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Irizar; one year in p12

Lesser known responsibilities of motorcoach operators


Gray Line of TN’s culture of safety p19 Mobility increases passenger safety p 23


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COVER STORY Official BUSRide Field Test: Irizar North America; one year in


INA Bus Sales’ partnership with the Spanish bus builder proves itself in recognition, respect and sales By David Hubbard

FEATURES Expanding the industry’s largest parts service operation 11 Brian Dewsnup leads MCI and New Flyer parts business forward

Gray Line of Tennessee manages risk with Protective Insurance Company and Lytx DriveCam™ 19 Gray Line’s culture of safety makes it one of the nation’s top motorcoach operations By Richard Tackett






By Steven Winnefeld



By Doug Jack




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Gordon Mackay listened to his own good steward, Bill Himburg VOL. 53 • NO. 2 Richard Tackett

Editor in Chief

During each American Bus Association (ABA) Marketplace, at the invitation of the ABA, BUSRide has the privilege of presenting its Good Stewardship Award, developed to pay tribute to the person who extends experience, expertise and dynamic leadership well beyond the concerns of personal business interests – to encourage and support everyone’s’ efforts in the bus and coach industry. As a good steward, the recipient lends a nurturing mind and spirit that encourages a more effective and robust bus and coach industry. This person’s experience, good advice and willingness to share is of tremendous benefit to other operators. Past industry stewards have been Charles Zelle, Jefferson Lines and Minnesota Department of Transportation; Michael Colborne, Pacific Western Group of Companies; and Craig Lentzsch, All Aboard America! Holdings. This year at ABA Marketplace in Cleveland, OH, we honored Gordon Mackay, a 30-plus year industry coach veteran and chairman of the board of Indian Trails Bus Lines, Owosso, MI. BUSRide has covered his remarkable achievements and innovative contributions for years. As with our previous industry stewards, Mackay couldn’t be more deserving — and other equally-deserving operators who recommended him agreed unanimously. I asked Mackay what experiences and observations he could pass along as our next recipient. He told me he has grown and shaped Indian Trails and its affiliate, Michigan Flyer, by continuing to follow the example set by a mentor and steward of his own, his father-in-law, the late Bill Himburg, who founded the company. “His best advice for me was for me to steadily keep reinvesting in the company,” Mackay says. “He had seen too many of his fellow operators take their companies down by taking out the money; leaving the next generation to inherit the family businesses with a severe financial handicap. Bill was insistent on always operating and maintaining an up-to-date fleet. As a company practice, he religiously replaced the older coaches as soon as possible after five or six years.” After more than 30 years, Mackay heads Indian Trails as a pioneer in innovative areas that include private-public transit partnerships, and a business culture richly rewarded with employees enjoying careers lasting decades, and drivers consistently retiring with sterling safety records over millions of miles.

David Hubbard Associate Publisher BUSRide Magazine

David Hubbard

Associate Publisher Steve Gamble

Art Director Judi Victor

CEO & Publisher Director of Sales Mitch Larson

Business Manager Blair McCarty

Sr. Sales and Marketing Coordinator Joyce Guzowski

Assistant Editor Hollie Broadbent

Marketing & Sales Associate

BUS industry SAFETY council

A publication of:

BUSRide Magazine 4742 North 24th Street, STE 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 Fax: (602) 277-7588 BUSRide™ Magazine is published eight times annually by Power Trade Media, a division of The Producers, Inc., 4742 N. 24th Street, Ste. 340, Phoenix, AZ 85016. Subscription rates for nonqualified subscribers, single issue prices and pricing for reprints of 100 or more are available from: All articles in BUSRide™ Magazine are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. Copyright 2016 by Power Trade Media. No advertisement, sponsorship or description or reference to a product or service will be deemed an endorsement by Power Trade Media, and no warranty is made or implied. Information is obtained from sources the editors believe reliable, accurate and timely, but is not guaranteed, and Power Trade Media is not responsible for errors or omissions. Opinions expressed in BUSRide™ Magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher or sponsors or advertisers. Content addressing legal, tax and other technical issues is not intended as professional advice and cannot be relied on as such; readers should consult with their own professional advisors.



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BUSRide and Spader join to present Industry Trends at a Glance tips on budgeting and good organization to improve those financial benchmarks, as well as development of people to create healthy business cultures through strong leadership and guidance. The reality is that those changes are effected through good organization and processes. With the focus in the Spader 20 Group environment on the companies’ financials, the backside is to understand what a successful operation is doing differently; and what an organization can do to effect change and improve the percentages – and of course, says Spader, it always comes down to working with people and developing effective leaders. One of the goals of both BUSRide and Spader Business Management is to provide information and resources that help bus and motorcoach operators run their companies more efficiently. Beginning with this issue, Spader will offer a quarterly column for 2017: Industry Trends at a Glance, which will monitor key metrics and benchmarks as well as provide an overall summation of how coach operations are trending. Known since 1998 for facilitating its proprietary 20 Groups in the use and application of such information, Spader will report Revenues/Gross Margin, Expense Control and Net Income, culled from basic data garnered in confidence from operators meeting to share financials and best practices. Secondly, Spader will offer

MCI names new presidents of Motor Coach Business and Aftermarket Parts Business Motor Coach Industries (MCI) announced that Ian Smart is the new president of Motor Coach Business at MCI, while Brian Dewsnup is now the president of Parts Business of New Flyer and MCI, beginning January 1, 2017. Smart joined New Flyer in 2011 from StandardAero, an independent aviation repair and overhaul company, where he held various executive positions. Ian Smart The company has also combined the New Flyer and MCI aftermarket parts businesses in Louisville, KY, under Brian Dewsnup, formerly vice president and GM of the MCI aftermarket business, Dewsnup was previously the CFO of North American Bus Industries (NABI) which was acquired by New Flyer in 2013. Smart is now responsible for all aspects of motorcoach design, engineering, purchasing, Brian Dewsnup sales and marketing, production and operations, including the direction of service and support. In a related move, MCI and New Flyer after market parts, training and publications are combining into one business under the company.



