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BUSRide Road Test:

The 2015 MCI J4500 p18

BYD showcases all-electric transit


Financial Roundtable: Part Two p22 SPECIAL SECTION Summer Safety Series: Part One p30


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Cover Story BUSRide Road Test: The 2015 MCI J4500


New brake, axle and suspension systems reflect MCI’s attention to technical and mechanical detail By David Hubbard

Features BYD showcases all-electric transit


California Governor Jerry Brown helps BYD unveil state’s first ever long-range electric bus factory in Lancaster

BUSRide Financial Roundtable: Part Two


Guest panel encourages financial and accounting best practices as the only way to play ahead of the curve


By David Hubbard

Q1 success



Terrapin Blue improves operations with grant expertise, emergency preparedness and savvy digital marketing By Ryan Kelly

The Motorcoach Marketing Council gets its kits together 28 GoMotorcoach marketing gives operators the tools to sell directly to groups best served by coach charter service By David Hubbard



Summer Safety Series: Driver and passenger safety Lytx drives safe


Makers of DriveCam advance video-based driver safety technology



By Doug Jack


8 UPDATE 14 Deliveries 15 People in the News 16 Transit Authority 34 MARKETPLACE

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Grow (up) America; it’s time to rebuild U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has sent the Obama Administration’s long-term transportation bill, titled Grow America, as the House and Senate face looming deadlines to avoid the economic uncertainty and job loss that could ensue if the Highway Trust Fund runs out of money this summer. Obama’s vision for the $302 billion, four-year surface transportation reauthorization bill stands to create millions of jobs and lay the foundation for long-term competitiveness in rebuilding the crumbling infrastructure of roads and bridges. U.S. DOT says many states have postponed or canceled needed transportation projects altogether. Despite this growing need, the Highway Trust Fund, which provides most of the federal support for state transportation projects, is on track to start bouncing checks as early as August. “Failing to act is unacceptable – and unaffordable,” Secretary Foxx says. “This proposal offers the kind of job creation and certainty that the American people want and deserve.” The U.S. DOT says the plan will not add to the deficit by relying on the President’s proposed pro-growth business tax reforms, and represents a number of proposals that have historically attracted bipartisan support. “Grow America makes the sizable investment needed to improve our country’s roads and bridges,” said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. “Improving U.S. infrastructure is a national priority, and will ensure America’s economy remains robust for generations yet to come.” Deputy Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan says Grow America will invest in avenues and opportunity for the many millions of Americans who want to work or simply need a reliable and safe way to get to work. She says it will put thousands to work on repairing and expanding our aging transit infrastructure, and will fill the jobs gap in transit through innovative new workforce development programs. Speaking to the bus and motorcoach industry, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro sees commercial bus travel growing increasingly popular, and says this legislation will make this segment even safer by expanding oversight to bus ticket brokers and the locations where motorcoaches can be inspected.

Publisher / Editor in Chief Steve Kane Group Publisher Sali T. Williams Executive Editor David Hubbard Editor Richard Tackett Art Director Stephen Gamble Production Director Kevin Dixon Accountant Fred Valdez Contributing Writers Doug Jack, Matthew A. Daecher, Christopher Ferrone

BUS industry SAFETY council

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POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: BUSRide Magazine 4742 North 24th Street, Suite 340 Phoenix, Arizona 85016 Phone: (602) 265-7600 Fax: (602) 277-7588 Vol. 50 • No. 6 Subscription Rates:

David Hubbard Executive Editor BUSRide Magazine

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The St. Nicolas Prevost Service Center is equipped with seven repair bays.

Prevost Service Center now open 24 hours The Prevost Service Center in St. Nicolas, Quebec, Canada, is now open round the clock, from Monday 7:30 a.m. to Saturday 2:00 a.m. The service facility has seven repair bays which handle everything from routine maintenance to retrofits and comprehensive accident repairs for all makes and models of coaches, transit buses, motorhomes, and other specialty conversion vehicles. Services available for conversion coaches include electrical hookups and a wastewater dump station. A controlled-access fence is operational after hours and monitored by a nighttime security patrol for safe access to our premises. “Our goal is to make sure Prevost premium service is easily available to our customers,” said Guillaume Charron, branch manager of the St. Nicolas facility. “These expanded hours of service will open a new level of support to customers in this area and those who travel through Quebec.” The St. Nicolas service center is located at 850, Chemin Olivier Saint-Nicolas, Quebec G7A 2N1. You can reach the service center at 1-866-870-2046 or 418-831-2046.

Adventure Tours recently took delivery of two new wheelchair-liftequipped MCI J4500 coaches.

MCI promotes “Go Green, Go Motorcoach” message at DOT Earth Day Fair Charter company Adventure Tours, Clinton, MD, is shedding light on the greenest form of motorized transportation, displaying its new 2014 MCI J4500 coach at the Department of Transportation’s Earth Day Fair, Tuesday, April 22. With its new J4500, Adventure Tours joined the American Bus Association (ABA) and Motor Coach Industries (MCI), manufacturer of the coach, in promoting green travel at the fair. The event, at DOT’s LEED-certified building also featured greeninitiative displays and consumer information booths. Owner Mohammed Khan, who started Adventure Tours with a three-bus fleet in 1999, sees digital amenities available on today’s motorcoaches as another driving force behind the company’s success. “Passengers are absolutely using power outlets and WiFi,” said Khan, whose company recently transported Para Olympians to the White House and serves the Department of Defense. “Mobile technology is an essential part of everyday life. Our vehicles are fully equipped to support the demand and use of these devices in every way.” 8


Today, to serve its growing roster of convention, corporate, academic and government clients, the company operates 10 coaches, most of them model year 2012 or newer. Part of the reason for its newer fleet is the company’s push for greener operations. “We all have to do our part,” said Dave Buckingham, general manager of Adventure Tours, and 30-year veteran in group transportation. “We’re striving to be greener. With today’s engine technology, emissions are nearly pure. Plus, our trips take the cars off the road that people would have used to drive to the destinations.” According to MCI’s 2014-model comparison tests, the MCI J4500 shows a minimum 7.76 percent improvement in fuel economy. Driver behaviors can impact fuel economy by up to 30 percent, with each hour of idling estimated to cause a 1 percent drop in fuel economy.


Veolia Transportation awarded ADA Paratransit Services contract in Las Vegas

is $425, which includes instruction by IC Bus trainers, materials, transportation and lunches. The training sessions are limited to 60 participants per offering. A customer-focused training program for technicians, IC Bus University was developed to optimize service and maintenance proficiency and broaden technician knowledge of IC Bus™ products. The training sessions are focused on three areas: • Engines • Diagnostics • Preventative Maintenance/Repair Procedures

First Transit technician Ben Holton completes 48 required ASE designations to earn P1 certification First Transit congratulates technician Ben Holton on passing his most recent ASE test. After fifteen years of commitment to ongoing testing, Holton has now earned all 48 required ASE designations to obtain his P1 certification. ASE tests are divided into “Test Series,” each covering a particular discipline within the automotive industry, such as,

The RTC of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, voted unanimously to award its Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Paratransit Service contract to Veolia Transportation. The vote took place at the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Regional Transportation Commission on Thursday, April 10, 2014. The contract is one of the largest paratransit contracts in the U.S. and represents $409 million over ten years. The service is estimated at approximately one million passenger trips annually. The contract term is five years with (one) three year, and (one) two year renewal options. “Coming back to Las Vegas is exciting and gratifying for us,” said Veolia’s Transit Division President Ken Westbrook. “We plan to introduce stateof-the-art technology, advanced safety and training, and a stronger culture of customer service. Our overall goal is to make paratransit service safer and more efficient while maximizing reliability and comfort for our passengers.” The new contract, which includes scheduling, maintenance and operations, is scheduled to begin in August 2014. Veolia will employ 570 staff which includes 449 vehicle drivers operating 308 vehicles. The paratransit services operations will be housed at both RTC facility locations in order to better serve the Las Vegas community.

