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MARCH | 2014

Ameritrans: The plan comes together

p18 $5.00

Veolia on risk management p14 SPECIAL SECTION Fare Collection: Part One p22

CH Bus Sales debuts TS 45 p30


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Cover Story Ameritrans: The plan comes together


The company is on track with new production facility and product improvements By David Hubbard

Features Work safe; minimize the damage


A crafted mix of philosophy, policy and programs guides Veolia Transportation in safety and risk management By David Hubbard

Business confidence builds ahead of Euro Bus Expo 2014


Over 260 exhibiting companies are forecast in 2014

More coaches hit the open road


New study from DePaul University notes strides in intercity bus systems

Temsa stretches out in North America




CH Bus Sales unveils the 45-foot TS 45 to complete the set By David Hubbard

IMG hands out awards in Nashville


SPECIAL SECTION Fare Collection: Part One Ticket to ride



Transit agencies deploy flexible, multifunctional SPX Genfare Vendstar TVMs to move millions of passengers quickly and grow systems efficiently

Fare Update


BUSRide gathers the latest fare collection and revenue management news from around the U.S.



By Doug Jack


DEPARTMENTS 8 UPDATE 11 Deliveries 12 People in the News 16 Transit Authority 29 Tour Business 34 Marketplace



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Norm passes; his legacy begins The phone call from Norm Littler in early November is one I will always remember and appreciate. He was checking in with friends to say he was gravely ill and running out of time. He called to give me a heads up for the inevitable announcement I would receive sooner rather than later. Norm was absolutely square with his fate. Facing his situation on his terms, with his ducks all in a row, he spoke gratefully for a life he felt he had lived to the fullest. He couldn’t have sounded more positive. “I have had a great life, man,” he said. “It’s been one great run. I have done more in this lifetime than most people could do in three.” We all knew Norm for his passionate and tireless advocacy Charles “Norm” Littler to making this industry as safe as (1952 – 2013) possible — which the American Bus Association voiced so well when Norm passed away in December. On this day he also reflected on lessons learned from supersonic flights in F104s, landing C130s on flight decks and still breathing after riding Harley Davidsons for over 40 years. However, the upshot of our visit was his wish for me to help get word out on what he saw as his final legacy. For the past three-and-a-half years, Norm worked with his very close friend Kimberly Williams to create the Astor Foundation to establish a sequestered safe house in northern Virginia for abused women and children. His final desire is for Kimberly and the Foundation to use his home for just that purpose. He described the shelter facility as having everything anyone would want in a comfortable home environment with plenty of amenities. “If people out there think I have done anything for our industry, my wish for anyone wanting to make a contribution is to please donate to our foundation,” Norm said. “All I want is for this facility to be sustained to help women and kids in need; to give them a secure place to run to for safety.” ABA is helping with Norm’s last wishes and will invite contributions once they are in order. “This is Kimberly’s vision and I would like my legacy to be helping to make it happen,” Norm told me. “This is going to work, but it will need some help.”

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

A publication of:

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. 3 Subscription Rates: United States: $39 for 1 year, $64 for 2 years, $89 for 3 years. United States via periodicals mail: $42 for 1 year, $69 for 2 years, $98 for 3 years. Canada. Canadian tax (GST) is included. Rest of the world, via air mail: $75 for 1 year, $125 for 2 years, $175 for 3 years. Single copies: $5 for the United States, $6 for Canada and the rest of the world. All prices are in United States Dollars (U.S.D.). Reprints:

David Hubbard Executive Editor BUSRide Magazine 6


All articles in BUSRide are copyrighted and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. For reprints of 100 or more, contact Sali T. Williams at (602) 265-7600, ext. 209.

COVERAGE THAT REVOLVES AROUND YOU PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Protective Insurance Company, rated A+ (Superior) by A.M. Best, has been providing specialized insurance policies to the transportation industry since 1950. Our hands-on approach to insurance allows us to understand the needs of our customers and form long-standing partnerships. We have a strong safety culture, a tenured claims department and superior customer service standards. Here are just a few of the benefits Protective offers: • Outstanding cash flow payment options • Superior claims service • Ability to package all lines of coverage, including auto liability, general liability, physical damage and workers’ compensation • Dedicated loss prevention team that specializes in the transportation industry


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UPDATE transportation experiences -- such as a family vacation, school bus ride or a commute by car, mass transit or train. Submissions may not exceed 600 words; however they can include artwork and photographs. All submissions are subject to AASHTO review and approval. If you have questions, ideas, stories or photographs to share, contact Lloyd Brown at Learn more about AASHTO’s Centennial at: AASHTO’s centennial celebration will run through the association’s 2014 Annual Meeting November 21-24 in Charlotte, NC.

FMCSA: SMS is an improvement. GAO says it needs work. A new study conducted by the Volpe Center finds that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) is more effective at identifying commercial bus and truck companies of all sizes for targeted enforcement than the system it replaced. Researchers analyzed the association between historical carrier data and future crash involvement by taking two years of pre-SMS safety data for a subset of carriers, running it through the system’s algorithm, and then following those companies’ crash records for eighteen months. The Volpe Center says results show that the companies the SMS would have identified for interventions, such as roadside inspections, warning letters and on-site investigations, had a future crash rate of more than double the national average. SMS is a component of the agency’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, which was launched in 2010 to identify and prioritize motor carriers that pose the highest threat to public safety for enforcement interventions. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a contrasting report criticizing the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA’s program. The American Bus Association (ABA) endorsed their findings. The GAO report, while acknowledging that CSA has provided a “range of safety benefits to safety officials…than the previous SafeStat system…,” also criticized CSA use of the SMS as not being reliably effective in assessing safety risk for the majority of carriers. This is because, according to the report, the regulations used to calculate SMS scores are not violated enough to strongly associate them with crash risk for individual carriers. Also, in GAO’s view, most carriers lack sufficient safety performance data to ensure that FMCSA can reliably compare them with other carriers.

AASHTO Centennial Blog to post nation’s stories about travel in America The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is celebrating its 100th birthday by encouraging the traveling public to share its experiences and memorabilia about the many positive ways transportation has touched their lives. Compositions will be selected for posting on the AASHTO Centennial Blog. Writers are encouraged to share their 8


WTS: HDR increases its commitment to women in transportation HDR Engineering, Inc., a global architecture, engineering, consulting, and construction firm, has committed to an increase in its partnership engagement with WTS International, the association for the global advancement of women in transportation. HDR has announced it will increase its partnership with WTS to the Trailblazer level, making a substantial commitment in support of the association’s programs and operations. WTS has been an active voice in the transportation industry since 1977, when its founders realized that professional development and recognition were needed to create industry and government advancement of women in the transportation field. In the 37 years since that time, the association has grown to an international network of nearly 6,000 transportation professionals, including both women and men. Much of the networking, professional development, and industry collaboration that happens at the association within its local chapters and on an international scale depend greatly on support from both the private and public sector. “HDR has helped WTS generate high-caliber professional development and networking opportunities for WTS members across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, year after year,” said Marcia Ferranto, president and CEO at WTS. “We take pride in our partnership with HDR and our other partners as we continue to grow in these countries with strategic plans for further global expansion. The workforce development initiatives supported by our partnerships to attract, retain, and advance women in transportation have a global impact on the world’s infrastructure.”


The top two winners will have their artwork featured on an RTC transit vehicle for up to a year. The Regional Transportation Commission will be responsible for judging the artwork. Entry forms must be securely affixed to the back of the artwork and submitted to the RTC before 5 p.m. Monday, March 10. Submissions should be delivered to the RTC, Attention: Aileen Pastor, 600 S. Grand Central Parkway, Suite 350, Las Vegas, NV, 89106. Artwork may be rolled up but cannot be folded.

Motorcoach industry mourns the passing of Steve Van Galder of Wisconsin’s Van Galder Bus Company

Meridian Specialty Vehicles, Inc. introduces mid-size luxury motorcoach Meridian Specialty Vehicles, Inc., Las Vegas, NV, a Mercedes Benz-approved bus manufacturer, unveiled its new Sprinterbased “Tourismo” mid-sized luxury motorcoach bus product line simultaneously at both the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) EXPO in Los Angeles, CA, and the International Limousine, Charter and Tour (LCT) Show in Las Vegas, NV. The high-end Tourismo is Meridian’s newest in a growing number of product offerings on the popular and eco-friendly Mercedes-Benz Sprinter platform, designed specifically for tour, charter and limousine operators. The Tourismo’s standard six-foot interior ceiling height, 24foot overall length, multiple high-end European-style reclining seating configurations including bench, booth or forward-facing arrangements, individual overhead air controls and reading lights, PA system, LED mood and cabin lighting, wood grain commercial flooring, video system, over-sized ducted air conditioning and heating, integrated backup camera, skylights and more, truly redefines luxury travel in a mid-sized platform. Available options normally reserved exclusively for the Tourismo’s behemoth brothers and sisters include mobile WiFi, fire suppression system, infotainment solutions, 110 Volt/ USB passenger power outlets, privacy curtains, tire pressure monitoring, even fully-equipped lavatories. In all, over 100 options are available to customize every bus for each operator’s individual tastes and requirements for comfort and safety.