ABA Foundation opens scholarship season for 2017 The American Bus Association Foundation announced the opening of its scholarship season. The foundation serves as a scholarship and research arm of the motorcoach, tour and travel industry. New developments include The Fund A Future Scholarship program doubling 19 scholarships; they will be awarding $100,000 total in scholarship funds. All scholarships are available to ABA member companies, their employees and their dependent children.

New president for McDonald Transit McDonald Transit Associates, Inc., Fort Worth, TX, announced the appointment of Blaine Rigler as president of McDonald Transit. He replaces Ken Fischer, senior vice president of business development, who has been the interim president since the retirement of Robert (Bob) Babbitt in October. Rigler will also become vice president of Bus for RATP Dev America, the parent company of McDonald Blaine Rigler Transit. Prior to McDonald Transit, Blaine Rigler served as senior vice president of global solutions at Iron Mountain, Inc. In related news, Laurence Batlle will be taking over the reins as RATP Dev CEO from Francois-Xavier Perin, who will be officially retiring in January 2017.

FMCSA establishes training standards for new truck and bus drivers The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced a Final Rule regarding standards for new drivers in all states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. It will include national minimum training standards for entry-level commercial truck and bus operators seeking to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) or certain endorsements. The standards establish minimum qualifications for entities and individuals who provide entry-level driver training.


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Georgia Transit Association’s outstanding manager award goes to Butch McDuffie The Georgia Transit Association has awarded Athens Transit Director Butch McDuffie as the 2016 Outstanding Manager of the Year. The award recognizes McDuffie’s efforts to improve public transportation in Athens and the state of Georgia. Over the course of 15 years, he has worked with local elected officials and state legislators to improve awareness of public transportation opportunities, develop legislation, and identify alternative funding sources for all public transit systems in the state.

Luminator introduces new repair service program Luminator introduced its “Get Real” Repair Service Program for the North American bus transit industry. Its restructured and formalized program includes: a full one-year warranty on any repaired or replaced item; customer service responsiveness within 24 hours; competitive pricing on non-warranty items vs third party repair shops; typical repair turnaround time of one to two days for stocked items; quality to ‘factory new’ condition by an OEM factory-trained professional; and field service support available locally throughout North America for on-site assistance if needed.

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Expanding the industry’s largest service parts operation Brian Dewsnup leads MCI and New Flyer parts business forward

Paul Soubry, president of New Flyer Group; Brian Dewsnup, president of MCI and New Flyer parts; and Dean Shay, vice president of parts logistics; speak to an employee about the new conveyor system at MCI’s parts warehouse and distribution center in Louisville, KY.


ftermarket parts are the lifeblood of any successful motorcoach operation, public or private. Brian Dewsnup, president of the combined Motor Coach Industries (MCI) / New Flyer coach and bus parts business, knows this. “In a parts purchase, maintenance, or coach-down call, availability, speed, accuracy, and value are all number-one in the mind of a customer,” Dewsnup says. “There really is no more important issue in my job than delivering on that promise.” Best in industry speed, accuracy and value will be Dewsnup’s primary goal as president of the largest coach and bus parts business in North America. Recently, Dewsnup spoke to BUSRide on the latest news on MCI’s Parts distribution center since he came onboard. Let’s start with your strategic vision for the parts side of the business. It’s all about running these businesses with best in class parts availability and 100 percent accuracy. This means a start-to-finish process where the right part gets packaged appropriately with care and shipped in the most efficient manner 100 percent of the time. Shipment speed is critical in our business. Even with a central distribution center in Louisville, a UPS hub, we still want to get parts closer to our customers’ operations. That’s why we continue to expand parts inventory at our branch parts warehouses in East Brunswick, NJ; Dallas, TX; Los Alamitos and Edmonton in Canada. We’re also operating from recently established satellite parts warehouses within all of MCI’s Sales and Service Centers. A new partnership in Hawaii and a service center in San Francisco will expand our West Coast reach. We’re making our parts footprint the industry’s best. This takes the right mix of parts at each warehouse through exceptional material planning. Our industry expertise and the investments New Flyer continues to make will help to realize this goal. What impresses you most about MCI’s parts business? Public and private operators have historically depended on MCI as their original equipment manufacturer (OEM), which is very gratifying. The business I come from is similar, but MCI is a larger inventory supplier. What MCI does in real time with coaches running cross-country has really impressed me. It’s a 24/7 business, and the chance to make or break a customer relationship can happen at any point in that process. I want to better support our team so they can improve the parts and service we offer.

What are the biggest challenges in this effort and the steps you’re planning to take? Our product is getting more intelligent every day. Vehicle technology and design innovations keep advancing with time. That’s why our parts and training offerings must be more closely linked than they ever have. To lead the industry, we have to be innovators in both areas. Operators are going to need well-trained, educated professionals who can efficiently use the parts and guidelines we’re providing. Our goal is to provide training any way operators want it. We provide webinars and 24/7 coursework access that address an enormous range of topics. MCI’s online Learning Management System (LMS) has become a critical part of our business. Today, we’re serving over 5,000 registered users, including technicians and drivers, with 420 courses. That material ranges from general instructions on engine regeneration to focused study on specific repairs in the HVAC and electrical systems of particular coach models. We’re also looking at training we can do in-person. We’ve had success with our Technical Tune-Up and Academy training events held at our Louisville training center for customer technicians, but we want to better determine if they have an appetite to send technicians to our location, or if we should commit resources to going to our customers live and in person in their maintenance shops. You’ll be hearing a lot more about these initiatives in 2017. At MCI, we’re not just about building coaches and supplying parts; we’re providing training and maintenance skills for customers. We want to be a partner for the life of the coach. We haven’t talked yet about the link between MCI’s regional parts representatives and your customer service call centers. What’s happening there? Customers spend millions of dollars with us. Our service-delivery model lets us serve them in a way that’s best for them. Our parts representatives meet with customers and their shop personnel face-toface to assist with inventory planning and to manage their deliveries. Our call center can handle parts orders to technical issues. We are always reaching for new heights, like with our new online store. Are there improvements planned for the MCI Parts Store? Our online parts presence dates back to 1998, when MCI launched the MCI Online Parts Store. It quickly became the gold standard for online customer service in the motor coach industry, and it still works well enough today especially for many of our transit customers. But we’re now taking it through a system-wide upgrade in hardware and software to enable faster, more detailed options for accessing and ordering parts with better search capabilities. I’m excited about the new What will the combined MCI / New Flyer operation do for customer service? Customers are already seeing positive change, and that’s going to continue. A common parts platform is helping us improve on inventory and service-delivery for our North American audience. MCI’s parts supply history alone spans 55 years. I head an incredible team of professionals who know our operators personally. That’s a lot of knowledge and know-how. We’re approaching every improvement we make in service and support with consideration given to our customers’ needs. Ours remains a comprehensive strategy from quick access to aftermarket parts and expert training, to technical assistance, maintenance and repair at our service centers. In each of these areas, we’re developing best practices that keep coaches on the road and repair them much faster. That’s what our job is all about. | BUSRIDE