IC Bus announces 2014 IC Bus University training program IC Bus has announced that registration has opened for four IC Bus University training sessions. Classes will be held on June 23-26, 2014; July 7-10, 2014; July 21-24, 2014; and August 4-7, 2014. Each session will be held at the IC Bus Plant in Tulsa, OK, and the registration fee | BUSRIDE


UPDATE automobile, medium/heavy truck, transit bus, collision repair and more. Master Technician, a designation Holton has now achieved seven times over, is earned after receiving certification in all the required testing areas. Maintaining certification in any of the ASE specialty areas requires successful recertification testing every five years.

the growing demand. Last year 10.7 billion trips were taken on U.S. public transportation, which is the highest ridership number in 57 years. Clearly, people want better transportation options and it should be a national priority to expand public transit services, including intercity passenger rail.” The rest of the statement can be found online at

Trapeze Group acquires Fare Logistics Trapeze Group, Mississauga, ON, Canada, announced that it has entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire Fare Logistics of Victoria, BC, Canada. The potential acquisition represents Trapeze’s continued investment in fare collection solutions to the passenger transportation industry. “Fare Logistics and Trapeze have been partners on projects over the years and share mutual customers,” said John Hines, president of Trapeze Group in North America. “Pending the successful closing of the acquisition, we look forward to incorporating Fare Logistics’ strengths and capabilities into the greater Trapeze offering.” Fare Logistics is a solution provider to the transit industry with a focus on all aspects of fare acceptance including ridership/boarding, embedded devices, cash processing, media technologies, analysis & reporting and system management. Fare Logistics started operations in the late 1980’s with development of a proprietary card payment system for use in multiple applications. “We are excited at the prospect of growing our business as part of Trapeze,” said Vanessa Rodenburgh, president at Fare Logistics. “We recognize that Fare Collection is evolving so partnering with Trapeze in their offering of a total and fully integrated enterprise solution makes ultimate sense for our customers, our employees and the market.”

APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy releases statement on GROW AMERICA “The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) applauds the Obama Administration’s four-year, $302 billion surface transportation legislative proposal, called GROW AMERICA. This proposed legislation calls for much needed growth in federal surface transportation investment after years of flat funding. Like APTA’s authorization recommendations, the Administration calls for substantial increases in federal transportation investment. We also applaud the proposal for including substantial investment in intercity passenger rail, a recommendation also made by APTA. The proposed legislation also recognizes the need to fix the impending shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund, including the Mass Transit Account, in a timely manner so critical transportation projects can continue. The Administration’s proposal would help address the large backlog of state-of-good-repair needs related to bus and rail transit and help expand the public transportation infrastructure to meet 10


The Hub opened in September 2012 and serves as the main transfer location for more than 1 million Centro riders annually.

Centro Transit Hub receives LEED Silver Certification Centro Transit’s $18.8 million state-of-the-art Transit Hub located in downtown Syracuse, NY, has received Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) for its green construction and design. LEED certification is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. The Hub, which was designed by QPK Design and constructed by Bette & Cringe, opened in September 2012 and serves as the main transfer location for more than 1 million Centro riders annually. The state-of-the-art transit center features 22 bus bays covered by a 55,000-square-foot canopy and an adjoining indoor waiting area for customers. The Transit Hub’s LEED/sustainability features include: • Heated bus platforms and sidewalks that utilize radiant heat to prevent icing and snow build-up. • A storm water infiltration system that captures rainwater and removes particulates via a hydrodynamic device prevents the need for treatment at a sewage plant and reduces taxpayer costs. Funding for this project component was provided by Onondaga County’s “Save the Rain” program. • LED overhead lights with automatic brightness sensors maintain uniform lighting throughout the Hub, and sensors turn lights on and off throughout the day and night depending on needs. • A 55,000-square-foot roof canopy above the center platform contains skylights to allow in natural sunlight. • An energy management system that automatically controls heat, cooling, and lighting based on current conditions and occupancy. • Low flow plumbing fixtures that contribute to a 32% reduction in water use. “Achieving LEED certification further exemplifies Centro’s commitment to providing transportation services in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Centro Executive Director Frank Kobliski. “When Central New Yorkers watch our bus operations at the Hub, they are watching clean air vehicles pull into and out of a LEED certified facility.”


Voith drive components at Busworld in Istanbul From April 24 to 27, Voith presented efficient and innovative drive components for buses and coaches at Busworld in Istanbul under the motto “Efficiency on the Road.” In focus were the DIWA.6 automatic transmission, Voith Air Compressors and the Aquatarder SWR (Secondary Water Retarder). Together with the DIWA Efficiency Package, Voith says the new DIWA.6 automatic transmission saves another 5 percent fuel compared with its predecessor. Apart from the topography-dependent gear shifting program SensoTop, this is also made possible by the need-based reduction of the operating pressure and an intelligent startup management, which avoids starting against the active service brake. The optimized automatic neutral shift (ANS) can decouple the transmission from the engine for longer, which also saves fuel. The DIWA Efficiency Package was launched with the introduction of the Euro 6 exhaust gas norm in Europe 2014. Among the operators that have already decided in

favor of vehicles with DIWA.6 are Wiener Linien and the Belgian transport companies SRWT (Société Régionale Wallonne du Transport), VVM-De Lijn and MIVB.

VIA president recognized for diversity efforts The Texas Diversity Council selected Jeffrey C. Arndt, president and CEO of VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio, TX, as one of its 2014 Champions of Diversity. The award was presented to Arndt at the council’s conference in San Antonio on May 1 during the CEO Awards Ceremony, where the keynote speaker was General Colin Powell. “I promote diversity at VIA because it’s the right thing to do for the agency and the community,” Arndt said. “As the head of a major employer, it’s up to me to embody the principles of diversity and to promote fairness in hiring, promoting, recruiting, and retaining employees of all backgrounds. In this way we can guarantee that every opportunity for advancement and success at VIA is available to anyone regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender.”

The prestigious 2014 Contactless and Mobile Awards are out, and Vix Technology has taken top honors in the Public Domain category for its UTA FAREPAY system. The event, sponsored by Visa Europe and hosted by Krowne Communications, recognizes innovations in contactless and NFC technology. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has reported to Congress that current financial responsibility minimums for the commercial motor vehicle industry are inadequate to meet the costs of some crashes. Mechanical Rubber, Warwick, NY, has developed a flame resistant compound, MR35-70-46 that recently passed the Bombardier SMP 800C Toxicity testin. A standard method used in the NFPA130, the SMP 800-C test analyzes toxic smoke gases produced when a test material is burned.

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Peter Pan Bus Lines driver Bob Roulier At Right: Former President Bill Clinton sent Bob Roulier’s family a letter of remembrance.

Peter Pan Bus Lines mourns passing of driver Bob Roulier Peter Pan Bus Lines driver Bob Roulier was a loyal 15-year Springfield, MA, driver that shared his warm personality with customers and fellow drivers. Bob was the appointed driver for the Bill Clinton and Al Gore “First 1,000 Miles” campaign through the Midwest in 1992 and was behind the wheel in the inaugural parade. Roulier passed away in March and Peter Pan sent a note to Bill Clinton informing him of Bob’s passing. Former President Clinton sent Roulier’s family a letter of remembrance that acknowledged Bob Roulier’s memorable role in the 1992 Clinton/Gore Presidential Campaign. Peter Pan says that Roulier set a strong example for future Peter Pan bus drivers and will be greatly missed by the Peter Pan bus family.

San Joaquin RTD breaks ground on $51.1 million Regional Transportation Center On Friday, March 21, San Joaquin Regional Transit District (RTD) broke ground on its $51.1 million Regional Transportation Center (RTC), a state-of-the-art facility that will dramatically improve transit in San Joaquin County. The project is funded by the Federal Transit Administration, Measure K (the half-cent sales tax dedicated to transportation projects in San Joaquin County), and the State of California Proposition 1B Program – putting tax dollars to work in a community that needs the work. The RTC will replace an aging, overcrowded facility originally designed for a fleet of only 50 buses, less than half of RTD’s current fleet. Having expanded beyond the capacity of its current facilities, RTD requires a consolidated facility to maintain and expand efficient operations. The RTC will be built on the 12


property RTD acquired as a temporary “overflow” site, where buses are parked and light maintenance is performed in a converted warehouse. Speakers at the event included: San Joaquin Council of Governments Executive Director Andrew T. Chesley; City of Stockton Vice Mayor Paul Canepa; Federal Transit Administration Region 9 Deputy Regional Administrator Edward Carranza; and RTD General Manager/CEO Donna DeMartino. Congressman Jerry McNerney (CA-09) made the keynote address.

DOT Secretary Foxx, Administrator Ferro announce 2014 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” safety belt contest winners U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today announced that first-grader Annie Yu from Edison, NJ, and third-grader Heather Li of Orlando, FL, won top honors in the 2014 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” student art contest. The Secretary made the announcement at a ceremony at U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) headquarters. The annual contest is organized by DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership. The artwork of the two winners and ten other talented students will be included in the 2015 “Be Ready. Be Buckled.” Art Contest Calendar, available this fall. FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro also reported at the ceremony that safety belt usage among bus and medium-toheavy duty truck drivers is up 6 percent from 78 percent in 2010 to a new high of 84 percent in 2013. The two contest winners received framed replicas of their artwork plus a monetary award courtesy of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Belt Partnership.

