Alliance Bus Group consolidates for success Page 12
Master’s Touch thrives on surprises Page 14
SPECIAL SECTION: Revenue Management Page 16
Nordic bus markets are booming Page 26
www.busride.com • $5.00
addresses next-generation transportation Page 16
March 2013 cover story
Accenture addresses next generation transportation Trends and technologies that change transit thinking
By Michael J. Wilson page 16
30 A record and a first for Nova Bus
12 Consolidation speaks volumes
Alliance Bus Group forms to serve and educate customers on the lifecycle of ownership By David Hubbard
Products and processes reflect the company’s commitment to sustainability
All set for 2014 DOT greenhouse gas and fuel-efficiency standards
31 Cummins announces 2013 motorcoach engine lineup
14 Modus operandi: Expect the unexpected
Master’s Touch Christian Charter Service & Tours By David Hubbard
8 Update 10 Deliveries 11 People in the News 32 Marketplace
18 Plug and play
Fare Logistics’ Voyager Farebox offers distinct advantages to transit agencies By Richard Tackett
20 A system 10 years in the making
The Société de transport de Montréal turns to the OPUS smartcard By Richard Tackett
6 David Hubbard 22 The Transit Authority
By Lance Wilber
By Doug Jack
26 The International Report BUSRide
LaHood steps down; nominations are now open
Publisher / Editor in Chief Steve Kane firstname.lastname@example.org Associate Publisher Sali Williams email@example.com Editor David Hubbard firstname.lastname@example.org
With word earlier this year that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood would be stepping down after one term in the Obama administration, the bus and coach industry began extending its goodbyes and good wishes. BUSRide certainly shares in the congratulations. American Public Transportation Association President and CEO Michael Melaniphy credited LaHood as “a tireless advocate for public transportation,” noting his dedication and hard work to advance public transportation through the programs he championed. “Secretary LaHood understood that transportation is not a collection of monolithic modes,” said Melinaphy, “Rather, he highlighted how strategic investments in our transportation system have far reaching positive ripple effects that benefit a much larger base than just those people who directly use the systems.” From the private bus and motorcoach sector, American Bus Association (ABA) President and CEO Peter Pantuso recognized Secretary LaHood as “a good friend to the motorcoach industry.” Pantuso and the ABA worked closely with the Secretary in his four years of service on a variety of issues to improve motorcoach safety. Their efforts included the passage of the new transportation bill last fall, entailing several key measures sure to improve the safety of the industry for the 700 million passengers who ride motorcoaches each year. “ABA fully endorsed those and many other actions by Secretary LaHood to improve motorcoach safety,” said Pantuso. “The Department of Transportation will continue to find and shut down motorcoach companies repeatedly cited for illegal operations and refusing to operate under the rules that safe, compliant companies follow. Secretary LaHood’s leadership is also preventing unsafe drivers from getting back behind the wheel.” LaHood clearly made himself and his department accessible to transportation leaders in both the public and private sectors. Pantuso credits LaHood as a good listener, using the information “to find practical, well-reasoned solutions to issues.” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood leaves his position as the only remaining Republican in President Obama’s cabinet. In the past four years he has overseen more than 15,000 transportation projects. As retirement appears to be next on his list, rumors of who might replace him for Obama’s second term are surfacing. Names are cropping up but no one’s hat is in the ring. If anything, a few potential nominees have stated, coyly or not, they would probably decline if asked. While Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa successfully rebuilt the city transit system, he says his focus is on the final months of his second term. Similarly, Deborah Hersman, chair of the National Transportation Safety Board, believed President Obama’s leading candidate for the Transportation seat, says she likes the job she has now. BR
Managing Editor Richard Tackett email@example.com Account Executive Maria Galioto firstname.lastname@example.org Production Director Valerie Valtierra email@example.com Art Director Dominic Salerno firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Writers Doug Jack, Matthew A. Daecher, Christopher Ferrone
BUS industry SAFETY council
Vice President Operations Valerie Valtierra
Accountant Fred Valdez
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Vol. 49 No. 3
Subscription Rates: United States: $39 for 1 year, $64 for 2 years, $89 for 3 years. United States via periodicals mail: $42 for 1 year, $69 for 2 years, $98 for 3 years. Canada. Canadian tax (GST) is included. Rest of the world, via air mail: $75 for 1 year, $125 for 2 years, $175 for 3 years. Single copies: $5 for the United States, $6 for Canada and the rest of the world. All prices are in United States Dollars (U.S.D.). Reprints: All articles in BUSRide are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Valerie Valtierra at (602) 2657600, ext. 203.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded its FY2012 Innovative Transit Workforce Grants totaling $7 million to 17 organizations in 12 states. This program provides technical training in the rapidly changing area of hybrid engine technology, as well as continuing education. Southern Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), Cincinnati, OH, received $206,973 to develop its transit maintenance training program. Tenney Group, Dallas, TX, a business brokerBRief The age firm focused exclusively on the transportation
industry, opened its newest office in Nashville, TN, to provide service to national business owners in the motorcoach and limousine industry operating throughout the mid-South. Industry veteran Steve Minucci will serve as managing director at the new location, bringing with him his 30 years of experience as a business transaction specialist.
Prevost donated a 2013 H3-45 motorcoach to the American Bus Association Foundation Live Auction during ABA Marketplace held in January in Charlotte, NC. Proceeds support ABA Scholarships, Industry Research, and Educational Programs. The ABA Foundation has awarded nearly 200 scholarships worth over $600,000 to industry families. The H3-45 motorcoach valued at $616,000 went to Adirondack Trailways, Pine Hill, NY for $565,000.
2013 UMA EXPO at Travel Exchange, Orlando, FL, in January in conjunction with the National Tour Association drew 38 new exhibiting companies and saw an increase of 23 percent in operator registration. Next year the event moves to Los Angeles, CA, February 16-20.