BUSRide Field Test:

Irizar North America;

one year in

INA Bus Sales’ partnership with the Spanish bus builder proves itself in recognition, respect and sales. By David Hubbard


ne year has passed since the Irizar Group entered the North American coach market, marking a significant milestone in the history of this eminent 128-year old Spanish coach builder — bringing its i6 models tailored expressly for operators in the U.S. and Canada. Founded in 1889 in Ormaiztegi, Gipuzkoa, Spain, the global reach of Irizar now extends across six continents with manufacturing sites in Spain, Morocco, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.

“Our focus this year in the United States has been to deliver the first units on time and create a dependable aftersales network to serve our new customers,” says Irizar USA Director Axier Etxezarreta. “Already, we are seeing new customers repeat their purchases, which tells us we have been successful in our goal, and are on the right track.” As the exclusive U.S. distributor of Irizar coaches and aftermarket support, INA Bus Sales, Las Vegas, NV, says its focus this past year has been to nurture and warm the market to the new brand of coaches. “This year we continued to hone the long-term strategy we first envisioned for our partnership with the Irizar Group,” says INA Bus Sales Chief Operations Officer Chad Dixon. “We are delighted to realize our early work is proving worthwhile, and I am confident our partnership will reflect the success Irizar has experienced in other countries.”

The Irizar i6 in North America incorporates more systems and components as standard equipment than other available brands, making them more familiar to U.S. coach companies. 12


Omar Orozco, president of Professional Charter Services, thought a “bus was a bus” until he discovered Irizar and INA Bus Sales.

Irizar, together with INA Bus Sales, devoted four years to the research and development, engineering and design of the i6. Built on an integral monocoque frame, the coach stands 12.23 feet tall. The Super-Cargo is slightly taller at 12.89 feet, with its considerably larger luggage bay offering approximately 620 cubic feet of storage capacity. Irizar also widened both models to 102 inches from the European standard 96 inches. With their European curb appeal and clean aerodynamic design, Irizar says both versions of the i6 incorporate more systems and components as standard equipment than other available brands, which present these Spanish coaches in a more familiar light for U.S. coach companies. They include a lane departure warning system, acceleration skid control, side shades, Alcoa aluminum wheels and Amaya Torino seats with foot rests, as well as a Cummins ISX engine, Allison B500 transmission and ZF axles; systems and components familiar to North American operators. Two bus and coach operators based in the San Francisco Bay area, Omar Orozco, founder and president of Professional Charter Services, San Francisco, CA, and Fernando Medina, founder and president of Medina Tours and Charters, San Jose, CA, led the charge in 2016 to put Irizar i6s on the road. Orozco and Medina share similar accounts of their startups in the bus industry and their eventual discovery of Irizar coaches. The two were driving buses for other companies when each was struck with the idea to step out on his own. The economic recession of 2008 did little to deter Orozco. After working construction and driving coaches since his arrival in the U.S. from Nicaragua, he felt it was his time, even though the downturn made banking and financing extremely difficult. “I pulled out my retirement money to start my business from scratch — from nothing,” he says. “Though my Small Business Association (SBA) program did not happen as planned, the economy has bounced back gradually, and I have taken every action to remain in business.” Though he would have preferred motorcoaches, Orozco launched Professional Charter Services with two small cutaway buses and focused on school bus transportation. “I focused on private high schools that had budgets for student transportation other than yellow school buses,” he says. “That niche paid off for a while and I was able to purchase some older MCI motorcoaches.”

Professional Charter Services currently operates a mixed fleet of eight motorcoaches, seven cutaway buses, two Sprinter vans and two Cadillac Escalades. “Last year, we had the good fortune to be able to provide service for the Super Bowl,” Orozco says. “By then I was at the point where I could move into new equipment.” Similarly, Medina had driven coaches for many years for more than a few companies when the day came that he and a coworker felt ready to buy a bus and strike out on their own.

Fernando Medina, president of Medina Tours and Charters, is very impressed with the Irizar brand and aftermarket support from INA Bus Sales. | BUSRIDE


one year in

“Seven years ago, the last company I worked for went out of business,” he says. “Rather than look for another job with another company, we felt the time was right to give it try. We were able to purchase a 1998 model coach and started doing casino runs.” He says business grew steadily to include charters and corporate shuttles in the San Jose area, allowing him to purchase more coaches and watch his small startup evolve the family business. “This has very much become a family operation,” Medina says. “My daughters run the office, my brother oversees the maintenance department and my son and I drive.” Today, Medina Tours and Charters operates a mixed fleet of 19 vans, buses and coaches for charter and contract work. Both Orozco and Medina say that when it came time to buy new motorcoaches for the first time, each had beaten a well-worn path to the major motorcoach OEMs without much success. “Trying to buy brand new equipment for the first time, I felt I was not receiving the level of support I was due,” Medina says. “For whatever reason, I found the general lack of response to my requests very disappointing.” Orozco says, for the most part, he felt the major coach brands were simply unwilling to take the risk. Medina purchased his first new coach in 2012. He followed in 2016 with his two new Irizar i6s and has since added three more. “After a friend introduced me to Irizar shortly after their arrival in North America, I met with INA Bus Sales in Las Vegas and I liked what I saw,” Medina says. “Irizar coaches speak for themselves. What impresses me the most is just how hard the Irizar Group and INA Bus Sales have worked to establish this brand in the U.S., and the level of aftermarket support I have received. I never have to call more than once for someone to help.” To that point, Medina recalls one recent maintenance call that seems to say it all. “I was having a problem with one of the coaches during a stay over in San Francisco,” he says. “When INA Bus Sales got my call, they didn’t hesitate. They flew two technicians in overnight and made the necessary repair while I was asleep. I woke to find the issue resolved and the coach operating perfectly.”