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Northfield Lines Northfield, MN

Air Bear Cheboygan, MI

Northfield Lines recently took delivery of a new Van Hool CX45 from ABC Companies, Van Hool’s exclusive US distributor. The bus is powered by a Detroit DD13 engine coupled to an Allison B500G5 transmission. The 56-passenger coach comes with Van Hool’s standard safety features including Kidde fire suppression, Smartwave tire monitoring, automatic traction control, lane departure warning, back-up camera and is UN ECE-RU66 rollover certified. The coach is equipped with a wood grain floor, 110 volt outlets, Wi-Fi, enclosed parcel racks and REI’s elite entertainment system with 6 large video monitors, magazine nets, cup holders, Alcoa Dura Bright aluminum wheels, window shades and Van Hool’s unique rear passenger window.

Air Bear has recently completely renewed their motorcoach fleet by acquiring four 2014 coaches, as well as a refurbished T2145 Van Hool, increasing the fleet size to five units. The new coach acquisition consists of two Van Hool TX45’s and two CX’s which are driven by DD13 engines coupled to Allison B500G5 transmissions. All four are equipped with REI Elite Entertainment systems, Smart Wave Tire Monitoring Systems, Lane Departure Warning, 110 volt outlets and ASA Wi-Fi, Alcoa Durabrite wheels, enclosed parcel racks, card tables and passenger seat belts.





Klein Transportation Douglassville, PA Klein Transportation’s fleet includes 15 modern MCI coaches, the most recent a 2014 MCI J4500 delivered in December. Klein’s newest MCI J4500 features an elegant spiral entryway, plush tiered seating, and onboard video monitors, along with 110-volt outlets for passengers’ personal electronic devices. Portable Wi-Fi completes the connectivity picture. The new coach also features a cleandiesel powertrain for nearly zero emissions to protect the environment, and it offers surprisingly good fuel economy for a 45-foot-long vehicle loaded with safety equipment.



Rustad Bus Services Kerkhoven, MN Rustad Bus Service, which operates Rustad Tours, recently took delivery of a new MCI J4500. Rustad opted for tan leather seats, cup-holders, woodgrain flooring, flat-screen video monitors, 110-volt outlets at each seat and Wi-Fi connectivity. The coach also comes equipped with a Cummins engine, an Allison transmission, Michelin tires and an array of safety features. Customers approve, too. Rustad held an open-house and coach unveiling in February that drew more than 100 customers despite a significant snow storm. The coach then made its maiden journey: a 30-day group tour to Arizona and Las Vegas.


Nate Nielsen

Webb Wheel Severe Duty has announced the appointments of Nate Nielsen as director of sales and Jeremy Zills to manager of engineering. These latest organizational enhancements at Webb Severe Duty are key components in the strategic plans of the business unit to focus on premium value-add brake drum solutions for severe duty applications such as transit bus and motorcoach. Both Nielsen and Zills will report directly to Ken Kelley, president of Webb Wheel Severe Duty.

Transpo announced that Lorraine Brown has joined the organization as Operations Supervisor. Brown brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Transpo. She began her career with Metro Transit in Kalamazoo, Jeremy Zills MI, as an operator and rose through the ranks holding various positions including dispatcher, lead trainer and operations supervisor before retiring in 2012 after 20 years with the organization.

Cincinnati Metro has named Arnold Isham Jr. as assistant director of Transit Operations. He will work with the director of Transit Operations to oversee the delivery of fixed-route services to the community. Isham began his career with Metro in 1992 as a bus operator. During his 22 years with Metro, he has held various positions including group manager, sector manager, street Arnold Isham Jr. operations/on-time performance manager and most recently station manager.

Activu Corporation, a leading provider of intelligent video wall visualization solutions that allow for collaborative situational awareness in command centers, control rooms and across an enterprise, announced that Richard Mebane has joined the company as vice president of Professional Services. In this new role, Mebane will be responsible for driving customer satisfaction while overseeing new customer deployments, upgrade projects and customer support.

Gilbarco North America, a provider of technology for retail and commercial fuel operations, has named Steve Moule as president. Moule was most recently president of Gilbarco Veeder-Root, Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). He has held leadership positions within Gilbarco Veeder-Root since 2007, with his first role as managing director UK.

Grayson Thermal Systems Corporation is strengthening its in-house engineering resource in response to growth throughout the North American transit market, appointing Chris Riedel as installation manager (North America). Riedel will be responsible for all new installations, vehicle testing, inspection and product sign-off for all Grayson products. Grayson says that Chris is highly customerfocused and brings many years of technical experience to his new role. He previously worked Chris Riedel for a large construction company and trucking firm, dealing daily with technical issues and customer training.

LoJack Corporation, a provider of vehicle theft recovery and advanced fleet management solutions, announced the appointment of Joe Castelli as vice president, Fleet and Commercial Operations. In this new role, Castelli will be focused on continuing to grow LoJack’s Commercial Equipment and Fleet Management business. Castelli has 30 years of automotive, fleet and commercial sales experience with global companies, brands and markets, and was previously the vice president, Commercial Vehicles & Fleet, for Nissan North America, Inc.

Michael J. Weidger has joined Veolia Transportation as general manager of “TheBus” fixed route transit system of Prince George’s County, MD (suburban Washington, D.C.). He will be the general manager for Veolia’s contract with the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation. He brings both fixed route and paratransit management skills to one of the most heavily utilized public transit corridors in the U.S. He joins Veolia from the Maryland Transit Authority where he served as director of Mobility Services. | BUSRIDE



Yavapai-Apache Transit

YAT wanted the design of the shuttle to reflect the past and future of the Yavapai-Apache Nation.


hough its primary purpose is to provide transportation for tribal members between Camp Verde and Clarkdale in this stretch of central Arizona known as the Verde Valley, the anxiously-awaited Yavapai-Apache Transit (YAT), Clarkdale, AZ, will serve as a vital link for all the residents in this region. Officially launched in early April, YAT is now transporting all Verde Valley residents needing rides between Camp Verde and Clarkdale, and connecting to other Verde Valley communities with matching fares from CAT and Verde Lynx. According to Transit Manager Diana Bonnaha, YAT opened with two shuttle buses with seating for 14 passengers each with capacity for wheelchairs. In Cottonwood, YAT links with the Cottonwood Area Transit (CAT) system and Verde Lynx for service into the Sedona area. In Camp Verde, YAT links to the Beaver Creek volunteer bus program. “The transit systems have worked hard to coordinate the routes and fares,” Bonnaha says. “This entire project is about the great way everyone has joined together to make this work.” While remaining a distinctive service for the Tribal Nation, YAT is considered the next big step in Verde Valley transit. The idea of a transit system for YA Nation arose from the need for tribal-member transportation between the YA Nation communities in Clarkdale and Camp situated in the Verde Valley in central Arizona. 16


In 2006, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded the YA Nation a grant to begin the two-year planning process. According to YA Nation Contracts and Grants Administrator Robert Mills, there was discussion about one stop in Cottonwood as YAN introduced its plans to the Verde Valley communities. An implementation grant enabled YAN to hire its first manager (Bonnaha) and two part-time drivers, Ron Juan and Fawn Stanley. Yavapai-Apache Transit then became part of the discussion for the Verde Valley Transportation Committee. Juan and Stanley have been training with Bonnaha to learn the shuttles and the procedures. They have also trained with CAT personnel as the launch date neared. Bonnaha wanted the design of the shuttle to reflect the past and future of the Yavapai-Apache Nation and enlisted Apphia Shirley to create the colorful exteriors. “I’m excited about this aspect,” says CAT Coordinator Bruce Morro. “This gives people anywhere in Camp Verde the opportunity to get to Sedona.” A valley-wide transit network had long been seen as a community need in this region of the state, but too expensive for the various municipalities to piece together anytime soon. However, through the government resources available to YA Nation, what could be accomplished if CAT/Verde Lynx teamed with Yavapai-Apache Transit became clear.


EDITOR NOTE: YAT opened in early April. At the eleventh hour of production for this issue, the Camp Verde Bugle, Camp Verde, AZ, provided BUSRide the basic content of this coverage with permission from Editor Dan Engler and Managing Editor Raquel Hendrickson.

connects Central Arizona

YAT enlisted Apphia Shirley to create the colorful exteriors of the shuttles.

