ABA Insider August 16, 2010 | Issue Number 78
The Most Accurate News Source for the Motorcoach, Tour, and Travel Industry
ABA Tells DC New Bus Curbside Fee Scheme Illegal
BA has filed comments in
In This Issue:
TRB Conference More
A opposition to an
introduced by the DC
government that would charge
intercity scheduled service
operators who pick up at curbsides
2 tens of thousands of dollars per
FMCSA to End coach to do so. DC’s plan would favor cars at
The proposed regulation would parking meters over buses
Registrant-Only Numbers mitigating congested streets.
require all intercity bus service
2 operators who load and unload passengers on a DC street to submit an application
to the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT), requiring both a separate
New ABA/GoToMeeting Pact application and a separate fee for each location requested.
Saves You Money The proposal’s application process would require a variable application fee, which
4 ABA analysis shows to be astronomical when calculated as written. The application
fee of $2.50 multiplied by the total number of hours per week permitted for
occupancy, then again multiplied over 52 weeks of the year, reveals that one bus
company asking for one space for a 24-hour period (necessary for multiple hourly
arrival/departures) would have to include more than $21,000 in the application.
Coupled with the DC City Council’s recently enacted Public Space Permit
Enhancement Emergency Act of 2010 levying a 10 percent technology fee related
to public space permits, an intercity bus operator is looking at paying at least
Did You Know? $24,000 for the space, and as much as $31,200.
“While the broad outlines of the proposal violate the U.S. Constitution, it is also
Marketplace tote bags each delegate clear that the details of the proposed plan are likewise illegal and certainly vague to
receives at registration offers the
the point of uselessness,” ABA wrote. Individual carriers also submitted comments.
chance to showcase your company
both during and after the show in
Meanwhile, ABA is urging the U.S. DOT to weigh in, as it is critical to pre-empt
Philadelphia January 8-12, 2011. For possible future moves aimed at blocking charter buses from parking along the curbs.
more details on this opportunity, call
Jana Fields at (800) 283-2877 x213
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coalition Message Aims to Minimize Idling, Cutting
Emissions & Fuel Costs
BA has partnered with the DC and Maryland local governments in an effort
In The States
A to help reinforce the benefits of diesel idle reduction, which will cut
emissions and cut operator fuel costs. Increased awareness of idling
reduction will also help bus drivers avoid fines.
While new diesel emission control technologies, such as particulate filters, urea,
SCR, and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel introduced over the past few years have made
Travel Tracks 6 diesel cleaner than ever, wasting clean fuel is still wasting fuel, and could result in a
Passings 7 hefty fine. Idle only when necessary, and save money, slash emissions, and cut fuel
New Members 8 use all at the same time.
TRB Conference Bringing Operators, Planning Officials Together
Operators considering enhancing or venturing into fixed route service are
urged to attend the 19th Transportation Research Board Rural Public and
Intercity Bus Transportation Conference slated to take place in Burlington, Vt.
October 23-27. The program promises more opportunities than ever to
participate in sessions on working with State DOTs, operating a diverse fleet of
service offerings and the chance to talk to the FTA Program Manager for the
53ll(f ) program.
The conference kicks off October 25, but rural tourism will be offered in the
finest Green Mountain State fashion starting October 23 with visits to Ben and
Jerry’s, Champlain Chocolates and a maple farm, or the alternate choice of a trip to
Montreal. ABA will be hosting an operator dinner with a cruise on Lake Champlain.
Sign up now for the tours and register for the conference online.
Highlights include ABA Chairman Jim Jalbert discussing the Boston Express, ABA
President & CEO Peter Pantuso speaking on a panel addressing transportation
legislation, examples from Missouri and Washington State of successful planning
projects turned into operating programs; how Public Private Partnerships have
worked in Indiana and West Virginia; Greyhound and the National Bus Traffic
Association offering insights on participation; and the chance to meet with several
FTA staffers and DOT managers from across the country.