RTC seeks students to participate in Earth Day 2014 Art Contest The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC), Las Vegas, NV, is inviting Clark County students to celebrate Earth Day by taking part in the RTC 2014 Earth Day Art Contest. Students in sixth through 12th grade are invited to participate in the contest that will promote the RTC’s sustainable initiative “quicker, cleaner, greener” with images of transit, bicycling, walking, and carpooling.

Steve Van Galder, the president and CEO of the Van Galder Bus Company, died unexpectedly Thursday, January 23, in his hometown of Janesville, WI. He was 66. Van Galder grew up in the motorcoach industry. His company was founded in 1947 in southcentral Wisconsin by his father, Sam Van Galder. The Van Galder Bus Company operates a fleet of school buses and motorcoaches, and its travel department provides the community with single and multi-day excursions. The company’s scheduled service runs between several downtown and airport locations in Chicago and into Wisconsin. Van Galder, a member of the Coach USA family, is independently managed and operated.

FMCSA finalizes rule to shut down carriers based on patterns of safety violations Next week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will publish a Patterns of Safety Violations Rule which implements the agency’s authority to shut down a bus or truck company if the company, or a company officer, has a history of purposely violating federal safety regulations. The rule is one of the new enforcement tools that the agency has developed in recent years to target high-risk carriers that endanger travelers by avoiding or covering up their negative history of safety compliance. FMCSA intends to apply the rule in egregious cases in which it finds that a motor carrier has committed a pattern of

Erik Narvesen, a member of Stertil-Koni’s Operations Team in Stevensville, MD, set three U.S. national records in heavy-duty power lifting. Competing at the United Powerlifting Association (UPA) Championships held in Detroit earlier in January, Narvesen set national records in the Squat, the Deadlift and Total (Squat + Deadlift + Bench). Larson Electronics has announced the release of an Explosion Proof LED Aluminum Drop Light. The EPL-FL1524-LED-120X12-C1D2-100 is equipped with a 15 watt LED bulb that runs off of 120 volts with an inline step down transformer to 12 volts. | BUSRIDE


UPDATE unsafe practices, even if that particular investigation alone does not result in a downgrade of the carrier’s safety fitness rating. The new rule complements a rule adopted by the agency in 2012 to apply out-of-service orders to reincarnated or chameleon carriers and to consolidate their enforcement histories. Today’s rule goes one step further by authorizing a complete revocation of the motor carrier’s authority to operate. For a copy of the Federal Register announcement, see: rule-programs/rule_making_details.aspx?ruleid=470.

ALI certifies 100 lift inspectors The Automotive Lift Institute (ALI), Cortland, NY, recently certified Nicholas Lewandowski of Allied, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI, as the 100th lift inspector to complete the ALI Lift Inspector Certification Program. ALI says it is now easier than ever for lift owners to find qualified individuals to perform mandated annual lift inspections. More than 650 candidates representing 417 companies across

the United States and Canada are enrolled in the program and working toward certification. Enrollment grew significantly in the final week of 2013, when 45 new companies signed up. “2013 was the first full year of the Lift Inspector Certification Program and we made great progress,” says ALI President R.W. “Bob” O’Gorman. “We set out to build a resource for lift users, and there is now a stable of 100 Certified Lift Inspectors ready to provide service whenever and wherever inspections are needed. I’m happy to welcome Nicholas to the Certified Inspector family and look forward to hitting many more milestones as the current candidates work their way through the program.” Annual lift inspections help protect service technicians by ensuring that the lifts they work under are installed correctly, functioning properly and adequately maintained. The inspections are required to be conducted on an annual basis by ANSI/ALI ALOIM:2008, the national standard covering vehicle lift operation, inspection and maintenance.

Nicholas Lewandowski, Allied, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI, became the 100th person to complete the Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) Lift Inspector Certification Program.

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Roberts Hawaii Honolulu, HI

American Heritage Trails Fort Wayne, IN

Roberts Hawaii took delivery of 25 MCI J4500 coaches, with five going to its subsidiary, Chicago Coach Classic. The purchase represents a return to the J4500 model for the company, an MCI customer for 30 years. Standard safety features on the 2014 J4500s include three-point passenger seatbelts, electronic stability control and tire pressure and fire-suppression systems. Roberts Hawaii began serving the tourism industry on Kauai in 1941 and now operates a mixed fleet of more than 900 vehicles. The company operates airport shuttle services, sightseeing tours and excursions, and is now Hawaii’s seventh largest employee-owned company through its ESOP program.

American Heritage Trails marked 10 years in business by adding one more coach, a 2014 MCI J4500, to its allMCI fleet complete with refreshed company branding and coach wrap. Longtime friends Bill McKinley and Matt founded their company in 2004 with assistance from MCI in the difficult economy hampering their start-up following 9/11. Today, American Heritage Trails offers charter tour as one of three divisions of Great American Transport, which also includes a trucking contract with FedEx Ground. Companywide employment totals more than 100.


CH Bus Sales / TEMSA added



Reading Bus Lines Reading, MN

LOOP Transportation San Jose, CA

Reading Bus Lines recently took delivery of a new 2013 Van Hool T2145 to its all-Van Hool fleet. The coach features a Cummins ISX 11.9 EPA 2010 engine coupled to an Allison B500 six-speed Automatic (Gen4) transmission. The 57-passenger coach features Van Hool’s contoured parcel racks with six 22-inch video monitors, a rear passenger window, 110-volt outlets at each seat, Wi-Fi, and Alcoa Dura Bright aluminum wheels.

LOOP Transportation, a 38-year old family owned company operating no less than 250 vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area, recently took delivery on six Temsa TS 30 coaches to specifically serve one of its top clients, Facebook. Matt Curwood, vice president, Operations, says the 30-foot Temsa model with a Cummins-Allison driveline and independent front suspension is a perfect fit for the Facebook contract, due to the tighter turning radius and stylish interior that accommodates smaller groups. TS 30s feature 110 V outlets on each seat, Alcoa aluminum wheels, REI A/V monitors, leather seats with cup holders and foot rests. | BUSRIDE



Motor Coach Industries (MCI), Des Plaines, IL, promoted four sales leaders to vice president positions and added new marketing roles. Mitch Guralnick, a 15-year MCI veteran, moves to vice-president, Pre-Owned Coach Sales, leading the sales and marketing functions while, reporting to Patrick Scully. Louis Quaglia is now vice president, Regional Public Sector Sales, responsible for large public sector accounts in the Eastern U.S., including NJ Transit and New York City MTA. He continues to report to Tom Wagner.

Louis Quaglia

Darril King moves to vice president, Setra Sales Specialist. Formerly with Setra, King moved to MCI in 2012 when the company gained Setra North American distribution rights in 2012. Darril King He is now the Setra brand ambassador, working closely with MCI sales representatives. Brent Danielson, based at MCI’s Winnipeg plant, moves into director of Sales Engineering and Product Planning, where he will work with sales, engineering and production to improve information flow and customer satisfaction. He reports to Brent Brent Danielson Maitland, vice president of Marketing and Product Planning. 12


Tom Wagner is now vice president, Public Sector Sales, and will continue to oversee MCI’s public sector accounts and assist MCI regional sales staff, now responsible for sales to both private and public sector accounts. He continues to report to Scully.

Brad Noeske has been promoted to manager of Product Planning and Analysis from sales analyst, a position he has held since joining MCI seven Brad Noeske years ago. In this new role, he will track market and customer information, working with product development and engineering to bring features and products to the market. He also reports to Maitland.

Henry Wallmeyer is the new executive director of the Association for Commuter Transportation (ACT), Alexandria, VA. ACT is a 30-year old Henry Wallmeyer association of commuting and transportation demand management professionals working at universities, municipalities, and public and private entities. Wallmeyer previously served as deputy director of the International Parking Institute (IPI).

Veolia Transportation appointed Mike Murray has been appointed senior vice president, responsible for the Transit Division’s Northeast Region.

In his new position Murray will be responsible for all transit contracts in the northeast including Veolia’s largest contracts for Nassau County, Boston Public Schools, and WMATA. He will also oversee the company’s Toronto-based contracts and future contracts in Englishspeaking Canada. Prior to joining Veolia, Murray served as president and CEO of FirstGroup America, which includes First Student, First Transit, First Vehicle Services, First Services, First Mobile Technologies and Greyhound Lines.