Orozco connected with Irizar through Miguel Oliva, the INA Bus Sales vice president, Sales and Service, Western Region. Oliva filled him in on the company’s plan for North America, which led him to acquiring his first three Irizar coaches; and three more i6s as of this year. He recalls his first impression of Irizar as being rather low key. “Before meeting Miguel, I did not know much about Irizar,” he says. “My attitude seemed to be buses are buses. But, what I recognized immediately was all that INA Bus Sales was doing to establish these coaches as a very reputable brand in North America. So, I gave them a try and I can say for certain that I am very happy with the tremendous support I get from them. Everyone is looking at our buses. New customers are requesting our Irizars because they like something different.” Marty Barrett, INA Bus Sales executive vice president, National Sales, says the strength of the Irizar brand in the San Francisco market was not expected. “That these long-time professionals would respond so positively to our product came somewhat as a surprise,” he says. “Nonetheless, it is extremely gratifying to be so well received.” One year in, Barrett calls this a very exciting time for his company after showing the Irizar i6 at the major trade shows and to operators around the country. He says the goal now is to continue the success and momentum Irizar has enjoyed to this point. Looking ahead for Irizar North America in 2017 and beyond, Etxezarreta says the company is comfortable to work “medium-long” term. “We are used to working more in medium-to-long terms,” he says. “So, in the near future, we will aim for 10 percent market share. This probably will not come during 2017, but we intend to grow in that direction.” Meanwhile, Barrett and the entire INA Bus Sales team is thrilled with the feedback from coach operators who have driven the Irizar i6 and seen their parts availability and aftersales support. “We are extremely grateful to have sold as many units as we have, and gain such a high degree of exposure in one year,” he says. “We couldn’t be happier for such tremendous market recognition in such a short time.”

Bringing its i6 models to the U.S. and Canada marks a significant milestone in the history of Irizar, the eminent 128-year old Spanish coach builder.




What are the lesser-known legal responsibilities of motorcoach operators? BUSRide’s ongoing series of interviews with Tim O’Bryan, president of Service Insurance Agency, Richmond, VA, now turns to the lesser known legal and insurance responsibilities of motorcoach operators. From a risk management perspective, can you shed some light on the lesser-known legal responsibilities of motorcoach operators and owners, as they relate to their insurance coverage? One that always concerns us most is contractual liability. Our customers – motorcoach operators – are signing contracts all the time in order to get work. Most of these contracts have an insurance section which will define the motorcoach operator’s responsibilities. Review these insurance requirements with your agent prior to signing so that your agent can evaluate if you have the necessary coverages. The responsibilities are clear: Read all contracts thoroughly before signing. Talk it over with the agent. Have him check all contracts from an insurance standpoint. Employment practices liability is another lesser known area of concern. These types of liabilities arise from the employment process and workplace environment. The most frequent types of claims are wrongful termination, discrimination, and sexual harassment. Motorcoach operators must make every effort to insure that employees are treated fairly and the workplace is not a hostile environment. Motorcoach operators should have a procedure for employees who wish to voice their concerns of unfair treatment, wrongful termination or discriminatory actions of one kind or another. Another area of concern would be cyber security for personal information kept on company computers, whether it’s a client’s information or an employee’s information. Why do these areas and responsibilities seem to be lesser known? Operators often take contractual liability for granted by assuming the fine print in most contracts is all the same; like a boilerplate, they’ve seen thousands. However, a new risk manager may have added in something the company didn’t read carefully — such as holdharmless clauses, or waivers of subrogation which operators must address before signing the contract. As for employment practices liability, issues in this area do not occur that often. Still, the motorcoach company must have some system in place so that people who feel unfairly treated can voice their concern without fear of retaliation.

What are the inherent dangers in not understanding the importance of these responsibilities, and adhering to policy in these areas? As for contractual liabilities, there are myriad hidden pitfalls for signing or promising anything the company cannot deliver. The trouble is they can be easily missed without a diligent review. Employment practices liability, in this day and age, revolves around issues involving wrongful termination and discrimination. It can lead to consequences that companies cannot afford to dismiss or handle arbitrarily. Also, there can be a danger of a hostile work environment; for instance, employees sharing inappropriate emails and photos — anything that targets other employees or makes them uncomfortable. A company that does not address these issues will have a problem at some point. The wise operator will have additional coverage in this area as a part of the general liability or as a stand alone policy. It’s called Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI). Doing business online and over the internet has become so prevalent it may seem commonplace. However, the cyber security can turn serious if sensitive information is mishandled. Collecting credit card information and employees’ social security numbers must be kept under lock and key. It is critical to safeguard both company information as well as client information with procedures in place to save information and to destroy sensitive account records once they are no longer needed. Our recommendation to operators is to partner with your agent and insurance company. Discuss what you are doing and what is the best way to insure against potential claims. On a final note, we strongly urge operators to implement premises security. Make sure the gates are locked, the lots are well lit and the buses are locked. People who come into the yard and injure themselves in some way can still file a claim, even though they may be trespassing. This may be common sense, but companies can get so caught up in running their businesses that it falls by the wayside. Tim O’Bryan serves as president of Service Insurance Agency. Since 1952, the company has been committed to the transportation industry. Service Insurance Agency strives to provide the most knowledgeable advice and personal service to all of its valued customers. Visit them online at | BUSRIDE






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ontinuing a tradition of providing products that excel on the road, Axalta is proud to introduce the new Precidium™ MTI Transit Floor Coating. Specifically engineered for the bus industry, Precidium MTI is a light-weight, seamless, spray applied, anti-slip floor covering that provides substantial benefits for bus OEMs and refurbishers. Unlike traditional transit floor options, Precidium MTI is sprayed on resulting in a quick installation with almost no cure time. Finished floors have no seams for passengers to trip over or for dirt to be trapped between floor panels. Precidium’s excellent abrasion and adhesion properties result in floors that will not wear quickly or delaminate under even the toughest weather conditions. Precidium goes on quickly and gives customers transit floors that look newer, longer.




