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Why Southwest Transit outsources Page 10

Bright future for SunLine Transit Page 12

Bus washing goes green Page 26

North American travel update Page 30

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The most trusted resource in the bus and motorcoach industry February 2012

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Family values support Family values support Blue Lakes Blue Lakes Charter Charter and Tours and Tours Page 16

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Prst Std US Postage Paid Bolingbrook, IL Permit #1619

www.krystal.cc

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February 2012

cover story The Cupp family and friends perpetuate Blue Lakes Charter and Tours

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features

departments

columns

Why and how Southwest Transit outsources with First Transit 10 Glaval Bus and FCCC readies the Legacy for charter service 22 CH Bus Sales and Temsa gel for 2012 28 BUSRide Maintenance

CSA enforcement puts maintenance under the scope 37

Update & Deliveries 8 Transit Update 14 Going Green 26 Products & Services 40 Marketplace 45 Buyer’s Guide Addendum 46

CORRECTIONS Volvo Only BUSRide, January 2012, page 20: The Volvo D13 engine has always only been available to Volvo Group companies. 4

February 2012

David Hubbard 6 The Transit Authority 12 Risk Management 18 Tours and Travel 30 Letter from Europe 34

Distinctive Systems, Inc. BUSRide Buyers’ Guide 2012:

Don Greenglass is employed by Distinctive Systems, Inc, New York, NY, the sole U.S. distributor of Distinctive Systems Ltd. Software. Greenglass and Distinctive Systems are not associated with any other U.S. company as erroneously indicated. BUSRide

david hubbard

Meet the new man at MCC

BUSRide Publisher / Editor in Chief Steve Kane steve@busride.com

This past year industry leaders from both sides of the border wished Brian Crow well in his retirement after 27 years at the helm of Motor Coach Canada (MCC). The search to fill his position has since culminated with the board of directors naming Doug Switzer as its next president and CEO. Switzer arrives on the scene with formidable transportation credentials and with his work in provincial government and for the Minister of Transportation of Ontario. Shortly after his appointment Switzer visited with BUSRide to discuss his new perspective of the industry and early agenda for MCC.

As you settle in, what changes? What stays the same?

strategy and not the public transit strategy, which implies government-run systems only. Our position is that the private motorcoach industry needs to be included in any new transit plan. We also deliver commuter passengers and travelers between cities, and our equipment and operations are just as integral to moving citizens around as any of the public systems.

What was the response?

I think our message had some resonance with some of the members of the committee. We’ll see how the report comes out, but we think we have a pretty strong argument. Now is the right time to have this discussion with government. They’re struggling with balancing the competing needs to keep taxes down, maintain or increase government services and manage budgets wrecked by the recession. They need to find new ways of delivering services using fewer tax dollars. We’re confident that if the government lets us in, we can conservatively save 21 percent of what it currently spends on public transit.

I must start off by giving the full measure of credit for the organization and staff that Brian built over the years. He left everything in great shape with little to change. With that said, one issue in particular struck me as being both a challenge and opportunity for our motorcoach operators perhaps over the next 10 years. Pitching the value of partnerships with the private sector to deliver intercity transit services is my first big issue. Government agencies are becoming increasWith the U.S. and Canada reDoug Switzer, president and CEO ingly aware that the direct delivcently agreeing to a new border Motor Coach Canada, ery of government services is not accord, we are pressing for moToronto, ON, Canada the best way to manage the public torcoaches to receive a higher purse and derive the most value priority at border crossings. For from tax dollars. Outsourcing of transit opera- years the focus has been on the movement of tions could prove more cost effective, particu- commercial goods rather than the 600,000 Calarly for large regional operations. nadian passengers traveling into the U.S. by motorcoach each year. They represent a significant tourism component, and U.S. Customs should GO Transit in southern Ontario runs a lot of not detain these people for four to five hours. buses in-house with government employees There are technologies available and measures operating those vehicles. This is a perfect op- agents can take to speed up this process. portunity for the private sector and government to work together to deliver that service. We have attended hearings by our Transportation Committee on a new national public transit strategy and have addressed this posYes. It is nice to replace a gentleman I consible solution. sider a friend. I took this on because I do enjoy a challenge. These are weighty issues to deal with and I know there will be plenty to keep me We said first of all it should be the transit busy in the years to come.

Does anything on your plate involve relations with the U.S.?

Editor David Hubbard david@busride.com Assistant Editor Glenn Swain gswain@busride.com Account Executives Maria Galioto mgalioto@busride.com Tony Alvarado talvarado@busride.com Production Director Valerie Valtierra valerie@busride.com Art Director Dominic Salerno dsalerno@busride.com Contributing Writers Doug Jack, Matthew A. Daecher Christopher W. Ferrone BUSRide ™ (ISSN 0192-8902) is published monthly by Power Trade Media, 4742 N. 24th Street Suite 340 Periodicals postage paid at Phoenix, AZ and additional entry offices.

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POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: BUSRide • 4742 North 24th Street • Suite 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 • F: (602) 277-7588 Web site: www.busride.com

Vol. 48 No. 2 Vice President Operations Valerie Valtierra

Accountant Fred Valdez

Director/Sales & Marketing Catherine Stewart

Integrated Media Manager Raj Dayal

How could outsourcing affect MCC members?

Are you satisfied with your decision to accept the job?

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.

What was your pitch to the committee? 6

February 2012

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update

New logo and slogan reflects new focus on reliable products and service our corporate culture, but what our customers and the industry can expect from MCI today and in the future.” Last March MCI began a Business Excellence initiative company-wide, based on the principle of continuous improvement, in which teams establish processes to boost product quality

Motor Coach Industries (MCI), Shaumberg, IL, is unveiling a new logo and tagline — “MCI –Reliability Driven™” — to reflect its focus on building reliable coaches and support service. The company says the new look helps sharpen its vision and message for 2012. “We’ll use ‘Reliability Driven’ to tell the reliability story for MCI coach models,” says Patricia Ziska, MCI vice president of sales and marketing. “Our new slogan not only communicates

and spur innovation. Most relevant to customers are the updates MCI is making to the J4500. MCI unveiled its new campaign and the latest updates to the J4500 at ABA Marketplace in Grapevine, TX, and at UMA EXPO, Long Beach, CA.

Anthony J. (Tony) Fiorini, president and owner of Silver State Trailways based in Los Angeles, CA and Las Vegas, NV, has stepped up to serve a three-year term as the new Chair of the Trailways board of directors. Fiorini, a 35-year veteran in the motorcoach industry, says his priorities for the organization of independently owned motorcoach companies include more emphasis on business partnerships and regional sales by Team Trailways members. “This is a real honor,” he says. “This organization has a formidable heritage, and while we want to honor that past, we also want to embrace the future as we respond to market changes and challenges in the future.” Fiorini sees Trailways stockholders benefiting more from partnership sales made through the corporate office and group participation, cooperative efforts on larger pieces of business.

deliveries MOTOR COACH INDUSTRIES

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Keller Transportation Waldorf, MD

Keller Transportation added a customized 50-seat MCI J4500 to the tier in its 65-coach fleet that serves the high end business traveler needing to work comfortably and productively on the road. A Cummins ISX clean-diesel engine and an Allison B500 transmission powers the 2012 model coach, which features all the amenities and creature comforts of a rolling office, conference and meeting space. Amenities include Wi-Fi, wood grain-look floors and Bosch AV equipment for in-coach programming.

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Delaware Express Newark, DE

Delaware Express added two new MCI J4500 coaches and another two are set for an early 2012 delivery, bringing the all-MCI fleet to 22. Marketing safety and technology for 2012, Delaware Express equipped the high end models with three-point passenger seat belts, Wi-Fi, satellite television, power outlets and Drivecam. Standard features include a smooth wide-ride suspension, electronic stability control, a SmartWave tire pressure monitoring and Amerex fire suppression system. Delaware Express also added a custom galley for snack and beverage service.