AC Transit energy initiatives earn high praise AC Transit, Oakland, CA, earned a GEELA, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, for its innovative fuel cell and solar energy projects. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. honored the agency with California’s highest environment honor, as one of 17 organizations that have adopted clean-air business principles and policies that conserve energy, reduce costs and help to improve the environmental health of their surrounding neighborhoods. AC Transit has assembled the most comprehensive hydrogen fuel cell demonstration program in the country and says its zeroemission fuel cell cars and buses have saved more than 68,000 gallons of diesel fuel. The agency will soon install 400 kilowatt hours of solid fuel cells that will provide stationary power to its largest operating division and has already installed 2,500 solar panels on its buildings, delivering a significant portion of the power needed for the agency’s daily operations.
ABC Companies Collision Workshop, April 12 in Winter Garden, FL ABC Companies, Faribault, MN, announced its annual Highway Coach and Transit Bus Collision Repair Workshop April 12 at its facility in Winter Garden, FL. Select invitees include members of the automotive insurance industry, claims adjustors and insurance company representatives. Each spring the maintenance and repair center converts to a conference room to bring this industry sector up to speed on the most current motorcoach accident and repair scenarios. “Our workshop has grown into an event where they can convene and share their own ideas and current developments within their industry,” says Lee Loper, ABC Companies senior vice president, Midwest Region. “We offer a well- rounded agenda and the workshop is always well received.” Presentations by guest speakers with relevance to heavy-duty collision, vehicle maintenance, accident investigation and risk management provide sage advice the damages and consequences unique to buses and motorcoaches stem to stern, inside and out.
GO Riteway gets greener With its use of alternative fuels, idling technologies, green operational policies and advanced technology vehicles, GO Riteway Transportation Group, Oak Creek, WI, is not putting the brakes on its efforts to care for the environment. Through a government grant program, the Wisconsin Clean Transportation Program (WCTP), GO Riteway says it has greatly reduced its use of petroleum in the Milwaukee area over the past few years. In late 2011 the company built a propane refueling station for its airport shuttle fleet, and in 2012 converted the 31 airport shuttle vans to the Roush Cleantech Propane Autogas System, using funds from the WI Clean Transportation Program that included up-fit costs for five GO Riteway school buses and one twenty four passenger commercial mini coach.
Sander Kaplan and Ray Land seal the deal on the purchase of Fabulous Coach Lines .
Fabulous Coach Lines sells to A Candies Coachworks A Candies Coachworks, Inc., Gainsville, FL, announced in January its purchase of Fabulous Coach Lines, Branford, FL, and the fleet of late model Prevosts. Fabulous Coach Lines founder and President Raymon Land III accepted an offer from Candies Limo and Coachworks President Sander Kaplan after a short negotiation period. Candies serves groups in the Gainesville area and recently opened an office in St. Augustine. “We are really looking forward to expanding our brand by acquiring the largest and most prominent charter company in North Florida,” says Kaplan. “Our clients can expect a boost in coach charter services with chauffeurs.” A spokesperson for Fabulous Coach says Land will serve as a consultant to the motorcoach and hospitality industries and will continue with The Players Coach, a scheduled line service to the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, FL.
MCI honors green efforts in ABA and UMA Motor Coach Industries (MCI), Schaumburg, IL, sponsors both the ABA Green Operator Award and the UMA Green Award. This year, the American Bus Association (ABA) Green Operator Award went to two companies. Anderson Coach and Travel of Greenville, PA, won as a large operator; Northeast Charter and Tours of Lewiston, ME, was the small operator that includes a hybrid shuttle bus in its fleet. Chosen for the awards by industry peers, the companies lead with programs that improve coach fuel efficiency by limiting idling and encouraging good driving practices. The awards were presented in January during ABA Marketplace in Charlotte, N.C. Lamers Bus Lines, Inc., Green Bay, WI, garnered the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) Green Highway Award in January during UMA EXPO in Orlando, FL, for its measures to improve drivers’ fuel conservation efforts and its green maintenance and facilities policies. In addition to teaching safety, Lamers’ driver training addresses behaviors that conserve fuel, such as careful braking and acceleration. Strict maintenance practices also ensure coaches operate at peak fuel efficiency. Both MCI-sponsored awards have the support of the University of Vermont Certification for Sustainable Transportation program led by David Kestenbaum, director of the eRating certification program that recognizes sustainable forms of transportation.
Transtar Transportation Group Orlando, FL
Prevost, St. Claire, QB, Canada, recently delivered four Volvo 9700 motorcoaches equipped with power outlets and shoulder seatbelts to Transtar Transportation Group. Robert T. Gaye founded the company in 1986 to operate a full fleet of sedans, limousines and motorcoaches. Since 1990 the company has operated the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise multi-service concession at the Orlando International Airport, and in 1993 contracted to provide luxury transportation for the Walt Disney World Complex.
DC Trails Lorton, VA
DC Trails recently took delivery on a H3-45 motorcoach equipped with a wheelchair lift and featuring luxurious 2 + 1 Brazil leather seating. DC Trails Inc. is the premier Washington DC charter tour bus company, serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia for group and private tours, as well as charters throughout the continental US and Canada. William Torres founded DC Trails in 2000. A veteran and former motor officer assigned to the DC police special operation division, heading a platoon responsible for the transportation needs of his division.
Trailways Transportation System (Trailways), Fairfax, VA, appointed Brian Crow as an advisor to the Trailways board. Crow is the former president and CEO of both Motor Coach Canada and Ontario Motorcoach Association, and will assist Trailwaysâ€™ leadership in its Brian Crow efforts to provide additional value to independent Canadian motorcoach carriers. He previously served as executive director of the Ontario Trucking Association; he sat on various government commissions, agencies and boards, including the National Transportation Safety Board (USA); Royal Commission: National Passenger Transportation and the Federal Standing Committee on Transportation. Additionally, Crow has been an active leader in the Canadian tourism industry as founder of the Travel Industry Council of Ontario. Nova Bus, St-Eustache, QB, Canada, announced the appointment of Jean-Pierre Baracat as president of Nova Bus. He will report to Stefan Tilk, senior vice president, Volvo Bus, and president, Americas. Baract sucJean-Pierre Baracat ceeds Gilles Dion, who will now take on a consulting role as vice presi-
people in the news
dent and executive advisor, Partnership and Strategy for Volvo Bus Americas. Baracat joined Nova Bus in 1994, taking on increasingly challenging management roles, the latest as vice president, Business Development, since 2004. Nova Bus also named Kevin Dawson as its regional sales manager to serve the northeastern US transit market. Formerly an acting vice president of North American sales for a major motorcoach manufacturer, Dawson also has over 12 years of experience in the transit industry, including in the fields of sales, customer support and aftermarket. County Connection, Concord, CA, recently welcomed Rashidi Barnes as the agencyâ€™s senior manager of transportation. Barnes brings a well-rounded background not only in transit operations and procurement, but also in leadership and community service. Hickory Springs Manufacturing, Hickory, NC, named Valerie Reid as chief financial officer. Hired as a senior accountant in 1999, Reid brings with her more than 14 years with Hickory Springs.