FMCSA Set for Next Phase of CSA 2010
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rollout of CSA 2010
will soon offer motor carriers—including motorcoach operators and truckers—
online access to a database showing how they would fare under the pending
Safety Measurement System. The agency is strongly urging carriers to visit its
website to get familiar with how the new system will work and preview their
data. Starting today, carriers will be able to see how they are performing in each
of the seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories, or BASICs.
The agency also said that warning letters will go to carriers that do not make
the grade by year-end, and that roadside inspectors will start using the new data
system to identify carriers for inspection. The program will be implemented state-
by-state throughout 2011.
Registrant Only USDOT Numbers Set to End
FMCSA will on September 1 eliminate “registrant only” USDOT numbers as part of
the Performance and Registration Information Systems Management (PRISM)
program, a system introduced in the early 1990s to collect safety and crash data
on motor carriers throughout the country as a means of improving their safety
records. During an inspection or crash investigation, motor carriers are required to
provide law enforcement with their motor carrier number so FMCSA can track
their safety compliance. Motor carriers are then required to improve any safety
deficiencies or face fines and sanctions.
FMCSA began its “registrant only” number system to identify registered owners
of commercial motor vehicles (CMV) that are not motor carriers but lease their
CMVs to entities that are motor carriers. Motor carriers that lease vehicles from
owners of “registrant only” CMVs are required to give their own motor carrier
number to law enforcement officials during an inspection or crash investigation—
not the number of the leasing company. FMCSA found motor carriers often
illegally provided law enforcement officials with the “registrant only” number in an
attempt to evade FMCSA oversight.
Keppler Named New CVSA Chief
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has tapped Stephen A.
Keppler as its new executive director. Keppler has been with CVSA for
the past decade. He previously worked at the Intelligent
Transportation Society of America and the U.S. DOT FHWA Office
of Motor Carriers (now FMCSA).
Revised ADA Motorcoach Pocket Guide Available Now
Easter Seals and the motorcoach industry have improved the usability of the
Americans with Disabilities Act pocket guide in an effort during the 20th
anniversary of ADA passage to help operators, drivers and facilities staff to provide
seamless travel experiences to all passengers with disabilities. Contact Robin
Phillips at email@example.com to learn more. Easter Seals has scheduled a
motorcoach ADA implementation teleconference for September 22 and 29.
More information will follow.
MCI Webinars Now Offer Earning While Learning
MCI Webinars offer operators educational opportunities designed to help
them and their staffs maintain and service their fleets using the
manufacturer’s “best practices” protocols. Now the company has added MCI
Learn programs offering rewards.
Attend any single webinar and become an MCILearn Bronze partner. Attend
any two of a particular 3-part platform and earn rewards when you become
an MCILearn Silver partner. Attend all three of particular 3-part platform and
earn rewards when you become an MCILearn Gold partner. And, if you attend
at least three of the four 3-part platforms occurring in 2010, you will attain
MCILearn Platinum membership for 2010. Awards will be made by March
The next webinar in the MCILearn series is: “Electrical Systems 101: Preventative
Maintenance,” and is slated for August 18 at 2 p.m. CT. Your electrical system is
essential to your coach’s operation, so make sure you know how to keep it
running smoothly. In this webinar, you'll learn how to inspect electrical systems
such as those used for starting and charging, interior and exterior lighting, wires
and connectors, and motors. “Electrical Systems 201: Service Procedures” is
scheduled for September 8, and “Electrical Systems 301: Troubleshooting” will take
place September 22. To RSVP please e-mail.
Did You Know?
NJ-based Stout’s Transportation
is marking its 50th anniversary
this year. MEMBER SERVICES: ABA Partnership with GoToMeeting Saves Members Time
GoToMeeting is ABA’s newest Premium Partner designed to maximize member
time efficiency and cost savings. GoToMeeting allows you to host an online
meeting with up to 15 people—so you can do more and travel less. Using their
Web conferencing tool you can share any application on your computer in real
time. Attendees join meetings in seconds; hold unlimited meetings for one flat fee;
collaborate with colleagues remotely; host and attend from either a Mac or PC;
and save with integrated audio conferencing (via computer and telephone). For
more information, contact ABA’s Director of Membership & New Business
Development Roderick Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 283-2877.