BUSRide

The system works because of mutual respect Why and how Southwest Transit outsources with First Transit

Southwest Transit has operated for the last 25 years as a precursor to bus rapid transit.

By David Hubbard Southwest Transit, Eden Prairie, MN, serves the workforce and students who make the 30-mile run from Chaska, Shakopee and Eden Prairie into Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota. Relying on its long-standing partner, First Transit, Cincinnati, OH, a division of FirstGroup America, to hire, train and manage the drivers, the upscale commuter service has operated from these major suburbs for the last 25 years essentially as a precursor to bus rapid transit. Except for the dedicated lanes and loading ramps specific to BRT, the service provides the same convenient commute in the comfort of a modern motorcoach. According to Southwest Transit CEO Len Simich, the regular customers from these highly affluent communities are highly educated and attuned to the urban lifestyle. “This group has clearly required us to work outside the normal definitions of transit service,” says Simich. “We are continually upgrading and refining every aspect of the operation from the

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coaches and facilities to the drivers delivering customer service.” Simich goes on to say this demographic has higher expectations and many more choices than the average transit customer. “No one feels forced to commute,” he says. “If they are not comfortable on the coach, or do not feel totally satisfied with the experience, they can always drive. While that is true for transit in general, we feel especially challenged to draw these commuters out of their cars. We have no other alternative but to do everything on a high level.” The agency seems to have it under control, with ridership doubling over the last 10 years. “These last two years have been a challenge, as ridership ties directly to employment,” says Simich. “But we are seeing it turn around. We were up nearly 5 percent in 2011.” Southwest Transit operates 60 buses and coaches, 33 of which are MCI commuter coaches. Assorted New Flyer and Gillig transit buses comprise the rest of the fleet, as well as a Glaval cutaway for use in circulator and

shuttle runs. Simich says Southwest Transit was first to run commuter-style motorcoaches into the Twin Cities. “Our coaches are authorized to use the HOV lanes and shoulders on Interstate 394 into Minneapolis,” says Simich. “The ride is approximately 25 minutes, beating the cars by 10 minutes.” He says the time difference is critical in attracting and retaining commuter coach, in addition to the comfort and onboard amenities. It seems to be working. In Eden Prairie, the five-level parking ramp accommodates 1,000 vehicles and it usually fills by 8:30 a.m.

The choice to outsource

First Transit has teamed with Southwest Transit since 1989 when the agency first considered its option of outsourcing certain components of the operation. “The case with many municipalities is the transportation arm lacks the expertise to correctly implement the safest and most cost effective service,”

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says Dave Simoneau, First Transit project manager for this operation. “Southwest Transit determined First Transit could probably do a better job establishing and maintaining a first rate team of highly qualified drivers.” Simich says while both parties benefit from the longevity of this partnership, part of the process is for him and his staff to weigh the pros and cons of the contract every two years. “First Transit is an organization for hire,” he says. “That means our costs for its services are always a consideration. We have to always ask if we can do it as well for less money by bringing it in-house or going with another contractor.” Simich says because First Transit has delivered quality service for a favorable fee for so many years, Southwest Transit tends toward keeping the relationship intact. Simoneau, who has served alongside Southwest Transit for 17 years and just as easily sees himself as a Southwest Transit employee, says this partnership runs smoothly because of

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the simplified operational goal. “With only the driver component to operate and manage, we can give all our attention to transporting customers safely and on time, and delivering great service,” he says. “I think both entities agree this has grown beyond the typical contractor-vendor relationship into a true operational partnership, especially over the last 12 years.” Together, the two entities have met budget challenges through creative solutions that have led to greater efficiency. One example is the system First Transit devised to allow the buses to remain downtown between the morning and evening runs, which Simich says saves the fuel of 20 coaches a day coming and going Once the passengers are delivered in the morning, the coaches move to a secured parking lot where a shuttle transports the drivers back to the yard and return on the shuttle later in the day for their afternoon runs. “Another tremendous advantage for us is to not be the ones to sit and

negotiate with the unions,” says Simich. “While we may give up some say in who we hire, who we promote, and which drivers work on particular routes, in issues where the rubber hits the road, the advantages for our outsourcing to First Transit far outweigh any disadvantages.” Beyond bus stops and park-and-ride facilities, Southwest Transit enjoys the opportunity to develop further its properties as bona fide transit-oriented communities that place condominiums and retail space as close as possible to the bus service. The first such development in Eden Prairie features 230 condominiums and 130,000- square feet of retail space. “Because Southwest Transit owns the property, we have been able to develop this infrastructure,” says Simich. “These assets outside our normal transit activities generate a generous cash flow for us, and have enabled us to hold our own and grow over the last few years.” BR

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the transit authority

Future is bright for SunLine Transit Agency By C. Mikel Oglesby

This year marks a milestone for SunLine Transit Agency, as we celebrate our 35th anniversary. Over the years, the agency has been at the forefront of providing the safe, reliable transit service using cutting edge technologically advanced vehicles, for residents and visitors in the Coachella Valley, California. Our plan is to continue down that road into our next 35 years. When I arrived at SunLine in 2004, I quickly recognized the need to evaluate the entire transit system. A Comprehensive Operational Analysis (COA) was conducted, which included more than 20 public meetings held throughout the community to solicit input from those who use the service. From these

sessions, our board of directors approved a plan that provided a strategic road map for how best to move public transportation forward. Despite the state of the economy, SunLine has completed a number of the COA recommendations, including the realignment of routes to serve retail and commercial centers, frequency improvements and expansion of service. At a time when agencies around the country were cutting service, SunLine purchased 150 stand-alone bus benches and trash receptacles, as well as solar powered i-Stops (bus stop lighting) to service our 536 bus stops throughout the Coachella Valley. This provided comfort and

Last November the agency unveiled its seventh generation hydrogen fueled vehicle, the first of its kind “Buy America Compliant� American Fuel Cell Bus.

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safety for our riders. I also realized the need of a bus replacement and expansion program, as the SunLine buses were fast approaching the end of their useful life. A program was put in place and the entire aging fleet was replaced with new technologicallyadvanced CNG powered buses, along with the agency’s new paratransit vehicles. It was the fleet’s first major makeover in 14 years. SunLine has been the leader of alternative fueled vehicles in the transit industry beginning in August of 1994 when the agency converted its fleet of diesel-fueled vehicles to compressed natural gas vehicles. Our focus soon turned to further advancement of an environmentally-friendly fuel: hydrogen. In 2000 SunLine partnered with the California Fuel Cell Partnership in conducting a 13-month demonstration of the Zebus, a 40-foot New Flyer equipped with a Ballard fuel cell. The journey to providing public transit using hydrogen vehicles began. Last November the agency unveiled its seventh generation hydrogen fueled vehicle, the first of its kind, “Buy America Compliant” American Fuel Cell Bus. Through the determination and support of the SunLine board and staff, partners and funders of the American Fuel Cell program, we once again demonstrated the commitment of the agency to

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the commercialization of hydrogen vehicles. SunLine is uniquely positioned in the transit industry to assist the Federal Transportation Association in developing new commercial models for fuel cell technology and remains the best proving ground for advances in fuel cell technology. The FTA has further validated the success of the American Fuel Cell Bus Program and its support of SunLine by awarding the agency funding for two additional American Fuel Cell buses through the TIGGER Program, which works directly with public transportation agencies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy use within transit operations. The agency also owns and operates SunFuels, its state-of-the-art public fueling station that produces hydrogen on property. My goal, and the goal of the agency, is to continue the advancement of innovative transportation and alternative fuel technologies, while providing safe, high quality public transit services to the Coachella Valley. BR C. Mikel Oglesby was introduced to public transit at a very young age by his father, who was a bus operator for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) for more than 34 years. Oglesby has served as SunLine’s General Manager for eight years. He can be reached at moglesby@sunline.org.