As the system progressed, Morrow worked closely with Bonnaha. “We helped YA Nation in putting its policies and procedures in place, as well as job descriptions; all the details,” Morrow says. “It’s not easy for an agency first starting out, and YA Transit was basically starting with nothing.” From Camp Verde, the northbound route starts on the reservation at the YAN Medical Clinic with stops at Public Works, Social Services, the Administration building and onto Cliff Castle Casino. Shuttle stops at the Camp Verde Post Office run down Main Street to Bear Street, then on the 260 bypass to Goswick Way near the intersection of State Route 260 and Interstate 17. Heading toward Cottonwood, the shuttle makes stops on the Tun Lii reservation area off Cherry Road before heading back across 260 to the Yavapai County court and jail complex. In Cottonwood, stops include Wal-Mart, Safeway plaza, Cottonwood Public Library (which serves as the transfer station), and Verde Valley Medical Center before arriving at the tribal community in Clarkdale. The estimated time from fleet building to fleet building is 42 minutes. The southbound shuttle back to Camp Verde follows the same route in reverse. Each trip is $1.25. There will be 10-day passes and monthly passes available, good for transferring to CAT/Lynx, with purchase stations on the reservation and possibly at Camp Verde Town Hall.

According to Morrow, YA Transit is matching the CAT schedule as close as possible on a route that runs for an hour-and-a-half. The stop at the jail was of particular interest in the wake of controversy over released people trying to get a ride home or endure the so-called “walk of shame.” Bonnaha said Clarkdale Town Manager Gayle Mabery first voiced the idea of a shuttle stop there. Tribal members are the priority of Yavapai-Apache Transit. The first run of the day is dedicated to getting tribal members to work. The last run of the day is to get them back home. However, Bonnaha says YAT will also be working closely with Verde Valley Caregivers to provide rides. YAT says it operates Monday through Friday and will always be closed on tribal holidays. Setting up the routes and coordinating with other systems has been a long and complicated process. Bonnaha expects some trial and error as the system goes online. “There will be adjustments made as we go,” she says. “Transit systems, big and small, have to make adjustments all of the time.” Mills said the YAN could qualify for one more continuation grant. After that, the Bureau of Indian Affairs would pick up the costs of running the transit system. | BUSRIDE










BUSRide Road Test:

The 2015 MCI J4500 New brake, axle and suspension systems reflect MCI’s attention to technical and mechanical detail By David Hubbard


he strategic effort by Motor Coach Industries (MCI), Des Plaines, IL, to bring its J4500 and D-model coaches closer together has been a work in progress since 2008. According to the company, its mission has been to unify the componentry and systems in terms of manufacturing and maintenance. mprovements and new features of the MCI J and D models reflect MCI’s attention to technical and mechanical detail. Unlike the recent restyling of the J4500 model, these updates are not about curb appeal.




Driver Dave Zibro transported the Columbia High School Choir on a six-day trip from Kansas City, MO, to Nashville, TN, which he says presented a tremendous opportunity to test the new J4500.

“We are out to improve both functionality and performance in both models,” says Brent Maitland, vice president, MCI Marketing and Product Planning. “By increasing the commonality of these key systems, we create efficiency in engineering, improve our manufacturing, and make parts that service easier for our customers, with the overall result being improved reliability of our product.” The move to ZF axle and suspension The central focus to this significant upgrade has involved the incorporation of ZF axle and independent suspension system that promises to significantly reduce the turning radius and smooth out the ride. ZF manufactures these products in Gainesville, GA. ZF notes the key features of the ZF RL 80 E Independent Front Suspension:

“They pounded the coach over cobblestones, chatter bumps and other features designed to stress the system,” Maitland says. “They beat it up pretty good. Also a testament to the design of our J is that we’ve used the same coach through multiple durability tests and it just kept ticking for more than one million miles of real world equivalent testing.” With these technologies already proven in other heavy-duty commercial vehicles, MCI has built 12 pilot J4500 coaches featuring the ZF and Bendix systems, nine of which are in service with MCI operators across the country for independent field testing in everyday highway conditions and normal operations. “We are doing thorough testing and we look forward to getting detailed feedback from these companies,” he says. “For instance, a maintenance tech may notice some minor difficulty in reaching a new part or fitting that we can still address.”

• 55 degree wheelcut for MCI Arrow Stage Lines • The manner in which the suspension upright separates the steering Arrow Stage Lines, a longstanding MCI customer headquartered in forces from the axle road forces allows a quicker response of the Omaha, NB, with operations in 11 locations, is one such company to suspension and more precise steering. test drive the new J4500. BUSRide called on Arrow Stage Lines, Kansas • The double–wishbone design with maintenance-free rubber-metal City, MO, for a report of its early experiences. bearings at the mounting points and wheel ends with unitized Dave Zibro, a seasoned driver of nearly every sort of commercial bearings reduce maintenance costs. vehicle for most of his life, was the first of four Arrow Stage drivers to • The systems are lightweight and maneuverable.The ZF system take the J out on the road for charter service. takes the MCI models from solid beam He transported the Columbia High School to independent suspension. MCI says it out to improve both functionality Choir on a six-day trip from Kansas City, MO, “Efficiency, emissions reduction, and and performance in its new models. to Nashville, TN, which he says presented growing comfort requirements are key a tremendous opportunity to experience criteria for public transportation providers,” handling and maneuverability in assorted says Rolf Lutz, member of the Board weather from clear skies to wind and rain. of Management of ZF Friedrichshafen “I noticed a difference on the very first AG responsible for Commercial Vehicle turn out of our yard,” Zibro says. “At that Technology. “This is why coach and bus point I was not aware of the steer tag axle, operators worldwide are modernizing their but I felt the difference immediately in that vehicles and are drawing on ZF’s expertise quicker turn with less tail swing. For the rest more and more often. The fact that we of the trip I couldn’t ask for the steering and have now received orders from MCI is a handling to be any better. It’s a wonderful resounding success and testimony to our ride.” established international presence garnered Recognizing this is a new model J, Zibro on the basis of advanced technology.” says he is anxious to see how its holds Bendix Air Disc Brake up after 40,000 miles. Considering its performance on the Bosch test track, he The new coaches offer the proven Bendix Air Disc Brake (ADB) 22 X brake system, made in the U.S. since 2005, should have no complaints. “I especially like how the front seems to turn shorter than previous which will also offer the additional safety of adaptive cruise control. MCIs I have driven,” he says. “With the rear axle steer providing Maitland says this undertaking is more than just plugging the new greater maneuverability, I was able to get into so many places that systems into the MCI platform. “This type of project requires engineering and testing as there would be much more difficult without the steer tag.” MCI says the tighter turning capability with the help of the rear steer are modifications to integrate the systems into the coach,” he feature should reduce tire wear. says. “This is where the design and testing comes into play. We During one of the choir performances, Zibro conducted his own need to thoroughly understand how the changes affect the coach informal test in the parking lot to get a better sense of the tighter performance and ride dynamics.” “The advantages of an independent suspension system are no secret turning radius. “I simply lined the coach up with the painted lines and made a sharp to the industry,” Maitland adds. “In our application, it offers significant improvement in terms of ride quality and feel, as well as a much tighter left U-turn,” he says. “I didn’t take any accurate measure, but the radius was considerably less than anything I had experienced in our turning radius.” According to MCI, the current standard turning radius on the J4500 other coaches. Maneuvering in traffic around town and in parking lots model is roughly 47 feet; 45 feet with optional rear-steering. The new J4500 was a pleasure because it was so easy. I was very glad to have this coach in Nashville for the week.” with ZF is 40 feet, 11 inches. One of Zibro’s additional responsibilities is to test-drive various “While the ZF axle system makes the coach significantly more maneuverable, it may require some additional training for drivers,” coaches in the Arrow Stage fleet and keep copious notes on what he finds needing attention. Maitland says. “But ultimately, they will enjoy many major advantages.” “I have found nothing to make note of,” he says. “This coach is a To help prove the reliability of the systems, MCI sent the J coach to the arduous Bosch Durability Testing Facility, New Carlisle, IN, where techs dream to drive.” While charter customers may not be cognizant of the technology put it through the equivalent of one-million miles of wear, tear and abuse and componentry responsible for the easier handling and smoother over 10,000 miles of actual track mileage. | BUSRIDE