Consolidation speaks volumes Alliance Bus Group forms to serve and educate customers on the lifecycle of ownership
Following UMA Expo 2013 in Orlando, FL, BUSRide posed questions to Atlanta-based Alliance Bus Group. President and CEO Doug Dunn explained the new business model to meet what they see as significant shifts in bus and coach dealerships that involve long-time relationships, consolidation and the many advantages of volume.
By David Hubbard
What ignited the idea to form Alliance Bus Group?
ownership experience. We seek to walk customers through our “Lifecycle of Ownership” comprised of five major components: Adaptive new vehicle financing — Alliance Bus Group has leveraged its relationship with Daimler and built a sophisticated in-house financing capability that allows for creative financing terms designed to fit individual operator business models. The company also has extensive relationships with three other financial partners to yield the most competitive financing packages available. Ongoing Training —Alliance Bus Group can bring an operator’s service teams to its Atlanta service facility to learn the ins and outs of any new vehicle.
Alliance Bus Group formed when our four principles operating five companies and dealerships covering six regional territories recognized Build to suit — We an opportunity to come have seen nearly every together and establish a business involving a bus more meaningful presence come through our doors in the marketplace. We had and can provide input that known each other for years many operators may have and enjoyed both personal overlooked when developand professional relationing the specs for a new ships. [The principles are bus. Doug Dunn, International Service and support Bus Group, Atlanta, GA; — In addition to experiNick England, Lasseter enced and efficient serBus & Mobility, Dallas, vice by our crews across TX; Eugene Hotard, Bus the Southeast and Atlantic Group, Inc., New Orleans, coast, Alliance Bus LA, and Jackson, FL; and Group also inked a deal Andy Rolfe, Arcola Bus which allows its CAIO Sales, New York , NY and| Motorcoach customFirst Class Coach Sales, Alliance Bus Group President and CEO Doug Dunn, formerly of International ers access to over 400 Orlando, FL.] Bus Group, Atlanta, GA, leads the merger. Daimler/Freightliner serAs principals, we realvice centers across North ized we could not base a America. merger of this sort solely on the prospect of financial gain. Integrating these four distinct entities Guaranteed residuals after trade — One compelling advanunder one banner was made easier by virtue of the fact that all tage of working with a large distributor is the greater capability sales personnel, service and administrative staff were aligned in to sell a bus once an operator is finished with it. For many shorttheir focus on customers over immediate profits. term lease options, the group offers guaranteed residual values. .
How is the business model for Alliance Bus Group different from the typical dealership?
What changed in the transition to one company? What stays the same?
The core of Alliance Bus Group is our mandate to proactively serve and educate customers through every phase of the bus
Alliance Bus Group is in the process of standardizing the look and feel of each location as well as how service and sales staff
The aggressive stocking of parts inventory contributes to the group’s elevated buying power.
address customer needs. However, when a customer walks through the door, they are likely to see most of the same faces.
How does the Alliance Bus Group create greater marketing clout for the OEMs? We act like a seal of approval. As a distributor with a national presence, our customers tend to put more credence in the vehicles they buy. A strong financial dealer operating seven locations with over 300 buses in our stock inventory is very appealing to any manufacturer. We’re also the national account provider for quite a few.
What is your general approach to representing a wide range of OEMs? Alliance Bus Group believes in selling the vehicle that is best for the customer or market in a particular area. We carry MFSABs, mid-size and heavy-duty commercial bus and coaches, making the point not to not focus on one OEM over another. We never want our sales reps to be in a position of selling a customer a bus based on what OEM is in stock or some other preference. Certain OEMs work better for particular markets or locations. We feel to have a full line of product offerings to meet the niches within this market gives us a strong advantage.
Does Alliance Bus Group eliminate the competition among the former dealerships? The previous dealerships worked well together to focus sales efforts in their assigned areas of responsibility for the different bus manufacturers. Addressing these changes early on helped the company develop a seamless cooperation model. After much effort, the various teams have been united into one.
What are the service benefits to the customers of the former dealerships? Bigger truly has become better. By centralizing operations and consolidating overhead, Alliance Bus Group has been able to exponentially expand its service and support to effectively assist any customer anywhere. Previous localized and somewhat limited service centers and support networks are now a part of a larger, more comprehensive and better coordinated support system. As Alliance Bus Group customers and customer business models evolve, the company must evolve to meet these challenges.
Can you cite specific features to the service and support component? Alliance Bus Group’s 60,000 square foot service and refurbishment facility, complete with a modern full-size paint booth and 10 service bays, is now accessible to all Alliance Bus Group customers. Relatively new customer service efforts include two seven day per week service hotlines and shared parts inventories. The company also offers additional driver, maintenance and technical training courses as well as the ability to send service personnel wherever needed. The new programs align well with Alliance Bus Group’s “Along for the Whole Ride” philosophy.
How does Alliance Bus Group handle the aftermarket and parts business? We operate on a centralized parts warehouse distributing direct to customers as well as our own individual dealership service locations. This is a major initiative to utilize advanced purchasing techniques and effective warehousing, which enables the company’s new commitment to stock key motorcoach and commercial parts in order to support all product lines.
Does Alliance Bus Group enjoy any benefits or advantages in terms of parts inventory, procurement and distribution? Yes, due to the infrastructure now in place. With our larger pool of resources, consolidated overhead, well-established credit lines, strong vendor relationships and aggressive stocking comes elevated buying power. Much like Alliance Bus Group has leveraged Daimler/Freightliner’s economies of scale to maximize efficiency on CAIO production, with considerable size and volume we have created our own efficiencies within the market.