Veolia announced that Patricia A. Day has joined the company as senior director for Labor Relations. Day is an accomplished labor relations professional with 25 years of experience advising and assisting clients on day-to-day labor issues, including positions as chief labor relations officer for two of the nation’s largest transit authorities. Prior to joining Veolia, Day spent the past five years as vice president for Human Resources at the University of Scranton, where she assumed overall responsibility for all aspects of human resources and employment. Veolia Transportation also named Lance Atencio as general manager of Veolia’s Butte County Association of Governments (BCAG) transportation contract based in Chico, CA. As general manager of the BCAG contract, Atencio will oversee fixed route and paratransit service with 110 employees and 70 vehicles.

Schumacher Electric recently elevated President John Waldron to the new position of vice chairman of the board and promoted Cory Watkins as Waldron’s replacement as president. Schumacher Electric, which employs about 2,000 people worldwide and is the world’s foremost manufacturer of battery chargers, is coming off its sixth consecutive record year for sales. Accordingly, Schumacher felt the timing was right for enhancing the management team. The move gives Watkins an opportunity that he has earned after leading Schumacher’s sales force for several years and as executive vice president helping Waldron lead the company. Watkins has been with SEC since 2004 when he began as the company’s first inhouse legal counsel.

Mike Murray

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Specifications are subject to change without notice. Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is registered to ISO 9001:2000 and ISO 14001:2004. Copyright © 2014 Daimler Trucks North America LLC. All rights reserved.Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.

Work safe; minimize the damage A crafted mix of philosophy, policy and programs guide Veolia Transportation in safety and risk management By David Hubbard Risk management is the core component of the typical transit services contract, a subject near and dear to companies such as Veolia Transportation involved in safeguarding the employees and assets of their client agencies and managing risk. According to Ken Westbrook, president and chief operating officer, Transit Division, this is an area where all operators want to be successful. “It is the contractor’s responsibility to reduce accidents that lead to workman’s compensation and accident claims, and to provide the necessary insurance and risk management,” he says. “This is all part of the overall cost of the service.” Like most contractors, Veolia is self-insured up to a point. Beyond that, Westbrook says most clients buy insurance to protect against catastrophic loss. “The client’s RFP will usually spell out how much that insurance should be, as well as the limits on that policy,” he says. “Workman’s comp is usually set by the state but the amount in the RFP generally dictates the major responsibilities. It can run anywhere from $10 million to $25 million depending on the contract. I have seen as low as $1 million, but we certainly don’t recommend anything so low.” Veolia says it takes safety and risk management very seriously; to the point the safety and risk management departments are working hand in hand. “Ideally, our goal is to have no claims whatsoever and put the risk management department out of business,” Westbrook says. “But everyone knows that is not reality. We understand we are going to have accidents of one degree or another. Our first priority is to do all we can do to prevent their occurrence. If everyone does their job safely and correctly in a consistent manner, we can greatly reduce the number of accidents that are going to happen, and minimize the damage when they do occur.” From there, Westbrook says the second priority is to ensure everyone is responsive to the causes of particular types of accidents so something similar does not occur. 14


Every Veolia employee is trained to assess each move and each action for its safety value as standard behavior on the job.

For example, a workman’s comp accident in which an employee is injured requires a thorough investigation from both the risk management and safety teams to determine how that accident occurred. Such investigations might consider such questions as to whether the employee was wearing all the personal protective wear and safety equipment required for the specific job function. Veolia supplies its employees with all safety apparel and gear as part of its safety plan, and expects compliance in these areas. “Risk management requires a comprehensive understanding of an accident or event,” Westbrook says. “It is never enough to simply accept what has happened and brush it off as ‘just an accident’ without taking pre-established follow-up action. If so, it’s a safe bet it will happen again sooner than later.” The process involves first educating the employees on all the safety policies and procedures; and then training them continually to work as safe employees. Westbrook says the lessons and training must become engrained in every Veolia employee.

Ken Westbrook, president and chief operating officer, Transit Division, says risk management is near and dear to Veolia Transportation — and an area in which all operators want to be successful.

“This must be to the point that with everything they do,” he says. “Every move, every action, each person thinks first, ‘Is this the best way of going about this? Is this safe for me to do? If this becomes their standard behavior on the job, our safety program is a success.” After that, according to Westbrook, comes risk management, the job of minimizing losses and settling claims as quickly as possible. “Risk management is also the most difficult,” he says. “We have to get the best settlement for the company and for the injured parties, and unfortunately it requires us to be very aggressive with claims management.” As is often the case, any small accident that does not involve injury can nonetheless result in people claiming injury. “If we are vigilant in our risk management, it can mean just opening up the check book,” Westbrook says. “No company can afford to operate that way.” SmartDrive on board In this area, Veolia relies on its technology partner SmartDrive, whose onboard cameras and sensors capture triggered events for review as the result of g-force or security actions. If this happens, safety managers convene with the drivers and employees involved to analyze the incident. Together they determine what happened to trigger the camera and what the employee can do differently in this situation.

“This has been our most effective use of this tool,” Westbrook says. “We don’t use SmartDrive as a ‘gotcha!’ It is about our employees viewing their actions, and arriving at their own solutions for the next time. Our process ultimately makes them better at their jobs.” He says drivers take pride in seeing the green SmartDrive light at the end of the day, knowing they have completed their shift having done nothing to trigger the camera. Veolia Drive Program Veolia has developed its Drive Program as an employee-run initiative that does not involve management — other than to offer guidance and assistance when requested. The employees choose who among them sits on this committee of peers. The Drive committee decides the steps to become better and safer employees. “Veolia management does not sit in on the Drive meetings, nor do we dictate or even suggest topics for discussion,” Westbrook says. “We may assist with special projects the committee takes up.” If the work of the committee clearly leads to improvements in safety, lowers the accident rate, or reduces claims, Veolia awards Drive Dollars that the committee can spend to improve the workplace or celebrate a job well done. Westbrook says Drive Rewards have been used for a new television or pool table in the drivers and employees lounge, funded an employee picnic or group tickets to sports events and concerts. “Drive allows the committee of peers to apply a little pressure to their fellow employees by calling out safety infractions themselves that lead to accidents and claims,” Westbrook says. “The employees then police themselves. The point of this program is employees telling other employees to be safe out there. Safety and risk management is not just a matter of catastrophic events with horrible, costly or tragic outcomes. The same principles and procedures apply to minor, non-injurious accidents that also cost a company time and money in lost time, down time and inefficiencies.” Veolia requires a report on every accident. “What we do not measure, evaluate and report even the slightest damage, we can’t include in the overall safety evaluation,” Westbrook says. “The most inconsequential event can have a horrendous outcome depending on the circumstances. An accident may seem small only because we just got lucky.” He warns that the next small accident may present a worse scenario. Instead of banging a mirror on light pole, a pedestrian may be stepping off a curb; another vehicle may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. “It’s all about educating our employees to be aware at every moment,” he says. “Everything we can do to prevent even the slightest accident trains us to work smarter in preventing that one catastrophic event we really do not want.” Veolia brings its own proprietary risk management and safety plan to each contract. Safety involves educating the employees on all the Westbrook says policies and procedures, and then training them continually to “think safe.” it begins with the company’s proprietary Operator Development Program. This special orientation and training extends to every client, and includes routine audits and Veolia’s own internal OSHA safety inspections, as well as training in claims management. | BUSRIDE



How Capital Metro got everyone talking about

By Francine Pares Capital Metro, Austin, TX Communications Manager

The MetroRapid “Bendy” buses — as they are called in Austin — are the Nova LFS 60-foot articulated model; an all new sight around town.


