Sep/Oct 2021 Busline Magazine

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CONTENTS

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SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2021 Published by Rankin Publishing, Inc. www.buslinemag.com

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Ocean Ride • Ocean County, NJ

“It’s Better To Be Too Helpful, Than Not Helpful Enough” ................................8

Karst Stage Promises Visitors To The Big Sky State AN UNFORGETTABLE ‘MONTANA EXPERIENCE’ ...........................24 A Letter Of Welcome From APTA Chair Jeffery A. Nelson 36 APTA Showcases 36 APTA 2021 TRANSform Conference & EXPO Set For November 7-10 In Orlando, FL 38 APTA EXPO Bus Showcase 40-46

Busline Buyers Guides:

Bus Shelters........48

• Fare Collections........50

RAPID RESPONSE .........................Page 6 INDUSTRY NEWS...........Pages 46, 51-58

ON THE COVER: Shown, from left, are Ocean Ride representatives Gary Quinn and Dave Fitzgerald, standing next to one of the public transportation service’s Micro Bird buses. Ocean Ride is located in Ocean County, NJ. See page 8.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

NOVEMBER 2021 November 5-9 National Association For Pupil Transportation (NAPT) Annual Conference/Trade Show Grand Rapids, MI Info: 518-452-3611 November 7-10 APTA TRANSform Conference & Expo Orlando, FL. Info: 202-496-4800

November 7-11 Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) Expo Richmond, VA Info: 800-891-0590

JANUARY 2022 January 8-11 American Bus Association (ABA) Marketplace 2022 Grapevine, TX Info: 800-283-2877

January 16-19 Tennessee Motor Coach Association Convention & Marketplace Franklin, TN Info: 865-936-8622

January 23-25 National School Transportation Association Midwinter Meeting Key Largo, FL Info: 703-684-3200

FEBRUARY 2022 February 23-27 United Motorcoach Association (UMA) Motorcoach Expo Long Beach, CA. Info: 800-424-8262 MARCH 2022 March 13-15 APTA Legislative Conference Washington, D.C. Info: 202-496-4800

MAY 2022 May 1-4 APTA Mobility Conference Columbus, OH Info: 202-496-4800

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 2021 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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September/October 2021

EDITORIAL & CORPORATE OFFICES

Rankin Publishing Co., Inc.

Linda Rankin, Publisher 204 E. Main Street • P.O. Box 130 Arcola, IL 61910-0130, USA Email: rankinmag@consolidated.net Website: www.rankinpublishing.com (800) 598-8083 (U.S.) • (217) 268-4959 Fax: (217) 268-4815 Editorial: Harrell Kerkhoff, Editor Rick Mullen, Associate Editor Design: David Opdyke, Kris Bott Reception: Carrie King

Advertising Contact Kevin Kennedy @ 813-502-6672 Email: kevloraz@gmail.com Or Linda Rankin @ 800-598-8083 Fax: 217-268-4815 Email: rankinmag@consolidated.net


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Company

ABC Companies ActivePure Altro American Battery Solutions American Solar Electric APTA EXPO ARBOC Specialty Vehicles BASE USA Bitimec Wash-Bots Bitzer BRC Group BYD Camira Chestnut Ridge Foam Complete Coach Works Continental Diamond Manufacturing Dixie Electric Ltd. Driverge Vehicle Innovations Enseicom Factory Direct Bus Sales Freedman Seating Company Gerflor GRI Pumps

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abc-companies.com 3, 19 goanderson.com/cleancare 53 altro.com/transport 52 americanbatterysolutions.com 2 americansolarelectric.com 25 aptaexpo.com 62 ARBOCsv.com 27 baseusa.com 29 wash-bots.com 11 bitzerus.com 28 brcgroup.ca 55 byd.com 5 camirafabrics.com 61 crfoam.com 18 completecoach.com 60 continentalaftermarket.com 14 diamondmfg.com 50 delstar-hd.com 58 driverge.com 12 enseicom.com 9 factorydirectbussales.com 35 freedmanppe.com 37 us.tarabusbygerflor.com 20 www2.GRIpumps.com/Transportation 54

Company

Handi-Hut Hometown Coach Icomera Irizar USA Kelderman Air Suspension Systems LiquidSpring LLC Marathon Brake Systems Mercedes-Benz (Daimler Coaches N.A., LLC) Micro Bird Commercial Midwest Bus Corporation Nova Bus Prevost QMF Steel Reyco Granning Safety Vision SanUVAire Service Insurance Sutrak Teknoware Temsa TripSpark Vanner Power Voith

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49 23 38 63 34 22 31 15 15 32 51 64 21 17 57 26 59 61 16 13 7 47 6, 30 10

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“It’s Better To Be

Too Helpful, Than Not Helpful Enough”

Dave Fitzgerald (left) and Gary Quinn

I

Chris Lesko, Program Coordinator Sr. Citizens Transportation

James Hand, Division Director Operations

By Harrell Kerkhoff, Busline Magazine Editor

n certain ways, Ocean County, NJ, is a microcosm of the United States — its population is growing older and requiring more transportation options. Also like many areas of the U.S., Ocean County is vibrant and experiencing population shifts and growth. Ocean County remains one of New Jersey’s fastest-growing areas, with an estimated population of 637,000 residents. That growth includes the influx of many current, and soon-to-be, retirees. They have arrived looking for a safe and beautiful place to call home. It helps that county residents have Ocean Ride, a quality public transportation service, available. It is administered by the Ocean County Department of Transportation Services. Ocean Ride includes 11 fixed-routes that operate throughout a very large county (638 square miles), as well as an extensive paratransit system. As a department within the Ocean County government, Ocean Ride is supported by tax dollars from the county as well as state and federal grants. “Over the years, we have received tremendous support from the Ocean County Board of Commissioners,” Ocean County Department of Transportation Services Director Dave Fitzgerald said.

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September/October 2021

Debra Pavao, Coordinator Special Transportation

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“That support has especially been helpful during Ocean Ride’s ongoing effort to meet the changing needs of our senior community, with an estimated population at 200,000 — and growing. “I believe we have the most supportive Board of Commissioners in New Jersey.” Ocean Ride has been in existence since 1977, when it began with four vehicles and four volunteer drivers. Today, the system has 75 vehicles and 70 full- and part-time drivers, along with a support staff of 20. The latter group includes supervisors, reservationists, dispatchers and those with other administrative duties. “Over the past 44 years, Ocean Ride has grown from a mom and pop-type operation to a true regional transit system,” Fitzgerald said. The five-member Ocean County Board of Commissioners includes Gary Quinn, who holds the title of Liaison to the Transportation Services Department, for the county. Commissioner Quinn is quick to point out that the success of Ocean Ride is due to its loyal group of employees and Fitzgerald, who has worked within the Ocean County transportation department since 1998. “Dave (Fitzgerald) is the team leader within our public transportation department, and makes all of us who serve on the Board of Com-


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missioners look good. We can’t thank him enough,” Quinn said. “Dave’s leadership has been especially important during the COVID19 pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, Ocean Ride was making, on average, 300,000 passenger trips per year. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, our numbers dropped to 150,000 passenger trips (in 2020). Despite many difficulties, Dave and his staff have remained committed to helping Ocean County residents with their different transportation needs. “The most important objective at Ocean Ride has been to make sure the riding public, our drivers and all of our employees remain as safe as possible from the virus. That has been priority No. 1 since March 2020. We are also proud that Ocean Ride has been in operation during the entire pandemic. There has been no disruption in service. “From the start of the pandemic, our Board of Commissioners has stuck by the decision that Ocean Ride’s transportation services must continue. There are simply too many county residents who have important places to go, including members of our senior and disabled communities, to whom fare-free rides were available for the month of April 2020.” Although ridership numbers at Ocean Ride were down during the height of the pandemic, Fitzgerald and his staff were quick to utilize the transit system’s fleet for non-traditional uses. “Ocean Ride was contacted by various groups in Ocean and surrounding counties to help people, especially seniors and disabled residents, who were living under lockdown situations,” Quinn said. “Those people needed help getting enough food and other important supplies. Dave started a program where Ocean Ride buses delivered food packages to seniors and other people in need, on a weekly basis.

Ocean Ride representatives, from left, Dave Fitzgerald, Kevin Heintz (omnibus operator), Gary Quinn and Diane Heintz (omnibus operator) load a bus at a local food bank in April 2020. Ocean Ride delivered shelfstable meals to homebound seniors during the height of the pandemic.

“At the same time, residents of Ocean County who chose to leave their homes could still rely on our transportation services as Ocean Ride remained active.” Of course, as of September 2021, the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, including within the borders of New Jersey and Ocean County.

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“Ocean Ride’s vehicles are cleaned each day. That includes the use of fogging machines, which spray antibacterial agents. At the same time, all of our drivers wear masks and gloves, while social distancing continues to be practiced by our passengers on all vehicles,” Quinn said. “During the start of the pandemic, the (Ocean Ride) administrative staff came into the office on staggered days to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, while at the same time wearing masks and social distancing. We had a plan in place if a major outbreak occurred within our transportation system, and that plan remains. “COVID is not gone, and we are very aware of that fact. At Ocean Ride, we continue to do everything we can to protect drivers and passengers.” Even when the pandemic does subside, Fitzgerald feels its effect will leave a lasting mark on public transportation. “The pandemic has brought into much greater focus the health aspect of riding in public vehicles. It’s now clearly understood that such vehicles must constantly be cleaned. I also feel it has brought into focus the overall importance of public transportation,” Fitzgerald said. “For example, when everything else seemed to be shutting down, our vehicles were still transporting people to where they needed to go. That was, and continues to be, very important.”

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OCEANFRONT PROPERTY, AND MUCH MORE

ike its name suggests, Ocean County has a famous neighbor to the east — the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Located along the world-famous Jersey Shore in the central part of the state, Ocean County draws tourists by the thousands to its barrier islands and long, beautiful beaches.

“Ocean County’s population swells to over 1 million people during the summer months, due to various amenities found along our oceanfront,” Fitzgerald said. There is more to the county, however, than summer surf and corresponding tourist attractions. Ocean County is also a gateway to New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, one of the largest protected areas on the East Coast, stretching across seven counties in the state. Despite being part of that protected area, due to its large size, Ocean County still has room to grow when is comes to new residents. It’s currently New Jersey’s sixth-most-populous county, with more people moving in every day. Part of that growth is due to Ocean County’s central location (between nearby metropolitan centers). The county is located approximately 50 miles east of Philadelphia, 70 miles south of New York City and 25 miles north of Atlantic City, NJ. The county seat of Ocean County is Toms River, with an estimated population of almost 96,000. Within the county, there are 33 municipalities and 91 age-restricted communities. An estimated 30 percent of the county’s population is seniors (60 or older), a demographic that continues to grow, according to Fitzgerald and Quinn. “The largest growth area has been in the southern end of the county, where there is still potential for future development. In that area, approximately 80 percent of development is focused on seniors. Those are people who sold their homes elsewhere and moved to Ocean County, due to the area’s quality of life and amenities. Even the current pandemic has not stopped that growth,” Quinn said. “For people who love beaches, the ocean, golf courses — Ocean County has all of those things and more.”

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In recent years, keeping up with increased demand for public transportation, in large part due to the area’s growing senior demographic, has kept Ocean Ride representatives busy. “For example, many of the county’s medical facilities are located in the same area,” Quinn said. “At Ocean Ride, we recognize that, and work hard to make sure residents throughout our entire county can safely get to important places by using our fixed-routes and paratransit.” He noted that New Jersey Transit, the state-owned public transportation system that serves New Jersey and portions of New York and Pennsylvania, also provides service in Ocean County. Its presence, however, is not as extensive in the county compared to the heavilypopulated northern part of The Garden State.

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“New Jersey Transit is also the administering agency for state and federal grants, helping us with grant administration,” Fitzgerald said. Quinn added: “Ocean Ride is more than capable of picking up where New Jersey Transit leaves off, when it comes to transporting our residents. That is especially true with our various paratransit services. We help people stay in their homes longer, remain independent and lessen their reliance on loved ones, when it comes to transportation.”