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update

HART planning new transit station The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit agency is planning to construct a park-and-ride station to connect Brandon commuter to MacDill Air Force Base and downtown Tampa. According to the St. Petersburg Times, HART is interested in purchasing land just south of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway that will accommodate up to 250 cars. Buses would stop to pick up passengers headed for Tampa and MacDill AFB. In addition to covered waiting areas with benches, the agency wants to include restrooms and an indoor snack bar or some other leased space. The plan is to have the new transit station open by March 2013. The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority was created in October of 1979.

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART) buses will soon be rolling into a new park-and-ride station outside of Tampa, FL.

Cincy Metro adds eight new hybrids Cincinnati Metro has added eight new hybrid buses to its fleet. The new vehicles join six other hybrids that began service on Dec. 19. The 14 new hybrids more than doubled Metro’s hybrid fleet. With the new additions, Metro now has 27 hybrid buses in service for this year. The new hybrid buses were purchased with funding from the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Clean & Green and

Next Generation programs, the Federal Transit Administration’s Clean Fuels program, federal earmarks and the City of Cincinnati’s Transit Fund. In 2011, Metro’s hybrids reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 823 tons. Metro is a non-profit, tax-funded public service of the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, providing more than 17 million rides per year.

First Transit awarded Valley Metro contract Cincinnati, OH-based First Transit has been awarded a three-year contract with two option years to operate the City of Phoenix fixed-route service, Valley Metro. This service started on Oct. 1, 2007. Valley Metro operates 151 vehicles throughout the

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Bus ridership for Columbus, OH-based Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) increased 10.8 percent in the third quarter of 2011. Nationally, public transportation saw a 1.4 percent increase, with 2.6 billion trips taken.

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced in mid-December that 46 transportation projects in 33 states and Puerto Rico will receive a total of $511 million from the third round of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s popular TIGER program.

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Tulsa Transit’s Lift Program received a pair of new compressed natural gas MV-1 vehicles from Apache Corp. The MV-1s are factory-built paratransit vans. Total value of both vehicles was more than $100,000.

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In late December, 39 MTA New York City Transit employees were honored with medals and certificates of excellence for their roles in aiding customers and fellow workers in time of trouble.

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greater Phoenix area. The contract – the first in Arizona for First Transit – has a first-year value of about $22 million. “First Transit has a great management team set for Valley Metro and is very excited to start operating in Arizona,” said First Transit’s Senior Vice President Nick Promponas.

Alexandria Transit unveils new hybrid electric buses Alexandria, Virginia’s first clean diesel hybrid electric DASH buses were on display for a preview at Alexandria’s City Hall on Dec. 8. The purchase consisted of seven 35-foot hybrid buses and three 40-foot hybrid buses. In addition, Alexandria Transit has also purchased five 30-foot hybrid trolleys. The trolleys will go in to service in April 2012, when DASH begins operating the King Street Trolley. The DASH buses will operate on an environmentally-friendly mix of ultra-low sulfur diesel and electricity. The hybrid buses feature a wider body, low-floor entry, bike racks, improved mirrors, and wheelchair ramps instead of lifts.

BUSRide

traditional Business Values The Cupps and the Cornells are business partners and family friends that share the same interests outside their companies.

The Cupp family and friends perpetuate Blue Lakes Charter and Tours By David Hubbard

Cupp brothers David (left) and Randy founded Blue Lakes Charters and Tours in 1989 on the work of their father, Stan Cupp and Michigan Trailways.

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In the early 1960s Stan Cupp was already involved in the travel business and operating a few school buses when he jumped at the opportunity to buy up a half-dozen fledgling bus companies from the upper peninsula of Michigan to Toledo, OH. He ran his new operation as Delta Bus Lines from his base in Saginaw. In 1980 Cupp accepted an invitation from the Trailways team to become an affiliate and renamed the business Michigan Trailways. Stan’s sons, David and Randy, who spent much of their time as youngsters around the business washing and cleaning buses continued to work through the ranks of Michigan Trailways for at least 15 years until their father elected to sell the operation in 1988. With the sudden collapse of that venture after only 10 months into the deal, the new owners relieved the Cupp boys of their duties. David and Randy took it as the chance to create their own motorcoach company, which they launched in 1989 as Blue Lake Charter and Tours. The only hitch in the process was the fact their father was under a strict non-compete clause that prevented his involvement with his sons. According to co-owner and vice president Randy Cupp, only the generous assistance of a longtime family friend could make this opportunity possible. Clancy Cornell, the eventual founder of ABC Companies, had grown up with Stan and had begun selling used coaches he purchased from Greyhound. “We simply could not have managed this without Clancy’s agreeing to help us at the critical time,” says Cupp. “He willingly extended credit to us that allowed us to purchase and operate our first three MCI MC8s. The early transactions between these two pioneering families marked the beginning of one the more venerable partnerships in the North American motorcoach industry. “Growing up together, Stan and I shared many of the same family business goals,” says Cornell. “We both grew our businesses from the ground up and shared our passion for the bus industry with our sons. I can say with all certainty that Stan would be more

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Support New processes than proud of his sons today.” As both businesses have grown so have family relations between the Cupp and Cornell sons. Blue Lakes President David Cupp says their camaraderie over the years in business has grown, and outside interests include countless get-togethers and one memorable group excursion to Sturgis, SD on Harley Davidsons. Cupp says his father may have even been the first operator in the U.S. to purchase a Van Hool when the company brought a demo model to North America to test the market prior to Cornell’s involvement with the Belgian bus builder. While Blue Lakes ran early 815 Model GMCs equipped with Mann engines coupled to manual transmissions, the Cupps continued to purchase Van Hool coaches after Cornell formed ABC Companies and became the North American distributor. This year, Blue Lakes will take delivery of four 2012 C2045s to bring the Van Hool count to 20 in the fleet of 55, which includes a number of late model MCIs that have been converted to entertainer and lounge coaches for special events. Blues Lakes is reaching into its third generation of Cupp family management with David’s son and daughter, Ryan and Betsy respectfully, working in sales and marketing and casino reservations, while Randy’s sons Nathan and Jason are involved in charter sales and maintenance and driver orientation. Ryan Cupp also is a founding member of the UMA Young Guns operator group and secretary of the newly formed Midwest Bus Association. Based in Clio, MI, the $8 million company employs 150 and also operates facilities in Pontiac, MI and Perrysburg, OH, offering a diverse range of services from corporate charters, casino and amusement park runs to extended excursions, such as National Park backpacking trips and the 45-day coach trek Alaska’s Denali National Park for the Michigan Jewish Community Center. “We give a lot of focus to school and university sports teams and youth organizations,” says David Cupp. “As we are seeing a lot of business from the senior communities waning, we really have to look for ways to attract new markets.” He says Blue Lakes is the first motorcoach company in his area to initiate an online reservation-payment system for scheduled services that sell trips by the seat. “The Internet has become such a reality in our business, we

Stanley Lee Cupp, founder of Delta Bus Lines, stands with his first highway coach in 1962, a GMC Silversides.

had to set up this new system in-house on our website and hire a IT professional to manage it,” says Cupp. “We dropped our Yellow Pages advertising by at least two-thirds. As the business has passed to each generation and evolved over 40-plus years, Cupp says his family owes much of the stability in operations to a number of drivers and dispatchers who began with the company as Delta and Michigan Trailways. Cupp says one of the most beneficial efforts to grow and improve has been his involvement over the past three years in the Spader 20 Groups. “The opportunity to network so closely in a group that ranges from some of the largest bus companies to some of the smallest has really helped,” he says. “We have incorporated a number of suggestions that have literally turned us around in how we do business and how we communicate with our employees and get them more involved in our decision making processes.” Cupp cites one particularly valuable piece of advice from the group was to make the switch to the more robust motorcoach management software. Another was to be more up front on how Blue Lakes passes fluctuating fuel costs onto its customers. “This is a big problem for so many operators who must quote prices six to 12 months in advance,” he says. “We used to put a disclaimer in small print on the back of the contract that explained the trip was subject to a fuel surcharge. We decided we couldn’t afford the flack we were getting from our customers. Now we print it right on the front in big letters: The cost of this trip is based on today’s fuel costs. “Internally we are realizing greater value and efficiency by holding more meetings with more of our employees in every area of the operation. We are listening more closely and implementing their ideas. These are our people on the front line doing the work our customers see and judge us by. Their input is crucial to how we operate in this stage of the company.” BR

The history of Blue Lakes Charters and Tours shows in its coaches over the years.