How does the Alliance Bus Group sales force differ from the previous dealerships? Our sales team can make full use of our size and national footprint to improve their customers bottom lines. The company has embarked on a continuous process of improvement that seeks to educate and reward sales staff based on their understanding of customer needs throughout the lifecycle of ownership – not just sales figures. BR
Unexpected Master’s Touch Christian Charter Service & Tours By David Hubbard Drawing on his education in counseling and pastoral ministry, Warren Micale served his faith as a pastor for 18 years in Phoenix, AZ, and drove buses for other companies on a part time basis. He came to realize the motorcoach business was for him. Nearly 13 years ago, he and his wife relocated to the community of Prescott Valley 90 miles north of Phoenix where they founded their company, Master’s Touch Christian Charter Service & Tours. “The name is completely attributed to God,” says Micale. “It respects his creation of the many beautiful places we take our passengers.” The company took delivery of its first Van Hool in October 2000 and set out on the maiden voyage in November. The Micale’s began by providing charter service to their many church-related connections. However, at the insistence of more than a few satisfied customers, they decided to start marketing some of their own tours. Today, two full-time sales representatives keep the fleet on the road year-round throughout the continental United States and Canada. The Master’s Touch fleet includes three T940 Van Hools, which carry 57 passengers with one wheelchair equipped, and one customized for 45-passengers. The fleet also includes a Temsa T35 36-passenger coach and two Mercedes Benz Sprinter buses. Some coaches have seats removed to allow for more passenger leg space and greater comfort for tour passengers. Micale’s plan is to remove more seats in the Temsa T35 and install a rear galley to serves drinks and snacks. The company offers extended coach tour and cruise combinations. One such 18-day excursion entails a coach tour to Seattle, WA, where the customers board the ship for a cruise through the Alaska inside passage before returning to Arizona on a completely different coach tour itinerary. Another tour travels to California where customers board a cruise to Hawaii and tour four islands, where the company rents vans for its own shore excursions.
Flexible customized itineraries Several factors set Master’s Touch Tours apart and grab the attention of its clientele. One is a penchant for customized scheduling, which typically includes plenty of surprises. Another is its practice of employing tour hostesses for every trip to answer questions and assist with needs of the passengers. Master’s Touch employs man and wife teams to serve as the onboard team of driver and hostess. “We research, arrange and conduct our tours as if each of us were traveling on our own,” says Micale. “We want our passengers to feel like they are traveling with family.” He says his staff seeks out destinations and attractions that are off the beaten path and not part of the normal tour itineraries. “We try to maintain a balance between the preferred sites and surprises of our own,” Micale says. “On every tour we do something that is not on the publicized schedule. We never know entirely what is going to happen, nor do we necessarily want to know. Surprises make our tours special.” Last year on a tour to Branson, the driver sidetracked to give passengers a look at Tiger Sanctuary. In Utah, they took
Master’s Touch passengers travel in comfort on one of three T940 Van Hools.
in Goosenecks State Park where buses do not typically visit. “We’ve visited ice cream factories, car factories and jelly bean factories,” says Micale. “We even made an impromptu visit to the Kona Coffee Plantation and the Macadamia nut farms in Hawaii. We have no issue checking out something we haven’t seen before. In fact, our regular customers have come to expect these types of surprises.” He says other operators have also told him this is no way to run a tour company. “But it certainly works for us,” says Micale. “We’ve been surprising our customers for over 12 years.” In addition to its natural involvement with the Christian community, Master’s Touch markets to the public and typically attracts senior travelers. Micale says one regular customer just completed her 72nd excursion with Master’s Touch. Another couple has participated in nearly every one of the company’s thirteen cruise tours. From its rather remote base in Prescott Valley, AZ, the company enjoys an extensive reach, building tours for churches and other organizations in California, Ohio, Florida and New York.
“We operate at a level of integrity we believe our faith brings us to,” says Micale. “In addition, we think our pricing is such that our groups are content and appreciate the extra services we provide. Our goal is to offer the finest of service at the fairest of price.” The method of operation has proven so successful that many times each year these groups contract with Master’s Touch to deadhead coaches to meet the group at a specific destination such as Glacier National Park or the Canadian Rockies. In an average year, Master’s Touch will conduct 75 coach tours it has researched and customize travel for one to 21 days, as well as another 25 trips other tour operators have contracted. With the annual slate customized every year, it is rare that any trip to a repeat destination is like the last. However, the company does run scheduled and more predictable trips to professional sports and cultural events in the Phoenix area, and contracts with a number of schools to transport sports teams. BR
: r S PSE P C I EA LC IS A E CLT I SO NE : C T rI OeN v ee nvueen
Go mobile and think like a retailer
Trends and technologies that change transit thinking At the request of BUSRide, ACCENTURE answered four critical questions that show how openarchitecture technology is driving next-generation transportation. What are some of the trends and technologies that transit providers embrace to offer commuters nextgeneration transportation services? Current trends and technoloBy Michael J. Wilson gies tend to cluster around three key themes. The first relates to transit providers “going mobile” to engage their customers in new ways that both improve and simplify their transit experience. It is not necessarily about creating mobile apps but more about embracing mobile-related partnerships that result in published schedules, trip information, general statistics and partnering with key technology suppliers. It also means mobile ticketing, paying with a mobile wallet and providing real-time train and bus trip information. The second key area is for transit agencies to “think like a retailer.” While elements of transit are unique, such as dynamic pricing of high-volume, low value transactions within milliseconds, they don’t necessarily exclude transit providers borrowing from the best practices among retailers. Some forward-thinking agencies are viewing the transit experience in the same way a retailer provides for customers. Approaches like loyalty programs, related partnerships and the application of analytics help them better understand customer segments, as well as what motivates them to take transit — or to leave it alone. Agencies are using customer account management that allows them to offer greater diversity in products and payment methods, as well as flexible payment architectures. This last area is growing rapidly as organizations realize by using open payments or mobile payments they can give customers the choices they expect. Retailers have set customer expectations. Now transit authorities must find ways to satisfy them. A third emerging area is proactive asset management. Transit
