. s 717-733-1660

GETTYSBURG 517 S. Steinwehr Ave., Bus. Rt. 15 717-334-5920 1090 York Rd. s 717-337-1030

GREENCASTLE Rt. 16 and I-81 s 717-597-2589

HALIFAX 3761 Peter’s Moutain Rd. s 717-896-2535

MIDDLETOWN 2270 W. Harrisburg Pike s 717-944-9535

MIFFLINTOWN Rt. 322 and Rt. 35, Mifflintown Exit 717-436-9779

MYERSTOWN 295 West Lincoln Avenue (Rt. 422) 717-866-2278

NEW CUMBERLAND 101 Limekiln Rd. s 717-774-1027

NEW HOLLAND 828 W. Main St. s 717-354-9300

NEW OXFORD 6040 York Rd., Rts. 30 and 94 717-624-4266

Tell us you saw this ad in Busline Magazine, and 1 driver and 1 tour guide will receive a

FREE MEAL! Please call ahead to the phone number listed by the McDonald’s of your choice.

0312Busline.FINAL_Layout 1 3/23/12 9:26 AM Page 68


As a company that began during the Great Depression, we’ve been an important part of motorcoach history. We’ve helped technology evolve over the years, and we’ve seen competitors come and go. Through it all, Prevost has maintained a reputation for integrity and product excellence. The stability we created in 1924 remains the foundation of our company and our coaches today. Our customer relationships set an example for the entire motorcoach community. And we support those relationships with the largest service network in the industry, including over 130 Prevost Service Providers across North America. In a demanding industry, you need all the assurance you can get. Prevost will be there for you. So you can be there for your passengers.

Please contact your Prevost Regional Sales Manager for more information. USA 1-877-773-8678

PRE017-11_FoundationAd-120911_Busline.indd 1

CANADA 418-883-3391

T h e u l t i m a t e c l a s s.

12/9/11 12:50 PM

0312 Busline Magazine  

• Busline Cover Feature: Long Beach Transit • Insurance & Financing • HVAC Systems • Paratransit/Shuttle Buses & Vans • UMA Expo 2012 Highli...

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