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risk management

Prepare now for stricter industry oversight By Matthew A. Daecher

“Combined with proposed and soon-to-be federal motor carrier safety regulations affecting the commercial vehicle industry, it is fairly easy to guesstimate what the future will hold for carriers in certain areas.�

Matthew A. Daecher is president and CEO of Daecher Consulting Group, Inc., Camp Hills, PA.

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Two stories overshadowed all others in the bus industry in 2011: the implementation and realization of the new Safety Measurement System (SMS) and the resulting consequences and attention a string of unusually severe motorcoach crashes generated. While there are probably some operators who do not care much for the new SMS, the consensus from a safety viewpoint is this system does what it was intended to do: identify carriers that have issues managing regulatory requirements. How the system interprets certain violations and ranks operators are still contentious areas, but as a whole the new system provides much more information about carriers and their management than the Safestat system it replaced. More information for both regulators and consumers is a good thing. The unfortunate fatal bus crashes in the first half of the year sharpened regulator and enforcement attention, which had already been at a heightened level for the last several years. Strike forces across the nation and stricter enforcement of violators have resulted in more passenger carrier vehicle inspections and stricter enforcement of violations than the industry has ever seen. The results of these accidents also refocused attention on previously introduced legislation aimed at increasing bus safety and provided basis for new legislative offerings as well. Combined with proposed and soon-to-be federal motor carrier safety regulations affecting the commercial vehicle industry, it is fairly easy to guesstimate what the future will hold for carriers in certain areas. Seat Belts: While three-point belts on new coaches are a given, it is unlikely we will see a retrofit requirement issued for older coaches. Given the life cycle of coaches and the question of economics versus

benefit, the optional retrofit of some coaches would simply be too burdensome. However, I would expect standards issued for those who do choose to retrofit their older coaches. National Registry of Medical Examiners: This would establish a database of examiners qualified to conduct physical examinations on commercial drivers and likely include some type of educational component for the registered examiners. It should be a non-issue for carriers who already use designated examiners and hopefully are comfortable that they are familiar with the certification criteria, guidance and physical demands of the commercial drivers they examine. Speed Limiting: This proposal is less of a factor for the bus industry than trucking, but nonetheless may become reality if it is included in legislation under consideration. It would require speeds be limited to 65 mph and would likely include all large commercial vehicles. Drug and Alcohol Test Database: Long overdue, this missing link in driver history evaluation would limit the chances of drivers with past drug or alcohol abuses not apparent on a driving abstract to get hired and work for most legitimate carriers. Medical Certification and Sleep Apnea: There is growing indication of a revision to the physical qualification criteria, due mainly to fatigued driving issues and the sleep apnea movement. If sleep apnea screening is mandatory at prescribed body mass indexes, carriers will need to determine if they are willing to pay for such screening for potential hires and even current drivers. It would be wise for operators to begin now investigating options and costs for screening. This will help reduce occupational clinics from potentially benefiting unscrupulously from the need-for-screening diagnosis. Any apnea screening should take place

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independently of a company’s physical examination provider. Since the opportunity to change the physical qualification criteria is not often presented, it is entirely possible and warranted that FMCSA may review and change other areas of the qualification criteria as well. Safety Fitness Determination: The continued implementation of the CSA program will include a rule allowing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to change carrier safety fitness ratings based primarily on a carrier’s SMS data. While we can expect plenty of challenges to this rulemaking, if it does pass carriers would be susceptible to frequent, perhaps monthly, evaluations of their safety fitness rather than only during routine compliance reviews. How do operators prepare for this eventual reality? Make sure processes and procedures to manage regulatory compliance are effective in maintaining BASIC scores below thresholds. Aiming for rankings below the 50th percentile should keep a carrier in good shape. While there has been non-stop action on hours of service rulemakings for property carriers for some time, there has been little mention of hours of service changes in passenger carrier circles. Currently, a new hoursof-service rule for trucking is being published. While it barely mentions passenger carriers, those in the bus industry should not turn a blind eye to this issue. I believe the intent is to adjust passenger carrier hours of service, and once the trucking side is settled, or at least in a new round of litigation, we will see hours of service changes for passenger carriers introduced. FMCSA is simply giving too much attention to the subject to think otherwise. If and when it does introduce new rules, those who have been ahead of the curve in planning will suffer the least pain. All carriers get calls for trips that just don’t seem right; trips they should not allow. If your operation is growing more dependent on these questionable types of trips it is definitely time to think about diversifying.

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risk management continued

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Electronic Hours of Service Recorders (AOBRDs): This highly sought technology by enforcement is on its way to reality through one of two methods: rulemaking or congressional action. In fact, it was recently included in highway funding legislation under consideration. It is widely accepted in trucking circles, and whichever way it becomes required, passenger carriers can expect to be included. While we have yet to see the real benefit of this technology from the perspective of roadside enforcement, it will prevent anyone from fudging handwritten logs. Most current AOBRD systems are manually adjustable, which makes any non-adjustable data such as GPS locations key to their effectiveness. What should you be doing now? Talk with your vendors of the current technology-based systems on your vehicles to see if they plan to integrate AOBRDs into their systems. Most will. If you have contracts coming due for renewal, evaluate systems from other vendors. Make sure any agreements guarantee their AOBRD system will meet all future guidance regarding enforcement interfaces without incurring additional costs.

Driver Training: An entry-level driver training regulation has been on the books since 2004 that requires training for all commercial drivers with less than one year driving experience prior to July 2004. This regulation was subject to litigation largely based on its required topics, or more correctly, the lack of, and has been routinely ignored and not enforced. A proposal in 2007 to modify the training requirements was unsuccessful. The FMCSA will announce another attempt next year. This is not a bad idea and it will require a more robust training program. This leaves carriers in two scenarios: hire only those experienced drivers who can demonstrate they have met the training requirements, or provide the training themselves to inexperienced drivers or those who lack the proper documentation. To simplify compliance most carriers will want to provide the training themselves. This means that if you do not have an in-house driver training program, you may want to start thinking about developing one or establishing a relationship with a training school or program which is likely to be able to meet any proposed requirements. BR

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FMCSA’s well-laid five-year Strategic Plan Everyone is in on the act to raise the safety bar By David Hubbard An old Chinese proverb has it that if you are planning for one year sow rice. If you are planning for 10 years plant trees. If the plan is to last a lifetime, then educate people. The announcement in June from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of its second strategic plan since its inception in 2000 is remindful of this sage advice. It is important to understand the necessity of long-term planning to direct short-term action. The ongoing work of U.S. DOT and FMCSA, activities and programs such as the Strike Force Inspections, CSA and closures of rogue companies, represents sown rice. The Motorcoach Safety Action Plan Secretary LaHood called for a year or so ago is planting trees to bear fruit. However, educating people to respond, change and grow over the long haul is far more complex. Hope for the future begins with the teacher devising a cohesive lesson plan that lays out the end goals and the objectives along the way. It takes something like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 2011-2016 Strategic Plan: Raising the Safety Bar, to keep everyone focused on what they need to do, and to instill trust in the Administration as a guide and mentor. Administrator Anne Ferro sees the mission clearly as one to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities involving commercial vehicles. While noting the progress and recent successes in the face of public outcry, Ferro concurs there is more to do, which is why she has rolled out the latest Strategic Plan as the road map that charts our course for at least the next five years. The Strategic Plan establishes safety as the highest agency priority through three core principles: • Raise the bar to enter the motor carrier industry • Maintain high safety standards to remain in the industry