New 360° camera technology expands surveillance possibilities By Steven Winnefeld The technology of 360° cameras, otherwise known as omnidirectional cameras, has been rapidly evolving over the past few years. The applications for this technology are readily apparent, coming quickly into use in photography, mapping streets and video conferences. Now this technology has matured, leading to 360° cameras with smaller, more compact enclosures that are perfect solutions for mobile mass transit surveillance problems. Some 360° cameras are large and cumbersome, often enclosing multiple cameras that capture images that have to be “digitally stitched” together with complicated software. Now there are 360° cameras in development that make use of only one very high-resolution image sensor, and a large fisheye lens that captures a circular angle of view of 180°, or an entire “hemisphere.” This image sensor and lens can be mounted in a mobile-rated enclosure similar to how conventional mobile cameras are installed on buses today. The “warped” or fisheye image that is recorded can be simply “dewarped” with a click of a button by current video playback software such as SafetyView® PRO. The image can then be panned and viewed by dragging the mouse. 360° cameras produce a panoramic image, which is an incredibly wide angle view in one frame. This has multiple benefits when installed on a transit bus. When an event starts at the front or back of the bus and travels to the other The top image displays how the 360° camera initially records video with a “warped” or fisheye lens. side, you’ll need several conventional cameras to capture When played back in SafetyView PRO, the bottom image is “dewarped” and the expansive view all of the action. In the playback software, you might have can be panned like a panoramic photograph. to arrange a few camera views side-by-side and pay careful attention to when objects leave one frame and enter another. With a maintain detail. Mobile-rated 360° cameras should, at a minimum, 360° camera, all of the movement is in a continuous, single frame, never record video at a resolution of at least 2K x 2K pixels. This is even leaving your view. Simply pan the 360° image as the event unfolds and greater than 1080P high definition. This extra resolution supports precise zoom capabilities to see distant objects in more detail. A never miss anything in a blind spot. Some buses and motorcoaches are installed with rather high 360° camera mounted in the front of the bus can capture the driver, seatbacks, or dividers that may obstruct certain views. The traditional the front seats, the farebox, the door – and you can also zoom in and method of solving this problem was simply to use more cameras, witness events happening outside the door with clarity, providing often installed low and at an angle to see around blocked views. A comprehensive evidence of events. Mobile-rated 360° cameras should also include powerful IR 360° camera is a more elegant solution – the camera is simply mounted centrally on the ceiling of the bus, producing a bird’s-eye view that lets illuminators to ensure bright and clear images in low-light conditions. you see down and over the tops of these high seatbacks. What was With all of these features combined, the video captured with 360° once a five or six-camera installation can be reduced to two or three cameras is more comprehensive, more complete, and ultimately more well-placed 360° cameras. Higher resolution images are created at a useful when improving the safety of both drivers and passengers. better angle with fewer cameras, less holes drilled into the bus interior Steven Winnefeld is the documentation specialist for Safety Vision, LLC, and less cables to install and maintain. In order to generate such an expansive field of view, the image a pioneer in mobile video surveillance systems. Safety Vision prides itself on its institutional knowledge. Visit Safety Vision at For a sensor in a 360° camera must produce incredible resolution to complete set of references please visit: | BUSRIDE


VDO RoadLog – Affordable ELD Solutions.

VDO and RoadLog – Trademarks of the Continental Corporation


Whether it’s for one coach or 100, VDO RoadLog™ offers simple, low-cost solutions for FMCSA ELD mandate compliance. Choose no monthly fees or plans with affordable wireless connectivity. Either way, RoadLog makes you more efficient and gives you 100% compliance – now and in the future. Plus, RoadLog is the only ELD with a built-in printer to get you through inspections faster.


CO3344 BusRide_RoadLog_Buses_HalfIHoriz_2-17_v1.indd 1

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1/6/17 3:14 PM

Chuck Abbott, CEO of Gray Line of Tennessee


BUSRide Field Test:

Gray Line of Tennessee manages risk with Protective Insurance Company and Lytx DriveCamâ„¢


BUSRide Field Test:

Gray Line of Tennessee manages risk with Protective Insurance Company and Lytx DriveCam By Richard Tackett


hen Chuck Abbott signed on as CEO of Gray Line of Tennessee, Nashville, TN, in early 2015, one of his first orders of business was exploring options for a new insurance provider. More than anything, the reason was a combination of rate escalation and a desire for more proactive attention on claims management from the company’s previous carrier. In business since 1972, Gray Line of Tennessee is now the 22nd largest motorcoach company in the U.S. It provides sightseeing, group tours, casino trips and coach rentals to all of Tennessee. Furthermore, the company’s popular Music City Hop, the original “hop on, hop off” tour in Nashville, stops at 15 locations with over 100 points of interest. This unique service features both trolleys and stunning open-top double-deckers. Abbott spoke with George Anderson of Anderson Benson Insurance, longtime trusted insurance broker for Gray Line of Tennessee, about the deficiencies they both saw in the previous insurance plan. “We saw a real lack of flexibility in the original carrier’s policy forms,” Anderson says. “It was hard to add or delete units depending on how busy the company was. Furthermore, there was a cash flow issue. You want to pay when you use and not pay when the buses are sitting in the dead of winter several weeks – and that’s what Gray Line was doing.”