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SERVICE DIVERSITY: ESSENTIAL AT OCEAN RIDE

lthough Ocean Ride’s service miles were down in 2020 due to the pandemic, this is viewed by the system’s officials as an anomaly, recognizing that demand for public transportation will only increase in the area during the coming years. “Our vehicles recorded 1.08 million miles in 2020. There have been years that number was 1.3 to 1.5 million miles,” Fitzgerald said. “We feel those larger numbers will return.” Ocean Ride’s 11 fixed-routes traverse the county, including popular tourism stops along the oceanfront, and are open to the general public. They are connected to routes operated in the area by New Jersey Transit, with key stops at shopping centers, office complexes and other highdemand sites. “We are always reviewing our existing fixed-routes and looking at new trip demands, allowing us to shift resources, when necessary, to better service the public,” Fitzgerald said. Along with its fixed-routes, Ocean Ride provides an extensive paratransit service for the county’s senior and disabled populations. It’s available for people 60 years of age and Innovative solutions for buses and motor coaches. older, as well as individuals with a permanent disability who are 18 years of age and older. “Paratransit is the most expensive service Continental wireless camera systems for our transit system. Therefore, we will work with all types of people to help them use our fixed-route buses,” Fitzgerald said. “We • Simple installation and setup recognize, however, that this is not always • Up to 120° view angle possible due to mobility limitations. There are many people who need paratransit to get • Accepts up to four cameras around, which is why we provide the service. to create surround view “We are finding that many members of our senior population are putting away • Single-view or quad-view their car keys. Trip demand from those rid7 in. remote monitors ers is therefore increasing, including the use of our paratransit services.” • LEDs for IR night vision Fitzgerald outlined two main paratransit options provided by Ocean Ride: • Versatile mounting options n Reserve-A-Ride — The service provides door-to-door, non-emergency transportation to medical facilities along with other trip purposes, such as social activities, nutritional Learn more: www.continentalaftermarket.com needs, hair appointments, etc. salessupport-us@continental.com “A one-week advance notice is required for the service, but we will take reservations as far out as four weeks,” Fitzgerald said. Visit Us At APTA Booth #2331

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n Standby Trip Program — For requests that come in with less than one week’s notice, the requester is placed on a standby list. He/she will then be notified the morning of the requested trip if an opening is available. “The Standby Trip option is best suited for people who are more flexible, and who don’t necessarily have to be at a location, such as a grocery store, at a certain time of the day,” Fitzgerald said. “The Standby Trip option has worked out well, as we are able to grant a high percentage of requests.” Ocean Ride’s paratransit service also works with people with weekly medical appointment needs, such as for physical therapy. “Such trips should be booked in advance, but can include several trips per week, such as a Monday, Wednesday and Friday schedule,” Fitzgerald said. Ocean Ride also provides free transportation for qualified Ocean County veterans, including to and from VA clinics within the county. Many trips are coordinated through the Ocean County Veterans Service Bureau.

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NEW FACILITY OPENS ITS DOORS TO THE FUTURE

he Ocean County Department of Transportation, including its public transportation services, moved into a new facility in August 2020, located in Manchester, NJ, not far from Toms River. The $10 million state-of-the-art facility includes plenty of space for the department’s equipment, including Ocean Ride vehicles. The facility is also close to many of the senior communities serviced by Ocean Ride.

Included at the location is a 9,000-square-foot office building and a 100-foot by 180-foot garage area, with 10 service bays. The transportation garage is outfitted with numerous lifts, a welding area, an oil dispensing system, compressed air throughout the garage for tools, a vehicle exhaust system and spare parts storage. The county also installed drive-through snow removal equipment to remove snow and ice from the top of buses before they leave the yard. “We can get some pretty rough winters in Ocean County, and are required by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to have snow and ice removed from our vehicles before they travel on public roads,” Fitzgerald said. “The construction of the facility is just another example of the unwavering commitment our Board of Commissioners have in supporting Ocean Ride, as well as those people who depend on our service.” Quinn added that prior to last year, Ocean Ride was operating from a smaller facility in Toms River, one that didn’t include room to service vehicles. The Board of Commissioners decided to invest in a new campus, constructed for the benefit of various county departments. “It’s a first-class facility, was way overdue and is working out extremely well,” Quinn said. “The facility is a great investment for the future, and we are looking to add on in the years ahead, as demand dictates. “The new facility is providing a much better working environment. That includes plenty of employee parking and space for our equipment — all encompassed in an area that is fenced in for added security.” Ocean Ride also uses a smaller satellite facility in the southern part of the county, which helps eliminate dead-head trips.

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A FLEET OF CAPABILITIES

cean Ride’s fleet has grown over its four-plus decades — from four to approximately 75 vehicles. That latter figure includes a number of buses manufactured by Micro Bird Inc. “The mid-size to larger transit buses we purchase are typically utilized for our fixed-routes. Pertaining to our door-to-door paratransit system, we have approximately 43 minibuses and 13 low-floor minivans in the fleet,” Fitzgerald said. “All of our vehicles are liftequipped, understanding that many passengers today utilize wheelchairs, scooters and other mobility devices. “We work hard to maintain our vehicles and adhere to a specific vehicle replacement plan. We are fortunate that our county’s capital funding allows us to follow through with that plan in order to keep all of our vehicles safe and up-to-date.” Micro Bird buses have been part of Ocean Ride’s fleet for the entire 23 years that Fitzgerald has been with the county’s transit system. “We have always been impressed with the safety features provided by Micro Bird. That includes steel floors, steel reinforced beams on the side panels and aluminum external panels,” he said. “There have been cases at Ocean Ride where those vehicles have been T-boned at intersections. I would hate to think what the results would have been without such safety features. “The durability of our Micro Birds has also been incredible. We are just now retiring Micro Birds that were purchased in 2008 and 2009, with over 300,000 miles. It’s always important for us to look at the quality of vehicles during the purchasing process. We look at life cycle costs, as opposed to just seeking the cheapest purchase price.”

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Advanced technology is also helping Ocean Ride better serve existing passengers, along with reaching out to new “choice” riders — those people willing to leave their cars at home and take more trips via a bus. Technology designed to attract such riders includes programs that provide live route information through a mobile app, allowing people to see where a specific vehicle is located and when it will arrive at a particular stop. Other technology currently used, or being implemented, at Ocean Ride includes added GPS functionality and the use of improved reservation and scheduling software. “During a typical Monday morning, our reservationists often receive over 700 calls. The need for technology in this, and all areas, of operation continues to increase,” Fitzgerald said. “That includes trip notification capabilities, such as reminder calls sent to riders. “We are always looking at what is new, in our constant effort to provide an efficient public transportation system. Of course, the No. 1 priority is safety. The cleanliness of our vehicles is also paramount.” Properly marketing Ocean Ride’s services has also been a high priority for the transportation system’s representatives. It helps to have a long history of service and recognizable branding within Ocean County’s borders. “Each of our vehicles features the distinct Ocean Ride logo. Residents and visitors alike will not mistake an Ocean Ride vehicle from one being operated by a private company. We keep all of our vehicles clean, up-to-date and well branded,” Fitzgerald said. Ocean Ride’s website, meanwhile, has recently been updated and includes current announcements, such as route changes, weather advisories, etc. There is also an Ocean Ride Facebook page and a printed Rider’s Guide.

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T

‘ERR’ ON THE SIDE OF PASSENGERS

he 18th century writer Alexander Pope so famously said in his poem An Essay on Criticism, “To err is human, to forgive divine.” When it comes to Ocean Ride’s employees, including drivers, Fitzgerald adds: “If you make a mistake, do so in favor of the client.” That customer service philosophy permeates throughout Ocean County’s public transportation system. “We instruct drivers, ‘If you make an error in judgement, while working with a passenger, it is better to do so on the side of being too helpful. Treat passengers as if they are family members,’” Fitzgerald said. “Such actions often result in positive feedback. “Gary and I have often said, ‘We are in the people business.’ You can provide the most attractive vehicles, and the greatest and most advanced technology, but at the end of the day, it’s the human factor that matters the most. If you don’t have friendly drivers and support staff, all the other stuff goes right out the window. “We stress to our drivers, starting with their training, the need to always be kind and compassionate. We also quickly follow-up on any complaints, making sure corrections are made as soon as possible.” All drivers at Ocean Ride are required to have a Class B CDL license, with passenger endorsement, and receive two weeks of intense training after they are hired. Drivers must be capable of operating every type of vehicle in the Ocean Ride fleet. They receive a stipend for operating the larger vehicles. “The Ocean County Board of Commissioners, as well as Dave, serving as the Ocean Ride Director, consider our employees our most valuable resource. They are the ones who make Ocean Ride

successful,” Quinn said. “Those people go out of their way to help passengers on a daily basis — making sure the trips we provide are as enjoyable as possible. “Pertaining to paratransit, we are often transporting people to a hospital, chemo appointment, etc. It’s not just about taking them to shopping malls and hair salons. The less stressful the trip, the better. “That is especially important for our senior residents in the county. Many have moved here after retirement, and as they have aged, stopped driving. It can be difficult for them to get out on their own. Ocean Ride’s services help make Ocean County a very attractive place to live, including those people who are older.”

A

CHALLENGES & OPPORTUNITIES

n ongoing global pandemic, uncertainties over future funding and the constant need to serve passengers to the highest standards are just some of the challenges facing public transportation providers across the country. Ocean Ride is no different. Despite those and other challenges, Fitzgerald and Quinn are excited about the future. “Ocean Ride has really grown over the years, and has developed a solid professional organizational structure. As for the future, our goal is to keep services at a high level. I feel that will be possible with the continued support of our Board of Commissioners,” Fitzgerald said. “When it comes to funding, one major obstacle has been a decrease in money from New Jersey’s state-administered Casino Revenue Grant. The grant is derived from Atlantic City casino profits. The level of funding from this source was growing until the 2008 recession. Since then, several New Jersey counties have reduced their transportation services due to the reduction of those funds.

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“Ocean Ride and Ocean County are fortunate our Board of Commissioners stepped up with additional funding. In response, we have not had to reduce transportation services.” Fitzgerald added that the amount of funds from the grant has gradually increased over the past 13 years — due, in part, to approval for sports betting in New Jersey — but is still not at the level experienced prior to the Great Recession of 2008. “The key objective at Ocean Ride moving forward is to make the best use of our existing resources, while at the same time providing outstanding service to a growing county population,” Fitzgerald said. The importance of local public transportation, of course, goes far beyond helping people travel from one place to another on a daily or weekly basis. Especially in coastal regions, public transportation plays a key role in emergency management response. In Ocean County, that response was put to a big test during Hurricane Sandy, which struck a large portion of New Jersey in 2012. “Ocean Ride played a key role in relocating people who were stranded by the storm,” Fitzgerald said. “Hurricane Sandy also devastated our county’s tax base, which is just now starting to recover.” Quinn added: “Whether it’s a hurricane or more common challenges, I have found that Ocean Ride never misses a beat. Dave and his staff have always recognized the importance of helping to improve the lives of our county residents through effective, and much-needed, transportation offerings.” Looking ahead, both men remain optimistic about the future of Ocean Ride, and public transportation in general. For Fitzgerald, this line of work has been a 23-year learning experience, and one that he does not regret. “I began my working career in the private sector, then started with

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Ocean County in purchasing and finance. I agreed, in 1998, to what was supposed to be a two-year assignment at Ocean Ride. I have been here ever since. The work does get into your blood and is very rewarding,” Fitzgerald said. “I have received phone calls from people who were in tears, thanking us for providing transportation that changed their lives. In this field, you get to see how your work can have a positive effect on people, which is great. “Other careers, such as in purchasing and finance, can also be rewarding, but the human factor involving what we (in transportation) do, when it’s done right, is truly amazing. I would definitely recommend this industry to others as a career choice.” Fitzgerald also sees growth ahead for the industry. “As the population ages, and the need for added transportation grows, job security should be strong for those people currently in, and looking to enter, this line of work,” he said. “Technology will change, such as the emergence of electric vehicles, but one thing I do not see changing in the future is the need for added public transportation services throughout the country. That need should only grow.”

Contact: Ocean Ride, 2820 Ridgeway Blvd., Bldg #125, Manchester, NJ 08759. Phone: 732-736-8989. Website: www.co.ocean.nj.us/oc/transportation.

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Karst Stage President/CEO Dan Martin (left) purchased the business in 2012. Assistant General Manager Dennis Sines oversees the day-to-day operation of the company.