of the densest and highest ridership corridors apital Metro recently launched in the system. MetroRapid, its Bus Rapid Transit • Outreach at over 50 public and community (BRT) line that has been 10 years in the meetings, including early morning “coffee making. The new high-tech, high-capacity, socials” set up near high-traffic areas like limited-stop bus service began rolling on the University of Texas, Chinatown and the the streets of Austin in January. This is a downtown Capitol complex. very important step forward for the City of • Outreach to over 30 civic organizations. Austin, which is growing by 100 people and • Participation in well-attended and popular 70 cars per day and is now ranked the 11th events such as holiday parades, farmers largest in the U.S. markets, the annual food drive at Whole Foods’ Although BRT and articulated buses flagship store, and other events celebrating have been around for a while, the “bendy” Austin’s unique character. bus, as it’s known in Austin, is an all Capital Metro President and CEO Linda S. Watson • Briefings and one-on-one meetings with elected new sight around town. The MetroRapid and driver Guy Lowe are on board with “Bendy.” and city officials to keep them in the loop. vehicles are the Nova LFS 60-foot • Targeted presentations to large and small businesses in the articulated model. Given the daunting nature of launching a new downtown district where transit priority lanes were being service in an area accustomed to the status quo, Capital Metro set out constructed. a strategic campaign several months ahead of the launch to get the • Targeted outreach to key neighborhood groups and associations word out. The key was educating the public about BRT and what it could do for them; how it differs from the bus service they are used to. located near the new stations. • Outreach by street teams at major stops along nearby routes to To prepare for this challenge, the agency assembled its answer questions and hand out information. communications, marketing, community involvement and planning teams in a joint session to come up with a wide-ranging list of tactics Long-range communications to help riders navigate the nuances of this entirely new service. The Communications team put together a long-range communications MetroRapid would have new routes, stations, vehicles, technology, plan that would take them past the launch date to maximize PR and transit priority lanes and ways to pay — so there was clearly a lot of other promotional opportunities. work to do. • Several “sneak peek” events and tours aboard MetroRapid with Here are some of the steps the agency took to make sure the launch reporters, elected officials and business and community leaders to of MetroRapid would be a success: acquaint them with the vehicles, stations and benefits. Community outreach • Extensive media pitching to TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines and online publications using a variety of different news The Community Involvement team first identified major areas of angles to obtain consistent coverage. possible engagement along the 801, the first of two MetroRapid routes • One-on-one briefings with influential reporters and senior that traverses 21-miles north and south through downtown along one



THE TRANSIT Authority management to encourage fair and accurate coverage. • Implementation of a comprehensive and interactive social media campaign using informative and fun posts, videos and photos on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the agency’s blog. • Regular communications to stakeholders and employees from the president/CEO regarding important project milestones. • A grand opening celebration with over 250 dignitaries, partner agencies, contractors, employees and media in attendance. Unique marketing A large array of unique marketing pieces have informed, educated and delighted the public. This advertising campaign included whimsical and edgy ads for TV, radio, print, digital and social media; as well as novel outlets such as pedicabs. • Creation of an upbeat teaser video several months prior to launch to build excitement. • Creation of several fun and lively “How to Ride” videos and a “hero” video, promoted extensively using the agency’s social media sites and partner websites. • Creation of branded brochures, station signage, maps, passes, passenger notes, interior placards, exterior vehicle ads, presentation boards, displays and event programs. • A 3-D billboard strategically placed near a major freeway showing a MetroRapid vehicle bursting through the canvas. • Creation of a project-specific micro-site within the agency’s website, available in both English and Spanish. • Creation of branded giveaways, including red and silver coffee mugs and pens, a specially designed poster, flash drives, branded t-shirts, and water bottles with an “articulated” bendy middle. • A mural by a well-known local artist on the exterior of a prominent and highly visible downtown building near the capitol. • Creation of a mobile app campaign, including a “buy one get one free” pass promotion.

To maximize the rider experience after launch, Capital Metro had more than 200 staff and volunteer “ambassadors” at stations and onboard vehicles to answer questions and assist with some of the new amenities, including three-door boarding and a new “tap” farebox system. Ambassadors put in more than 1,000 total hours during this effort, which proved to be a key element of the rollout’s success. Initial reports show that people are enjoying the faster and more frequent service, the cool new vehicles, free Wi-Fi, high-tech stations with real-time information, and the new mobile app that lets riders buy and use tickets on their smart devices. The agency is pleased with the multi-disciplinary approach it took to keep the public in-theknow, concluding that it was well worth the effort. Ultimately, it is the riders who matter most, and Capital Metro will continue to look for innovative ways to engage its growing base of customers while delivering the very best service possible.

Capital Metro’s new high-tech, high-capacity, limited-stop bus service began rolling on the streets of Austin in January. | BUSRIDE


The design changes actually provide 10 inches more lateral head and shoulder room for passengers, as well as bigger windows.

Ameritrans: The plan

comes together The company is on track with new production facility and product improvements By David Hubbard



Ameritrans says it is the only small bus OEM to extend the steel cage structure below the floor line. Ameritrans’ extends below the floor line and behind the skirt.


he plan is progressing since ABC Companies, Faribault, MN, acquired the TMC Group, Elkhart, IN, and the Ameritrans brand in 2012. This step was made to both diversify ABC Companies’ product range to include a midsize cutaway and add a manufacturing component to the business. According to Barry Hines, general manager, Ameritrans Bus, Inc., with the expansion of the manufacturing facility, the company is now set to go. The project includes the recent annex of an additional 60,000 square-foot building about a block away from the existing facility. “Between the paint shop we own, the existing building and the new space next door, we now occupy about 120,000 square feet of vehicle production space,” Hines says. “That’s up from the 55,000 square feet we started with.” The larger space, comprising four separate plants, accommodates the structural and skinning operation, paint shop and final fit and finish of the new line. “This is the line we showed at BusCon last year,” says Del Littrell, Ameritrans lead engineer. “We are out with new body styles and interior appointments. We are also getting a lot of comment on the tight construction and quiet ride.” Littrell says the significant style changes are akin to what has taken place in the automotive industry over the last several years. “We have improved upon the look of Ameritrans buses,” he says. “The updated design brings our models in line with current trends.” He points to the smallest model in the line, the E Series, which features a totally new look. The design changes actually provide 10 inches more lateral head and shoulder room for passengers, as well as bigger windows and an all-enclosed entry. The door is flush with the outside; nothing protrudes. “On the older buses, six inches of the first step at the entry extend outside and was always exposed to the weather,” Littrell says. “That has been eliminated with the entry steps fully enclosed.” According to Littrell, Ameritrans is also the only small bus OEM to extend the steel cage structure below the floor line. Ameritrans’ extends below the floor and behind the skirt.

Hines says the bigger buses ranging from 33 to 42 feet, particularly the Ford F330, Ram R330 and Freightliner M2, are taking Ameritrans to new places in the market. “We are meeting more motorcoach operators wanting to maintain the interior look and comfort of a full-size coach in a smaller vehicle,” he says. “They don’t always fill their large coaches and it doesn’t make economic sense to transport small groups in large buses.” Ameritrans National Sales Manager Mike DeMarco says demand for the larger R330 and F330 has increased significantly. “We are able to bring the big feel to the larger midsize bus,” he says. “The HVAC and coach seating are the same, and we can fit the luggage storage overhead, in the rear compartment or underfloor. This coach feel comes at about two-thirds the cost of a full-size coach.” According to DeMarco, Ameritrans builds intentionally to the high-end luxury market. “We build comfortable quiet buses for the retail customer,” he says. “We strive to engineer more of a coach experience into the small bus structure. We recently delivered a nicely equipped Freightliner to Boeing Aircraft in Seattle, WA, and another to a major tech company for use as an employee shuttle.” The company says it has no intention of marketing to public agencies for transit services such as paratransit or on on-demand shuttle services that typically employ small and midsize buses. Littrell says a number of visitors to the Ameritrans display during BusCon in September went so far to say the company has “redefined the shuttle bus as we know it.” “Whether that is true or not, we attribute the changes to the input we have received from our dealers,” DeMarco says. “Their comments and observations are coming from what they hear from their customers.” Once thought of as a quietly run company with limited distribution, the Ameritrans dealer network is making itself known with sales representatives extending into all 50 states. “Today, we have dealerships that now stock Ameritrans vehicles to show and demo,” DeMarco says. “Before, they would refer to printed materials or promotional literature to secure an order. The | BUSRIDE


Sander Kaplan, founder and president of A. Candies Coachworks, Gainesville, FL.

Barry Hines, general manager, Ameritrans Bus, Inc., comes to the company with over 30 years in the bus industry.




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model choices they have are the most closely related to the needs of their customers.” Hines says because Ameritrans products are more expensive than other brands, it is easier for potential buyers to see and understand the difference in pricing. “Without the bus on hand to test drive and experience, a dealer has a more difficult time explaining why the higher price exists,” he says. “In the broadbrush look across the country, we are seeing an even mix between the smaller and larger models they are choosing to keep in stock.” He says it is fairly evenly balanced with the 28-foot to 39-foot models accounting for the core business. “In addition to the standard charter and shuttle applications, we are starting to see motorcoach charter tour operators sizing up the new Ameritrans models,” Hines says. “The larger F and R series are catching on.” Hines says the company is also receiving inquiries for specialty applications requiring 4X4 drive. “This would be for operators needing something just a little more rugged to handle the conditions,” he says. “It might be used in mining and construction companies, or winter resorts with snowy roads.” He says the company is already working on a few orders, which they will begin on this summer. Though not the largest, churches are turning out to be an important market niche for Ameritrans, due mostly to active dealerships such as Carpenter Bus, Franklin, TN, and Davey Coach, Sedlia, CO. The company estimates that the church market currently represents about 5 to 7 percent of its sales, but expects this niche to grow. “The bigger churches throughout the country are looking at premium buses for group transport,” Hines says. “We have some delivered, and some high-end units currently on the line that are going to churches.” An upshot to all of this, DeMarco says is that Ameritrans is enjoying quite a bit of repeat business. “If this is due to a cycle, this year we seem to be on the upward swing,” he says. “Manufacturers will typically see a large influx of orders as buses reach the end of their life cycles. “The average life cycle for most small buses is about five years,” he says. “The new models with all the improvements in design and engineering will most likely stretch to 10 years.”