agencies manage a broad range of capital assets yet they face an ever-increasing need to manage those assets cost-effectively. As a result, agencies are taking a lesson from other big asset management providers — such as resource-based companies like traditional utilities — to better understand how they proactively manage assets. This approach relies more on projected reliability than the traditional time-based patterns that have been the industry norm. This trend is no surprise to us. Accenture predicted this approach and established one of the first pilots for predictive maintenance in the industry in 2005. Today we are seeing RFID asset tagging, the application of analytics to better predict wear and resulting maintenance, which represent a single source of truth for data and real-time asset monitoring. What roles are mobile devices, social media and the internet playing in next-generation transportation? The impact that mobile devices and social media have on this industry should not be underestimated. Mobile devices are redefining the service experience. Elsewhere, social media is now supplementing customer education and even adoption. After all, people travel all the time and write about their travel experiences. Social media sites linked to transit are becoming commonplace. Customers can often find the answers to their questions posted by other customers and not the transit agency. It also is a new source of data and engagement for agencies interested in better understanding the experiences of their customers. Our research shows transit agency customers in the world’s major cities are demanding more social media interaction. We have found that while less than 25 percent of consumers receive communication from transit agencies via social media on a daily basis, more than 90 percent are interested in receiving their news via social media. What are the advantages of open vs. closed architectures? This is a common debate as many transit agencies face up to the shortcomings of closed legacy systems that prevent them from adopting new technologies. The answer is quite simple. With open architectures, agencies don’t have to throw out the system every time a new technology comes along. This is because open
eAM AG NE AM GE MT EN T M NA EN architectures bring together commercial software products and modern integration architectures capable of operating on the latest in technology infrastructure. As a result, they benefit from the natural upgrades from vendors, thereby keeping the software and infrastructure current. In addition, no open-loop agency is locked into a single supplier. An agency can pick and choose the components from a range of suppliers that make the most sense, and develop a unique solution that meets their business needs and the needs of the riders. There is also the potential for greater reliability with open architectures using the bestof-breed technologies and commercial software products proven in other industries. It also creates competition among potential suppliers. They will find ways to be innovative and manage down their pricing. What are the lessons to learn from other cash-collection industries such as road tolling? Because of the similarities between these two industries, road tolling has the same challenges and the same opportunities — such as exploiting mobile technologies, effective financial reconciliation and new strategies to attract and retain customers. Often they share the same customers and those customers are looking for an integrated experience. Already we are seeing the integration of fare management and parking solutions. In tolling, we are also seeing similar extensions to congestion mileage charging, mileage or kilometer based charging and parking. It is now time for a discussion about the convergence across the broader range of transportation agencies and organizations. After all, they serve a common customer. It is no longer just about the ticket — how do you see transit agencies expanding the service to embrace areas such as retail or car parking? It’s already happening because customers no longer think of their travel experience as simply taking the bus or metro. It starts as they leave the front door. It is about getting to work, getting to school or getting to an event. Transit agencies need to think in this way as they plan and manage services. This means we will see more partnerships with non-transit organizations such as car park companies or road tolling agencies. All of this moves us toward a single payment capability for each transaction along the entire journey. When agencies are able to embrace
new payment forms such as open payments and mobile services, they will be able to better manage customer accounts or partner with third parties to provide additional services. This includes everything from traveling a toll road, parking, taking a train or bus or even buying a coffee and a magazine during their journey. This isn’t just about retention. Aside from engendering loyalty, it creates a significant opportunity for cross-marketing in this sector for the first time. Customers are ready for this. When asked, they told us they would pay 10 percent higher fares if it meant technological advances. They want ticketless travel and they expect smartphones to be dominating their travel and ticketing options by the end of 2014. Transit agencies are realizing that, in order to meet these rising customer expectations, they may need to change the way they embrace technology. BR Michael J. Wilson serves as head of Public Transportation Practice for Accenture in North America.
March2013 2013 March
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Plug and play
Fare Logistics’ Voyager Farebox offers distinct advantages to transit agencies Fare Logistics, Victoria, BC, Canada, provides fare solutions for small to medium-sized transit operations across North America. From its beginning in the 1980s developing proprietary card systems, the company launched its first-generation farebox in 2002. That box, the TotalFARE system, processed magnetic stripe tickets and smart media. Fare Logistics developed its second-generation system, the Voyager Farebox, in 2004. Tamara Sears, Fare Logistics’ director of marketing and customer service, says the Voyager processes smartcards, magnetic stripe cards, cash and secure barcode media. Tickets or barcodes are automatically validated by the box, ensuring that the driver doesn’t need to stand up or intervene with the purchase. In addition, drivers can log in and out of their agency’s employee system by simply tapping in or tapping out with smartcards of their own. Sears says the farebox’s touchscreen is fully customizable for any operation. Agencies can configure the appearance of the buttons, their location and the actions they perform. The Voyager fare information is relayed to a home office via wireless transmission. When the box is within range of the antenna at the garage it automatically initiates a wireless transfer. This removes the need for a physical probe to download or upload data from the Voyager Farebox. “We’re in the final stages of deploying a QR reader, which will allow for processing bar codes through a mobile app,” Sears says. “There’s no actual fare media issuance. Mobile payments will all be done electronically through a smartphone.”
Plug and play
The Voyager Farebox features an innovative “plug and play” design that allows for agencies to easily swap outdated or malfunctioning components. The box’s components operate on two layers, a hardware abstraction layer and a layer of software business logic. The hardware abstraction layer houses the box’s physical components including the smartcard reader, the printer, the coin validator and the bill validator. The software business layer communicates with the abstraction layer, which in turn communicates with the different components. “Any time we need to swap out a component for any reason, we can implement the new component by updating the hardware abstraction layer,” says Sears. “This means
we don’t have to redeploy code for specific interactions. We aren’t beholden to a specific brand of component,” she adds. “We can pick the best of all of the available components.” Hans Rodenburgh, project manager, Business Development, says that the ability to swap out various components is a boon to transit agencies seeking to save time and money. There’s no need to keep a wealth of spare components because outdated components can be replaced on the fly. “The value to the agency is the fact that we’ve extended the life of their farebox. They are no longer trying to maintain outdated components,” Rodenburgh says. “We haven’t locked in an agency into having a ton of spare parts in case something breaks down. We’ll take on the responsibility of making sure that their system will continue to operate in the future should parts become unavailable.” Sears says that one of the transit industry’s biggest issues is the need to replace products that have reached end-of-life., thus requiring years’ worth of spare parts inventory. “That’s predicting the future, and there is no crystal ball,” she says. “If the smartcard world comes up with a brand new successor to current fares, agencies are stuck with swapping out the entire collection system. Users of the Voyager only have to swap out a single component.”