D

Karst Stage Promises Visitors To The Big Sky State

AN UNFORGETTABLE ‘MONTANA EXPERIENCE’ By Rick Mullen, Busline Magazine Associate Editor

In 1908, he built the Karst Stage Shop Inn at Karst Kamp. He transported passengers, mail, and freight from Bozeman and the surrounding uring his journey from Wisconsin to the West Coast in 1898, Pete area to Karst Kamp, and the many other locations in the vicinity. He also Karst passed through Montana. When he got to Lewiston, ID, he began operating tours into Yellowstone National Park. Meanwhile, the era of the automobile in America was beginning to decided to turn back to Montana and, subsequently, settled in the Bozeman area. In 1901, he opened Karst’s Cold Spring Resort, located blossom. In 1893, two brothers, Frank and Charles Edgar Duryea, inabout 35 miles south of Bozeman in Gallatin Canyon, which was the first vented the first successful gas-powered car in the United States. In 1896, the brothers started the first American car manufacturing company in “dude” ranch in the state. The name was later shortened to Karst Kamp. In 1902, Karst founded Karst Stage. By horse and wagon, he trans- Springfield, MA, called Motor Wagons. In 1913, the Ford Motor Company implemented the moving assembly ported freight and loggers from Bozeman to the Cooper Tie Camp. As his business required many horses, wagons and drivers, Karst, at line in the automobile manufacturing process, dramatically increasing the the urging of the Cooper Tie Camp owner, obtained the necessary financ- production of its Model T from 7.5 cars per hour to 146 cars per hour. In 1915, the U.S. government announced that 1916 would be the last ing, via a bank loan, to purchase the equipment he needed to run a sucyear that horses would be used for primary transportation in Yellowstone cessful operation. National Park. Therefore, in 1916, Karst began purchasing motorized units for transporting passengers and freight. By the 1950s, Karst Stage was making daily trips from Bozeman to West Yellowstone, MT, located about 90 miles south. Tour transportation was also provided into Yellowstone National Park. In the early 1950s, Karst sold the business and retired. After Karst sold the business, Karst Stage primarily provided transportation for the Bozeman school system, with a little local tourism, and an A Karst Stage TEMSA motorcoach occasional trip to the West Coast. As Bozeman and

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its school system grew, the school transportation side of the business became the primary focus. In 1981, Jerry and Cathleen Perkins purchased Karst Stage and incorporated it as Karst Stage, Inc. Under the Perkins’ leadership, the company grew to encompass the West Yellowstone and Anaconda, MT, school systems, an airport shuttle service, a variety of transit services, and a charter motorcoach service that included service to the Western United States and Canada. In 2012, a Karst Stage employee, Dan Martin, purchased the business, and is now the president/CEO. He began working for the company in 2005. “Today, about a third of our business is transit,” Martin said during a recent interview with Busline Magazine. “We are contracted by two different transit agencies in the area, Streamline Bus, located in Bozeman, and Skyline Bus located in Big Sky, MT. We don’t own the transit buses, but we maintain and operate them.” Bozeman, with a population of a little more than 50,000 people, is the county seat of Gallatin County, which is the size of the state of Delaware, and has a population of 122,000 residents. Big Sky, population 3,058 people, also located in Gallatin County, is 45 miles south of Bozeman. The Rocky Mountain community is known for the ski and downhill mountain-bike trails of Big Sky Resort. Southeast of the town is Yellowstone National Park. “Including the transit buses, we operate about 70 pieces of equipment in our fleet, consisting of large luxury motorcoaches, mid-size motorcoachs, mini-coaches and high-top vans,” Martin said. “We have between 22 and 25 motorcoaches.” While Streamline Bus’ fixed-route operation doesn’t change much throughout the year, Skyline Bus undergoes big changes in the wintertime, as people flock to the area to take advantage of winter activities at Big Sky Resort and Yellowstone National Park.

“We triple Skyline’s operation during the winter, our busiest season,” Martin said. Skyline also operates a service called the “Link,” which runs from Big Sky to Bozeman. “During the winter, we will have up to 100 employees, whereas, during the summer, we will have about 65,” Martin said. “We have relied on some of our industry friends to loan us drivers during our busiest season. They will use it as a recruiting tool for their respective companies, telling employees, ‘We can keep you busy for about nine months a year, but we can offer an opportunity for work with one of our partner companies in Bozeman, during the winter.’” Thousands of tourists and winter sport enthusiasts visiting Big Sky and Yellowstone National Park fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, located in Belgrade, MT, eight miles northwest of Bozeman. Owned by the Gallatin Airport Authority, it has been Montana’s busiest airport since 2013. “Karst operates an airport shuttle service, transporting visitors to Big Sky, as well as shuttle service south to West Yellowstone, about 50 miles south of Big Sky,” Martin said. “The airport shuttles run year-round, with much more frequencies in the winter. We also offer private shuttles to both areas.” Karst Stage also has a presence at the airport, helping travelers check in for its airport shuttle service. Kira Sines is the company’s airport manager. Also assisting her is sales rep Jody Cutting. This summer, a nationwide shortage of rental cars proved to be a significant boon to Karst Stage’s shuttle business. In May, the Washington Post reported, in 2020, major rental car operators sold off more than 770,000 cars as the COVID-19 pandemic kept people home, crushing the demand for rental vehicles. As a result, one of every three rental cars in service before the pandemic is no longer available.

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“Business this summer really took off because of the rental car shortage,” Martin said. “We actually picked up more summer shuttle business than ever before. In some instances, rental cars were going for $1,000 a day. At the beginning of the summer it was crazy. People were renting cars for $4,000 a week.”

M

COVID CRISIS CLOSES BIG SKY RESORT

artin reported the COVID-19 pandemic crisis became “real” for Karst Stage when Big Sky Resort closed in March 2020. “Big Sky Resort announced March 17 it was closing operations, and everyone had to be out of its facilities by March 23,” Martin said. Karst Stage was the largest operator, there were other smaller ones, that leaped into action to evacuate people from the resort. “With our transit, shuttle and motorcoach operations, we evacuated Big Sky in three days,” Martin said. “When the announcement to close was made, people wanted to get out as quickly as possible. “We did everything we could. We decided we weren’t going to worry about money, at that time. We just wanted to get people on a bus to the airport, because it was the right thing to do.” In addition, Yellowstone National Park also shut down group bus tours during the pandemic. Recently, Martin was part of a group of tour operators and travel industry leaders representing IMG (International Motorcoach Group) and ABA (American Bus Association) who worked with the superintendent of Yellowstone to allow tour buses back into the park.

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Karst Stage has a presence at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, helping travelers check in for its airport shuttle service. Kira Sines (above) is the company’s airport manager. In addition to her duties as a Karst Stage sales representative, Jody Cutting (left) also assists Airport Manager Kira Sines at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

“We worked hard. It was a lot of fun. Everybody was interested in getting the park open, including the Yellowstone superintendent, the motorcoach industry and tour operators. So, we really hunkered down and decided what it would take to get the job done,” Martin said. Indeed, a report on travelandliesure.com dated May 7, 2021, said, “Both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks are allowing group

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bus tours to resume as COVID-19 infection rates decline and vaccination numbers rise across the country. Passengers will be required to wear a mask on board, according to the National Park Service rules.” During the pandemic, Streamline Bus’ transit operation in Bozeman did not shut down. However, Skyline Bus’ operation in Big Sky wound down within a couple of weeks after the announcement of the closing of the resort. “Then, it was a matter of survival,” Martin said. “I became a really good grant writer, whether I wanted to be or not. You kind of figure out how to make everything work.” On the up side, there was still some business available transporting sports groups throughout the large expanse that is Montana. “In Montana, we have fall sports. To get a flavor of how large the state is, when I speak to international groups, I like to say the state is 1,000 kilometers wide (600 miles),” Martin said. “There are 14 big schools throughout Montana. “For a volleyball game, kids might travel 350 miles one way. A seven-man football team in West Yellowstone might travel six hours one-way to a game. “When I talk about Montana to people from smaller states, especially on the East Coast, they are amazed how many miles we can cover in an hour. Likewise, we are amazed how few miles they cover in an hour.” To ease passengers’ concerns and to keep them safe, Karst Stage invested in air purifying machines for its vehicles. In addition, customers must wear masks while on board the buses. “We also became a lot more diligent about wiping surfaces and taking all the necessary precautions,” Martin said. For awhile, Karst implemented staggered seating in its buses, but that protocol is no longer in place. However, some tour groups are “clustering.” That is, they are putting together people who are traveling together, such as families, separating them from other clusters by at least six feet.

“Our business has bounced back. We are not quite to 2019 levels, but we are pretty close. We will get there if the Delta Variant doesn’t mess things up,” Martin said. “Last year, individuals started coming back, but the ski groups did not. This year, we are starting to see the ski groups return. “Meanwhile, the two-year-long-pent up demand for weddings has led to a boom in that business this past summer. We have been doing wedding shuttles like there is no tomorrow. “We have had weddings with five buses involved. We had two weddings going on at the same time in Big Sky recently that required nine buses between the two. The wedding business has just gone berserk.” Martin told the story of a wedding planner from the Southeast who was putting together a wedding at a house in the area, which she had never seen. The wedding planner insisted motorcoaches be used to transport people in and out of the wedding venue. Given the terrain in the area, and the remoteness of the house, Martin sent his assistant manager, Dennis Sines, to visit the site and make an assessment as to whether or not motorcoaches could be used. “We make a lot of site visits,” Martin said. “Typically, Jodi (Cutting) will set up a visit and Dennis (Sines) will check out the area. He came back from the wedding venue and said, ‘There is no way we are driving anything but vans into that area.’”

K

A LUXURY FLEET

arst Stage runs between 22 and 25 motorcoaches. The company recently added two new 30-foot TS 30 TEMSA coaches to its luxury fleet. Continued On Page 34

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Karst Stage, Inc.: Continued From Page 30

“We had a 2012 35-foot TEMSA that we traded in for a 30-foot coach,” Martin said. “That 30-foot TEMSA generated so much business, we quickly purchased a second. So, within a month, we had two new 30-foot TEMSA motorcoaches.” Martin said the company had its eye on the 30-foot TEMSA coaches for some time, but the main drawback was the lack of baggage storage space. Because of Karst Stage’s significant business transporting ski enthusiasts, storage space for personal baggage and ski gear was a very important consideration. “TEMSA redesigned its 30-foot motorcoach with more storage space, which allowed us to seriously look at adding that model to our fleet,” Martin said. Karst Stage typically designated two to four cutaway minibuses for its airport shuttle service and for weddings. “Now, with the 30-foot TEMSA coaches, we have a more traditional motorcoach-looking vehicle to use for shuttle purposes,” Martin said. “That TEMSA model has taken us to another level.” The new TEMSA coaches are also allowing Karst Stage more options, when it comes to training operators to handle larger motorcoaches. “We are fortunate to have a lot of smaller equipment, such as vans and for our transit operations,” Martin said. New hires are often assigned to drive the smaller vehicles as they get comfortable working at Karst Stage, and the company gets comfortable with them, Martin said. “Then, we make a determination from there whether a driver can move up to a larger motorcoach,” he said. Typically, the progression would be from a van, to a transit bus, and,

finally, to a large 45-foot motorcoach. The 30-foot TEMSA coaches offer an intermediate fourth step between transit buses and the large motorcoaches. “We have had a lot of van drivers who would drive a minibus, but were not comfortable going to a full-sized 45-foot motorcoach,” Martin said. “Now, we have a 30-foot bus that they feel comfortable driving, and that we are comfortable with them driving. It is a mutual decision in a lot of cases. “We asked one of our tour operator partners to try out one of the 30-foot TEMSA coaches. After just one trip, that company told us to book the rest of their trips this summer and the next, on a TEMSA motorcoach.” When business is in full swing in the winter, Karst Stage employs up to 70 drivers, with various personality traits and likes and dislikes. “We have had just about every kind of driver you can imagine. We have had van drivers who are all personality, and are never going to drive a larger piece of equipment,” Martin said. “On the transit side, some drivers prefer only operating on fixed-routes. Then, there are tour drivers. It is like nails on a chalkboard for them to make a fixed-route transit run. Tour drivers tend to be self-sufficient, as they are out on the road by themselves.” Martin said he finds it interesting that in our modern culture, people use cell phones to find their way around, rather than referring to maps. However, one exception is tour drivers. “Tour drivers study maps to see where they are going and to get a feel for the trip they are about to take,” Martin said. “We are very fortunate that we have several options for drivers that are good fits for their individual personalities.” Continued On Page 60

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American Public Transportation Association’s 2021 TRANSform Conference & EXPO November 7-10 In Orlando, FL

A Letter Of Welcome From APTA Chair Jeffery A. Nelson

Dear Public Transportation Colleagues:

After what will be more than four years since the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) last EXPO, the wait is almost over. Public transit professionals, business leaders, policymakers and innovators from around the world will gather to reimagine our industry’s future at the APTA 2021 TRANSform Conference and EXPO, on November 7-10, in Orlando, FL, served by the LYNX system. This long-anticipated event is much more than North America’s largest public transit-related exhibition and annual meeting; it represents a pivotal turning point for public transit. The longer than usual interval between EXPOs (traditionally they occur every three years), combined with the unique lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, have created an exceptional opportunity. There is a great deal of pent-up demand for the latest ideas, innovations and technologies — to address historical needs, such as state-ofgood-repair and safety, and new priorities like climate change and equity. More than 800 exhibitors are anticipated to fill the Orange County Convention Center’s show floor with new products, services and hands-on demonstrations, as well as the most advanced buses, rail cars and autonomous vehicles. In addition to the exhibits, APTA’s TRANSform Conference offers exclusive educational programs, technical tours and networking events where attendees are introduced to new people, new businesses and new ways of thinking. For bus systems, the learning sessions will focus on such major topics as recruiting frontline workers; examining fare policies, digital collection tools and innovative funding initiatives; investing in zero emission electric buses along with the infrastructure to support them; expanding access to under-served communities; and enhancing the customer experience to help win back riders. Attendees also will be able to share their views on APTA’s work to collaborate with the electric utility industry; measure the value of transit beyond ridership numbers; and identify short-term and long-term workforce diversity, retention and training strategies. Throughout the pandemic, our industry earned the public’s trust, respect and gratitude by proving we are an essential service. With that in mind, the APTA TRANSform Conference and EXPO is designed to leverage that hard-won reputation by acting as the once-in-a-generation catalyst that will shape the future of public transportation. APTA looks forward to welcoming you to Orlando in November! Sincerely, Jeffery A. Nelson, APTA Chair General Manager, Rock Island County Metropolitan Mass Transit District (MetroLink), Moline, IL

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APTA 2021 TRANSform Conference & EXPO

A

Set For November 7-10 In Orlando, FL

fter four years of waiting, the American Public Trans- the EXPO, with booths located throughout the show floor. portation Association’s 2021 TRANSform Conference The EXPO offers a marketplace for the public transportation in& EXPO will take place at the Orange County Convention dustry. Products on display will include alternative-fueled buses Center (OCCC) in Orlando, FL, on November 7-10. The event is and trolleys featuring the latest in technology. billed as public transit’s premier Meanwhile, the APTA TRANSshowcase of technology, products form Conference, held concurrently EXPO hours are as follows: and services, featuring attendees and with the EXPO, will include a series n 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, November 8; exhibitors from around the globe. of educational sessions, speakers, fon 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 9; and, The EXPO is normally scheduled rums and other learning and netn 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10. every three years, but was postworking opportunities.

poned in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At this year’s event, attendees can visit exhibits featuring different types of technology, products and services, while talking with representatives from public transportation-related companies. Over 800 exhibiting companies are expected to attend

A Note About Health & Safety: In an effort to keep participants and staff safe from the COVID-19 virus during the 2021 TRANSform Conference & EXPO, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, as well as the wearing of a face mask, will be required, according to APTA.