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Colin Robertson unveils an Alexander Dennis Enviro 500 for KMB Hong Kong at Euro Bus Expo 2012.

Business confidence builds ahead of Euro Bus Expo 2014 Over 260 exhibiting companies are forecast in 2014 Against a backdrop of increasing business confidence, organizers of Euro Bus Expo, to be held November 4-6, Hall 5, NEC, Birmingham B40 1NT, are experiencing unprecedented demand for this year’s leading international trade fair for the bus and coach industry. A recent survey, conducted by Lloyds Bank researching business opinions and trends, underpins the evidence of increasing optimism. The survey ‘Business in Britain’ draws on the experiences and opinions of over 1,500 SME’s covering all sectors and regions. The results indicate that company optimism about the economic outlook and their own business prospects has become increasing buoyant. All the sectors saw notable rises in the net balance for sales over the last six months with transport & communications and hospitality/leisure leading the way over other sectors including construction and retail/wholesale. Overall business confidence increased across all the sectors for the third consecutive survey, signaling a firming upswing. “We haven’t experienced demand for exhibiting space to this level since 2006,” said Mark Griffin, show director. “Indeed, with only

limited availability remaining, this sends a very positive message that there is a return to confidence amongst suppliers. This is great news for jobs and great for the passenger transport industry.” “Many of the confirmed exhibitors are looking to increase trade not only in the UK, but also in a number of key international markets,” said CEO of CPT UK Simon Posner. “Euro Bus Expo is engaging with UKTI’s export trade team to set up a number of initiatives. These will support UK based companies capitalizing on overseas opportunities, and encourage high-level decision makers to attend the exhibition.” The respondents of the Lloyds Bank ‘Business in Britain’ survey envisage an increase in their exports, with optimism highest for the Asia-Pacific and Middle East/Africa regions. The organizers of Euro Bus Expo will be carrying out its own research to further investigate levels of export business within the bus and coach industry. The high demand for exhibition space is set against a backdrop of growth in the industry, with the last five months of 2013 seeing a positive trend in bus and coach sales, as reported by motor industry body SMMT at the turn of the year. | BUSRIDE






i a l s e c t Fare Collection - PART ONE




Ticket to ride Transit agencies deploy flexible, multifunctional SPX Genfare Vendstar TVMs to move millions of passengers quickly and grow systems efficiently


hether agencies are running established bus operations or developing new systems, technology advances and rider trends along with budget pressures and funding options can impact decisions at every turn. Helping agencies stay ahead of the curve has long been a forte of industry leader SPX Genfare (www., Elk Grove Village, IL, beginning with its fare collection systems and products including ticket vending machines (TVMs), which it began making in the late 1980s. Since then, SPX Genfare’s versatile and highly functional Vendstar® series has gained a notable following nationwide.

Along with its full range of easily customized fare payment and ticketing options, the Genfare Vendstar-3 TVM securely stores all media, tracks every transaction – payment in (cash or credit/ debit card), change given, plus ticket issued – and sends instant real-time updates to the system Operations Center.







i a l s e c t Fare Collection - PART ONE




procurements. While basic TVM benefits resonate with buyers, he notes that Vendstar “system” aspects often resonate even more. State-of-the-art security

DART’s Genfare TVMs help handle much higher short-term “spikes” in ridership for special events such as the three-week State Fair of Texas at Fair Park, or when the Texas Longhorns take on archrival Oklahoma Sooners.

“It’s all about enabling agencies to deliver the best transportation option for their customers, with the funds they have available,” says SPX Genfare President Kim Green. “Our system and equipment offerings as well as the customers we serve reflect our long-time focus on North American transit needs. When it comes to public transportation, we sometimes do things differently here than the rest of the world. An equipment provider’s global experience doesn’t necessarily translate into a plus for U.S. agencies. North American experience is the true differentiator.” Green notes that while some manufacturers concentrate on major metro subway operations, SPX Genfare works with systems of all sizes - a broad spectrum of Light Rail (LRT) and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) operations across the country - and bus companies looking to economically expand local ticket distribution. Genfare customers currently employ as few as two and as many as 180 Vendstar-3® TVMs, the latter number in the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system, which operates America’s longest light rail line in Texas. Customizable for current and future BRT and transit needs “We help agencies customize fare budget programs by building on a proven product,” Green says. “It can be configured with different hardware options along with advanced software to provide a full range of ticket payment and dispensing methods.” From simple credit card and debit transactions with ticket and smart card dispensing to a full-featured Vendstar-3 with multiple options, this self-service TVM is tailorable to agency-specific requirements. It can accept cash payments which include bills and coins, along with credit or debit cards and give back change when needed. However many ticketing options an agency chooses, this can be changed and updated as you go. “Agencies don’t want (nor can they afford) to continually purchase new equipment,” he says. “The flexibility designed into Vendstar TVMs lets them efficiently provide the exact kind of service passengers want for years to come.” For agencies wanting to extend customer-friendly ticket distribution, adding TVMs in downtown areas, central business districts or other strategic route locations offers an efficient solution. Some operators, Green says, roll in TVMs with farebox

All transactions and payments, whether cash or electronic, are stored in physically secure devices, and tracked by the transit property: How much was paid, when it was paid - all money that comes in or goes out in change - and all tickets that are issued. Concurrently, instant real-time updates on this Vendstar activity are being sent to the agency Operation Center. Details on every ticketing transaction, everywhere in the system, as they happen, are constantly being sent back to a central location. Only tickets that are issued have value; ticket stock in TVMs is not pre-encoded. If someone breaks in, they would steal worthless cards. That break-in would be instantly noted at the Op Center, too, via Vendstar-3 connectivity features. It informs operators if the TVM door is open, if cash is getting low, and much more.

Vendstar-e® ticketing TVMs going into service As more transit agencies move into electronic ticketing and smartcard systems, SPX Genfare is at the forefront with Vendstar-e®. This compact unit is slightly smaller than Vendstar-3. The primary difference, however, is that the newer machine neither accepts nor gives out cash. Green says a number of Vendstar-e units are slated for several transit systems this year. Although Vendstar-e units can be incorporated into systems with Vendstar-3s, the function on existing machines can be made unavailable if users want to eliminate cash purchases. Growing with cities and systems they serve As previously noted, Vendstar TVMs can be upgraded from single to multifunctional machines, and units easily added with new lines. Case in point: the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) system, which has partnered with Genfare since purchasing bus fareboxes in the mid-1980s. Since 2004, CENTSaBill fareboxes with Ticket Reader/ Issue Machines (TRiMs) on its 650-bus fleet provide two- hour and one-day tickets with distance and other variables to passengers along 131 routes. Vendstar-3 TVMs entered the picture in 2009, when 25 units became part of what is now America’s longest Light Rail Train system. DART’s Vendstar-3 TVMs now number 180, accepting cash and credit cards for two-hour, day-long, weekly and monthly magnetic stripe passes. “The ability to vend multiple ticket types through machines at our platforms is a key component of making riding transit easy,” says David Leininger, DART executive vice president and chief financial officer. “One of the most significant improvements has been the ability to use credit cards. This gives customers greater flexibility and control over transit pass purchases.” Average weekday DART fixed-route ridership was 232,299 during 2013, with TVMs helping handle much higher numbers during the State Fair of Texas, University of Texas football games and other special events. As LRT service expands, its share of total DART passenger volume is also expected to grow. “As transit systems of all sizes face new challenges, versatile Vendstar TVMs and other Genfare technologies will provide new ways for agencies to meet them,” Green says. | BUSRIDE







i a l s e c t Fare Collection - PART ONE

AC Transit buses fitted with new fare boxes Lighted displays and audio responses mean faster boardings As part of its ongoing campaign to give passengers A Better Ride, AC Transit has refitted all of its buses with a state-of-the art fare collection system that makes boardings quicker, less confusing and much easier to tally. AC Transit is the first bus company in the nation to outfit its entire fleet—569 buses—with the “talking” high-tech Fast Fare boxes that interact with passengers using full-color, lighted displays and automatic audio responses. The Fast Fare boxes replace the agency’s bulky, 14-year-old machines that are now obsolete, prone to malfunction and often require costly and difficult repairs. With smaller frames, the new fareboxes leave more room to maneuver, particularly for wheelchairs. They also have: • A low failure rate for improved reliability • Bill and coin validation for more accurate accounting • Faster processing of bills and coins for improved boarding speed • Dispenser for Day Passes, effective on July 1st • Improved, lighted passenger interface with full color display • Audio response that assists passengers in paying fares • Modular component replacement minimizing repair time and maximizing bus availability • Modern design including advanced features for mobile ticketing and smart cards, if needed for future fare payment options. 24