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Remove high-risk carriers, drivers and service providers from operation The majority of bus and coach operators get it. New people, new companies enter the industry every day, and their

ultimate success or ill fate has a lot to do with how well they understand and commit to the bigger plan for a safer operation and support for this farsighted, visionary strategic plan. BR

February 2012

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Glaval Bus and FCCC readies the Legacy for charter service Built on the FCCC S2C with rear-ride suspension Glaval Bus, Elkhart, IN, a division of Forest River Inc, and a component in the Berkshire-Hathaway conglomerate, will introduce its new 40-ft Legacy to charter tour motorcoach operators during UMA Expo 2012 in Long Beach, CA. Built in conjunction with its partner, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC), the Legacy features the heavy-duty Freightliner S2C chassis

with rear air-ride suspension. A Cummins 6.7L ISB V8 Diesel240HP engine and Allison 2200 PTS Transmission with Park Pawl 5 speed provide the power. The Legacy is available direct through Glaval Bus and its associated dealer network. Glaval Bus elected to produce the new model with Freightliner when GM ceased production on its 5500 Series

chassis two years ago. The company says it needed another upscale bus in the 29,000 GVWR category. The Legacy on exhibit at UMA Expo marks the debut of a configuration suitable for large chartered groups. It features bonded windows upscale seating for up to 45 passengers, rear lavatory, overhead and under floor storage, and a rear-drop baggage compartment. Glaval Bus says the styling and comfort combines with rugged durability in the construction. Versatile floor plans and configurations for the Legacy also fit with public shuttle service and ADAcompliant paratransit applications. The Legacy, built of 1-1/2-inch galvanized Steel-Safe construction and Altoona-tested for 10 years; 350,000 miles, comes with a five-year, 100,000mile warranty.

continued on page 24 Reliability is one of your most valuable assets. It’s also one of ours. Your passengers trust you to get them where they need to go, just as you can count on Protective to develop a solid insurance program that is backed by an experienced staff. For more information, contact Stacy Renz at (800) 644-5501.

You’re proud of the service you provide. So are we.

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February 2012

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Glaval Legacy

continued

Legacy Specifications Wheelbase 219”/259”/279” Exterior Height Approximately 129 Exterior Width 96” Interior Height 78 1/2” Interior Width 92” Length 32-, 35-, / 37-,40-ft; up to 481” Chassis Specifications Engine Cummings 6.7L V8 Diesel Engine Rating 240 hp; 560 lb-ft GVWR 26,000 lbs Alternator 320 Amp Fuel System 65 gal or 100 gal Alternate Fuel B-20 “BioDiesel” capable Transmission Allison 2200 PTS w/ Park Pawl 5 Speed Parking Brake Air-operated w/push and pull knob on dash Wipers Intermittent single motor Battery 2 Batteries 1900 CCA total Cruise Control Standard electronic Fast Idle Standard Steering Adjustable tilt/telescoping Wheels Dual rear wheels 22.5”, six 10-hole disc, 22.5”x 7.5” RW steel painted white Tires Michelin XZE 235/80R 22.5 14 ply Stereo Not included. Optional Speakers Total of 8 speakers included in conversion (includes 2 in the drivers area) Tow Hooks Front frame mounted Driver’s Seat Bostrom Talladega 910 Highback Air Suspension DEF Tank 10 gal Rear Axle Ratio 5.13 to 1 Air System DV-2 Autodrain valve w/ heater Front Axle Rating 10,000 lb Front Spring 10,000 lb Tape Leaf Rear Axle Rating 19,000 lb Rear Spring 21,000 lb Air-Ride Air Liner Door Handles/Locks Manual Aux Power In dash 12-Volt Front Bumper OEM Chrome Windshield Washer Reservoir 1 Gallon under hood

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February 2012

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going green

Environmental impact and In today’s world of environmental concerns and impacts of each industry, the bus industry is now giving serious thought to the level of impact on the environment. We are now looking at ways to be efficient in tires, engines, fuel consumption and aero-dynamics. Washing your bus can be another dynamic way to be environmentally sound By Jack Jackson and save money as well. Let’s put some myths to bed and pass on some ideas on how to be green while saving money and improving your image when it comes to washing your buses. Today there is technology available to meet any needs and desires of your washing requirements, be it budget or environmentally based. Generally, the most popular automatic machinery to wash vehicles today consists of automated

Right: The Awash Eco Water Pump System is an automatic, selfcontained unit designed to increase both water pressure and volume for increased efficiency.

drive through, rollover and walk-around units. These automated systems enable a bus to be washed and rinsed in less than five minutes. Available as well are water reclamation and recycle systems to offset environment concerns and save on water costs. However, there are many operators still using the manual pressure washer and hand brush scrub system, taking up to 30 minutes or more to wash and rinse. Reliable labor, time costs and wash consistency are the major frustrations with any operator utilizing a manual handwash system. Let’s take a look at facts about bus washing:

Washing buses in your parking lot

Do you know some municipalities and states have banned washing cars on the street and even your driveway? Yes, that water goes directly to the storm sewer and immediately into your local water source, whether it is a stream, river, lake or ocean. If you are washing in your parking lot, where does that drain go? Most likely, it goes directly to the closest aquatic system in your area. The chemicals being used for washing end up in the local aquatic systems. Even if you use the proper “biodegradable soaps” you are still sending grease, oil, gasoline and other contaminants with that wash water into the water shed. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests washing your vehicles on gravel or grassy surfaces, since Mother Nature knows how to neutralize those contaminants in the soil. However, this can’t be efficient for any bus operator that has multiple vehicles to wash. The surface would obviously become inundated with water and mud, so there has to be more thought put into large vehicle washing. There are technologies available to capture your wash water in your parking lot, recycle and reuse this water. Also there are companies that will capture and dispose in the proper sewer system so as not to pollute your environment.

Washing inside your building

Left: A Mobile Soap Sprayer is a low-pressure stainless steel mobile sprayer that cleans using brush systems and not chemicals.

26 February 2012

Washing inside your building, in the majority of cases, means you are tapped into your municipal water sewage system, thus the wash water is being sent to your treatment facility. While this does help the environment, there are costs. • The municipality has to clean this water. Also, your company or building is paying for water that’s possibly on a meter. Check your water bill and understand it. • Are you paying for sewage discharge as well? Many companies do not realize that there is a water charge in and many times there is a “water out” charge. Some areas meter water in and out, with a hefty charge for water discharge. You are paying for water in and then paying again for water out, sometimes twice the amount to discharge.

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green focus on bus washing •

Today’s technology allows for water treatment systems at your wash bay. There are many systems available that allow you to capture your water, clean it and reuse for washing. This would allow a zero discharge, thus saving money and the environment.

Handwashing buses

A three-quarter-inch water hose dispenses 17 gallons of water per minute. Do the math and washing a bus for 30 minutes equates to 510 gallons of water. Each gallon weighs 8.3 pounds, so you may have used over two tons – or 4,200 pounds – of water to wash that bus. Whether you are washing inside your building or outside on your parking lot, the use and cost of water can be a major hidden expense for your facility. Do the analysis and find a major saving, especially when you look at your cost-per-gallon of water. Today’s technology for cleaning buses, no matter if you are using an automatic system, a walk-around single brush unit, pressure washer or old fashioned hand brush, can be a green initiative in your company. It’s a matter of education of water usage, techniques and analysis. With water shortages and environmental impacts this is a growing concern, and one long ignored.

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The cost of water varies across the continent, thus it can have different impacts depending on your location. Do you draw water out of a well or lake? We hear from these customers that we don’t pay for water, so not a concern. We have to believe there is a cost to all of us eventually. For most of us the municipality supplies our water through pipes to our facility. Take a minute to examine the water bill and come up with a cost-per-gallon of water. This is not easy, but it’s necessary to determine your cost-per-vehicle of washing. After determining the cost of water you will have to capture the cost of labor, chemicals and supplies, like brushes and cloths, etc. It is understandable why only 1 percent of companies know the actual cost of washing a bus. Overall, bus washing has much more of an impact than most operators’ take time to consider. There is a major affect to both the environment and the bottom line of every company, city and municipality. Take time to consider your footprint on the environment. BR Jack Jackson is President of Awash Systems in Toronto, Canada. He can be reached at jjackson@awashsystems.com. Find Awash Systems at www.awashsystems.com or call (800) 265-7405.