Fare Logistics also provides a web interface for its customers called TransAdmin. Apart from configuring routes and bus stops, the open-architecture system allows transit agencies to manage data and adjust their operations accordingly. TransAdmin tracks all GPS information as well as upwards of 16 additional data elements per transaction. “When an agency plans bus routes and stops on an annual basis, they can look at data that shows where people are boarding and how they’re paying,” Rodenburgh says. “We can report the whole ridership profile.” Sears points to one agency that benefited a great deal from Fare Logistics’ detailed data reporting. “By simply running that report, one agency was able to modify their operations,” she says. “They thought their peak hours were in the morning but they found they were busiest in the afternoon. They changed their routes to accommodate the new info. It’s helpful to agencies that they don’t need to have a passenger counting system in addition to the Voyager.” BR
R E V E N U E M A NAG E M E N T
A system 10 years in the making The Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Montreal, QC, Canada, turns to the OPUS smartcard By Richard Tackett In 2008 the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), Montreal, QC, Canada turned to the OPUS smartcard where before riders made cash and magnetic stripe payments for bus fares. Guylaine St-Louis, STM manager, Strategy, Development and Partnerships for E-ticketing, says the need for the OPUS card came from several well defined objectives including the need for additional fare flexibility. Today, STM and 17 other agencies are using the same consolidated OPUS system, in which electronic fares make up almost 90 percent of STM’s total sales. St-Louis says STM has introduced new fares since deploying the system. STM operates over 1,700 buses on 213 lines and 4 electric metro lines (68 stations), over a territory of 500 square kilometers.
“These include evening time fares, weekend fares and different fares to attract transit customers,” she says. “We wouldn’t be able to do that with the old paper tickets.” Rene Coutu, STM’s E-ticketing studies’ director, says the agency didn’t initially know how customers would react to the new smartcards. The systematic introduction of the new system in Montreal from east to west eliminated any doubt. “As soon as it was out in the east of Montreal, the people in the west were asking about the OPUS cards,” says Coutu. “Some even traveled east to buy their cards immediately.” Coutu says that improved collection measures were also key to the system’s introduction. “We knew that old fare collection system and procedures had gaps that allowed for some fraud to exist.” he says. “In fact, we were in the knowledge of a few bad practices from some of our customers, and the OPUS card was about to put an end to that”.
Ten years in the making
STM, along with participating transit agencies, initiated discussions of the OPUS project from 2000 to 2003, awarding contracts for acquisition of the necessary equipment and the centralized system. The agency designed and tested the system until 2005 when it began installing the equipment. STM introduced new fare formats and began operating the system in 2008. The final stages of deployment occurred in March 2010 and concluded with the final removal of old equipment. “We changed all of the bus fareboxes prior to the inauguration of the OPUS card,” says Coutu. “We made sure at least one turnstile in every subway station had the capacity to read the card. We moved from one region to another slowly introducing the new card while the old cards were in use.”
ATLAS ® drives the central system
OPUS operates on an offline centralized system from Xerox called ATLAS ®. STM ensured the equipment can operate without any link to the main system for a few days. “Our system is a card-based system, the opposite of an account-based system,” St-Louis says. “The customer’s fare is on the card’s chip itself. The machine reads the fare directly on the card as the customer ‘taps in’. Back then, at the implementation, this saved us from the cost of putting everything online.”
Since the OPUS system’s introduction, electronic fares make up almost 90 percent of STM’s total sales.
The ATLAS ® system includes a number of databases with different functions. The SBIL database is the largest and stores information to cards, fares and customers. The server of detailed data (SDD) reports the details of each transaction, while the server of consolidated data (SDC) reports monthly transaction information. The server of all applications (SAPP) processes transaction data every night and spreads it to the other servers. “The server’s main goal is to allow all of the equipment, all of the fareboxes and systems on the buses, to connect every night,” Coutu says. “The server gives the equipment all of the parameters needed to work the following day, and the equipment communicates the data of the past 24 hours to the servers.”
OPUS loads from home
Up next for STM is the introduction of a new fare collection method: loading your OPUS smartcard from home. “Parents don’t have to travel to a machine or the store to get their kids fares for school,” St-Louis says. “They can just do it at home with one payment. It’s very easy. We received some really good comments in our experimentation phase.” Though it is currently only a pilot program, in approximately a year, customers will be able to obtain an at-home card reader that connects to a computer or laptop via USB. By plugging in the reader and inserting a smartcard, users can go online and remotely load fares to their OPUS card. “For our customers, it’s a 24/7 solution,” St-Louis says. “The home reader is cost-effective for us, that’s for sure,” Coutu adds. “It’s easier to provide that kind of service compared to maintenance of the subway machines. It’s a fantastic win-win solution. BR
the transit authority
People Mover enjoys upgraded fare technology By Lance Wilber People Mover, the Municipality of Anchorage transit system, outlined a 10-year plan in 2004 to take advantage of intelligent transportation systems and upgrade technology. Working with AVAIL Technologies, Inc. as the systems integrator, the municipality implemented several ITS projects including new scheduling and dispatching software for both the fixedroute system and the paratransit system, installed Mobile Display Computers (MDCs) on both systems, and replaced the Interactive Voice Recording (IVR) system. This effort culminated with the release of BusTracker which allows passengers to track where the bus is along its route and obtain the estimated time it will arrive at specific stops, and the installation of new fareboxes on the fixed-route system.
In 2011, Anchorage selected GFI Genfare, now SPX Genfare, to provide Odyssey validating fareboxes on its fleet of 52 fixed-route buses. Simultaneously, the system installed a Ticket Vending Machine (TVM) and purchased Productive Solutions point of sale software for pass inventory and sales transactions. The new fareboxes take advantage of magnetic stripe and smartcard technology to provide various pass and fare types. The $1.2 million project rolled out in June 2012 with a strong public education component. We knew this type of fare payment would be a huge change for our riders. It was important we educate the public to ensure a smooth transition. Genfare helped set up demonstration fareboxes and sample ride tickets, and our staff went to the community to familiarize riders with the new product through hands-on demonstrations at the university, employment sites, homeless shelters, and transit facilities.