Although the machines will accept all valid U.S. coins and currency — except for 50-cent pieces — the new fare slots are slightly different, so riders are encouraged to take a good look before inserting their bills, coins and transfers. More information about the new farebox, including a video showing all of its functions, is available online at

Vix Technology wins MasterCard Transport Ticketing Technology of the Year Award Vix Technology was announced as the winner of the prestigious Transport Ticketing Technology of the Year Award. The award recognizes continuing advancements in the fare collection system Vix Technology originally designed and operates for Salt Lake City’s Utah Transit Authority (UTA). The new product is called UTA FAREPAY and is added to the list of existing payment types. Vix continues to leverage advanced contactless technology and the eO system enables riders to pay their fares not only with cards issued by the UTA, the FAREPAY prepaid card, but also with student and employee ID cards, bankissued credit cards, ISIS mobile wallet and Google Wallets. This new technology is widely available as part of Vix’s global open payment fare collection offering. The Vix system is account-based and the back-office software manages ridership processing – taps, trips, journeys, fare calculations, transfer rules, payment options and handles agency settlement and complex fare rules. For agencies, the value of an open-architecture, account-based solution provides flexibility and ensures a future-proof system that reduces costs and improves performance. “The Vix eO payment platform is business-critical for our





i a l s e c t Fare Collection - PART ONE

customers,” said Doug Thomas, general manager, Americas, at Vix Technology. “It provides the foundation for a great commuter experience and reduces operating cost for transit agencies. As a result, our systems must be able to effortlessly and rapidly process large volumes of passenger transactions regardless of the payment media.”




VIA will be adding SPX Genfare’s Odyssey Plus™ fareboxes and the e-Fare™ web based sales and management solution. Odyssey Plus accepts and processes magnetic fare and smart cards, in addition to accepting, issuing and validating electronic transfers. The web based e-Fare is a smart card solution that allows riders to buy and update fare media online using a computer, tablet or smart phone. Capital District Transportation Authority

SPX Genfare awarded contracts in San Antonio and Albany VIA Metropolitan Transit SPX Genfare has been awarded a contract by the transit system of the nation’s seventh largest city to upgrade its fare collection process. VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio, TX, will replace a 20-year-old system with Genfare’s newest electronic fare media collection and data management technology for a better and more convenient transit experience. VIA began operations in 1978 and now maintains a fleet of more than 500 buses for 90+ bus lines with over 7000 bus stops in San Antonio and Bexar County. The transit agency has grown significantly to accommodate the city’s 1.3 million residents. It offers several varied service categories including Frequent, Metro, Express, Skip, and Downtown circulator, the latter being kept busy with the city’s popular Riverwalk and other tourist attractions. VIA added Primo bus rapid transit to its mix in December 2012. They also provide paratransit service for riders with special needs.

SPX Genfare has also entered into an agreement to provide longtime customer, the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA), Albany, NY, with an upgrade to its fare collection system. CDTA’s new system will make services for its customers easier and more convenient with the addition of the new Fast Fare-e™ remote reader system. Fast Fare is the latest cutting edge technology breakthrough from Genfare. It addresses electronic fare media collection and data management in a fast and secure manner, processing flexible options including smart cards, printed and mobile barcodes codes with unprecedented speed. CDTA serves more than 800,000 people who live and work in the Capital Region with a transit system that combines innovative services, partnerships and community support. System-wide ridership will pass 16 million for the first time in decades with nearly 60,000 customers using the system each weekday. The history between the two companies dates back 20 years when CDTA first introduced a Genfare card program to its ridership in the 1990s. A major farebox upgrade occurred in 2003 with installation of Genfare’s Odyssey system that offered magnetic pass swiping and Ticket Receiving in Machines that coded cards when processing a fee. In 2005, CDTA used a Genfare upgrade to begin a Day Pass program that boosted ridership and increased sales over the prior year. | BUSRIDE


More coaches hit the open road New study from DePaul University notes strides in intercity bus systems

Megabus says approximately one million people per month now travel on its routes that span 33 of the 48 continental United States.

According to the newest in-depth study by the DePaul University of Chicago Chaddick Institute, Motoring Into the Mainstream; Intercity Bus Service in the United States in 2013, intercity bus systems made important strides in 2013. In regions where intercity bus service is convenient and readily available, daily operations grew collectively by 4 percent with 0.25 percent more operators offering service. Chaddick Institute Director Joseph P. Schwieterman presented the newest findings in January during the American Bus Association (ABA) Marketplace in Nashville, TN. The study offers the reasons, facts and figures for where and why more Americans are riding motorcoaches, while the leading carriers are enjoying sustained growth. The Chaddick Institute tracks all 106 known scheduled service coach carriers in the United States using its Intercity Bus Database that traces conventional carriers and discount city-to-city express-oriented corporate curbside carriers operating from downtown districts. 26


“We’re pleased once again to work closely with DePaul University of Chicago and Professor Schwieterman on this important report.” says ABA President and CEO Peter Pantuso. “Especially interesting are the figures concerning ticket prices. They show once again that when it comes to value, motorcoach passengers can save a lot of money when traveling.” The reports shows the average traveler saving more than $36 a ticket on riding city-to-city motorcoach carriers compared to the next-best, non-bus alternatives such as the airlines or Amtrak. Schwieterman says perhaps the most notable industry accomplishment of the industry in 2013 was its higher number of passenger boardings and increased revenues achieved without dramatically increasing the number of daily operations. He attributes more efficient utilization of equipment, lucrative fares and greater consumer awareness of the available coach service for the favorable financial performance.

Average Fare by Mode Weighted Average Citypairs Average Fare in by 54 Mode Weight Average 54 Citypairs 80-500 inmiles

New online focus The study suggests that public awareness and understanding of the intercity bus services is increasing as the result of more interactive tools becoming available, more aggressive marketing and advertising initiatives that bring more focus to the motorcoach industry. The study singles out, and includes New York-based startups Bustripping and NickelBus, as notable developments in 2013 that bring added visibility to intercity bus transportation. These websites allow consumers to compare prices between bus operators and directs them to book tickets on carrier websites. While these online companies grow and build their platforms Boston-based Wanderu leads this emerging technology. The study devotes considerable space to tracking the progress of the country’s three largest express carriers — Greyhound Express, Megabus and Boltbus. BoltBus continued its western expansion in the Pacific Northwest adding service to Albany and Eugene, OR, after a successful launch of routes in Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, and Vancouver, BC, the year before. BoltBus moved into California in November, establishing Los Angeles – San Francisco Bay area service with stops in San Jose and Oakland. Megabus expanded on its brand rather than adding new routes, celebrating its 25 millionth passenger in May and the 30 millionth by September. Megabus says approximately one million people per month now travel on its routes that span 33 of the 48 continental United States. Greyhound Lines continues to invest heavily in product enhancements. The company spent much of 2013 year revitalizing its public image through its Express product, adding schedules in a number of major urban corridors. Greyhound also dissolved its Crucero and Americanos divisions, which focused on the Latino market and absorbed these services into a core system. Express service introduced on the Los Angeles – San Diego – Tijuana route marked the end of the Crucero Direct launched in 2012. Greyhound also launched Greyhound Package Express (GPX) as a door-to-door option for scheduling package pick-ups and dropoffs using a new website. Following the DOT shutdown of two of the oldest and largest Chinatown bus companies in the Northeast, Fung Wah Transportation and Lucky Lucky Star Bus, Yo! Bus by Greyhound quickly launched a New York to Boston route in June. The service lasted for a brief period until Lucky Star reopened in November. However, Yo! Bus appears to be interested in expanding into longer haul markets.