February 2012 27

CH Bus Sales and Temsa gel for 2012 The TS 30 model debuts at UMA Expo; national sales and service in place

Robert Foley serves as president and CEO, CH Bus Sales, Faribault, MN.

Duane Geiger serves as executive vice president, sales and service, CH Bus Sales, Faribault, MN. CH Bus Sales will put the 30-ft Temsa TS 30 on exhibition during UMA EXPO 2012, Long Beach, CA.

By David Hubbard The Temsa bus and motorcoach brands belong to Temsa Global and runs in more than 40 markets worldwide including Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The company has bus and coach production plants in Adana, Turkey and Cairo, Egypt, to offer myriad models that accommodate various transportation modes and the many needs of each regional market. Now with the only 35-and 30-foot monocoque design motorcoaches available to North American operators, CH Bus Sales, Faribault, MN, the exclusive Temsa distributor in the U.S, will showcase the 30-ft TS30 model this month during UMA Expo 2012 in Long Beach, CA. “This 30-foot coach length marks a significant addition to the small bus market in North America,” says CH Bus Sales President and CEO Robert Foley. “Operators are excited by the fact that it is an upscale option that is not body on chassis. Some applications of a cutaway are fine, but there are many instances where the use of a true motorcoach will perform much better.” In addition to monocoque construction, the advantages

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of transporting up to 32 passengers in the smaller 30-foot coach, according to Foley, are the greater baggage capacity, the comfort of full-scale motorcoach seating and amenities and an onboard lavatory. Foley says bus and coach operators are trying to save costs without jeopardizing the quality they offer their customers. “The shorter length Temsa models are becoming more attractive to operators who are not filling their 45-foot coaches on every trip,” says Foley. “These options save on the purchase price, insurance costs, mileage and lower tolls.” Academy Bus Lines, Hoboken, NJ, Cardinal Bus, Middlebury, IN, and Pacific Coachways, Garden Grove, CA were some of the first North American operators to purchase the 35-ft coach Temsa introduced in 2008. In the past quarter, Vandalia Lines, St. Louis, MO; Skyliner Tours, Astoria, NY; AFC Transportation, Houston, TX; Cavallo Bus, Springfield, MO; SFO Limo, San Francisco, CA; Rochester Bus Service, Hastings, MN; Jefferson Lines, Minneapolis, MN; and Bloomington Shuttle, Bloomington, IN, have put the Temsa TS35 into service.

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Cardinal Bus operated three of the first units to arrive in the U.S. and has since traded these for three 2012 models equipped with EPA-compliant Cummins engines. Dan Shoup, president and CEO of family-owned Cardinal Bus, says the 35-foot TS35 is a perfect fit for the smaller athletic teams his company transports. “We typically carry teams of 15 to 30 students for these smaller division schools,” he says. “We feel better and the clients feel better about them riding in a coach that is full, and the schools are far more confident with the Temsa coaches on longer trips.”

CH Bus Sales solidifies operation

Foley says the Temsa U.S. sales organization is in place and represents a wealth of industry experience. Executive Vice President, Duane Geiger, heads the national sales team of Tim Vaught and Larry Williams in Texas and the South; Tony Mongiovi, New Jersey and the Northeast; Randy Angell, Midwest; and Randy Kolesar, Pacific and Western region. This group averages 20 years of experience in the motorcoach industry. The company reports it will add an account executive in the Southeast later in the spring. “This team will wear several hats, but they enjoy the challenge and have the experience,” says Foley. “A lot has come together in the last four months.”

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CH Bus Sales has opened a service facility in Orlando, FL, which has a consistent port pickup and customer delivery routine in place, in addition to performing outside service work for operators. “We currently have two established parts warehouses in Las Vegas and Orlando. We also have a solid warranty administration and after sales support team headed by Marvin Borntrager, who has 28 years of experience in the motor coach industry. In addition to the two locations in Las Vegas and Orlando, we are assembling a reliable technical support network across the country” says Foley Foley says the service support growth begins with a collaborative effort with Creative Bus Sales, Chino, CA, which will add support in Chino, CA, Hayward, CA, Sacramento, CA, Elkhart, IN, Phoenix, AZ, Albuquerque, NM and Atlantic Beach, FL. CH Bus Sales also has service arrangements with David Frank in the Texas area, C&J’s Bus Repair Service, Minneapolis, MN, and Perfect Body and Motor Coach Solutions in the Northeast. “Our plan is to have support in every major city in the U.S. and eventually in Canada,” says Foley. “We recently established our product research and development committee, which Tim Vaught leads. The committee, which includes operators and Temsa personnel, is reviewing our TS35 and TS30 models, along with our U.S. prototype of the 45-ft coach which we will introduce to North America this time next year.” BR

February 2012

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tours & travel

Outlook strong for North American travel

While majestic Niagara Falls is still a major draw, the area has other attractions for motorcoach travelers to enjoy. Photo courtesy of Niagara Tourism

By Glenn Swain For many motorcoach operators and tour companies, 2011 saw a rebound in the tourism and travel business. After a couple of years of sluggish sales in an economy that was at times in free fall, last year the motorcoach tourism industry began to experience spirited sales and renewed excitement. “For our members 2011 was much better than 2010, despite some of the economic volatility that’s still going on,” says Lisa Simon, president of the Lexington, KY-based National Tour Association. “It’s not like everyone got back to where they were pre-economic crisis, but they certainly had a better year.” At the NTA’s convention in Las Vegas in December, many operators told Simon they were booking business directly on the event floor, a rarity in the past few years. Simon says she noticed a related trend. “We’ve been having shorter booking cycles for years, but now operators are starting to see longer booking cycles,”

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Simon says. “I don’t know what’s driving that, other than maybe people are more careful with their money so they are planning farther in advance and are being wise about where they want to go and do.” “2011 was a very strong year,” says Kristy Kennedy, group marketing specialist for the Adirondack Coast Visitors and Convention Bureau. “People were starting to travel more.” Deborah Duerr, the director of tourism sales at Niagara USA, has found success in repackaging existing tours. Late last year she put together a tour called “The Ghost of Niagara,” tying in the apparently haunted Fort Niagara, the Olde Angel Inn and other spooky locations near Niagara Falls. “It’s putting a new spin on tours and tying them together,” Duerr says. “We’ve been featured on the Syfy Channel’s ‘Ghost Hunters’ and ‘Scariest Places in America’ on the Travel Channel.” Duerr says the problem Niagara USA has is people thinking the only attraction is the Falls itself.

“We have been building the idea that there are other things to see here,” she says. “We have our Niagara winter market, which is a European-style outdoor market with wonderful shopping and ice skating. We have a new culinary school that’s opening this year, too.” For 2012, Simon says she is seeing a resilient market in faith-based travel. “We found that 40 percent of our operators are actually producing faithbased products,” Simon says. “Specifically, it’s going on pilgrimages, visiting shrines, or mission and fellowship trips. I believe that’s understated because that was based a specific product designed around a religious- or faith-based experience. That doesn’t include the operators who are working with their local church groups, but they are going on a more traditional type of vacation.” Simon claims a number of NTA members are diversifying their markets and going for younger clients. “According to our 2011 survey, the senior market was about 42 percent of

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tours & travel

continued

With the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, reenactments …

our tour operators’ market,” she said. “Ten years ago it was 80 percent.” Duerr suggest companies become more aware of their markets and not assume travelers are coming from the usual areas.