ride, Arrow Stage Vice President of Sales Chuck Gunnels believes it contributes to their improved rider experience. “Coach passengers are certainly aware of how their driver is performing,” he says. “If he is not having to back up as often in tight situations, and the ride goes generally uninterrupted, they feel more secure and are more at ease.” Arrow Stage Line Director of Maintenance Wade Freeman says that in the time Arrow Stage has had possession of the pilot coach, he has not seen or heard anyone reporting a mechanical issue. “Generally, the set up on this new J4500 is much preferable over previous models, particularly with the Bendix brake system,” he says. “I particularly like the use of unitized wheel hubs on the steer and tag axles. They can be easily changed out in the event of wheel-bearing issues.” Service requires replacing only the bearings rather than the entire hub, and there is one common rotor part rather than two. “We strongly believe that the fundamental design of the bearings and wheel ends is going to keep out significantly more contaminates,” Maitland says. “They are more reliable, which owners will appreciate.” Van Galder Bus Company Van Galder Bus Company, Janesville, WI, essentially provides year-round non-stop regular scheduled service from Janesville and its hubs in Madison, WI; Rockford, IL; and into downtown Chicago with service to Midway and O’Hare Airports — an ideal venue for the operator feedback MCI is looking for in this pilot program. According to General Manager, Allen Fugate, Van Galder is using its J4500 primarily for regular service to O’Hare from Rockford, but every driver throughout the system is getting the chance to slip behind the wheel and offer feedback. “Without disclosing a lot of technical detail, MCI asked us to maximize mileage on our test coach and report on what we experience out on the road.” says Fugate. “With our goal of 70,000 miles, we have kept it very busy. Proabably 30 different drivers have taken the coach out on their runs. From the comments we have heard, the new coach has a very nice feel; not significantly different than any other J models, but enough to notice.” Fugate says the maneuverability is the most noticeable feature from a driver’s standpoint, noting that with the new trailing tag axle, drivers need to be aware of more backend tail swing. “It shortens the turning radius and is probably similar to the MCI E Model MCI,” he says. “This new setup is great for maneuverability, especially getting in and out of tight spots. I drove it through some pretty stout winds and it handled fine, but not necessarily any better or worse than other J4500s.” Fugate says his team has already suggested a tweak in the programming on the ride levelizer. Like the E Model, it was highly active. We asked them to just soften it some. Van Galder Maintenance Director Ron Thompson appreciates the ease on tire wear the ZF brings in tighter turns. “This axle with not jump a curb or slide going around a corner,” he says. I don’t see any scuffing with the trailing axle.” Thompson also finds the more open framework underneath is now easier to access and maintain, a point he says is important to the people working on the coach.

Above and below: The ZF system takes the MCI models from solid beam to independent suspension.

Bendix Brake ADB System According to Maitland, the Bendix ADB system will feel more like automobile brakes. “We feel these brakes should be an easier adjustment for new coach drivers used to an automotive feel,” Maitland says. “The actual brake performance is roughly the same, but the stopping distance is way less than FMVSS standards.” MCI says it is moving to include the Bendix Wingman System, which offers adaptive cruise control as well as collision mitigation. “These functions are becoming more common in the automotive market,” Maitland says. “We think this is a very important safety feature that we can bring to MCI coaches.” The Bendix adaptive cruise control detects a coach’s position behind other vehicles and automatically reduces the throttle or applies the brakes to maintain safe following distances. It is also billed as improving the functionality of cruise control and fuel economy. Coaches are in testing with the Bendix System, and when MCI determines it is ready, the system can be retrofitted into the new ZF-fitted pilot coaches for customer feedback. 20


BYD showcases all-electric transit California Governor Jerry Brown helps BYD unveil state’s first ever long-range electric bus factory in Lancaster


n an event attended by California Governor Jerry Brown, BYD Motors unveiled the first California-made, all-electric, long-range, 40-foot rapid transit bus. The ceremony was held in Lancaster, CA, at BYD’s first ever electric bus factory in the United States, which the company says has created more than 60 new jobs for American workers. “The city of Lancaster strongly believes in the importance of building solid private-public partnerships, such as our ongoing relationship with BYD,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “Together, we were recognized internationally for our innovative solar programs at the 2012 World Energy Globe Awards. BYD continues to bring muchneeded manufacturing jobs to our community, having already brought more than 60 new jobs to our region. We look forward to their continued growth, and the resulting economic prosperity they bring to the California Governor Jerry Brown attended the ceremony held in Antelope Valley and the Lancaster, CA. state of California.” BYD expects to increase the number of new jobs created to 100 by the end of the year, while adding 200 more by the end of next year. The company says it hopes this will be the first of many cities where BYD will provide clean energy electric buses, while creating more jobs for Americans. “This event is truly historic with the unveiling of the first California-made, all-electric, longrange, 40-foot rapid transit buses lasting up to 24 hours on a single charge,” said Stella Li, CEO of BYD Motors. “BYD has a long and solid commitment to provide zero-emission, superior technology transportation vehicles in the United States. We are starting out here in Lancaster, CA, with the goal of providing clean energy electric buses, throughout the United States creating even more jobs for Americans. BYD is proud to deliver this breakthrough environmentally friendly technology to California.”

BYD says its breakthrough battery and EV technologies have resulted in an electricity-powered, 24-hour, long-range battery that provides emission-free, silent, and economic public and private transportation. Speakers at the ceremony included: • Governor Jerry Brown – Governor of California • M ayor R. Rex Parris – Mayor of Lancaster, CA • Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich – Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors • Bill Allen – President and Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation • Stella Lee – CEO, BYD Motors • L anny Davis – Attorney for BYD and former White House Special Counsel • Lixin Bian – Chinese Acting Counsel General

The first California-made, all-electric, long-range, 40-foot rapid transit bus. | BUSRIDE


BUSRide Financial Roundtable: Part II Guest panel encourages financial and accounting best practices as the only way to play ahead of the curve By David Hubbard

In February, BUSRide convened with a select group of financial leaders in the bus and motorcoach industry during the UMA Motorcoach EXPO in Los Angeles, CA, for a roundtable discussion on the issues, trends and practices that affect operators’ borrowing, acquisitions and all-round financial health. Part II of the conversation focuses on factors that influence lending decisions and suggestions for operators to improve their financial capabilities and better their chances for sound financing. The panelists at the table were: Gregg Goedde, Vice President, ABC Financial Services (a division of ABC Companies), Faribault, MN Eric Coolbaugh, Principal, Advantage Funding, Lake Success, NY Lee Steinberg, Sales, Commercial Transportation Division, Advantage Funding, Lake Success, NY Raymond Sullivan, National Sales Manager, Industrial Group, EverBank Commercial Finance, Hampton, NH Dave Reynolds, President and CEO, Fleet Financing Resources, Riverside, CA Garland Tillery, Senior Finance Officer, Fleet Financing Resources, Riverside, CA Michael Denny, Vice President and General Manager, Motor Coach Industries (MCI) Financial Services, Dallas, TX Matt Hotchkiss, Vice President, Commercial Vehicle Group, Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc., Minneapolis, MN



What financial challenges do you most frequently help operators overcome? Matt Hotchkiss: The biggest challenge for us to approve financing is operators that have too much leverage. In a soft market, companies that have a highly leveraged fleet almost always struggle. What I mean by leverage is that they borrow the maximum amount for the longest term, they owe money on most or all of their fleet, and never are in an equity position. They are the first ones to struggle and the first ones to fail during a difficult cycle. This could be something as simple as bad weather or something bigger like a recession. An operator should always be in a position to liquidate assets if it becomes necessary to access cash and reduce debt. Eric Coolbaugh: Getting customers to produce good quality interim statements is a challenge we face. When an operator is looking to buy a new coach in November and all he hands over is last year’s tax return, any credit person is going to want something more current. The perfect package is a detailed business plan, with a profit and loss statement with balance sheet.

“We want to be a financial advisor when appropriate. Sometimes that advice may steer a deal away from our company if it makes better sense for the customer.” Matt Hotchkiss, Vice President Commercial Vehicle Group Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Inc.