80-500 miles



$140 $120 $100 $80



$60 $30.53

$40 $20 $0


Largest Intercity Bus Operators



Largest Intercity Bus Operators Scheduled Daily Trips Scheduled Daily Trips

1000 800 600 400 200

574 336






Regional carriers on the move As Greyhound continued to introduce its premium express services on an ambitious timetable and Megabus reported sharp revenue gains and record passenger volumes, many other regional carriers were also on the move during 2013. The study also charted the strategic initiatives of various carriers throughout 2013. C&J Bus Lines, NH, added a stop in Tewksbury, MA, on its existing Portsmouth to New York City service, using a 30-seat business class seating configuration. DC2NY began offering “The Beach Bus” service to Rehoboth and Dewey Beach in Delaware from new pick-up points in New York City and Wilmington, as well its usual run from Washington, D.C. Martz Trailways created Curbside Express Services as a variant on its existing service, operating on Wednesdays and Saturdays from select locations in the Scranton/WilkesBarre areas to New York City. Bieber Tourways, Kutztown, PA, discontinued its Harrisburg to New York City service, which Fullington Trailways assumed. However, Bieber’s longstanding scheduled service between the Lehigh Valley and York County and New York and Philadelphia remains unchanged.

Total Daily Discount City-to-City Bus Operations | BUSRIDE


Peter Pan was among the bus companies expanding service in 2013.

Peter Pan Bus Company announced an additional roundtrip between Boston, Providence and Hartford, CT, and Springfield, MA, as part of the BusPlus+ public and private partnership to coordinate transportation efforts throughout New England. BoltBus Long Island changed to 7Bus after BoltBus and the franchise operator, Hampton Transportation Ventures, amicably parted ways in July. Under its own brand, 7Bus, the name denotes the starting price of one-way tickets from various points in Suffolk County to Manhattan. RedCoach USA launched an economy class service to complement its luxury service in Florida, which features additional coach seats,

lower fares and additional travel options attractive to college students. The new service is available on select days from Tallahassee and the Florida State University Gainesville campus to Miami. Florida Express Bus, one of the state’s largest intercity bus operators announced weekend express service from Gainesville and Orlando, and to Miami on select days. LA Swift, a low-cost intercity ser vice that began connecting communities in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, suspended service in July, reportedly due to issues of government funding. ACR Express, a campus-oriented operator that provided daily roundtrips between Tuscaloosa and Starkville, AL, suspended service in October. Indian Trails initiated new service and streamlined routes with scheduled service from Bay City and Flint to Detroit, providing better connections for passengers looking to connect to other destinations. Greyhound Lines operated the service previously. Hoosier Ride, a division of Miller Transportation, launched Chicago, IL, and Louisville, KY, service which Greyhound recently dropped, making with numerous intermediate stops that cater to college students in Bloomington and Lafayette with connections to the Greyhound system. The FMCSA shutdown Rimrock Stages, which had operated services throughout Montana and North Dakota. Jefferson Lines picked up significant portions of its service, as did Salt Lake Express. Flathead Transit began service between Missoula and Whitefish using funding from Montana’s state government and Greyhound. Rimrock still awaits approval to resume full operation.

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NTA announces the Faith Travel Association

The global association debuted at the NTA Travel Exchange in conjunction with the UMA Motorcoach EXPO 2014

Faith Travel Association (FTA) made its debut at Travel Exchange, one of the travel industry’s leading events, held this year in Los Angeles, Feb. 16–20. An annual conference by the National Tour Association (NTA) and the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), Travel Exchange featured a faith travel pavilion on the show floor with exhibitors from Israel Ministry of Tourism, Meander Travel, Switzerland Tourism, Jordan Tourism Board, the Holy Land Incoming Tour Operator Association and others. In addition to the 1,100-plus tour operators and motorcoach operators attending Travel Exchange, tour operators, travel agents, group leaders, pastors and religious leaders offering faith-based travel product were invited to preview FTA on Wednesday, Feb. 19. On Thursday afternoon, the educational session “Increasing Faith-based Travel Profits” and the Faith-based Travel Leaders Forum were hosted by NTA. NTA Services Inc. created the Faith Travel Association in response to the explosive growth of the faith-based travel industry. The membership trade organization will serve as a business-building resource for travel professionals, sites and organizations focused on faith-based travel. FTA will also provide connections, education and support for group leaders, religious leaders and travel agents who are planning trips for individuals or groups brought together by their faith or religious community. “Faith-based travel is an expansive market with both domestic and international appeal,” said Karla DiNardo, NTA Services Inc. president and interim FTA executive director. “Faith-based travel includes diverse experiences such as pilgrimages, events, cruises, adventures, mission/volunteer trips and travel to destinations and attractions that hold special significance to people of various faiths. We’ve worked closely with NTA and the NTA Faith Travel Advisory Council to create an organization that will focus specifically on those

involved in faith-based travel around the world.” Each year more than 300 million people of faith embark on trips around the world, pumping $18 billion into the tourism economy. Some 50,000 churches and worship centers in the United States have travel programs for youth and adults, and FTA can facilitate connecting them with qualified travel professionals. The marketplace even includes colleges, nonprofit organizations, NGOs and leaders, authors and speakers with faith-based missions or messages. FTA will offer education and networking opportunities to its members including the FTA website (www.faithtravelassociation. com). In addition to hosting a pavilion at Travel Exchange, FTA will participate in several faith events in 2014, partnering with FTA members for greater industry presence. FTA will be led by an executive director and governed by the FTA board of directors: Chairman Ed Dresel, Destinations Unlimited Inc.; Vice Chairman Mitch Sussman, Sussman Consulting; Secretary Malia Asfour, Jordan Tourism Board North America; and directors Cathy Greteman, Star Destinations Inc.; and Paul Nakamoto, Gray Line of San Francisco. Additionally, several experts in the faith-based travel industry will serve on an advisory council. Included are Edita Krunic, Select International Tours; Linville Johnson, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism; Paul Larsen, Ed-Ventures Inc.; Mirko Capodanno, Switzerland Tourism; Cindi Brodhecker, Priscilla Woman’s Tours; and Tina Abellanosa, Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Resort. Kevin Wright, NTA travel markets expert will serve as a consultant. Theresa Krieg, formerly of The Carolina Opry in Myrtle Beach, S.C., will serve as an FTA ambassador. For more information about FTA, visit | BUSRIDE


CH Bus Sales unveils the 45-foot TS 45 to complete the set

By David Hubbard

Two years of planning, development and production went into the new model TS 45, built specifically for the North American coach market.



stretches out in north america The new coach features an ISRI driver’s seat and three-point seat belts.

CH Bus Sales Inc., Faribault, MN, introduced the anxiously awaited 45-foot Temsa TS 45 in January during ABA Marketplace in Nashville, TN. The presentation to North American operators continued with an encore appearance one month later in Los Angeles, CA, during UMA Motorcoach EXPO 2014. From the exhibit floor, executives The 57-passenger coach features from CH Bus Sales and Temsa Global Temsa’s trademark stainless steel spoke to their two years of planning, integral monocoque frame. development and production of the new model TS 45 built specifically for the North American coach market. “We have a great partnership with Temsa,” says Duane Geiger, executive VP, Sales /Service, CH Bus Sales. “The commitment to the U.S. market is evident in this new 45-foot coach.” Omer Sozutek, International Relations and Business, Temsa Global spoke to operator needs. “They are looking for durability, attractiveness, comfort, safety and economy,” he said , “We are confident the TS 45 will satisfy U.S. coach operators.” According to Tim Vaught, vice president, Sales, Service and Product Development, CH Bus Sales will make TS 45 demo coaches available in April with deliveries on early orders planned for July and August. “Temsa places tremendous focus on quality, durability and safety,” says Vaught. “Drivers and passengers will enjoy a phenomenal coach with this experience in this new TS 45.” The 57-passenger coach features Temsa’s trademark stainless steel integral monocoque frame, a Cummins-Allison powertrain with 425 HP ISX-EPA 2013 engine and B500 Generation 5 transmission. Standard features include LED headlights, a six-cylinder Bitzer HVAC compressor and automatic convector system for the passenger compartment, an ISRI driver’s seat, and three-point seat belts. In addition to ABS, ATC, ESC and RSC, key safety features that come standard include lane departure warning, tire pressure monitoring, engine fire suppression, rear-parking sensor, and brake pad-wear monitoring. CH Bus Sales says Vandalia Bus Lines, Caseyville, IL, is the first coach operator to order the TS 45, which will round out its Temsa offering that includes one 30-foot TS 30 and four 35-foot TS 35s. Van Hool and Temsa comprises the entirety of Vandalia’s fleet of 59 coaches. According to Vandalia President Dale Streif, this next Temsa acquisition carries on somewhat of a tradition within the company. He says his father, Leon Streif, bought the first Van Hool coach that came into the country from Clancey Cornell. “It just makes sense for us to be at the front of the line for the next new coach,” Streif says. “We knew everyone at CH Bus Sales before they joined with Temsa Global, and we’ve been very pleased with the quality and performance of our TS 35s and TS 30 coaches over the last three years.”