“We always assumed we were the 600-mile radius market, but now we’re finding that a lot of our motorcoaches are coming in from farther away,” Duerr says. “I think it’s a combination of people looking for different products,

and it may be the motorcoaches themselves. Now they’re luxury coaches. People are starting to realize they can travel in comfort with a group that’s going to interesting places.” Kennedy says tours are filling up for

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February 2012

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… will be popular not only in New York State but around the U.S. Photos courtesy of Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau

September’s 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, a big event for not only New York State but nationwide. The observance will be held the weekend of Sept. 7-9. “We’re seeing resurgence in history-

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based tours, as well as our wine tours,” Kennedy says. “Those tours are spiking more than we expected.” “The outlook for travel in North America is very strong,” Simon says. “Vacationing and traveling is more of

an entitlement than a right and luxury. While some plans may have been canceled over the last few years because of the economy, I think people have a lot of pent-up demand. That’s why the outlook for 2012 and 2013 looks good.” BR

February 2012 33

letter from europe By Doug Jack The British market for city buses fell back badly in 2010, not just because of the global financial crisis, but also two of the major groups cut back heavily on their normal procurement of new vehicles. The effect was still felt in the first half of 2011. Recovery came in the second half and forward order books for 2012 are looking healthier with a recent boost by the British government’s decision to give a further $40 million US toward the purchase of hybrid buses, which will make up much of the difference between a standard diesel bus and a hybrid version. Since 2004 Alexander Dennis (ADL) has concentrated on its design, manufacture of double deck buses for British, and export markets, as well midibuses, which have proven very popular. Colin Robertson became chief executive officer for Alexander Dennis in the spring of 2007 following a number of senior executive positions with Terex, including a stint in the United States. Within a matter of weeks of his arrival ADL bought out Plaxton, the only remaining builder of luxury coach bodywork in the United Kingdom, giving the enlarged company a turnover in excess of $350 million US per annum. As it turned out, Plaxton gave ADL valuable additional capacity to build city buses. Under Robertson’s leadership, ADL

The Plaxton Elite comes across as very luxurious.

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New growth for Alexander Dennis focuses on North America

The two-axle Enviro 400 is a very popular Alexander Dennis model in the UK.

further modernized its product range, including hybrid buses with BAE Systems. This program has been so successful that ADL is currently the largest producer of hybrid buses in Europe with nearly 500 in service or on order at the turn of the year. Proven very reliable even in the heaviest of traffic in London, some of the earliest deliveries already have accumulated nearly 200,000 miles with savings in fuel consumption of around 30 percent. ADL and BAE Systems are working closely on further refinement of the hybrid drive system. They plan to in-

troduce a stop-start function very soon and anticipate that it will give a further 10 percent saving in fuel consumption. During his press conference at the recent exhibition in Birmingham, UK, Robertson stressed the importance of export business to compensate for the fluctuations in the British market. ADL has developed a new version of its 40-foot Enviro 500 double deck bus, which is 13.5 feet in height for the North American market. The floor is only 14 inches above ground, helped by the use of smaller wheels and tires. A Cummins ISB engines fits vertically in line coupled to fully automatic Allison gearboxes. The engine can be either four or six cylinder depending on overall length and the customer’s power requirements. ADL describes the new product as a “Go Anywhere Double Deck” that opens up new opportunities across North America for transit routes previously hindered by low bridge constraints and the need for special height permits. Robertson was delighted to announce orders and options for a total of 220 of these new 99-passenger vehicles to operators in Ottawa and Toronto for Q3 2012 delivery. ADL also is

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delivering the shorter two-axle Enviro 400 double deck buses with open tops for sightseeing to Hawaii. ADL already has double deck fleets running in New York, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver. “I believe that after a brief rebound the global economy is back on its heels,” said Robertson, speaking to the economic state. “The persistent stagnation in Europe and renewed weakness in the U.S. means that global output from the developed world for the medium-term will not be better than anemic – and the risk of another slowdown is very real. Those who stand still, in good or bad times, are dead in the water.” Robertson has driven a major cultural change in ADL with results clearly seen in the product range. He says his company has re-calibrated the way it plans, resources, designs, engineers, manufactures and provides whole-life support for its customers. Financially, ADL has performed extremely well. The group has increased its output 60 percent from 2009 to 2011 with a record order book equivalent to $560 million US. Robertson forecasts that number rising to $700 million in 2012, justifying his claim ADL is the fastest growing bus manufacturer in Europe. The icing on the cake is the fact that the company is also become debt free. Dennis chassis are assembled in a factory at Guildford, which is about 25 miles south west of London’s Heathrow Airport. They are designed for close integration with the group’s bodywork, but can also be supplied to other bodybuilders. All models use Cummins engines of various different sizes, coupled to Allison, Voith or ZF fully automatic gearboxes. Axles are a mixture of Dana and ZF, making it relatively easy to source these components in North America for customers needing to comply with Buy American requirements. Bodywork can be supplied in kit form for assembly by local labor. The Alexander factory at Falkirk in Scotland principally builds double deck city bus bodywork, not only on ADL chassis, but sometimes also on Sca-

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The 49-ft Volvo with a Plaxton Panther body is popular on express services.

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letters from europe

continued

nia. Other products include a full-size, heavy-duty single-deck transit bus body. All the construction is in Alexander’s own time-tested bolted aluminum system. Although aluminum is much more expensive than steel, the savings in weight are particularly important with a double deck bus. There is also complete resistance to corrosion and the ease of recycling, an important factor with Europe’s end-of-life regulations

The Enviro 200 midibus is built to various lengths and currently holds 70 percent of the UK market in this weight range.

which are affecting all kinds of automotive products. The assembly of midibus bodywork was transferred two or three years ago to the Plaxton factory at Scarborough on the north east coast of England. These are also built in the same bolted aluminum and range in length from 29 to 38 feet. The Plaxton factory has traditionally built luxury coach bodywork, principally on Volvo chassis, but also on Iveco, and more recently on Scania. Plaxton is also the principal supplier of coaches to the British operations of megabus.com. Although they run some double deck coaches on UK services, the main work horses are 49-foot triaxle coaches mounted on Volvo chassis. Most coaches in the UK are built to an overall length of 40 feet on two axles. Plaxton is the market leader. When megabus.com introduced its tri-axle giants, many wondered whether they would be able to work in our congested towns and cities, with narrow streets and tight corners. They are in fact remarkably maneuverable, with the third trailing axle also steering, giving great operational flexibility. Two tri-axle models can handle almost the same number of passengers as three 40-foot coaches with considerable savings in running costs. With ambitious plans to grow further, ADL says it is heavily committed to new product development and is not resting on its laurels. Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom.

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FEB 2011

T h e E x c l u s i v e M a i n t e n a n c e R e s o u r c e f o r t h e Tr a n s i t a n d M o t o r c o a c h I n d u s t r y !

CSA enforcement puts maintenance under the scope

Vehicles often come under inspection once the officer or inspector spots something broken or out of place. Mechanics must repair or correct such easy-to-notice defects before the vehicle hits the road.

The shop and drivers share responsibility for a safe score The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) CSA enforcement program is not just about the front office and the driver. Naturally, the maintenance facility plays a critical role in keeping unsafe vehicles off the road. By Thomas Bray

CSA enforcement The most common and most severe violations under the CSA grading system cited during roadside inspections point directly to the maintenance team. • Tire tread depth less and 2/32-inch Severity level 8 • Stop lamp violations Severity level 6 • Brakes out of adjustment Severity level 4 • No proof of annual inspection Severity level 4 • Defective brake hose/tubing Severity level 4 • Defective/no lighting/ reflective devices Severity level 3 • Oil and/or grease leak Severity level 3 • Inoperative headlamp Severity level 2 • Accessories in unsafe condition Severity level 2 • Used, unsecured or no fire extinguisher Severity level 2 The CSA program tracks a total of 22O maintenance-related violations. Around 170 driver scores are maintenancerelated. The violations that create the most damage in the scoring system include: • Out of service vehicle Severity level 10 • Tire defects Severity level 8 • Suspension defects Severity level 7 • Defective lights Severity level 6 • Steering defects Severity level 6 • Brake defects Severity level 4 If a vehicle maintenance violation results in an out-of-service order, the severity of the violation increases by two. Any reported violation affects the driver’s CSA score for 36 months; the company score for 24 months. Catch the small stuff — Vehicles often come under inspection once the officer or inspector spots something visibly wrong — something broken or out of place. Mechanics must repair or correct such easy-to-notice defects before the vehicle hits the road. Repair and document — A safety-related defect reported by a driver needs to be corrected and documented before the vehicle is driven again. Do not force drivers to operate defective vehicles.