George Anderson of Anderson Benson Insurance

Anderson presented the company with a number of options for new carriers, but Abbott and Gray Line settled on a company with which Anderson Benson Insurance already had a close relationship – Protective Insurance Company, located in Carmel, IN. Assessing needs Protective has spent more than 80 years in the transportation industry. Licensed in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and all Canadian provinces, Protective provides specialized insurance coverage targeting charter and tour bus companies, school bus contractors and limousine services. Immediately, Abbott and Anderson saw outstanding benefits in Protective’s policies. For one, the close relationship between Anderson Benson and Protective meant an ease of doing business when it came to adding or deleting units to a policy. Additionally, when it came to cash flow, Protective’s “pay as you use” policy was very attractive. Protective’s team went to Nashville and conducted a risk assessment for Gray Line of Tennessee. More so than policy type or price, the team

at Protective feels their biggest strength is the company’s ability to partner with clients and tailor policies to fit specific needs. “At Protective, we take an enterprise risk management approach,” says Todd Carrier, vice president of sales at Protective. “Instead of coming in and pointing out the symptoms or issues that a company has in different areas, we try to take a higherlevel view and look at it from a process perspective and a people perspective. We looked at the resources of Gray Line, the employees and what responsibilities those employees had. We spoke in-depth with Chuck Abbott and his safety director about the company’s resources and the top management support needed to truly manage risk and promote safety.” “They helped us to be proactive and understand that we’re all about prevention rather than research and investigation after an incident,”

Although there was an initial investment (developed with Protective) on the part of Gray Line to purchase and install the DriveCam equipment, the long-term reduction in accidents and driver-related events will more than recoup that investment. Both Protective and Lytx stress that it’s not enough to simply have DriveCam units – the program as a whole must be followed, with followup and coaching involved. Gray Line took to this very quickly. “We wanted to make sure they assigned a responsible person to review the DriveCam events,” says Scott St. Clair, regional sales manager at Protective Insurance. “It was very important to have internal policies and procedures in place for how they were going use the system.” “It’s a common – and potentially dangerous – misperception that a dash cam will reduce risk, when really a dash cam is meant to

Abbott adds. “Their training and consulting is superb, but I really appreciated the fact that they came in and took the time to understand our business. Our Music City Hop tour features an open-top doubledecker bus, which probably makes a lot of insurance guys cringe – but Protective actually came down to Nashville, rode the bus, and then helped us write operating procedures. They gave us first-hand perspective on what they thought about it.” Together, Gray Line and Protective settled on two major initiatives that would go a long way toward reducing risk and increasing cost savings – a camera program and a safety-oriented corporate culture. The Lytx DriveCam program Gray Line immediately took advantage of Protective’s partnership with Lytx, and went to work installing the popular Lytx DriveCam on all of its buses. The DriveCam exception-based video safety program combines video capture of road incidents such as hard braking or sudden swerving, data analysis of those incidents, and personalized coaching insights to improve driving behavior. Today, Lytx helps protect more than 650,000 commercial and government fleet drivers under its DriveCam program. “We were actually looking at the DriveCam program before we selected Protective,” Abbott says. Both Protective and Lytx have been very helpful in helping us understand how to use that program to the fullest.” DriveCam works with a dual-lens event recorder that captures video of the driver’s behavior at the time of the driving event. The captured video is delivered via cellular network to Lytx’s expert human review centers where it is reviewed, scored and analyzed and entered into a coaching dashboard along with data-driven insights to facilitate specific and personalized coaching. | BUSRIDE


Protective helped develop Gray Line of Tennessee’s DriveCam™ program.

provide video evidence in the event of a collision,” says Del Lisk, Lytx vice president of safety services. “The DriveCam program, instead, helps to prevent collisions in the first place by focusing on improving safe driving skills.” Abbott says that Gray Line’s “daily dashboard” typically features five or six DriveCam event reviews with corresponding coaching. “We have a consistent approach to viewing the DriveCam videos and material, and then routinely coaching those drivers,” he says. “We use that data to identify high-risk drivers and then counsel drivers accordingly.” It was important for drivers to know that DriveCam isn’t punitive – it’s a coaching system aimed at driver retention. As with any kind of driver oversight program, there was of course some initial reluctance to embrace the new plan. “DriveCam is an effective way to improve driving behavior; its objective is to retrain drivers to retain them, and we make that clear from the get-go,” Lisk says. “Our job starts before deployment, by helping clients communicate with drivers about the program, because we’ve found that open communication is the best way to minimize drivers’ concerns. We help clients by sharing best practices as they integrate DriveCam into their operations, and show them how to use the data to both coach and recognize their drivers.” Gray Line of Tennessee linked DriveCam with an incentive program based on driver behavior outcomes. The addition of a financial reward helped drive acceptance and adoption throughout the company. Because DriveCam makes the driver aware that an event has occurred, it has lead to a driver team at Gray Line that works proactively toward safety. Because they’ve had events occur in the past that lead to driver coaching, Gray Line drivers are actually seeking out their supervisors to discuss events which the supervisor hasn’t even reviewed yet. “It’s really let Gray Line see who the strongest members of their driving team are, and reward them accordingly,” Anderson says. Aside from creating stronger culture of safety among his drivers, Abbott says the cost savings realized by the partnership with DriveCam and Protective have been invaluable. “Because we’re able to identify leading indicators, the coaching we provide is translating into real dollar savings,” he says. “Organizations adopt the DriveCam program to lower risk and reduce costs associated with collisions,” Lisk says. “Our data shows that clients have experienced up to 80 percent reduction in claims costs and up to 50 percent reduction in collision frequency, sometimes in a matter of a few months.”