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The association also strongly recommends advanced registration to make the process as smooth as possible for attendees, and to avoid overcrowding in the registration area. On-site registration options may be limited. Contactless badge pick-up will be available. On-site registration desks will have a plexiglass barrier between registration staff and attendees. Floor decals will indicate 6-foot distance at registration lines. Hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the convention center. Also, high-touch areas will be cleaned and sanitized on a regular basis during the event, APTA stated. OCCC has hosted more than 100 face-to-face events of all sizes since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Convention center officials have implemented Recovery and Resiliency Guidelines, while the OCCC has achieved Global Biorisk Advisory Council’s (GBAC) Star Accreditation. OCCC officials are also collaborating with Orlando Health, involving a medical concierge program to provide for safe events. Visit www.occc.net/MeetingSafely for more information.

T

GENERAL SESSIONS he Opening General Session for APTA’s 2021 TRANSform Conference & EXPO is scheduled from 8:30 to 10 a.m., on Monday, November 8, at the convention center. Various public transportation officials will speak at the event, as well as former NASA astronaut and U.S. Air Force Colonel Dr. Cady Coleman, who will provide the keynote address. Dr. Coleman participated in two space shuttle missions and a sixmonth expedition on the International Space Station, where she acted as the lead robotics and lead science officer. On the ground at NASA, she served in a variety of roles, including chief of robotics, lead for tile repair efforts after the Columbia accident, and lead astronaut for integration with NASA’s commercial partners, including SpaceX. Her work paved the way for commercial spaceflight collaborations that are now common. In her keynote, Dr. Coleman will draw from her time at NASA, including extreme “remote work” situations, to discuss team building, leadership and innovation. She is currently the global explorer in residence at Arizona State University, and is also a research affiliate at the MIT Media Lab. Another General Session is scheduled for 8 to 9:15 a.m., on Wednesday, November 10, featuring keynote speaker Jeff Henderson. He is an award-winning chef, New York Times best-selling author, entrepreneur and motivational speaker. Henderson started his illustrious culinary career in the unlikeliest of places: federal prison. While serving nearly 10 years, he discovered a previously untapped passion for cooking. Using prison as a catalyst for self-transformation, Henderson was released in 1996 and worked his way from a dishwasher to the first African-American Chef de Cuisine at Caesars Palace. After being named Las Vegas Chef of The Year, Henderson became executive chef at Café Bellagio. Following the publishing of his bestselling memoir, cookbooks and self-help story, Henderson travels the world teaching his lifechanging lessons and working with at-risk young people through his non-profit.

Visit www.aptaexpo.com for more information about the 2021 APTA TRANSform Conference & EXPO.

Visit Busline Magazine At APTA Booth 3273

2021 APTA TRANSform Conference & EXPO Schedule (Courtesy of APTA: Current as of Sept. 17, 2021)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 6 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. APTA Committee Meetings Noon - 4 p.m. APTA Board of Directors Meeting SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. APTA Committee Meetings 6 - 7:30 p.m. Welcome Reception

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8 7 - 8:15 a.m. APTA Committee Meetings 8:30 - 10 a.m. Opening General Session Keynote Speaker: Dr. Cady Coleman 10:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. EXPO 2021 OPEN 1:30 - 3 p.m. General Session: Federal Partners Update 3:30 - 5 p.m. Educational Sessions 5:15 - 7 p.m. APTA Committee Meetings

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9 7 - 8:15 a.m. APTA Committee Meetings 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. APTA Honors Ceremony 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. EXPO 2021 OPEN 1:30 - 3 p.m. Educational Sessions 3:30 - 5 p.m. Educational Sessions 5:15 - 7 p.m. APTA Committee Meetings

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10 8 - 9:15 a.m. General Session Keynote Speaker: Jeff Henderson 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. EXPO 2021 OPEN 9:30 - 10:45 a.m. Educational Sessions 11 - Noon Educational Sessions September/October 2021

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Nova Bus

Nova Bus

Nova LFS Artic Based on the proven Nova LFS platform, the Nova LFS Artic combines a proven track record with the ability to handle your highest volume routes. It was designed to deliver the passenger capacity, onboard fluidity and easy maneuverability your fleet requires. Key benefits: • Platform and design commonality enhance serviceability and reduce costs; • The structural integrity of our single platform, built from reliable U.S.-made stainless steel, maximizes driver and passenger safety; and, • The middle axle equipped with Super Single tires offers industry’s largest center aisle for optimal passenger flow. Nova Bus 260 Banker Road Plattsburgh, NY 12901 518-566-6682 Email: marketing.novabus@volvo.com Website: www.novabus.com

Model .........................................................................................................Nova LFS Artic Seating Capacity ....................................................................................112 passengers Length..............................................................................................................................62’ Width..............................................................................................................................8’5” Height...........................................................................................................................10’9” Engine ..............................................................................Cummins L9 330HP (Diesel) Type of Fuel..............................................................................................................Diesel Chassis......................................................................................................Stainless Steel Air Conditioning......................................................Mobile Climate Control Eco 353 Transmission.................................................................................ZF EcoLife (6 speed) Steering ......................................................................................44’8” (Turning radius) Page 40

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Nova LFS CNG We combined our proven stainless steel LFS structure with the Nova eCooling system to deliver an impressive driving performance. The LFS Natural Gas provides maximum driver and passenger safety, ride comfort, function and reliability wrapped in cutting-edge Nova Bus styling. Key Benefits: • Combined with our Nova eCooling Smart Technology, this vehicle scores high with fuel savings and defines a new generation of natural gas powered buses; • Nova LFS Natural Gas integrates the Cummins L9N with aftertreatment (catalyst) for near zero-emissions; • Quick defueling is possible by avoiding the need for the operator to climb on the roof to manually override the valves. The accessibility of the defueling valve from the Fuel Management Module, combined with the lack of manual-override roof-mounted valves, saves the operator precious preparation time before defueling and makes defueling an easy operation; • The structural integrity of our single platform, built from reliable U.S. made stainless steel, maximizes driver and passenger safety; • Maximum safety with natural gas detection system sensors integrated in the fuel compartment, plus sensors and a fire suppression system in the engine bay; and, • Rooftop catwalk system, accessible from the escape hatch, facilitates visual inspection of tanks, piping and valves.

Model...........................................................................................................Nova LFS CNG Seating Capacity.....................................................................................75 passengers Length .............................................................................................................................40’ Width..............................................................................................................................8’5” Height............................................................................................................................11’2” Engine ...........................................................................................Cummins L9N 280HP Type of Fuel ...................................................................................................Natural Gas Chassis......................................................................................................Stainless Steel Air Conditioning ......................................................Mobile Climate Control Eco 136 Transmission....................................................................................................ZF EcoLife Steering.....................................................................................40’10” (Turning radius)


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Nova Bus

Nova Bus

Nova LFS HEV

Nova LFSe+

Nova LFS BAE hybrid electric drive system is designed specifically for fuel savings and provides a path to zero-emission technology. Series-E enables all the bus propulsion and accessory systems to be powered electrically, and is optimized for city bus duty cycles that typically have low average speeds and frequent stops. Key benefits: • No mechanical link between the diesel engine and the axle, all power comes from the electric motor for better bus fuel economy and emission reductions; • Stop/Start mode provides a quieter environment for passengers and passersby by shutting off the engine as the bus approaches the bus stop, reducing engine idling up to 40 percent; • Depot Drive enables bus operators to enter or depart the bus depot without the engine running for zero-emission short distance travel; • Extended-Range Hybrid mode provides limited zero-emission mobility by travelling on electric power in noise-sensitive areas or emission-sensitive zones; • Accessory Power Systems APS-2 and APS-3 are available to provide all power for accessory systems depending on the needs of transit agencies; • New Energy Storing System ESS-3G-32K offers higher capacity energy storage, enabling more pure electric range; and, • Geofencing option available to control the powertrain using realtime GPS tracking of the bus position when entering predefined sensitive zone.

Powerful, robust and versatile, the Nova LFSe+ is the long-range battery electric vehicle the industry has been looking for. To deliver on our promise to provide the most efficient and reliable long-range electric-powered buses, we have equipped our new LFSe+ model with BAE Systems’ innovative electric technology. Key features: • Modular battery options capable of storing up to 564 kWh on onboard energy; • Instant torque and increased performance even at maximum passenger load (200kW); • Industry’s best gradeability to climb 23 percent at GVW, exceeds APTA Whitebook performance; • A flexible combination of depot and on-route charging; • Fully electrified auxiliaries and HVAC. High efficiency, less mechanical loss and better control; • The structural integrity of our single platform, built from reliable U.S.- made stainless steel, maximizes driver and passenger safety; and, • Offers an extremely silent and comfortable experience. On-board, at the bus stop and for nearby residents.

Model...........................................................................................................Nova LFS HEV Seating Capacity ....................................................................................80 passengers Length .............................................................................................................................40’ Width..............................................................................................................................8’5” Height ..........................................................................................................................10’11” Engine ..........................................................................................Cummins B6.7 280HP Type of Fuel..............................................................................................................Diesel Chassis......................................................................................................Stainless Steel Air Conditioning ....................................................Mobile Climate Control Eco 136e Transmission................................................................................................BAE HDS200 Steering.....................................................................................40’10” (Turning radius)

Model ...............................................................................................................Nova LFSe+ Seating Capacity ....................................................................................68 passengers Length .............................................................................................................................40’ Width..............................................................................................................................8’5” Height...........................................................................................................................10’8” Engine ............................................................................................BAE System HDS200 Type of Fuel .....................................................................................Electric Propulsion Chassis......................................................................................................Stainless Steel Air Conditioning ....................................................Mobile Climate Control Eco 136e Transmission ................................................................Direct drive-no transmission Steering.....................................................................................40’10” (Turning radius)

Nova Bus 260 Banker Road Plattsburgh, NY 12901 518-566-6682 Email: marketing.novabus@volvo.com Website: www.novabus.com

September/October 2021

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BYD

BYD

K7M ER

K11M

Designed for transit applications, the K7M ER offers a range of up to 185 miles in a 102-inch-wide body. Transit systems demand high quality and extreme reliability, and the Americanbuilt K7M ER delivers. The K7M ER is also perfectly designed for narrow streets and sharp turning road profiles.

With the capacity of carry up to 55 seated passengers, the K11M is ideal for high-volume urban transit systems and BRT lanes. It is also perfectly designed to shuttle passengers at large airports, university campuses, entertainment venues and parking facilities.