Temsa Global addressed attractiveness, comfort, safety and economy as operator needs. | BUSRIDE



Europe launches the ZeEUS project By Doug Jack

An Irizar bus for the ZeEUS project.


Solaris has built a few fullsize electric buses.



wrote recently about the International Union of Public Transport (UITP) headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. UITP originally acted to liaise between the more important public transit providers and politicians and legislators. It has since expanded its activities and gained recognition as a facilitator of projects for the public transit industry. Brussels is the headquarters of the European Commission and home to its many Directorates, including one for Mobility and Transport. UITP recently launched Zero Emission Urban bus System (ZeEUS), a major milestone for greener urban transport. The European Commission has set tough targets to reduce carbon emissions in the European Union by 2020. Although buses are only a tiny fraction of the total number of vehicles in circulation, they often run in urban centers for up to 18 hours a day and are therefore seen as prime candidates for electric traction. UITP says developing large capacity electric vehicles and creating an adequate charging infrastructure will facilitate the market for electric buses in Europe, and is coordinating 40 partners in an innovative project to extend the fully electric solution to a wider community of European urban bus networks.

With a budget of just over $30 million, of which the European Union is contributing more than $18 million, this 42-month project began in November 2013 and will run through April 2017. During the launch of ZeEUS, Deputy Director General of the Directorate Mobility and Transport of the European Commission Fotis Karamitsos said that Europe was far too dependent on oil, spending around $1.4 billion per day on imports, making electrification of transport necessary to reduce oil consumption and emissions. Curiously, there was no mention during the day about the source of that electricity. I would guess that more than half comes from fossil fuels. “Electricity as a fuel source has been identified as one of the most promising alternative fuels for transport, and its application in urban buses is already gaining ground,” said Sir Peter Hendy, the current UITP president and commissioner of Transport for London. “As one of the largest electro-mobility projects ever funded by the European Commission, this project coordinated by UITP is significantly important to us and our members.” He said public transport in the European Union carries 200 million people every day, of which electric vehicles such as trams, trains and trolleybuses account for approximately 90 million passengers per day. Buses remain the prime provider of public transport with 60 percent of total passenger movements. Hadley also noted that London would buy four electric doubledecker buses as part of the ZeEUS project. Umberto Guida, director of EU Projects at UITP, has been responsible for setting up the project and selecting participating organizations. He says a total of 35


vehicles built by six manufacturers will run in eight EU cities. Other members of the project include suppliers of systems and infrastructure, transit companies and transport authorities, electricity suppliers, universities, research institutes and consultants. Guida revealed that the six OEMs are Alexander Dennis of the United Kingdom; Irizar of Spain; Skoda, a producer of electric traction systems in the Czech Republic; Solaris of Poland; VDL Bus of the Netherlands; and Volvo of Sweden. The cities participating in the project The overhead fast-charging system. are Barcelona, Spain; Bonn and Munster, Germany; Glasgow and London, United Kingdom; Plzen, Czech Republic; Stockholm, Sweden; and a city in Italy yet to be decided. Guida said of the many electric technologies available in Europe, trolleybuses have to be continuously connected to overhead wiring; a number of mini and midi battery buses run for limited distances; and the number of full size diesel-hybrid buses is increasing. He said that the demonstrations should not use prototype models and that series or pre-series vehicles should be full-size. The number of demonstration vehicles had to be sufficient to perform a meaningful and statistically valid evaluation in different geographical, climatic, environmental and operational conditions. While the aim is to maximize the distance travelled on electricity alone, not all the vehicles will be totally electric. Some diesel buses may be used as back-up. The ZeEUS project had to consider cost elements, technical and operational aspects, feasibility, and environmental benefits. Irizar has an electrical supplier in its group and has announced plans to build an allelectric bus for the cities of San Sebastian and Barcelona. Alexander Dennis is in a consortium with the Glasgow transport authority, Scottish and Southern Electricity, a university and other parties to provide four single-deck buses that take fast electric charges from plates beneath the vehicle. Alexander Dennis is the favored supplier for four double-decker buses to London using a similar system, but that contract must go through tendering. Volvo is currently involved in a trial of its proprietary parallel hybrid drive system in Gothenburg using plug-in technology to extend the range in all-electric mode. A connector on the roof of the bus takes a fast charge from an overhead gantry at each end of the route. Volvo will supply eight buses to Stockholm later this year. After several months in service, Volvo was able to report that its plug-in hybrid buses were using 81 percent less fuel than the equivalent diesel bus. The overall energy consumption (including biodiesel and electricity) gave the plug-in hybrid an energy savings of 61 percent running on electric power for about 85 percent of the time. The company is hoping to achieve all-electric operation with a diesel engine probably only fitted as a back-up. VDL will supply its Citea Electric bus to Munster, Germany. Skoda will most likely supply buses to Plzen, Czechoslovakia. Skoda uses structures made by Solaris in Poland, and fits its own electrical equipment. Solaris has already built all-electric midibuses and full size 40-foot models that use an overhead system for fast charging. Solaris will probably supply Bonn and the unnamed Italian city. A panel session followed the presentation with different but important players in electro-mobility. A member said the electricity industry needs to fully understand the implications of fast charging and also of supplying current to a large number of buses being charged overnight in a depot. The industry would have to think not only about regular and reliable supply, but also about the impact on existing users of the grid.

One delegate in the audience warned that if governments saw tax revenue from diesel declining, they might be strongly tempted to tax electricity used in road vehicles. The ZeEUS project is very important because it will give Europe a large amount of practical working experience of all-electric buses. It will be able to set standards and advise operators on the introduction of these vehicles.

Another all-electric midibus by PVI of France.

The Alexander Dennis single-deck bus will look like this.

Doug Jack is with Transport Resources in the United Kingdom.

A Volvo plug-in hybrid in Gothenburg. | BUSRIDE


IMG hands out awards in Nashville At the final event of IMG’s Maintenance and Safety Forum, attended by over 220 IMG Shareholders, staff, and industry partners in Nashville, TN, two important annual awards were presented: IMG’s Safety Award is awarded to the company that has demonstrated the highest level of safety throughout their organization. The award winner not only meets the highest level of federal, state and local regulations but goes above and beyond implementing company safety measures IMG Safety Award received by James that insures that their employees and River Director of Safety customers experience the safest work and Jimmy Flanagan and Director of Maintenance transportation conditions possible. Ron Pearsall. A committee of past winners awarded James River Transportation, Richmond, VA and Pacific Western Transportation, Toronto, ON for their continued commitment to safety. “We are very proud to be recognized by ‘the best of the best’, the IMG family of transportation companies, for our team’s accomplishments,” said Stephen W. Story, president of James River Transportation Safety is one of our core values and is only accomplish



by a very dedicated group of professionals.” “We are very excited about this award as it acknowledges our commitment to safety,” Pacific Western Transportations General Manager Dean Wright. “’Safely Home’ is our deep conviction to safety, and it is the ultimate promise we make to each other, to our clients, and to the communities in which we operate.” IMG Safety Award IMG’s Spirit Award is given to the IMG received by Pacific Western Operator who acts in the “spirit” of IMG Transportation philosophies, best practices, operations Stephen Evans, vice from a maintenance standpoint and who president of Safety. demonstrates a leadership role that benefits fellow members and the IMG organization. Past winners elected Autocar Excellence, based in Lévis, QB. “I am so very proud of my team,” said Autocar Excellence President Réal Boissonneault. “They all truly embrace the IMG Spirit. We feel very honored to receive this award as there are many folks in this organization that also have the true IMG Spirit” IMG’s Maintenance and Safety Forum (M&SF), is an annual meeting of IMG Shareholders, Staff and Partner companies. In IMG’s Spirit Award Nashville, the meeting was run concurrently received by Autocar with the Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC), Excellence‘s President and featured government guests from the Real Boissonneault. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), including Administrator Anne Ferro. Round table discussions and information sharing among IMG staff is a feature of this focused meeting on the issues and solutions for today motor coach industry.


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Introducing the all new VAN HOOL



The all new Van Hool TX and CX models are proof of our commitment to evolving product excellence. Now offering more standard features designed to optimize performance, safety, comfort, and curb-appeal, both models integrate best in class European technology and engineering in Van Hool’s most advanced premier passenger coach transport – purpose built for North American operators! Check out the new look and performance of the advanced Van Hool TX and CX models – designed to evolve View safety features, specs and more for both models! Scan or visit:

fleet operations. Contact your ABC Account Manager for details, demos, inspections and information.

BUSRide March 2014  

The most trusted resource in the bus and motorcoach industry.

BUSRide March 2014  

The most trusted resource in the bus and motorcoach industry.