What would make life easier for you and also improve operators’ chances at getting better financing? Ray Sullivan: I think the service from the provider to the end user in this particular vertical sector is quite good. However, when we have a customer who wants a $350,000 bus and all he can show is a tax return, I tell them to help us out with an interim statement. Hotchkiss: The quality of financial statements is so important. Not only does it help us clearly understand the financial health of the business but having CPAreviewed or audited statements validates the numbers we see. It adds instant credibility from a risk analyst perspective. Gregg Goedde: There is the financial side, but there is also the story. A $1 million dollar loan requires more than just the financials. What makes this deal make sense? What makes this company unique? Or, if there are issues, what has the operator done to find a solution and remedy the problem? These are areas we also explore. Garland Tillery: For a customer to have this level of comfort and understanding of what the business is all about is not an unreasonable expectation. In your experience, are operators as a group becoming better businesspeople? Tillery: Regardless of the tools and technology, keeping good records is a discipline. It’s no different than scheduling | BUSRIDE


“The perfect package is a detailed business plan, with a profit and loss statement with balance sheet.” Eric Coolbaugh, Principal Advantage Funding maintenance on the coaches. Unfortunately I would say for many operators in this industry, this discipline is further away from their core competencies; so they have to work a little harder, if necessary, to educate themselves in the areas they are lacking to make them better businesspeople. Goedde: In my experience, I can get a pretty good sense of an operator’s business savvy and the degree he understands his operation after interacting with him for five minutes. With just a quick read of the financial statement in the package I receive from a potential borrower, I am able to judge a book by its cover. Michael Denny: There are operators we deal with that may run 30 or more coaches, knowing what each must produce. They know what each asset earned every single month. They look at their fleet and, if it is not showing good utilization, will actually change the portfolio dynamics to make better use of each unit. They are that sophisticated. Tillery: What we have noticed from some of the top-tier operators we do business with is that the 2008 recession forced them to get better reporting habits. There was no unavailability of funds. Most banks curtailed their lending so, after that recession, unless an operator came to the bank with a real sophisticated product, he wasn’t getting anything. There was not a lot of buying going on at that point, but there was still business to be done. We have seen a lot of people who went through the recession and actually came out better. What specifically do you do to ensure your customers obtain the best financing possible? Hotchkiss: We want to be a financial advisor when appropriate. Sometimes that advice may steer a deal away from our company if it makes better sense for the customer. We’ve been in this industry for a long time and have a good reputation. Our customers trust us and know we’re more interested in the long-term relationship than the transaction. I believe that goes a long way in this business. Sullivan: We go in wanting to do the absolute best for each customer, but we can only rely on the quality of the information and

“In my experience, I can get a pretty good sense of an operator’s business savvy and the degree he understands his operation after interacting with him for five minutes.” Gregg Geodde, Vice President ABC Companies Financial Services the neatness of the package we receive. In many cases, if we know why the operator is replacing units, the reason for the purchase, or we have a brief overview of what they are trying to achieve and what their business goals are, it makes it easier to know how to help. Goedde: What we have found of both large and small companies that have gone through this, they learn to see the areas in which they can improve their business. They get in touch with the actual costs of their operations, and the process is enlightening. When that light 24


goes on, we can help take their business to the next level. Denny: I think the message here is to help our customers understand their options and put together a good business plan that reflects an understanding of their operating costs. It’s making sure that, as they buy the full range of products, they get the right return in order to sustain the business. What programs and practices does your company provide to make financing an easier, more inviting and less painful process for operators? Hotchkiss: We — not only me, but the credit and documentation people at our company — understand this industry, because we aren’t asking questions we should already know. We include an Equipment Line of Credit that allows for multiple purchases over time. Do lenders such as yourselves run any sort of risk in enabling operators’ bad habits in managing finances? Goedde: Most of us in this room have worked with operators in this industry for so long that we may be proliferating our own problems, in a way. We will often tell operators who come to us that regardless of their accounting practices, we still need to get them that bus. We need to find the money. Maybe they can’t show us financials as solid as we would like, but they can come up with another $10,000 for the down payment. At this point, it becomes an equity play, and the value of the motorcoach and collateral almost proliferates that issue as well. Hotchkiss: This industry went through a difficult cycle in the early 2000s. There were many factors that caused this, but loose credit standards and easy money were contributors. From our standpoint, we as a lender don’t want to be an enabler to that type of cycle. Banks are healthy today and are looking for markets to deploy their capital, which makes it a competitive marketplace. Despite this competition, we want to maintain consistent credit standards. We won’t extend amortizations or sacrifice credit quality to win business.

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success By Ryan Kelly

Terrapin Blue, Athens, GA, has been very busy during the beginning of 2014.

Terrapin Blue improves operations with grant expertise, emergency preparedness and savvy digital marketing

Silver State Mainline On June 1, 2014, Silver State Trailways launched the Silver State Mainline intercity fixed route service between Doyle, CA, and Las Vegas, NV. Terrapin Blue has been instrumental in the successful start up of the mainline service working with the Nevada Department of Transportation, Southern RTC, and Silver State Trailways. Terrapin Blue was tasked with developing NDOT 5311(f) intercity bus grants, marketing plans, start up strategies, and compliance requirements.

ECHO Transportation ECHO Transportation received notice from the Texas Department of Transportation that it will receive a 5311(f) intercity bus grant to implement fixed route bus service between San Angelo and Fort Worth, TX. ECHO Transportation and Terrapin Blue will launch the service sometime in late 2014/early 2015. Understanding the importance of long term strategic planning for successful intercity fixed route service, Terrapin Blue began working with ECHO well before the announcement of the availability of grant funding. This allowed ECHO Transportation ample time to conduct outreach with the communities along the proposed route and develop meaningful relationships with local transit agencies, city and county governments, and private businesses along the corridor.

Emergency preparedness Emergency preparedness planning is currently being completed for Coach USA through a Federal Emergency Management Agency intercity bus security grant. The Terrapin Blue team is currently visiting Coach USA’s facilities and collecting the necessary data to develop and complete an online emergency preparedness plan. This plan will allow Coach USA personnel and first responders to respond effectively to emergency situations at Coach USA facilities and onboard their buses.



Terrapin Blue is also in the process of completing emergency preparedness plans for Badger Coaches, Northfield Lines, Trobec Bus Service, All Aboard America, Gotta Go Trailways, and Tour Coach to name a few.

Multimedia services Terrapin Blue has been providing innovative media services during the first quarter of 2014 working with the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), National Tour Association (NTA), Lancer Insurance, Travel South, and Group Travel Family. The team worked with UMA and NTA providing social media/video support services during Travel Exchange 2014 held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The team also filmed the Lancer Insurance UMA educational workshop during Travel Exchange, which is currently being edited by Lancer to be released for educational use. Following Travel Exchange, the Terrapin Blue media team flew to Charleston, WV, and provided live event media services focused on social media distribution in real time while capturing all events on video for Travel South Domestic Showcase. Next, the Terrapin Blue team was off to Huntsville, AL, to provide social media/video support services for the inaugural Group Travel Family Select Traveler Conference. Finally, the Terrapin Blue media team visited Windsor, Canada where social media/video support services were provided for the African American Travel Conference. The Terrapin Blue media team is currently working with the International Motorcoach Group (IMG) developing a corporate video focused on the recent rebranding of the organization. The video will be used as a sales tool promoting IMG for business opportunities throughout the country.

Terrapin Blue is in the process of completing emergency preparedness plans for several motorcoach operations. Previously, the company formulated an emergency preparedness plan for DATTCO.

Ryan Kelly serves as president of Terrapin Blue, Athens, GA.

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The Motorcoach Marketing Council gets its kits together GoMotorcoach marketing gives operators the tools to sell directly to groups best served by coach charter service

By David Hubbard How GoMotorcoach works Responding to the one overriding request from charter coach operators, It begins online at GoMotorcoach University, where the sales person selects a GoMotorcoach the Motorcoach Marketing Council campaign and views a 20-minute video has developed its continuing strategy orientation on that market segment, which of reaching the public and increasing shows how coaches fit this market. Each motorcoach ridership with a novel The GoMotoroach marketing tool kit is a turnkey module offers content and suggestions for compilation of targeted campaigns that focus on the concept and a very robust product — identifying, locating and connecting with specific affinity groups best served by motorcoaches. the players in each campaign most likely to a complete kit with necessary tools, purchase coach charters; who to talk to and orientation, training, online support what to say that gets their attention. and collateral materials to help charter operators better In addition to the orientation and training, the program can market their services. The Motorcoach Marketing Council provide marketing materials that meld a coach company with the says the entire process just got a whole lot easier. GoMotorcoach branding. They run the gamut, including customizable Rolled out in February at the UMA Motorcoach EXPO in Los Angeles, CA, the GoMotoroach marketing tool kit is a unique turnkey compilation of targeted campaigns that focus on the special attributes and specific affinity groups best served by motorcoaches. The GoMotorcoach program dissects the global market into 15 distinct modules directed toward the most prevalent coach charter segments. The Attributes campaign presents the major benefits of motorcoach travel — safety, luxury, green, and cost efficiency. Affinity groups that typically seek coach charter service include business and corporate, school, church and faith based, weddings, senior travel, sightseeing, culinary tourism and family reunions. Speaking to BUSRide from the UMA Motorcoach EXPO exhibit floor, Gladys Gillis, president of Starline Luxury Coaches, Seattle, WA, explained how these tool kits resolve the struggles of the average sales staff trying to drum up new business. She says the modular campaigns should help get the sales team on the fastest track and turn “order takers” into knowledgeable sales professionals. “Each campaign is a complete package ready for presentation,” Gillis says. “The salesperson is free to choose the particular customer group and use the information and materials for that campaign as a guide during the call.” The GoMotorcoach marketing system equips the sales force with qualified information relative to motorcoach travel and talking points on each market segment that may resonate with a potential customer. The campaigns allow both focus and flexibility. “The program allows the sales staff to play to its strengths,” Gillis says. “One sales person may enjoy working with a certain group such as Culinary Travel, while another may prefer working with Church and Faith-based clients.”