BYD 1800 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90015 Phone: 661-436-0513 Email: jim.skeen@byd.com

BYD 1800 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90015 Phone: 661-436-0513 Email: jim.skeen@byd.com

Website: en.byd.com

Website: en.byd.com

Model .......................................................................................................................K7M ER Seating Capacity............................................................................................................20 Length ............................................................................................................................ 30’ Width..............................................................................................................................102” Height............................................................................................................................134” Engine...................................................................................Rear axle electric motors Type of Fuel ...........................................................................................Battery-electric Chassis ..........................................................Front axle ZF/rear axle in-wheel drive

Model.............................................................................................................................K11M Seating Capacity............................................................................................................55 Length ............................................................................................................................ 60’ Width..............................................................................................................................102” Height............................................................................................................................134” Engine...................................................................................Rear axle electric motors Type of Fuel ...........................................................................................Battery-electric Chassis ..........................................................Front axle ZF/rear axle in-wheel drive

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ABC Companies

ABC Companies

Turtle Top electrified by Optimal

Vicinity Lightning

The Optimal E1 chassis features an all-electric, zero-emission drive system designed to enable more than 125 miles of driving range. Optimal’s E1 chassis utilizes Proterra’s high-performance battery systems, which have industry-leading energy density, a flexible design to fit within a wide variety of vehicles, and rigorous pack level validation designed for safe and durable vehicle operation. Optimal’s E1 chassis features a unique rear-drive system, enabling the integration of Proterra’s industry-leading battery platform with 113 kWh of energy capacity, located entirely between the chassis frame rails. Optimal’s rear-drive design makes possible a much easier aftermarket body integration. The vehicle can fully charge in about two hours with optional DC fast charging. The all-electric E1 will feature a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 14,500 pounds and carries a warranty on the electric motors of 5 years/150,000 miles, 6 years/unlimited miles on the batteries and 5 years/75,000 miles on the chassis. Installed on this chassis is the Turtle Top Terra Transit with a floorplan for 12 passengers and two wheelchairs. Turtle Top products are built with a reputation in the automotive industry as a vehicle that assures quality, service, longevity and integrity. The Turtle Top Terra Transit carries a 5 years/100,000 warranty.

ABC Companies is pleased to offer a full line of Vicinity heavy-duty, medium-sized transit bus models. Available in a variety of sizes, configurations, and propulsion systems, Vicinity low-floor transit buses are designed for value and reliability from the ground up. They integrate high-quality, proven, and commercially available components, as well as industry standardized charging solutions for EV fleets. Vicinity buses have gone through the U.S. Federal Transit Authority’s (FTA) Altoona testing and come through top of their category. This internationally recognized and rigorous testing, which entails 12 years and 500,000 miles of heavy-duty testing, has placed Vicinity coaches Best in Class for fuel economy, structural durability, and maintenance and repairs. From 28’ mid-size models to 30’ and 35’ mediumsized heavy-duty buses, Vicinity buses offer scalability for a wide range of uses. Vicinity buses are designed to integrate into every transit garage, even the smallest ones. Assembled and tested in the U.S., Vicinity buses are built for maximum versatility to support multiple mobility applications like community shuttles, paratransit, university shuttles and more.

ABC Companies 17469 West Colonial Drive, Winter Garden, FL 34787 Phone: 800-222-2871 Email: tpeebles@abc-companies.com Website: www.abc-companies.com

Mode ......................................................................................Optimal E1 chassis with a Turtle Top Terra Transit paratransit body Seating Capacity ................................................12 passengers with 2 wheelchairs Length.......................................................................................274-1/2” body - 158” WB Width ...............................................................................................................................96” Height ..........................................................................................10’-2” with rooftop AC Engine.............................................................................................................................N/A Type of Fuel ....................................................................Electric - Proterra Batteries Chassis...............................................................................................................Ford E450 Air Conditioning...................................................Proair electric rooftop - 60k BTU Transmission ...................................................................................Automatic 6 speed Steering.......................................................................................Turning radius 54.8 ft Suspension.......................................................................Front coil springs/rear leaf

ABC Companies 17469 West Colonial Drive, Winter Garden, FL 34787 Phone: 800-222-2871 Email: tpeebles@abc-companies.com Website: www.abc-companies.com

Model....................................................................................Vicinity Lightning 28’ CNG Seating Capacity.........................................................................Up to 34 passengers Length..............................................................................................................................28’ Width............................................................................................................................96.5” Height .............................................................................................................................9.8’ Engine..................................................................................................Cummins ISB 6.7L Type of Fuel............................................................................................Battery Electric Chassis....................................................................................................................Vicinity Air Conditioning...........................................................................BTU 170,000/133,000 Transmission........................................................................................Allison, ZF, Voith Steering........................................................................................Turning radius 30’10” Suspension.................................................................................................Wabco Ecas II September/October 2021

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Hometown Manufacturing, Inc.

Hometown Manufacturing, Inc.

Hometown Coach Low-Floor Urban

Hometown Trolley Low-Floor Streetcar

One hundred percent American-Made, mechanically friendly and operator favorable, the Urban is a low-floor, heavy-duty bus made for transit. Available in diesel, CNG and full electric, the Urban boasts handcrafted quality and the latest transit technology, all manufactured in Wisconsin, USA. The Urban has exceptional, modern fit and finish on Hometown’s proven low-floor chassis. The interior is robustly constructed with durable products, making the Urban perfect for heavy transit applications. With several drive train options, you get exactly what you need, guaranteed American-Made and built to last.

Hometown Manufacturing, Inc. 750 Industrial Parkway, PO Box 185, Crandon, WI 54520 Phone: 715-301-0149 Email: hi@hometown-mfg.com Website: www.hometown-mfg.com

Model...................................................................Hometown Coach Low-Floor Urban Seating................................................................................................28-40 passengers Length ......................................................................................................................29’-40’ Width..............................................................................................................................102” Height.........................................................................................................................123.5” Engine.....................................Cummins L9/L9N, Electric, Hybrid, CNG, Hydrogen Fuel...............................................................Diesel, Electric, Hybrid, CNG, Hydrogen Chassis .........................................................................................Hometown Low-Floor Air Conditioning...................................................Ducted HVAC, Driver Dash Mount Transmission ............................................................................................B-400/B-400R Page 44

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The Streetcar trolley model combines the nostalgic features of the turnof-the-century passenger cable car with the modern technology of today’s transit advancements. It’s a powerhouse heavyduty, low-floor trolley capable of running in any mass transit, high passenger capacity application. The Streetcar trolley is available with a newly developed series hybrid electric system, with a range exceeding 180 miles and a short recharge time of 4-6 hours.

Hometown Manufacturing, Inc. 750 Industrial Parkway, PO Box 185, Crandon, WI 54520 Phone: 715-301-0149 Email: hi@hometown-mfg.com Website: www.hometown-mfg.com

Model...........................................................Hometown Trolley Low-Floor Streetcar Seating................................................................................................28-40 passengers Length......................................................................................................................30’-40’ Width ...............................................................................................................................99” Height ............................................................................................................................128” Engine...............................................Cummins ISB, ISL9, Diesel, Electric or Hybrid Fuel..............................................................................................Diesel, Electric, Hybrid Chassis .........................................................................................Hometown Low-Floor Air Conditioning.........................................................................................Ducted HVAC Transmission....................................................................................................B-300/400


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Driverge Vehicle Innovations®

Driverge Vehicle Innovations®

Ford Transit Small Bus With Wheelchair Lift Options

Ford Transit CurbSmart® Microtransit Community Access

The Ford Transit Small Bus from Driverge Vehicle Innovations provides traditional bus door walk-in entry, which saves money on upfit and fuel economy over traditional cutaways. Benefits include: Built on the Ford Transit 350 with 144-inch long wheelbase and extended body; 3.7L V6 engine with 275HP; 38-inch wide doorway with built-in steps that are perfect for shuttle or transporter use; 84-inch high door opening that offers maximum clearance and more room for entry and exit; bus door features remote for quick and easy operation from the driver seat, or outside the vehicle to allow driver to better assist passengers entering and exiting the vehicle; seats up to 15 passengers, including driver; rear lift available for wheelchair transport; can hold up to four wheelchairs; and, exclusive SmartFloor flexible flooring system that allows moving and removing of seats to bring dozens of seating and wheelchair layout options.

Driverge’s patent pending Ford Transit CurbSmart is designed to transport passengers with ease thanks to an added rear-entry doorway. Perfect for public transport and microtransit service, this van was designed with metro-area drivers in mind to make picking up and dropping off passengers as simple as possible. A heavy-duty lift for wheelchair passengers offers a safe accessibility, while a 27-inch wide and 80-inch tall walk-in door provides generous height for all size passengers. The CurbSmart comes equipped with slip resistant, durable flooring, overhead standing rails for additional passengers and an optional roof-mounted secondary AC system. CurbSmart® is a registered trademark of Driverge Vehicle Innovations, LLC.

Driverge Vehicle Innovations 4199 Kinross Lakes Parkway Richfield, OH 44286 855-337-9543 Email: biz@driverge.com www.driverge.com

Model............................................................................Ford Transit Small Bus Seating Capacity .......................................15 passengers including driver Length............................................................................................................264” Width.....................................................81.5” (97.4” including side mirrors) Height .............................................................................................................108” Engine..............................................................................................Ford 3.7L V6 Type of Fuel ....................................................................................................Gas Chassis ........................................................................Ford Transit 350 EL HR Air Conditioning ....................................................................................Factory Wheelchair Lift Option ..............................................................................Rear

Driverge Vehicle Innovations 4199 Kinross Lakes Parkway Richfield, OH 44286 855-337-9543 Email: biz@driverge.com www.driverge.com

Model..........................................................................Ford Transit CurbSmart Seating Capacity........................6 ambulatory + 2 WC (including driver) Length............................................................................................................264” Width.....................................................81.5” (97.4” including side mirrors) Height .............................................................................................................108” Engine..............................................................................................Ford 3.7L V6 Type of Fuel ....................................................................................................Gas Chassis ........................................................................Ford Transit 350 EL HR Air Conditioning ....................................................................................Factory Wheelchair Lift Option...............................................................................Side September/October 2021

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From Altro Transflor

ARBOC Specialty Vehicles

Take The Next Step In Safety At APTA 2021

“Altro Transflor will be showcasing some exciting new product enhancements at booth 3053 during this year’s APTA exhibition. These new improvements are shown as part of our ongoing commitment to deliver lighter, safer floors with unrivalled durability and great design options to the global transport market, ” according to Altro. “APTA is well-known as a platform to present new innovations to the transport market.” Following is a Q&A with Altro Transfor.

Equess CHARGE™ Zero emissions, smart mobility, lower operating costs, compatible charging systems — the Equess CHARGE™ from ARBOC is ready to meet tomorrow’s transportation demands today. The Equess CHARGE™ proudly incorporates the proven battery-electric technology from New Flyer® that is deployed in thousands of buses across the United States and Canada. Equess CHARGE™ is a low-floor shuttle/transit bus on an ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, LLC chassis, that easily accomodates up to 33 seated passengers and six wheelchair passengers. This bus displays true Equal Access for Everyone® with no steps throughout! ARBOC’s advanced technology exceeds ADA guidelines with a 1:6 ramp slope and 39-inch entrance door opening for passengers in need of extra assistance and wheelchair accessibility. ARBOC Specialty Vehicles 51165 Greenfield Parkway, Middlebury, IN 46540 Phone: 574-825-4880 Email: svsales@arbocsv.com Website: www.arbocsv.com

Model ....................................................................................................Equess CHARGE™ Seating Capacity......................................................Up to 33 passengers and up to 6 wheelchair locations Length......................30’ 2” (9.2 m) over bumpers/35’ 2” (10.7 m) over bumpers Width.............................................................................................................100” (2.54 m) Height.................................................................................................................120” (3 m) Engine .............................................................SIEMENS ELFA3 electric drive system Type of Fuel...........................................................................................................Electric Chassis.........................................................ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, LLC Chassis Air Conditioning...............................................Valeo REVO-E/Thermo King Athena Transmission.......................................................................N/A - electric direct drive Steering................................................................TRW Hydraulic with electric pump Suspension...............................................................................ZF 4 bag rear, IFS front Page 46

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What new developments will Altro Transflor be showcasing at the event? Since 2017, Altro Transflor has made a wide range of improvements to our safety floors for heavy-duty buses. We have reduced the weight of our floors by up to 20 percent, with no compromises on safety or durability. Our lighter weight floors offer tensile strength improved by 15 percent, elongation strength improved by 20 percent, scratch resistance improved by 110 percent and tear propagation strength improved by 40 percent. All of these benefits are offered alongside the industryleading one-in-a-million slip resistance performance of Altro transport floors. Visit us at booth 3053 to find out more and see these improvements in action for yourself.

What new advancements will you be showing for heavy-duty vehicles? We will also be showcasing our unique Heavy Duty Plus (HD+) range of 2.7mm floors. We have re-engineered our HD+ range to make it our toughest and lightest yet, developed to bring unrivalled performance lasting for the service life of the vehicle. Offering robust surface resilience and excellent slip resistance in our strongest ever construction, our naturally hygienic HD+ floors are the best choice for longevity and resilience on heavy-duty buses which see the highest levels of footfall. Our 2.7mm HD+ floors are the lightest available in the market. What new developments do you have to offer for motorcoach applications? We also offer a range of design-led, high durability floors for the coach market, including metallic-look Altro Transflor Artis and Altro Transflor Wood. The authentic finish of these stylish flooring options allows motor coach interiors to present the subtle elegance of natural materials at a fraction of the weight. They not only work brilliantly to complement other interior features, they also offer a hard-wearing, hygienic and easy to clean alternative to other flooring materials.