The benefits of the new system include improved passenger counts and expanded passenger fare categories.
People Mover installed Ticket Vending Machines (TVM) and purchased Productive Solutions point of sale software for pass inventory and sales transactions.
The campaign also included interior and exterior bus advertising, posters, brochures, social marketing and use of news media. The benefits of the new system include: • Improved passenger counts • Expanded passenger fare categories • Validating all coin and currency deposited in the farebox • Rejecting all foreign currency, coupons, and game tokens • Recognition of valid university ID cards • Use of controlled pass stock that are very difficult to forge • Decreased boarding times with use of magnetic and smart media • Improved inventory control • Improved revenue accounting The University of Alaska Anchorage has long provided transit benefits to its students, faculty and staff, and was quick to integrate student ID cards with the new fareboxes. Each semester the university provides a list of valid IDs to ensure only currently enrolled and employed people can use their ID cards for free rides. This interface was a very important component of the farebox project. Productive Solutions software provides point of sale technology and streamlines the sales process. The system reads the magnetic information on passes and encoded smartcard
the transit authority
media. In addition, the software tracks inventory in multiple locations and produces ID cards for reduced fare eligibility. The TVM was installed in our main transit hub, giving passengers a convenient option to purchase one and 30-day passes and multi-ride tickets as well as the ability to load smartcards. The TVM allows riders to purchase fare media during times outside of customer service hours, without aid of department staff. Installing technology is not without its bumps and bruises. It requires a skilled, dedicated staff in all areas of the industry â€” from operations to maintenance to customer service and information technology. The end result though is enhanced reporting. We are very pleased with the new fareboxes. We are able to reconcile farebox deposits with accuracy and we are seeing a 10-percent increase in farebox revenues. BR Lance Wilber serves as public transportation director for the City of Anchorage, AK. The new fareboxes take advantage of magnetic stripe and smartcard technology to provide various pass and fare types.
the international report
Nordic bus markets are booming By Doug Jack The Nordic public transport exhibition Persontrafik attracts exhibitors and visitors from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The exhibition held in Sweden alternates every two years between Gothenburg on the west coast and Stockholm on the east coast. These countries follow European regulations on the construction and operation of buses and coaches. Many city and suburban bus services contract with a mix of Nordic operators and other European companies, usually for a fixed term of up to seven years. Most require new vehicles, making the average age of the fleets very young. Many buses sold at midlife find their way across the Baltic and further east. All four countries are highly sensitive environments. Sweden is particularly sensitive because there is strong political pressure to run buses that use alternative fuels, especially compressed natural gas and biogas. Although gas is less expensive than diesel and the price of a gas-fueled bus depreciates to practically zero over the life of a seven-year contract, there is almost no market for used gas buses. The contract price per mile must be higher than with a standard diesel bus â€” a price that Swedish politicians are willing to pay, though the residual value is decent. In Stockholm, around 700 Scania buses run on ethanol with cleaner exhaust emissions than even the latest diesel
engines. Produced in Sweden from the sap of pine trees, the fuel is therefore a by-product of the extensive forestry industry. There is more space in most of the Nordic towns compared with other parts of Europe, therefore many city and suburban buses are at maximum legal length of just over 49 feet on three axles. Most feature a low-entry layout with two internal steps to seats above and behind the rear axles. This gives higher seating capacity but still provides accessibility for passengers in wheelchairs or with baby strollers in the front half of the vehicle. There are some articulated buses, but they are not so popular because of perceived traction problems in winter weather. A congestion-charging zone to deter motorists from driving into the city centers has been in place in central Stockholm for a couple of years. Gothenburg is about to introduce a similar system. Some bus companies have been encouraged to invest in double deck coaches, which provide regular commuter services from nearby towns. In Sweden, a double deck bus can be built to an overall height equivalent to 13 feet, 8 inches and a width of 8 feet, 6 inches. Scania and Van Hool have largely, but not totally, cornered the market. They have also built some models, which have a large freight compartment towards the rear of the lower
The VDL Citea low entry bus makes extensive use of composites. This is one of a large fleet being used by Arriva in the Stockholm area.
deck, for use on long trunk services to the sparsely populated north of the country. As the rail networks in both Norway and Sweden are relatively limited, coaches are in use on regular express services. Many of them can run up to 250,000 miles per year. Because of the long distances, maintenance standards are extremely high. Authorities in the main cities restrict entry to Euro 4 or Euro 5 vehicles, while older coaches can run in the more rural areas. Volvo has tried hard to promote hybrid buses with greater success in Norway than Sweden. Its home city of Gothenburg has 25 in service and will shortly take a further three that will be the first with plug-in technology. They will receive a fast charge of electricity at each terminus. Volvo expects that the vehicles will be able to operate up to 70 percent of the route in all-electric mode. A further 25 hybrids are on order for a contractor in the Gothenburg region. While Volvo has been very successful with its hybrid buses in other parts of Europe, it looks as if efforts in Sweden might at last be bearing fruit. There was talk at Persontrafik of up to 400 hybrid buses being required over the next two or three years in Sweden. Scania, the other major Swedish manufacturer, has not yet shown its hand on hybrid buses apart from a very small number of prototypes. Volvo has announced plans to close its bodybuilding plant in S채ffle, a town to the north of Gothenburg. It was the last remaining factory capable of building city and suburban bodywork in Sweden. Volvo will continue production in the more modern factory in Wroclaw, Poland, where labor rates are
A Scania chassis with a Van Hool double deck body for commuter services.
much lower. The last bodybuilders in Denmark and Norway had already gone but are still active in Finland. The most advanced vehicle in the exhibition was one of five hybrid hydrogen fuel cell buses borrowed by Van Hool from its customer, Ruter A/S of Oslo, Norway. These 42 foot, 8 inch tri-axle buses use hydrogen produced by electrolysis of water. The electricity required for this process comes from a hydroelectric power station; therefore the buses are almost entirely CO2 free.