templates for business cards, flyers, posters, complete convention display graphics and all social media, as well as an array specialty advertising products appropriate to each campaign segment. The GoMotorcoach campaigns The Attributes Luxury —This campaign introduces motorcoach luxury to buyers unaware of the evolution that has taken place since their last bus trip. This presentation will dispel all preconceived and archaic assumptions as to the beauty and comfort of coaches. Safety — Safety is the first order. From this campaign, the sales force assures potential customers of the company’s dedicated steps to carry them safely, backed by a safety record available for review. Efficiency — In this presentation, customers learn the benefits of efficiency and ease in working with a motorcoach operator to moving their people more conveniently than any other transportation mode. Green — In this eco-conscious world, going green matters to consumers. Buses and coaches are the greenest mode of travel. Motorcoaches are seven times more energy and fuel-efficient than single occupancy automobiles. A recent survey in Time Magazine showed that 40 percent of U.S. consumers base their purchases on the social or political values of the company supplying the goods and services.

The Affinities Business and corporate — Marketing and selling charter services to the business and the corporate community means meeting a diverse list of client needs in many different areas. The Business campaign tailors the The GoMotoroach program dissects the global market operator’s message to the specific occasion into distinct affinity groups, including Youth Sports. from employee shuttles and to a small company outing to convention, conferences or a corporate retreat. Church and faith-based— Religious or faith tourism transports people individually or in groups for pilgrimages, missionary work, religious conferences, fellowship retreats, youth ministries and spiritual vacations. This campaign offers the tools to connect with the any of 50,000 churches in the United States with established religious travel programs. Culinary tourism — More than 27 million people are now engaged in some form of culinary travel each year, and pay big dollars to satiate their epicurean appetites, traveling to near and far to destinations that promise new food and wine experiences. Family reunions A family reunion affords an opportunity to transport anywhere from 50 to 200 family members and relatives traveling as a group to their special gatherings and events that typically last several days. Research shows that most families plan their reunion gatherings and destinations well in advance, and quite often involve professional charter tour companies for group transport and shuttles. School charters Schools and students of every age and grade are constantly on the move for sports, club activities and myriad learning experiences. The demand for safe and efficient school charter for the million students attending public and private schools is staggering. Participation in this market can often spell the difference between a so-so year and a great year. Senior travel An estimated 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day. Aging and still-active seniors account for more than 35 percent the total U.S. population, and that number is growing. By 2030, projections predict that the over-65 set will have doubled to more 71 million. This suggests a growing market of people who list leisure travel as their number one activity. Sightseeing Motorcoach charters began with sightseeing tours from local jaunts to extended travel vacations, and it is still big business. This campaign helps charter companies understand value and potential in the sightseeing market, as well as the associated sales strategies, such as the per capita model, and contract and partnerships with key tour operators. Weddings This campaign helps operators tap into the annual $40 billion wedding industry as a specialized provider. A common mistake in sales is to search out the brides through newspaper social pages and announcements. The people to connect with are those providing wedding services — floral arrangers, gowns and tuxedo rentals, hall rentals, DJs and caterers. Youth sports

providing all the attributes of coach travel for team moves of any size, any distance. A six step program

Participation in the motorcoachmarketing. org tools and training is a six-step program. 1. Choose the motorcoach Attributes and Affinity group campaign. 2. Invite the sales and marketing team to view the training video at 3. Select the appropriate marketing and promotion tools from the menu of over 50 selections included in each campaign. 4. Customize the tools online quickly and easily to fit your company to include photography, logo and contact information. 5. P  lace the product order that may include the Motorcoach Marketing Council fulfillment rates, or download the artwork and print it locally. 6. I mplement the programs and monitor the results. Looking ahead If the Motorcoach Marketing Council and the campaign tools have contributed to more focused sales and new business, perhaps add a seventh step: Share your success story with the Motorcoach Marketing Council. “We will always be a volunteer board,” says Peter Shelbo, president of Tour West America, Phoenix, AZ, and chairman of the Motorcoach Marketing Council. “We’re looking for good board members. If any operator is interested in helping, we’d like that.” “We appreciate the donations given by the participants in the Penny Parts program, both operators and bus manufacturers,” Shelbo adds, referring to the Council’s donation-based partnership with the four major bus OEMs. “They’re a very important part of our funding mechanism.”

Superintendent of Bus Maintenance Adirondack Trailways, with headquarters in the Hudson Valley of New York State, seeks a seasoned Maintenance Professional. Applicants for this position must have supervisory experience in a bus maintenance facility and will oversee all prevention and daily maintenance for a fleet of more than 100 buses in areas such as: • The efficient and cost effective management of the Maintenance Department • Supervising, motivating and evaluation of personnel • Ensuring compliance with DOT, Safety, A.D.A., and Environmental Regulations Technical expertise in diesel engines, drive train systems, components, air conditioning, and electrical systems is critical. Experience is also required in: • Administration • Office Management • Computerized vehicle maintenance systems The Superintendent of Maintenance is considered a safety sensitive position, and is subject to Federal drug and alcohol testing regulations. This position provides a highly competitive compensation package including relocation expenses, company vehicle, 401K plan, health benefits package and more. Interested applicants should send resume and letter of interest to: - or Superintendent Adirondack Trailways 499 Hurley Avenue EOE/AA/M/F/Vet/Disability Hurley, NY 12443

With more than 35 million children participating in youth sports in the U.S., the need for safe buses and coaches always exists. This campaign helps operators participate in a lucrative market by | BUSRIDE





m e r s a f e t y s e r i Part One – Driver and Passenger Safety



Lytx’s flagship product DriveCam sets new standards in driver safety.

Lytx drives safe Makers of DriveCam advance video-based driver safety technology 30





m e r s a f e t y s e r i Part One – Driver and Passenger Safety



Fleets manage the DriveCam Program through DriveCam Online, a web-based online portal.

New patents Lytx, Inc. (formerly DriveCam Inc.), San Diego, CA, a global leader in delivering driver safety and compliance solutions, announced it has been granted a series of U.S. patents that support new innovations in its video-based driver safety solutions. Five patents were issued to the company in 2013 and applications were filed for an 18 additional patents. In total, the Company had 20 issued patents and had 32 more pending as of March 31, 2014. The new patents cover aspects of the key components of the Lytx™ process: Sense, Predict, Prevent™, including new innovations in predicting driving risk. “We continue to expand the company’s patent portfolio as part of our ongoing focus on delivering innovative solutions to our clients,” said Drew Martin, chief information officer, Lytx, in a statement. “We believe the newly issued patents and those we have applied for continue to enhance the strength and diversity of our portfolio. These patents cover the predictive analytics we use to deliver insights coupled with innovations in coaching and management tools that change behavior and drive results.” Lytx says its products harness the power of data to change human behavior and help good companies become even better. Its flagship product, DriveCam powered by Lytx™ sets the standard in driver safety. DriveCam powered by Lytx improves safety by combining data and video analytics with real-time driver feedback and coaching, resulting in decreased collision-related costs and fuel consumption. Using its patented Lytx Engine™, the DriveCam Program scores, prioritizes and tracks the results of driving behaviors to identify improvement opportunities for increased safety. In-vehicle video captures driving behavior, which is reviewed and scored, then passed on to the fleet safety or operations manager to coach driver improvement. Fleets manage the DriveCam Program through DriveCam Online, a web-based online portal. With 24/7 secure access, DriveCam Online provides the information fleets need to monitor fleet performance, prioritize events for coaching, and provide the necessary tools to improve driver behavior. Featuring dashboards, alerts and configurable reports, Lynx says DriveCam Online is key to driver performance management success. Lytx links with ARI insurance Lytx also announced that it has signed an agreement with ARI Insurance, Newtown, PA, to provide ARI’s transportation and commercial automobile clients with the DriveCam powered by Lytx™ driver safety management solution. ARI will subsidize 50 percent of the monthly program cost to demonstrate its support for the safety benefits that the DriveCam Program delivers and to promote rapid adoption across its client base. ARI is a commercial auto specialist providing insurance to a broad range of the commercial auto market through a network of over 200 independent insurance agents. The companies’ business model is poised to bring long-term solutions to transportation needs of businesses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and will expand into Maryland in late 2014. “ARI is dedicated to helping our clients improve safety and reduce their operating costs,” said Karen S. Fulton, president and CEO of ARI. “We’ve seen the DriveCam Program dramatically reduce the frequency and severity of claims, driving down insurance costs and saving them money. Given the safety value that DriveCam delivers to our clients, we’re pleased to have Lytx as our partner and to cover a significant portion of the service cost for our customers.” “We admire ARI’s exceptional commitment to helping its clients improve fleet safety,” said Eliot Feldstein, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development, Lytx Inc. “This is a terrific opportunity for both companies to join together to have a direct and powerful impact on making our roads and highways as safe as possible.” | BUSRIDE