What can you tell us about future enhancements to your products? We will be showing some sneak peeks into what the future at Altro Transflor holds, including exciting new designs and new, even better product formulations for all bus applications.

Find Altro Transflor at booth number 3053 during APTA 2021 to find out more about these industry-leading new enhancements.


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RIDES ON DEMAND YOU’RE CLOSER THAN YOU THINK! Have you heard about TripSpark’s new Microtransit app - Rides on Demand? It’s an iOS and Android app for TripSpark’s demand-response software platform, that allows your agency to meet the mobility needs of today’s riders and still meet your budget.

Leverage TripSpark software (Novus/ PASS) to address challenges such as: • Low ridership & underperforming routes • Service to new neighborhoods • First Mile/Last Mile gaps • Late night/early morning service • Overburdened paratransit service • Delivering the same level of service despite budget cuts

Riders love how easy Rides on Demand is too. They can simply:







DOWNLOAD THE FREE APP

SIGN UP

BOOK A RIDE!

CONTACT US today at info@tripspark.com or at 1-877-448-7273 to request demo or to learn more, visit www.tripspark.com/ROD Visit Us At APTA Booth #769


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American Solar Electric See Ad On Page 25 3415 West Lake Mead Blvd., Suite 105 North Las Vegas, NV 89032 USA Office: 702-648-5333; Cell: 702-274-5318 Email: william@americansolarelectric.com Website: www.americansolarelectric.com Company Officers: William Ramsdell, President; Susan May, Director Products: American Solar Electric (ASE) has invented and manufactures, in Las Vegas, NV, USA a Solar Bus Stop Light that safely lights the waiting passengers and the bus schedule sign. This street light needs no electric hook up. It provides its own power to light an area of at least 20 feet round and is bright enough for the waiting passengers to read a book as well as clearly see the bus route schedule attached on the pole under the light. This light will stay lit all night long for 14 hour nights and is completely adjustable and field maintainable. The component parts are replaceable—LED E26 light bulb, battery, and controller are easily replaced. The light top is a pyramid design with the battery and components inside this pyramid. It has 27 watts of solar —three solar panels 9 watts each pointing in three directions of the pyramid (East, South & West) each sloped at 36 degrees to gain the maximum sun harvest per day. The fourth side of the pyramid is the door to the battery compartment. The solar panel pyramid top rotates to facilitate easy installation, so that the light may be installed facing any direction on any street, and yet still have the door on the fourth side facing north where there is little or no sun. ASE uses a 11.2 Ah Lithium battery, which will last five years. This LED light will run for three to four nights from ONE day of full solar battery charge from the sun. The pole can be mounted into the ground or can be top mounted on any sidewalk or street. ASE will build custom orders with pre-orientated lights for specific city streets when given the installation locations. ASE Page 48

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has sold these all over the USA and Canada since 2009. Visit americansolarelectric.com, email to william@americansolarelectric.com or call William Ramsdell at 702-648-5333. 21

Austin Mohawk and Company, LLC 2175 Beechgrove Place Utica, NY 13501 USA 315-793-3000 Email: info@austinmohawk.com Website: www.austinmohawk.com Company Officers: Richard Davies, Vice President and General Manager Products: Bus shelters, smoking shelters, pay station shelters, stairway enclosures, vestibules, gas station canopies, access control canopies, loading dock canopies, guard shacks, toll booths, ticket booths, security buildings, access control buildings and press boxes. 21

BikeLid LLC P.O. Box 408 Medina, WA 98039 USA 509-423-9195 Email: pfortier@BikeLid.com Website: www.BikeLid.com Company Officers: Mary Kay Kuryla, CEO Products: The BikeLid is a patented form of secure bike parking that provides two bicycles superior protection from the elements, vandals and theft. Made in the USA, durable with a graffiti resistant shell. Approved by security and police, BikeLids meet Homeland Security requirements for monitoring without opening. The design deters storing non-bike property and discourages habitation. Units come fully assembled and can be installed on any surface in about 20 minutes. 21

Brasco International, Inc. 32400 Industrial Dr. Madison Heights, MI 48071 USA 313-393-0393 Email: sales@brasco.com Website: www.brasco.com

September/October 2021

Company Officers: William Noecker, President; Cristina Sullivan, Vice President; Sean Loewe, Director of Sales Products: Since 1993, Brasco International, Inc. has manufactured thousands of passenger waiting shelters and site furnishings for transit agencies and municipalities. It offers several standard models as well as fully customized designs suited to clients’ needs. Products include bus shelters, bike shelters, advertising displays, wayfinding, site furnishings, and solar lighting packages. Brasco also designs and fabricates custom shelters for BRT, transit centers, and railways. All Brasco products are made in the USA and meet all FTA and Buy America requirements. Brasco manufactures with top grade materials on state-of-the-art machinery, all with an experienced, highly trained team of experts. Brasco values its employees, vendors and customers. Its goal is to always exceed expectations and take pride in doing what is right. Brasco’s hope is to build relationships with clients that last by adhering to those core values. Brasco’s commitment is to every project being a success and understanding that quality and functionality are of the utmost importance. At Brasco, clients are in expert hands with a team that has been doing just that for over 27 years. 21

Columbia Equipment Co., Inc. 72 Albany Ave. Freeport, NY 11520 USA 516-442-3340 Website: www.columbiaequipment.com Products: A North American manufacturer of pre-fabricated aluminum bus shelters. Specializing in this field since 1961. Available in standard and custom designs, in a variety of sizes and configurations, and in all price ranges. Product line includes bus stop shelters, train station shelters, windscreens, smoking shelters, walkway canopies, information kiosks, ticket vending shelters and custom street furniture. 19


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Daytech Limited 70 Disco Rd. Toronto, ON M9W 1L9 CANADA 877-329-1907 Email: info@daytechlimited.com Website: www.daytechlimited.com Products: A North American manufacturer of pre-fabricated transit shelters, bike shelters, canopies, street furniture and transit signage. 20

Duo-Gard Industries, Inc. 40442 Koppernick Rd. Canton, MI 48187 USA 734-207-9700 Email: info@duo-gard.com Website: www.duo-gard.com Products: Duo-Gard transit shelters provide versatility in size, style and service that meet goals for aesthetics, performance and economy. This versatility is also found with Duo-Gard’s canopies, walkways, windbreaks, stairway enclosures, furniture, bike racks and other structures needed to complete a project. 19

Enseicom, Inc. See Ad On Page 9 225 Norman Lachine, QC H8R 1A3 CANADA 800-663-0673 Email: conmoussis@enseicom.com Website: www.ensei.com Company Officers: Constantine Moussis, President Products: Enseicom manufactures such products as bus shelters, street furniture, electric signs and billboard structures in North America. Staffed with in-house graphic/technical design teams overseen by structural engineers. Enseicom designs, develops, customizes, and manufactures bus shelters, street furniture, LRT, BRT, park and rides, and solar powered solutions. The quality and serviceability of Enseicom’s products, combining state-of-the-art green technologies, has allowed the company to meet unique needs of clients since 1982. 21

Handi-Hut, Inc. See Ad At Right 3 Grunwald St. Clifton, NJ 07013 USA 800-603-6635 Email: staff@handi-hut.com Website: www.handi-hut.com Products: Celebrating 50th Anniversary. In June 2021, Handi-Hut merged with Velodome Shelters, a leading producer of bicycle parking infrastructure. Handi-Hut offers innovative new products, streamlined service and expanded manufacturing capabilities. Handi-Hut designs, engineers and manufactures aluminum and glass passenger waiting shelters for bus stops and train stations. Its modular system enables the company to offer numerous sizes, models, roof styles, materials, colors, accessories and other options to customize a shelter to

suit customers’ site and budget needs. Other Handi-Hut products include smoking shelters, bike shelters, bike racks, custom and specialty shelters, walkway covers, entry canopies and enclosures. 21

Madrax / Thomas Steele 1080 Uniek Dr. Waunakee, WI 53597 USA 608-849-1080 Email: sales@madrax.com Website: www.madrax.com Products: Maker of heavy-duty, high quality bike racks. 20

Mountain Shelter Solutions 6950 Base Line Wallaceburg, ON N8A 1A1 CANADA 877-588-8858 Email: sales@mountainsheltersolutions.com Website: www.mountainsheltersolutions.com Products: Transit shelters, smoking shelters, bicycle shelters, covered walkways, canopies, advertisement signs and street furniture. 20

Poligon by PorterCorp 4240 136th Ave. Holland, MI 49424 USA 616-888-3500 Website: www.poligon.com Products: Standard and custom shade coverings for applications in steel, fabric and wood. Structures include transit shelters, walkway covers, pavilions, trellises, signs

and fabric shade. A wide selection of standard shelters can be fully customized. Frame finishes are available in smooth and textured colors. The company also offers a variety of roof types and colors. 19

QMF Steel Inc. See Ad On Page 17 3846 Interstate 30 East Campbell, TX 75422 USA 903-455-3618; 800-881-4071 Email: busline@qmfsteel.com Website: www.qmfsteel.com Products: QMF Steel, Inc. is a DBE/WBE certified business in operation since 1994. Buy America material supplier, manufacturer and fabricator for transportation clients across the U.S. ISO and AISC quality certified, QMF’s equipment can machine parts; cut materials with bundle cutting saws, angle cutting saw, plasma, sheet and tube laser; bend with a press brake, precision brake and profile bender; roll sheet; drill using a beam line; blast off mill scale; weld using certified welders and robot welders. 21

Tolar Manufacturing Co. 258 Mariah Cir. Carona, CA 92879 USA 800-339-6165 Email: info@tolarmfg.com Website: www.tolarmfg.com Products: Since 1991, Tolar Manufacturing has been producing transit shelters, kiosks, benches and trash receptacles. 21

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Busline Buyers Guide To

Fare Collections

Avail Technologies, Inc. 1960 Old Gatesburg Rd., Suite 200 State College, PA 16803 USA 814-234-3394 Website: www.availtec.com Products: A fully integrated suite of products, designed to meet the specific needs of transit properties. Avail’s offerings include automatic passenger counters and fare collection products. 20

Brush Industries 301 Reagan St. Sunbury, PA 17801 USA 570-286-5611 Website: www.brushindustries.com Products: Long life magnetic recording heads and card readers for the smart card and magnetic stripe card industries. 20

Crane Payment Innovations (CPI) 3222 Phoenixville Pike, Suite 200 Malvern, PA 19355 USA 610-430-2700 Website: www.cranepi.com

Products: Fare collection products and services. 20

Cubic Transportation Systems 9333 Balboa Ave. San Diego, CA 92123 USA 858-277-6780 Website: www.cubic.com Products: An integrator of payment and information technology and services for intelligent travel solutions. Turnkey solutions support all public transport modes including bus and bus rapid transit. 20

Diamond Manufacturing Inc. See Ad Below 2330 Burlington St. N. Kansas City, MO 64116 USA 800-343-1009, 816-421-8363 Website: www.diamondmfg.com Products: Diamond Manufacturing offers a line of fare collection equipment to the transit industry. It supplies traditional, manual fare boxes, donation boxes and a fare

THE DIAMOND FAMILY

box with a remote fare dump option. Diamond’s traditional fare boxes are the round units (Models H, E-5, D), which are designed to accept coins, tokens and tickets; and, rectangular units (Models RV, SV, XV, NV), which are designed to accept dollar bills, coins, tokens, tickets, passes and similar fare media. Donation boxes come in three sizes to fit most applications. These units can be mounted in a variety of ways: on the modesty panel or stanchion pole in either a vertical or horizontal position. Models F-1 and F-24 remote dump fare boxes can be mounted away from the driver with a push button dump feature. These models can be paired with smart card readers. 20

Electronic Data Magnetics (EDM), Inc. 210 Old Thomasville Rd. High Point, NC 27260 USA 800-336-8115 Email: contactus@electronicdata.com Website: www.electronicdata.com Products: EDM offers short, medium and long-term solutions for revenue collection requirements. 20

Evolis Rising Sun Mills, 188 Valley St., Suite 421 Providence, RI 02909 USA 401-751-5483 Website: www.evolis.com Products: Fare products for public transportation companies and agencies to better control their revenues. Products include transit badges. 20

Genfare 800 Arthur Ave. Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 USA 847-871-1231 Website: www.genfare.com Products: Customized fare solutions to transit agencies throughout North America. Genfare integrated systems encompass the latest in electronic validating fareboxes, smart card and mobile payment options, ticket vending and point-of-sale card distribution systems. 20

Serving The Industry Since 1947 Made in the U.S.A.