the international report continued
Van Hool also secured an order from the southern Swedish city of Malmรถ for 15 bi-articulated versions of its new ExquiCity vehicle, which looks more like a tram than a bus. CNG engines will provide thermal power for the fleet due to go into service in 2014. Optare brought two of its 30-foot Solo midibuses from the United Kingdom. While one was quite conventional, the other was perhaps the first mid-sized hybrid bus ever displayed in Sweden. It has a small Mercedes-Benz engine and a Siemens hybrid drive system with electrical energy stored in super capacitors, mounted at roof level. Unusual for such a short vehicle, this one had two double-width doors, heavy-duty heating and double-glazing. The challenge for Optare and its importer is to change the mindset of the great majority of Nordic operators. Midibuses have lower capital costs and lower running costs although drivers still expect much the same wage as for a full size bus. On the other hand, if they run more frequently on a route, then they might well provide a higher standard of service and attract more custom. It must be a feasible proposition in cities that charge motorists a fee for using their cars. At one time, Scania and Volvo largely shared the Swedish city and suburban bus market. As demand has increased in the market, particularly for gas-fueled vehicles, MAN and Solaris of Poland have both come in with their well-established models. Solaris has been able to develop and supply buses with a combination of features that the larger manufacturers simply do not offer. Similarly, VDL from the Netherlands has been able to make headway with its city buses, which use more composite materials than its competitors. They are not only light in weight but also totally resistant to corrosion. BR Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom.
La France works eco-friendly
Products and processes reflect the company’s commitment to sustainability The term eco-friendly is not lost on the transit bus and motorcoach industries as manufacturers and operators seek greater sustainability. La France Industries, La France, SC, not only manufactures environmentally friendly fabrics for transit bus and motorcoach seating vendors, but has undertaken considerable updates to its processes to become more ecologically sound. For example, its proprietary Eco-Friendly fabric incorporates recycled yarn from consumer products such as plastic water bottles and fiber remains woven on an energy-efficient Jacquard system. La France says this requires less energy and resources than beginning the process from scratch, and takes pride in the fact that all La France fabrics are made in the U.S. The motorcoach and transit seating markets demand readily available fabrics without minimum order quantities. La France offers a fully array of patterns and colors including the Eco– Friendly fabric as part of the La France Solutions Collection. The company says its Eco-Friendly fabrics are resistant to abrasion and offers these guidelines for spot-cleaning: Fabrics identified for spot cleaning are not suitable for general washing or “off frame” dry cleaning.
Spot clean all plush fabrics initially with warm water and a clean white cloth. Frequent vacuuming or light brushing is the key to removing dust and grime in All Wool plush woven Jacquard fabrics. Loose dirt and grime settles into the base of pile fabrics and do not show. Frequent cleaning prevents the dirt and grime from being absorbed into the yarn fiber. If necessary, use a cleaning solution of mild waterfree solvent or dry cleaning product designed for this type of fabric application. Use adequate ventilation and follow the cleaning directions of the manufacturer. Test the cleaning solution used on a sample portion of fabric for color change in dyed yarns prior to use in wholesale manner or on soiled areas. Apply in a circular motion and immediately blot dry with a clean, dry, white cloth. Trained technicians may use hot water extraction/ vacuum units provided the suction level and maximum water temperature of 120° F are controlled. Over-wetting or use of harsh or excessive chemicals will harm the fabric. Test a small area before proceeding. BR
Cummins announces 2013 motorcoach engine All set for 2014 DOT greenhouse gas and fuel-efficiency standards Cummins Inc., Columbus, IN, introduced its 2013 engine lineup for the motorcoach market in January during the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) Expo in Orlando, FL. The company says its Cummins ISL9 and ISX12 clean-diesel engines not only meet the 2013 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, but the 2014 U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuelefficiency standards as well. In 2013 the EPA regulations call for the same near-zero emissions levels relative to oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM), as regulated since 2010. Also included in the 2013 regulations are On-Board Diagnostics (OBD), which are required for the complete on-highway engine lineup. OBD monitors emissions-related engine systems and alerts drivers via an in-cab warning lamp, helping to provide early detection of any potential emissions-related malfunction. New regulations for 2014 from the EPA and the DOT will institute equivalent carbon dioxide (CO2) and fuel-efficiency standards for commercial vehicle engines. Heavy-duty features on the 380-hp 2013 ISL9 includes replaceable wet liners, roller followers, by-pass oil filtration and targeted piston cooling. The addition of an air intake throttle on the ISL9 leads to improved Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) efficiency. According to Cummins, both engines are capable of delivering two percent better fuel economy with greater reliability compared with the 2012 model-year engines. The company attributes this a more efficient fuel pump and water pump on the ISX12, as well as enhancements to the VGT Turbocharger on the ISL9, which help reduce overall parasitic loss. Technology on the 2013 Cummins engines includes the XPI fuel system, VGT Turbocharger and the Cummins Aftertreatment System with Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR).
The Cummins ISL9 clean-diesel engine
A Cummins design developed in-house, these components meld into a totally integrated system driven by a single Engine Control Module (ECM) that manages both the engine and the aftertreatment system for optimum performance and improved fuel economy, according to the company. The ISL9 and ISX12 are both Buy America-compliant engines manufactured in the United States. Extended warranty options available for the ISL9, range from 5 years/200,000 miles to 5 years/500,000 miles. “Cummins is committed to delivering fuel-efficient, reliable engines without any major hardware changes in 2013,” says Cummins Account Executive Chuck Goode. “We are building upon base engine continuous product improvements that will directly impact our customers’ bottom line.” Cummins says its 2013 ISX12 delivers exceptionally strong pulling power and throttle response. Ratings for the ISX12 include 385 hp (287 kW) and 425 hp (317 kW), providing an optimal balance of performance and fuel economy. Engine and aftertreatment extended warranty options are available, ranging from 5 years/200,000 miles to 5 years/500,000 miles on the ISX12. Cummins Care provides its motorcoach customers the same access to 24/7/365 customer support for any operational questions such as fuel and oil specifications and maintenance intervals. In addition, customers will have access to the largest service network in the United States and Canada, with over 3,500 locations. Cummins Care representatives can assist customers with finding the nearest authorized and available service location. BR
The ISX12 clean-diesel engine
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