company,” Carrier says. “We helped the safety department with key metrics for how they measure success, so that they were shifting away from being activity-based—like counting how many training sessions they completed, and toward being results-based—what impact did that training have?” Personnel changes were an inevitable part of the company’s culture shift toward safety, as Protective and Lytx helped identify staff weaknesses. “It was a pain point in our transition, identifying drivers for termination,” Abbott says. “But we did decide to terminate some drivers who weren’t meeting the standards of Protective’s policy – and, because of the culture change, they didn’t meet our standards either.” The future is bright The relationship between Gray Line of Tennessee, Protective and Lytx is stronger than ever. Recently, Abbott was considering purchasing new vehicles – vehicles different from anything covered in their plan. After Abbott consulted with Protective, St. Clair was able to work with Protective’s loss insurance and claims experts to help Gray Line develop a brand new driver training program, and perform a risk assessment of what would be needed prior to bringing those vehicles into the fleet. “We got out ahead of it, rather than Gray Line calling us and saying, ‘Hey, I bought these two new buses, now what am I supposed to do?’” St. Clair says. “That’s crucial, and it shows that Gray Line has really adopted a safety and risk-oriented approach to their business.” The Protective-aided investment in DriveCam technology showed the team at Gray Line that, with the right technology and procedures, they could realize additional levels of accountability and discipline from their driver workforce. To that end, the company just rolled out new processes for electronic logs and DVIRs. “I think the momentum that we gained by having Protective come alongside us, educate us and offset the cost of DriveCam, paved the way for us to say, ‘Look, let’s go ahead and continue to use new technology to improve our business.’ That puts us in a really good place.”

Shifting the culture When it rains it pours—it just so happens that as Gray Line of Tennessee was switching insurance providers, they also hired a brand new risk management director. Rather than adding extra obstacles, however, Gray Line and Protective saw this as an opportunity to make their company culture as safe as it could possibly be. “We were able to tie the objectives strategy of the safety department to the overall mission and the strategic plan of the 22



Latest developments in mobility to increase passenger safety By Angelo D’Urso During the 2016 Paralympics, we once again witnessed how the human spirit can be strong enough to overcome most physical barriers. In defiance of their impairments, Paralympians were able to inspire the whole world with their achievements. However, many challenges are yet to be overcome in the day to day lives of millions of people with disabilities around the world. According to the World Health Organization, one in seven people globally experience disability and 70 million require a wheelchair, but only 5 to 15 percent actually have ac-cess to one. Legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) in the U.S. and other anti-discrimination laws in the European Union and other countries have created a framework in the past two decades to guarantee equal opportunities to persons with disability or reduced mobility. In addition to meeting civil rights, this legislation made it possible for people with disabilities to enter the job market, helping many organizations to advance and compete in the global marketplace with their talent.

Access to accessible buses, taxis and trains is an important aspect of community integration and citizenship. And equally important is the work done by companies in the private sector to ensure an increased level of accessibility in personal and public transportation. Ramps and wheelchair lifts have been making the journey of people with reduced mobili-ty possible for over half a century, and are increasingly safer and more sophisticated. But many people with reduced mobility do not feel comfortable on a sometimes unstable platform, being lifted several feet from the ground onto buses and coaches; because of the extra attention that they receive from the general public who might be curious about the operation of such equipment, or perhaps because of the lack of training of drivers or operators in using ramps and lifts.

But despite all of these daily struggles to get around, technological breakthroughs are making the travel experience safer and more reliable for people with reduced mobility. Manufacturers such as Mobility Networks, based in Europe with offices around the world in Australia, Denmark, Romania, Italy, United Kingdom and our largest facility in Toronto heading the North American market, have developed lifts with larger and wider platforms to make the passenger experience more comfortable. The way that passenger feels when being transported is taken into account by a top engineering team, and as a result their lifts offer a smooth speed of travel, are equipped with side guards, handrails, and the StopSafe lift barrier that includes safety belts which provide maximum usage of the lift platform and extra safety for passengers. In addition, their equipment has minimum reflective tape, which can have the appearance of commercial lifts when used in excess and is not appreciated by passengers. The same goes for warning buzzers with lower volume and different sound tones, plus discreet LEDs used in subtle ways wherever possible. Lifts and stretchers can be operated without the requirement to access the underside of the passenger, to ensure minimum disruption to the passenger during lift operation. With the view of avoiding accidents, Mobility Networks have also developed the world’s first automatic door barrier, launched in the late 90’s, the new generation of barriers is more aesthetically pleasing, fitted with high visibility colors and decals. It protects both passengers and drivers when an accessible vehicle’s doors are open. The barrier arm can be automatically activated before a passenger lift is operated so that the vehicle door is appropriately blocked. These incremental innovations in the accessible transportation industry have played a major role in making it possible for people with reduced mobility to engage in all aspects of social life, giving hope of a better future not only to those who are inspired to become Paralympians one day, but for a more equal and fair society. Angelo D’Urso is CEO of Mobility Networks North America. Visit www. for more information. Facts in this article were sourced from the World Report on Disability: | BUSRIDE



By Doug Jack

Irizar is a unique manufacturer

I recently visited the headquarters and principal factory of Irizar. It is in the mountainous Basque region of Northern Spain, about 40 miles from the beautiful coastal city of San Sebastian. The highway climbs gradually through hilly terrain with higher mountains visible in the distance. On every flat piece of land there are either factories or houses, many of them apartments. It is a heavily industrialised area of Spain. Although Irizar can trace its history to 1889, it started to expand dramatically around 25 years ago; building the famous Century coach body on a variety of chassis from the main European manufacturers. Overseas factories were opened in Brazil, Mexico, Morocco and South Africa. There were also partnerships in China and India, but those were relinquished so that Irizar could concentrate on developing its high-quality premium range and image. Today, Irizar coaches are in service in around 90 countries. Around 2008, Irizar was feeling vulnerable in Europe as a bodybuilder on chassis. Some of its suppliers were competing directly with their own complete integral products, typically from countries like Turkey where labor costs were much lower. That led to a decision to develop and launch its own range of integral coaches that were first launched in 2011. The new range was introduced progressively in selected European markets. Engines were sourced from DAF, the Netherlands subsidiary of Paccar. Other 24