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September/October 2021

INIT, Innovations In Transportation, Inc. 424 Network Station Chesapeake, VA 23320 USA 757-413-9100 Website: www.initse.com Products: Ticketing and fare management products. 20

LECIP Group 881 IL Route 83 Bensenville, IL 60106 USA 312-626-2525 Website: www.lecip.com Products: Automated fare collection systems including fareboxes, smart card systems, transfer voucher issuance machines and digital fare displays. 20

MJM Innovations 6300 Blair Hill Ave., Suite 301 Baltimore, MD 21209 USA 866-664-1277 Website: www.mjminnovations.com Products: MJM Innovations improves transportation programs using web-based software, mobile apps, card solutions, trip management and management services. 19

Scheidt & Bachmann USA, Inc. 1001 Pawtucket Blvd. Lowell, MA 01854 USA 781-272-1664 Website: www.scheidt-bachmann.de Products: The company’s fare collection systems division is a global supplier in fare collection technology. 20

TransitFare & Systems 760 Birchmount Rd., Unit 42 Toronto, ON M1K 5H8 CANADA 416-993-2503 Email: info@transitfare.com Website: www.transitfare.com Products: Integrated fare management solutions for transit operators located throughout the world. The company’s solutions integrate fare management, ticket issuing and validation, revenue management, and financial and ridership reporting. 20

TripSpark Technologies See Ad On Page 47 5265 Rockwell Dr. NE Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 USA 877-448-7273 Website: www.tripspark.com Products: A people transportation technology company focused on helping midsized public transit agencies and private operators achieve their operational goals. The company provides integrated software and hardware solutions for fixed-route, paratransit, non-emergency medical transportation, ride sharing and K-12 school customers. TripSpark is an operating division of Trapeze Group, a transit software provider in operation since 1990. 21


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From American Solar Electric

New Level Of Safety For Bus Stops With Solar Powered Bus Stop Lights

American Solar Electric (ASE) has invented and manufactures (from its Las Vegas, NV, facility) a Solar Bus Stop Light that safely lights waiting passenger areas and bus schedule signs. Features of the Bus Stop Light include: • No electric hookup; • Light will stay lit all night long — for 14-hour nights; • Is completely adjustable and field maintainable; and, • Component parts are replaceable - LED E26 light bulb, battery and controller are easily replaced. The light top is a pyramid design with the battery and components inside this pyramid. It has 27 watts of solar and three solar panels — 9 watts each — pointing in three directions of the pyramid (east, south and west ). Each is sloped at 36 degrees to gain the maximum sun harvest per day. The fourth side of the pyramid is the door to the battery compartment. The solar panel pyramid top rotates to facilitate easy installation so that the light may be installed facing any direction on any street, and yet still have the door on the fourth side facing north, where there is little or no sun. ASE uses an 11.2 Ah lithium battery, which will last five years. This LED light will run for three to four nights from just one day of full solar battery charge from the sun. The pole can be mounted in the ground, or can be top-mounted on any sidewalk or street. ASE will build custom orders with pre-orientated lights for specified city streets when given the installation locations. ASE has sold these all over the United States and Canada since 2009. Visit americansolarelectric.com, email william@americansolarelectric.com or call William Ramsdell at (702) 648-5333 for more information. APTA Booth #3010.

Visit Us At APTA Booth #3063

September/October 2021

This street light needs no electric hook up. It provides its own power to light an area of at least 20 feet around, and is bright enough for waiting passengers to read a book, as well as clearly see the bus route schedule attached to the pole under the light.

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Louisiana Motor Coach

Family Company Honors Life Of Late Son With A Birthday Celebration And Donation Announcement

Thursday, September 16, Louisiana Motor Coach Vice President/General Manager Louis Sanders, surprised his family with the help of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Baton Rouge Chapter, in a memorial for the family's late son, Bobby Celeste, who fell ill from the debilitating disease. At the event, Sanders spoke, in Bobby Celeste’s memory, about the struggles for parents of those with CF, and the need to expedite finding a cure — solidifying his commitment with a pact to donate $1,000 on

You asked for lightweight... we

NEW

the 16th of each month, from that day forward. He added that vehicles in the company’s nationwide fleet will be fitted with a QR code linking directly to a landing page for additional ongoing donations. Attending and accepting the donation was Erin Achberger, executive director of the Louisiana-Mississippi chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, as well as CFF community members, Dr. Brandon Hider and his daughter, Bree, who also has CF. “In our world today, we don’t always slow down long enough to take in ‘life’ as such a gift as it is,” said Sanders. “We will continue donating until CF stands for Cure Found.” For more information on the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and details on finding a cure, visit www.cff.org/Get-Involved/. delivered delivered

Altro Trans or Meta™, Chroma™, and Figura™ at 2.2mm and 2.7mm are the lightest weight bus oors available. Durable enough to stand up to heavy-duty traf c with excellent slip resistance. Lighter weight vehicle components contribute to greater fuel economy, an environmentally conscious mode of travel, and facilitates the uptake of zero-carbon fuels.

Reyco Granning Awarded Sixth U.S. Patent On ComfortMaster® Technology

“ComfortMaster® is the next generation of independent front suspensions from Reyco Granning. The system provides a combination of responsive handling and class-leading steer angle to increase driver confidence and improve maneuverability,” according to the company. “The ComfortMaster® represents our most thoroughly validated product ever. Because this technology is so unique, we thought it would boost confidence to go above and beyond our full menu of simulations and lab tests, so, we took a vehicle to the Navistar Proving Grounds and ran it through the rugged Altoona commercial bus route.

Learn more at booth 3053 during the APTA EXPO in Orlando Nov 7 - 10

lightweight safety flooring for the transportation industry USA 800.382.0333 altro.com/transport

CANADA 800.565.4658 transport@altro.com

12648 Clark Street Santa Fe Springs CA 90670

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“At 275 pounds less than the legacy product, we offer a true 60-degree wheel cut angle, the highest allowed on 365 tires yielding maneuverability in tight spaces. Our system is also compatible with 385 tires. With ComfortMaster®, your chassis will be safer and will inspire confidence without sacrificing ride quality.” For more information, visit www.reycogranning.com.


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D

American Battery Solutions Meets Soaring Demand With Additional Capacity And New Products

emand for improved battery electric capabilities, involving buses and other commercial vehicles, continues to soar in the U.S. and beyond. It’s a demand that officials from American Battery Solutions (ABS) are meeting head-on, by focusing on advanced engineering, product development and manufacturing. ABS is currently producing low-voltage lithium-ion battery packs, under its Alliance Intelligent Battery Series™ name, that are highly efficient and serve a variety of needs. The company is also developing high-voltage lithiumion battery packs, designed for rigorous use in automotive, light-duty and commercial electric vehicles (EV) and large industrial applications, through its Proliance Intelligent Battery Series™. It starts production in August 2022. The ABS headquarters, in Lake Orion, MI, John Warner, includes an innovation/engineering center and ABS Chief Customer Officer state-of-the art prototyping and testing facility. Its 170,000-square-foot manufacturing location in Springboro, OH, meanwhile, has started production involving modular battery solutions/systems for underserved and emerging transportation, industrial and commercial market segments, primarily in North America and Europe. ABS was founded in 2018 by current Chairman & CEO Subhash Dhar. He has over 40 years of experience as a pioneer in advanced battery technology and development. Backed by the KCK Group, a principal investment firm, ABS acquired manufacturing and battery pack testing assets in 2018 from Robert Bosch Battery Systems, which includes the current ABS facilities in Michigan and Ohio. According to ABS Chief Customer Officer John Warner, the company has assembled a team of industry experts with a deep

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understanding of high-voltage, automotive-grade battery systems — from concept development, prototyping, testing and validation to high volume production. A major focus at ABS, from its onset, has been the company’s desire to satisfy what Warner calls an under-served segment — battery solutions for low-volume applications. “We kept hearing from companies that they needed various solutions for their low-volume applications. They may be using 1,000, 5,000 or even 10,000 battery packs per year, but those levels were still not large enough for suppliers to invest in product development,” Warner said. He noted the automotive industry drives engineering dollars for new battery electric production, leaving fewer recourses for such segments as automotive EV, start-ups and buses. That is where ABS comes in, working hard to fill a void with service, expertise and new products. “ABS officially started business in April 2019, moved into its Michigan facility in June 2019 and the Ohio facility in August 2019,” Warner said. “From that point, we have started working on battery product development to service different needs.” That includes: n E48 volt (V), 2 kilowatthour (kWh) battery modules, designed for neighborhood electric vehicles, such as golf carts, along with industrial applications. Production is currently underway at the ABS facility in Ohio; n A GC2 lead acid form factor offering, with production scheduled to start in October 2021. It involves lithiumion technology being used to produce a lead acid form factor; and, n Development of the Proliance Intelligent Battery Series™, forming a high-voltage standardized battery pack family. It will include 350 V, 50 kWh packs; 350 V, 100 kWh packs; and 650 V, 110 kWh packs. “The Proliance Intelligent Battery Series™ will not only give ABS a family of standardized packs, but also provide the components for future custompack development,” Warner said. “ABS has currently been awarded two production development contracts involving custom battery packs, one de-

signed for a light commercial vehicle and the other for a heavyduty vehicle. Production of those high-voltage packs starts in 2022 and 2023, respectively.” A main goal at ABS is to offer a balanced portfolio of batteryrelated products, helping various industries including automotive, industrial and transportation. The latter involves such commercial vehicles as buses, light delivery vans and heavyduty Class A trucks. “I like to say, ‘Outside of the automotive market, if it rolls, floats or flies, we are developing batteries to meet those needs,’” Warner said. “For example, our 650 V, 110 kWh pack will be a good fit for heavy-duty transit buses. Also, our 350 volt packs can be used in a series, to create a 700 volt system. Whether it’s an airport shuttle or transit bus, we have solutions to fulfill high-voltage battery pack needs.”

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G

JUST THE BEGINNING

rowth is imminent for technologies designed to improve the power, range and efficiency of battery electric buses and other commercial equipment. Officials at ABS are ready to “ride that wave,” with plans for increased R &D, manufacturing capacity and a growing employee base. “Our workforce has grown from 48 people in March 2020 to 165 in September 2021. We expect that number to be around 200 by the end of 2021, in our effort to support additional demand,” Warner said. “On the production side, by 2024, we expect to have the capability of producing 35,000 high-voltage battery packs yearly — and 50,000 by 2025. That translates into approximately 8 gigawatt hours of battery pack manufacturing. “Our facility in Springboro has been used to make batteries for 20 years. Since taking over, ABS currently has a line operational that is producing our low-voltage product offering. In the meantime, we are in the process of adding a line for flexible battery pack manufacturing.”

ABS officials are also maintaining strong relationships with battery cell suppliers. “We just signed a long-term supply agreement with one of our cell makers, and expect to build on that agreement as new customers come on board,” Warner said. “We also have agreements with two additional cell makers, while negotiations continue with others.” He added that ABS battery cell technology features a common form factor. “All of our designs, whether it’s low or high voltage, are based on the same cell technology. That allows for commonality when it comes to engineering. It also means ABS is using common connecting strategies, common manufacturing strategies and common control strategies, reducing the amount of engineering resources

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needed to develop new modules for customers,” Warner said. “ABS will very likely add additional cell types to its product mix in the future, but right now we are trying to consolidate as much as possible, which gives us added buying power with cell makers.” Successfully working with current and potential customers also remains paramount at ABS. “It’s not uncommon for us to talk with customers about their specifications, and when doing so, learn how we can help them in other ways,” Warner said. “At ABS, we work to optimize solutions by exhibiting a business mind-set, one that is both flexible and entrepreneurial. Doing so helps customers through the sale of both our off-the-shelf and customized products. “I also believe ABS has one of the most experienced battery engineering teams in North America. That allows us to put automotive standards and automotive quality into non-automotive applications.” Warner added that the demand for battery electric buses, and other commercial equipment, will increase exponentially in the years and decades ahead. That is due to more municipalities and companies looking for ways to reduce their vehicle operational expenses and air/noise pollution. The key objective, at ABS, is to be ready as higher demand dictates. “It’s definitely an exciting time to be in this industry,” Warner said. “At ABS, we love electrification, and the benefits it provides for everyone involved in owning, driving and riding electric vehicles. We are here to help.”

Visit www.americanbatterysolutions.com, call 1-248-462-6364 or send email to info@americanbatterysolutions.com for more information. APTA Booth #1629


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Icomera + GoMedia Are Revolutionizing the Digital Passenger Experience

Empowering the Digital Transition by Creating a Complete and Competitive End-To-End Passenger Information and Entertainment Channel

Working as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Icomera, GoMedia develops passenger-facing digital solutions for transportation operators worldwide, helping propel the digital transition. GoMedia’s technology seamlessly integrates with Icomera’s centralized connectivity platform, allowing a whole host of virtual applications to be deployed from a single piece of hardware, delivering both cost efficiency and longterm reliability. GoView: GoMedia’s core portal platform, GoView, delivers an industry-leading onboard entertainment experience, allowing passengers to watch Hollywood movies and popular TV shows, play games, read bestselling eBooks, digital newspapers and magazines, and listen to audiobooks and other spoken-word content while they travel. Vision: GoMedia’s passenger feedback feature, Vision, is key to improving passenger satisfaction. By gauging the sentiment of someone traveling on a particular vehicle, an operator can gain accurate and timely data. Using this data, issues can be resolved before they escalate, allowing operators to improve their products and services. Personalized Passenger Information: GoMedia’s integrations with multiple APIs keep passengers informed with live arrival and departure times, as well as multi-modal onward journey options. Accessible via mobile web portals or in-vehicle screens, journey information is stored locally on the vehicle, allowing it to be accessed even when there is no onboard connectivity.