Turkish industry breaking records By Doug Jack

It was only a few issues ago that I wrote about Turkey, but in April the major Busworld Turkey Exhibition offered interesting new products — and even new manufacturers.

Above: A convoy of Otokar Kent city buses in typical Istanbul city scape. “Kent” is the Turkish word for city. At right: Capacity at the Mercedes-Benz factory near Istanbul is rising to 4,700 per annum. 32


Istanbul has always been an important trading post, sitting astride Europe and Asia. The main airport is a major international hub. The Expo Center is within one mile of the airport, attracting several international delegations to Busworld, and many individual visitors from other countries in the region. In recent months, in the international media, we have seen and read about a difficult political situation and an economy under pressure. It simply does not look like that when you visit Istanbul. The city has more than 15 million people and is still expanding. Last year, the Turkish market for buses and coaches with more than 26 seats was 4,027, its highest ever. The main reason was heavy investment in low-floor city buses ahead of important elections. In cities where many people depend on buses for public transport, mainly because of low levels of car ownership, new buses make voters feel content! Most of the buses are 40-foot or 60-foot articulated with full low-floor layouts. There are also some low entry 30-foot midibuses. The latest 18-foot low-floor minibuses are suitable for narrow streets in old city centers. There is also a substantial market for midibuses and midicoaches. Last year, new registrations were just under 4,000. Most of these vehicles have high floors and are popular on rural routes, work transport and private charter. Turkey is a major manufacturing center for buses and coaches, supplying customers in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Turkic Republics in Central Asia that were at one time part of the old Union of

A TCV Karat gas bus in the city of Kayseri.

Soviet Socialist Republics. Mercedes-Benz Türk Mercedes-Benz Türk is the largest manufacturer of full-size buses and coaches. One of its exhibits was the 70,000th vehicle built in Turkey over the last 46 years. Intercity coach travel is very popular in Turkey although it is coming under pressure from low cost airlines on the longer routes. This particular coach was decorated with tickets and ticket covers of all the coach companies from the earliest days of travel until the present time. Some have gone out of business, but many are still very active. Mercedes-Benz consistently takes around 65 percent of coach sales in the Turkish market, so the unique decoration attracted great interest from visitors, including some who wanted to buy the coach there and then. Mercedes-Benz is in the process of increasing capacity in its Turkish factory from 4,000 to 4,700 per annum.


Last year, the plant built 4,005 units but the additional capacity is needed for further export business, particularly a long-term contract to Algeria. Anadolu Isuzu Anadolu Isuzu extended its range once again to include a full size 40-foot low-floor city bus. Known as the Citiport, it had Isuzu badges but not a single Isuzu component, and required a larger engine than Isuzu could supply. The company opted for a Cummins ISB 6.7-litre unit with a ZF fully automatic gearbox and ZF axles. An unusual but attractive feature of this bus was a waist-line that dropped down between the axles, letting more light into the vehicle. There are large gas fields in The new 40-foot low-floor Citiport bus by some of the countries to the Anadolu Isuzu. north of Turkey, from which gas carries across Turkey in pipelines to Mediterranean ports for shipment, mainly to Europe. Turkey receives transit fees in the form of gas and has encouraged bus companies to use the gas by attractive pricing. The taxation on diesel is remarkably high; therefore there is a strong incentive to use gas. It is rare to go to an exhibition and find a new manufacturer, but there were at least three in Busworld Turkey. Akia

The rear platform of the Citiport has a Cummins engine offset and in line to maximise passenger space.

Akia has built buses in Tabriz in Northern Iran for several years. Six months ago, the company opened a factory in the automotive city of Bursa to make a range of 30-foot and 40-foot city buses. Their Ultra LF 12 model had a Cummins ISL gas engine mounted vertically and offset in line at the rear. There were also two buses with Cummins diesel engines, namely the Ultra 9 midibus with a 4.5-liter engine and the 40-foot Ultra LF with the 6.7-literv ISB engine. It was interesting talking to Iranian members of the team. The country The Ultra LF12 low-floor city bus by Akia is built in a new factory in Turkey. is suffering in many ways because of sanctions, but still has abundant mineral wealth and can trade with countries that do not support the sanctions. Following the recent agreements in Geneva, they are starting to ease and might help the automotive industry to get back on its feet. Oghab

Another Iranian company, Oghab, builds a range of city, interurban and luxury coach bodywork to high standards. They showed a 40-foot coach that had only 25 seats with a 2+1 layout. There is an extensive network of express coach services in Iran and some customers are prepared to pay premium fares for higher

standards of comfort. Domestic airlines run some of the oldest aircraft still in operation, and their safety record is not good. Customers prefer coaches. SamAuto The Samarkand A SamAuto HD41 midibus built in Samarkand Automobile Factory based in Uzbekistan. The plant makes around 1,000 per annum. in the famous city of Samarkand in Uzbekistan, one of a clutch of countries wedged between Russia and China, had two exhibits. One was a 22-foot 8-inch midibus with a front mounted Isuzu engine, also Isuzu axles and gearbox. The company builds around 1,000 of them each year. The first SamAuto LE60 low entry midibus The second vehicle was with Cummins engine and Allison gearbox. SamAuto’s first low entry midibus. The LE60 with a four-cylinder Cummins engine and an Allison 2100 fully automatic gearbox at the rear will go into volume production in the next few weeks. Turkish Commercial Vehicles Turkish Commercial Vehicles (TCV) first appeared at Busworld Turkey two years ago with two pre-production single-deck city buses. It has now gone into full production in a very interesting arrangement. Closely associated with the Bozankaya Group, a Turkish



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THE INTERNATIONAL REPORT company that supplies major structures to MAN, TCV builds its low-floor city buses in MAN’s factory, using MAN diesel or gas engines. It seems a strange arrangement at first sight, but it helps to The main side panel of the 70,000th MercedesBenz built in Turkey. It is covered with coach share the overheads travel tickets. of the factory. Furthermore, MAN considers the TCV vehicles to be in a lower cost segment than its own range of city buses. More new faces Bozankaya is also delivering 10 bi-articulated Trambus vehicles to the eastern Turkish city of Malatya. These normally run as trolleybuses, taking their power from overhead wires, but they have auxiliary engines and generators enabling them to run short distances offwire. Passenger capacity is a tight squeeze at 48 seated and 219 standing. The little low-floor Karsan Jest minibus is Another Turkish company, popular in old and narrow streets. probably not previously mentioned, is Güleryüz, based in a modern factory in Bursa with

capacity for around 400 units per annum. The company makes a fairly comprehensive range, usually with a choice of Cummins or MAN engines. It is the only manufacturer A 36-foot Guleryuz Cobra double-decker bus for of double-decker service in Istanbul. buses in Turkey, including an opentop version for city sightseeing. Karsan has a license to build a range of city buses developed by BredaMenarinibus (BMB) in Italy. BMB has lost money very heavily in the last two years and its parent Finmeccanica, a state-owned group, wants to sell it. There was talk that King Long of China, with Italian partners, wants to re-open a large bus factory in the south of Italy, but that must be a non-starter. Italian labor rates are among the highest in Europe and the trade unions are usually quite militant. Cummins had a booth with a representative range of diesel and gas engines. They sold 3,000 engines to the Turkish bus industry last year for domestic and export sales. Turkish manufacturers are fully supported by a large number of component suppliers. They are building to high quality standards and many of them have substantial export sales. Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom.


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BUSRide June 2014  
BUSRide June 2014  

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