key components of the driveline came from ZF. These are well-established units, with excellent parts and service support in all the main markets. At the factory, I met Gotzon Gรณmez, export sales director and Axier Etxezarreta, director Irizar USA. Gotzon said that the United States had long been of interest to Irizar and that they kept an eye on the market. The launch of the new integral range had been well received by European customers and that tempted Irizar to make a much more detailed study of the North American market. The company is already remarkably flexible. It builds a range of city, suburban and interurban buses and coaches, also high-deck and super-high-deck luxury coaches, on a wide variety of chassis and at various lengths and heights. Concurrently, the integral range has been extended for different applications, lengths and heights. On top of that, the company also had extensive experience of meeting the specific requirements of customers and regulations in many markets around the world. Etxezarreta is an engineer by discipline and said that the company soon realized that the i6 integral coach would need to be extensively re-engineered to meet US requirements. That meant specifying a Cummins ISX12 engine developing 425hp, coupled to an Allison B500 six-speed fully automatic gearbox. The drive axle is a US-made ZF unit. ZF was also chosen


for the independent front suspension and steering tag axle. Irizar greater prefers this steering unit to a rigid trailing axle, because it gives longer tire life and better ride and handling. The stainless steel structure of the i6 was widened to 8 feet, 6 inches, an increase from the European legal maximum of 8 feet, 2.5 inches. The floor was modified to be completely flat with a floor-height washroom in the offside rear corner. Most European customers specify a washroom beneath the main floor, reached by steps which also serve a second exit door. This layout enables more seats to be specified. One standard length, 45 feet, was chosen, but with optional heights of 12 feet, 3 inches, and 12 feet, 10 inches. The front and rear overhangs were considerably shorter than European requirements, but facilitated enormous luggage capacity between the first and second axles. Irizar’s engineers modified the external styling of the i6 to incorporate divided windshields and heavy-duty front and rear fenders that were incorporated very neatly in the design. The rear view mirrors were modified to meet U.S. legislation and a whole host of electronic safety features were specified as standard. ABS prevents the wheels from locking when braking, while ASR prevents wheels on the drive axle from skidding in slippery road conditions. Those features are combined with an Electronic Stability Control system that is very clever. When ESC senses that the coach is about to carry out a manoeuver that is unsafe, such as taking a corner too rapidly, it can control the brakes on wheels individually to minimize the risk of going out of control. ECAS is a system that controls the suspension of the coach to provide stability, benefitting passenger safety and comfort. Finally, Lane Departure Warning system notifies the driver when the coach drifts out of its lane unintentionally. This can happen when a driver is too tired or is distracted. Irizar has an unusual legal structure. It is a co-operative and every one of the employees is a member. Each year that the company makes a profit, employees earn a dividend. This is an added incentive to working hard and meeting customer demands. Within the Irizar Group are a number of important subsidiaries who contribute to specifications. Hispacold is a leading manufacturer of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and they are not restricted to supplying only Irizar. Masats makes a wide variety of coach and bus doors, while Datik has developed electronic safety systems to help drivers. Although a very high percentage of Irizar’s production consists of luxury coaches, the company also offers lower height interurban vehicles, including the option of models with their floor only one step

above the ground in the front half, up to a point ahead of the rear axle. Irizar has also developed its own i2e all-electric city bus, with a full low-floor layout and an overall length of 40 feet. The company has proceeded cautiously, building up experience, but is now sufficiently confident about the future of all-electric buses that it has committed to a new production facility, closer to San Sebastian. Axier made a small diversion on our return journey so that we could see the progress being made with this factory. The structure had been completed and Irizar was about to start fitting out the plant so that it could build up to 500 electric buses per annum. The opening is likely to be in the spring of this year and by that time a 60-foot articulated model will be added to the range. Irizar also plans a shorter 35 foot electric bus which will be more manoeuvrable in some congested European cities. Reverting to the US market, Axier was keen to emphasize that Irizar is fully committed to after sales support. The company has established workshop facilities in Dallas and Florida and finished 2016 with sales of around 20 units. He believed that 40 was a realistic target for 2017 and that the eventual aim should be 10 percent of a market estimated to be around 1,500 units per annum. Irizar had already committed $500,000 to a parts stock in Dallas. Irizar has unparalleled experience of developing markets and has previous experience of achieving similar targets. Their products hold good residual values and they have an excellent record of securing

repeat orders. Etxezarreta said that this had already happened in the United States. The coaches had style and comfort that appealed to owners and passengers but they also had the security of good support. In his research, Etxezarreta reckoned that coaches in the United States had a life of around 20 years. That is probably a little higher than Western Europe, but in our case older coaches are quite often resold in Eastern Europe and selected African markets. Stainless steel structures are standard on the i6 integral coaches for the U.S. and that will be an important factor in achieving durability. Irizar North America plans to keep a small number of demonstration units which will be available for prospective customers to borrow and drive for a few days, to help them with the purchasing decision. Irizar recognizes that a new coach is a major investment and similar demonstration programs have yielded good results in other markets. There are plans to bring prospective customers to the main factory in Spain. If you are one of the lucky ones, you will find it an unforgettable experience – not just the efficiency of the factory but the beauty and hospitality of the region. Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom. | BUSRIDE


For more than 60 years

Service Insurance Agency has been committed to the transportation industry, providing insurance and other related services. We provide, Automobile Liability, Physical Damage, General Liability and much more, for the small fleet to the largest of fleets. We have teamed up with “Our Safety Department” so that we could now offer to our valued customers, complete DOT Safety and Compliance Services, such as; - Driver Qualification Files - Drug and Alcohol - Equipment Maintenance Files - Log Auditing

- CSA Review - Training - Factoring - Electronic Log Devices

Tim O’Bryan President

So if you are an Owner/Operator or a large fleet of Motor Coaches or Semi-Tractors give us a call and to see what we can do for you.

Call us at (800) 444-0205 or email us at

OUR REPUTATION FOR SERVICE IS FUELED BY EXPERIENCE. Every Prevost coach is backed by a highly skilled service team that’s committed to keeping you productive and profitable. From our 24-hour emergency assistance to our coast-to-coast network of certified providers, we’re here with uptime support that’s unmatched in the industry.



BUSRide February 2017 digital edition  


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