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Keep and store accurate maintenance and inspection records — They must be available for at least 12 months. Implement a documented preventative maintenance program — Prevent problems before they arise — rather than deal with them after a violation. Qualify mechanics to do the work — Do not perform brake work or annual inspections without proof the maintenance staff can meet the qualification standards for such tasks. Show proof of inspection — Keep a decal or copy of the annual inspection form on board. Poor inspection and maintenance reflects in the violations on roadside inspection reports, which affect the scores that carriers receive in the CSA vehicle maintenance category. A conscientious and effective maintenance program for safe and proper working vehicles is the only way to keep the CSA scores low. CSA scores improve as more time passes with more clean inspections since the last violation.

Thomas Bray serves as Senior Editor, Transportation Management, for J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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products & services

Rotary Lift updates parallelogram wash bay lift The updated Rotary Lift parallelogram wash bay package maximizes bay space and product life. The company says its new lift with wash bay kit is third-party tested by ETL and ALI certified to meet ANSI safety and performance standards. Rotary Lift manufactures a full line of parallelogram lifts with lifting capacities up to 100,000 lbs. and plat-

form lengths from 26 to 48 feet long and can be ordered with the new wash bay package. Rotary Lift says the mechanics of the parallelogram design are ideal for positioning engine compartments beyond the ends of the lift runways to create total access for cleaning the engine and other service areas over the water reclamation pit.

Rotary Lift, Madison, IN www.rotarylift.com

Jasper reliable HEUIs pumps Once considered a disposable piece on a diesel engine, hydraulic electronic unit injector (HEUI) pumps are now available from Jasper Engines & Transmissions as a reliable, remanufactured component the company says customers can install with confidence. HEUI fuel systems appeared on the market around 1994. This system uses engine oil under high pressure to pump fuel into the combustion chamber. As oil leaks are one of the biggest issues with these pumps, Jasper uses critically-sized O-rings to prevent leaks from the rear end sealing plate. All the O-rings within the pump are replaced, along with any discharge fittings. To prevent the common loss of flow or pressure Jasper installs a set screw in the housing to prevent the swashplate from turning, and also replaces the thrust washers for the plunger rotor. The company says this is a key wear item that can cause pressure and flow loss. Jasper Engines & Transmissions Jasper, IN www.jasperengines.com

February2012 2012 40 40 February

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products & services

Super torque impact wrench is faster ACDelco offers the Li-ion 18V halfinch Super Torque Impact Wrench with 480 ft./lbs. of torque and 0-2,000 rpm / 0-2,600 ipm for faster speed application. This impact wrench provides durable aluminum gearbox housing, and variable speed with reversible control and electric brake switch. A powerful in-house motor comes with an external changeable carbon brush and anti-slip

soft grip provides comfort and good protection during work. It includes a built-in LED light for convenient illumination during work a battery indicator shows battery capacity. Use for tire changes and any application that demands bolts. ACDelco Grand Blanc, MI www.acdelco.com

Dialight expands SAE/DOT vehicle lighting portfolio Dialight says its LED Low Beam 4-x 6-in headlamp for transit buses and commercial vehicles operates at less than 14 watts and uses more than 70-percent less energy than conventional halogen headlamps and onethird the energy of the leading LED competitor in its class. The company

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says this exceptional energy efficiency helps to reduce stress on the electrical system and potentially improve fuel economy. The Dialight Low Beam Headlamp requires no cooling fans or other moving parts to manage heat, eliminating the failure points commonly found in

other LED products. The Dialight unit offers a life expectancy of more than 10 full years, seven backed by Dialight’s full-replacement peace of mind awarranty. Dialight Farmingdale, NJ www.dialight.com

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How IndyGo works with its aging mechanics The key is to ease their path and plan ahead for attrition By Vicki Learn When I became the director of maintenance for with IndyGo, the transit agency for Indianapolis, IN, I first began diffusing what I called my “demographic time bomb.” IndyGo’s maintenance team is getting older with most of our mechanics age 50 or older. I knew I had to keep my seasoned workers happy, while I sought new talent to avoid a high rate of attrition when they retire. I began by paying attention to what would minimize physical discomfort and maximize employee efficiency. Several ergonomic changes inside the garage included purchasing thick rubber mats to help with tired feet, new computer screens with bigger type, bar-type stools to help relieve spine pressure while doing data entry and portable PC diagnostic units that wheel right up to buses. Additionally, we have reduced fatigue by redesigning how we park our buses so employees don’t have to take as many steps to get to the service tracks. This is also a change that allows maintenance to spend more time working on the buses, and less time trying to find them. To keep the company from being stuck between a rock and a hard place when these valued employees retire, we have started to cross-train our maintenance staff. We are allowing our general laborers to take technician courses to become certified and properly trained as attrition starts to set in. It’s a great investment that allows us to do maintenance on our maintenance team. We also acquire future talent through internships and partnerships with high school diesel technology programs. Over the summers we work with phenomenal young men. We hired one such student from Arsenal Tech High School as a part-time laborer during

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his senior year and will continue to train him so he will want to continue his career with us as an expert mechanic. These changes and proactive measures have been small investments that have yielded large dividends. Productivity has gone up and absenteeism

has gone down. Listening to and caring about employees is a big part of my job. Vicki Learn is the Director of Maintenance for IndyGo in Indianapolis, IN. IndyGo is the Indianapolis Public Transportation Corporation, which provides public bus transit services throughout Marion Count, IN.

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PennTex Industries, Inc. 202 Plaza Drive Manchester, PA 17345 Phone: (877) 590-7366 Charles Paden cpaden@penntexusa.com www.penntexusa.com PennTex Industries, Inc. manufactures heavy duty alternators, external regulators and mobile electronic devices, with 14V alternator outputs ranging from 200 to 350 amps. The PX-833 model is a 28V, 330 amp air-cooled upgrade for the belt-drive 50DN oil-cooled alternator and was specifically designed for transit bus and motorcoach applications.

Paradigm Technology Consulting, LLC 50 Millstone Road Bldg 400; Suite 150 East Windsor, NJ 08520 Phone: (609) 890-4150 Fax: (609) 890-4154 Michael Gummel E-mail: sales@ptcllc.com www.ptcllc.com Paradigm Technology Consulting, LLC (PTC), a Microsoft Certified Partner, is the publisher of The Paradigm Transportation Suite (PTS) PTS is a work force management focused suite of applications for the transportation industry and is designed so that organizations can utilize what they need in order to replace or supplement existing applications including Operations, Fleet Maintenance, Financial, GPS/Wi-Fi, Customer Relationship Management, Driver and Labor Management as well as Human Resource.

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February 2012

ProAir, LLC 28731 County Road 6 Elkhart, IN 46514 Phone: (574) 264-5494 Fax: (574) 264-2194 Dennis Mitchell, President Jeff Armstead, Sales Manager E-mail: info@proairllc.com www.proairllc.com Manufacturer of air conditioning, heating and defrost systems for all types of buses and shuttle vehicles. Specializes in climate control systems for driver and passenger areas and also stocks a complete line of related aftermarket parts.

Sardo Bus & Coach Upholstery 503 S. Main Avenue Minneola, FL 34715 Phone: (800) 654-3524 Fax: (352) 242-9290 Sandy Follis Email: Sandy@sardobus.com www.sardobus.com Sardo’s quality craftsmanship and unique customer service have made us an industry leader in motorcoach and transit refurbishment. Our professional Mobile Road Crews travel directly to your facility for all of your interior needs. We offer the best warranty in the industry and guarantee our workmanship for as long as you own your coach!

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