Transport Accessibility Solutions: GoMedia’s accessibility solutions help passengers with visual and hearing impairments travel with confidence. By providing timely, accurate information via a passenger’s smartphone, transport systems can be accessed and enjoyed by all. Passenger Notification Services: GoMedia’s integration with a client’s control center can send messages directly to passengers traveling on a particular service. Supplementary Features: GoMedia’s platform can be utilized as a means by which passengers can communicate back to an operator or other relevant contacts as they travel. These supplementary services offer a further way to enhance the passenger experience, while also delivering a range of operational and safety benefits: • Share my Ride™ - Passengers can share details of their journey via their choice of messaging platform. • Report a Fault - Passengers can notify operators of faults encountered while they travel, automatically tagged with the details of the vehicle they are on. • Contact the Police - In case of an onboard incident, travelers can contact the police with details of the vehicle via the GoMedia portal. For more information, contact Gabriel Lopez-Bernal, vice president of sales & marketing, at Icomera: gabriel.lopez-bernal@icomera.com.

With our experience comes understanding of the complexity in the transportation industry. If you want a partner that works for you and is responsive to your needs, choose Reyco Granning.

® Reyco Granning is now combining two product lines, the TransportMaster®, combines the durable R-Series suspension with the AirMaster®. The TransportMaster® will enhance vehicle productivity, driver comfort, and resale value. The outcome is an astounding 426 pounds lighter and has an acquisition cost of $2,200 less than the Liquid Spring CLASS® equivalent. For more information on the TransportMaster® contact our sales department at 1.800.753.0050

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more i v our www.reycogranning.com

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ABC Builds On Customer-Focused Legacy With Expanding Equipment, Technology & Innovation Portfolio

Optimizing value for its customers through high-quality products, innovation and services has been the driving force at ABC Companies for decades. While historically steep market declines, labor shortages and industry consolidation continue to affect motorcoach operations, ABC is investing in the industry through portfolio expansion and new technologies to better serve the changing needs of its core customers. As the market begins to slowly resurge, many operators have coped by shifting operations into other service areas of growing demand such as smaller group transport, school and university operations, on-demand mobility, micro-transit, contract operations and more. Through strategic investment centered around building customer-focused partner supplier relationships, ABC is meeting existing and new demands — providing access to improved and new product categories and support services, that span a variety of ICE and EV propulsion platforms — for a host of transport opportunities. OEM Solutions For 12 To 81 Passenger Capacities In addition to its premium 56-passenger flagship Van Hool CX45, and 81-passenger double deck Van Hool CX45 TDX, ABC now offers a very comprehensive line of industry-leading OEM products that offer transport solutions for the widest possible range of fleet applications including — The Vicinity line of heavy-duty, mediumsize, low-floor transit buses such as

the upcoming Vicinity Lightning 28’ TDX all-electric transit bus. Vicinity 30’ and 35’ medium-sized heavy-duty buses offer scalability for a wide range of uses and are designed to integrate into every transit garage, even the smallest ones. With production transitioning to a new facility in Washington state, Vicinity Vicinity buses are built for maximum versatility to support multiple mobility applications like community shuttles, paratransit, university shuttles and more. The Vicinity line will offer customers a value priced, Buy America-compliant option from a leading supplier of electric, CNG and clean diesel vehicles in North America.

Minibuses, Passenger Vans And Shuttles – Add More Flexibility, Opportunity To Operations Cutaway models from industry leaders Turtle Top, Driverge and New England Wheels are now available from ABC in both ICE and EV configurations. These vehicles are built on the most popular cutaway chassis, including the new Optimal Ford E450-based 100 percent electric chassis, powered by Proterra batteries. Options like rearTurtle Top door entry and wheelchair lifts make these units perfect for ADA compliant public transport, shuttle and micro-transit applications. Electric Repowered Options Lightning Van

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ABC is excited to offer a unique and lower cost of entry to electrify fleets through the ABC “Repowered” program. In partnership with Lightning eMotors, ABC helps owners re-power units from ICE to all-electric vehicles — from a Ford Transit T350 HD, single and double deck motorcoaches to low-floor transit buses. Providing more choices, innovation and support to customers is central to ABC’s expansion strategy. ABC CustomerCare, Parts Source, Service, Finance and Specialty Vehicles and Technologies Divisions continue to give customers a competitive advantage in challenging times.

For information, visit abc-companies.com.


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Karst Stage, Inc.: Continued From Page 34

An ongoing challenge for the motorcoach industry has been finding quality drivers. The high cost of living, especially the housing market in Bozeman and Big Sky, has made it even more difficult for Karst Stage. “The average cost for a home in Bozeman right now is about $750,000. In Big Sky, it is about $1.5 million,” Martin said. “We have had to do some unique things to make it all work. I just bought a condo for employee housing for next winter. “We have a lot of older drivers who had very colorful and outstanding careers. They are retired, but want to keep busy driving shuttles. Now, the problem is some of them are reluctant to come back to work until the COVID crisis is over. “Furthermore, because of the COVID situation, some of our tour bus drivers are opting to retire. As baby boomers are being phased out of the workforce, it has been hard to find operators. “We are seeing more emphasis on tech jobs these days. Our drivers work hard. Many are blue collar guys, and that workforce seems to be going away.” Another challenging factor brought about by COVID, is many workers throughout the country, in many industries, have opted to draw unemployment rather than go to work in what they perceive as an unsafe environment. “We are fortunate that Montanans really love to work,” Martin said. “We have had a few people who opted to receive unemployment benefits, but, for the most part, our employees have said, ‘Put us back to work.’ That has been appreciated from the company’s standpoint, as we just don’t have a large labor pool available right now.”

W

A ‘MONTANA EXPERIENCE’

hen one thinks of the state of Montana, many images might come to mind, such as the vastness of the prairie, or rugged mountain ranges, or Native Americans hunting buffalo in days gone by, or cowboys working on a ranch. One might think of fly fishing on the state’s wild rivers, as depicted in the popular movie “A River Runs Through It,” scenes of which were filmed on the Gallatin River in Gallatin Canyon, south of Bozeman. “A lot of people have a perception of Montanans as being ranchers, and that is all they are,” Martin said. “For us, it is more about promoting the hospitality of the people of Montana. We want to give our customers a special ‘Montana experience.’ “We live is such a beautiful part of the country. You look outside and it kind of speaks for itself. You don’t have to say a whole lot. When people land at the Bozeman airport, and they look around, they get a sense of what Big Sky Country is all about. “Many who read the brochures about the bigger sky and all that stuff, think it is all just marketing. But, when they get here, they realize it is even more beautiful than the brochures are able to depict. “Because of Big Sky Resort, the Montana experience we offer is of the highest caliber. We have many affluent customers, and they expect certain amenities, and we really take that into account.” Bus travel is a popular way visitors like to explore the many wonders of the state, including Yellowstone National Park. Karst Stage’s motorcoaches offer several amenities to make the company’s Montana experience top-notch. “The large windows, allowing riders to better see everything, is a major plus in riding a motorcoach, as opposed to a smaller cutaway bus,” Martin said. Another advantage of the larger motorcoaches is the consistency of the high tech heat and air conditioning systems throughout the coach. “Safety is always the first and foremost priority, and the technological advancements of modern motorcoaches not only provide for more comfort, but also a safer ride. “In addition, another important advancement in modern coaches is the collision avoidance technology. I just think everything about today’s motorcoaches makes them more safe and reliable.” Martin said people often ask him about how the company manages to operate so many vehicles. “They look at our operation and say, ‘Wow, you are operating 70 vehicles, how do you do it?’” Martin said. Because of the compact area Karst Stage primarily serves, its fleet travels fewer miles than is typical. “A big line run operation might put 150,000 to 200,000 miles a year on a bus. We fall into the 40,000to 50,000-mile range,” Martin said. “As a result, we have buses that are 20 years old that I would put up against 3-year-old buses used by other operators. Our older coaches also look great.” Of course, providing a high-end Montana experi3&)"#*-*5"5*0/4 $0.1-&5&&-&$53*$ 4"-&4 ence would not be possible without a staff of highly $0/7&34*0/4 -&"4*/( skilled, motivated and dedicated employees. HVAC Upgrades • Brakes & Suspensions • Interior Facelifts • Mechanical “In addition to drivers, who display the highest & Electrical Repairs • Body Work • Fire Damage • Painting & Decals • levels of professionalism, our dispatch and operaEmission Upgrades • Major Collisions • Glass Repairs & More tions departments are the lifeblood of Karst Stage, especially now that we are short drivers,” Martin said. “Martin Burnham is our safety and training Visit Us At APTA Booth #3588

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person, and he does a great job. He still drives a little, but, for the most part, he is in the office most of the time. “We have a couple of mechanics and an outstanding service writer who works in the office. We try to keep the mechanics busy turning wrenches. We add a few people in the winter at the airport to help Kira (Sines) check in people. Cutting also assists the airport operation. Kira is Dennis Sines’ daughter-in-law. Dennis is not only assistant general manager, but is also a jack of all trades around here. He runs the day-to-day operation. I told Dennis if he leaves, I leave. He is just an amazing guy. He always wears a cowboy hat, and always has a smile on his face. “My daughter is going to college, and she works here in the summer washing buses. We have another full-time bus washer, who does a fantastic job. He is kind of a one-man band. I don’t know how he does it. “At the end of the day, we may max out at 100 employees, but the reality is, we are still a small company. We also wear many hats. For example, as the owner, I might wash a bus, negotiate a contract and put in for a grant, all in the same day.” A major advantage of Karst Stage’s facility, which was built in the 1970s, is it has 35,000 square feet of space under roof. That allows for parking almost all its vehicles out of the weather, especially in the wintertime. “Having our equipment under roof is a real blessing,” Martin said. The Karst Stage facility is located five blocks from Main Street in Bozeman, which is a plus for Streamline transit buses as they move in and out. “Obviously, our proximity to Yellowstone National Park and Big Sky Resort is a big plus,” Martin said. “And we are located mid-point for a lot of the tours we conduct, such as between Rapid City, SD, and Salt Lake City, UT.” Looking ahead, Martin said, “I have a lot of friends in Seattle and New

York, and other big urban centers. In contrast to the hustle and bustle of large cities, in Montana, we tend to gravitate back to the old ways of doing things. “That said, we consider ourselves a modern company. If you look at our history, Karst Stage has always been built on adaptability and being able to cover consumer needs and wants. I looked at dealing with COVID as just another adaptation that we had to make. “Our biggest challenge right now is finding more drivers. That was a lingering problem before COVID, and it was just exacerbated by the pandemic. “Another, perhaps bigger challenge coming out of the pandemic, will be finding ways to inspire people to get into our industry. That is a problem we have to fix. “Furthermore, our industry is going to have to raise prices, because we are starting to see starting wages increase from 10 to 20 percent and, in some cases, even more. We have to start demanding more money. “Another pressing issue is going to be the wider use of electric vehicles. I attended a meeting not long ago about what is going on with electric buses and how they are going to impact things. There’s a lot of infrastructure that goes with an electric fleet. “The bottom line is, if there is a need in our neighborhood, we try to fulfill it, whether it is profitable or not, which is why we are such a diverse company.” Contact: Karst Stage, Inc., 511 N. Wallace, Bozeman, MT 59715. Phone: 406-556-3500. Toll free: 800-845-2778. Website: karststage.com.

The Aura collection: 200 colors for 200 years As we approach 200 years of providing textiles to the transport industry, we have paid homage to the past whilst embracing the future of mobility with the launch of our iconic plush Aura in 200 colorways in 9 distinctive designs. With shorter lead times and minimum order quantities of just 50 yards, the Aura collection truly de nes exibility and versatility.

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September/October 2021

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CONNECT TO WHAT’S

Join industry leaders driving the future of public transportation This November, place yourself at the intersection of mobility, technology, and innovation at APTA’s TRANSform Conference & EXPO in Orlando, FL. Public transportation professionals will gather to discuss latest trends and ideas, plus showcase the newest technology, products, and services that will drive the industry forward in new and exciting ways. EXPO November 8-10, 2021 TRANSform Conference November 7-10, 2021 Orange County Convention Center Orlando, FL, USA

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Connecting you to a brighter future Irizar USA 100 Cassia Way, Henderson NV, 89014 702 431 0707 www.irizarusa.com


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Lighting the future of public transportation Come meet the Nova Bus team at the APTA TRANSForm Expo (booth #1553) to find out how !

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