MEMBER SERVICES: The Adventures of Flat Pete
Flat Pete is still out on the road visiting
destinations all across North America.
Recently he spent time in Pensacola, Fla.
visiting their pristine white-sand beaches.
Then it was off to Albuquerque, NM for a
trip in a hot air balloon. Most recently, he
stopped in Milwaukee for a tour of the
Harley-Davidson Museum. Vrooom!
IN THE STATES: Jersey Sure Situation on Delaware Bridge Requires More Lanes
New Jersey and Pennsylvania officials recently announced a plan to replace a
heavily-traveled bridge carrying Interstate 95 over the Delaware River between
the two states using a public-private partnership, financed in part with commuter
tolls of up to $2 and tolls of $4 per axle for heavy-duty vehicles.
The bridge, which was designed in the late 1950s, has two lanes in each
direction and no shoulder. It handles 60,000 vehicles daily, a number that is
projected to rise to 77,500 by 2030. During peak travel hours, vehicles wait an
average of 27 minutes to cross. Under the plan, the bridge would be widened to
three lanes in each direction with three more auxiliary lanes and a wider median.
Tolls would cover the $132 million tab.
The bridge is classified as functionally obsolete under the Federal Highway
Administration System and has the lowest level-of-service grade on the rating
scale used by highway engineers.
IN THE STATES: Niagara USA Opens New $2.4M Visitor Center
The Niagara Tourism and Convention Corporation (NTCC), joined by local business
leaders, civic activists and tourism partners, welcomed visitors to the new $2.4
million Niagara USA Official Visitor Center July 30.
“Being in such a highly visible location is a great benefit to visitors to our region
as it allows us to better serve our guests by marketing and promoting all that
Niagara USA has to offer,” said John Percy, president and CEO of the NTCC, and
Turning the engine off is 2011 Philadelphia Marketplace Chairman.
one of the easiest steps “This new development and construction
for drivers to take to help right in the downtown corridor is the
improve air quality. result of the generous support from our
public sector partners, and it provides our
This simple act will help
region with a solid foundation to grow
drivers and companies
avoid costly ﬁnes, save
and enhance the tourism industry.”
money and curb fuel use.
The NTCC was the recipient of a
$1,044,000 grant from the Federal
Transportation Enhancement Program,
administered by the New York State DOT. The application for the grant was
For more information, visit sponsored by USA Niagara Development Corporation, which committed a portion
TurnYourEngineOff.org. of NTCC’s required non-federal matching funds for the project. For more
information, visit www.niagara-usa.com.
IN THE STATES: Arlington, Va. Bus Parking Fees Produce Revenue
The Arlington County, VA government has brought in about $3,300 in the first few
weeks since requiring that tour buses use newly-metered parking spaces in the
county. The proposal adopted as part of the budget package enables the
government to charge a $3-per-hour fee (with the hours of operation dependent
on the location) and give county officials the ability to levy fines against violators.
At the same time, county staff emphasized that they are eager to maintain good
relations with the tour-bus industry, which provides both economic impact and
tax revenue in Arlington. Parking areas for buses are designated in Pentagon City,
Shirlington, Crystal City, and Ballston.
IN THE STATES: West Virginia Eyes New Motor Carrier Fees
West Virginia is looking at allowing ad valorem tax issues. Previously, operators
were obligated to file Annual Reports with the Property Tax Division (PTD), which
does appraisal work for the WV Board of Public Works. When the PSC lost
governing authority, numerous state providers left without offices in the state
continued to file regularly with the PTD.
The situation led several operators to believe that because they had
apportioned plates on their coaches, they no longer had to file. But apportioned
plates are only applicable for vehicles over 26,000 pounds, and on fixed routes.
Apportioned plates in West Virginia are not applicable for charter services. Bus
companies that operate in and across border areas adjacent to West Virginia need
to file Annual Reports with the PTD.
This is done similarly with railcars. If an operator ships something from Seattle to
Pittsburgh, and it runs through Wheeling in Ohio County, that operator files an
Annual Report to the PTD on the value of that railcar activity and the miles
operated in WV.
Annual Reports are filed each May 1 based on the previous calendar year
activities. The PTD sends out appraisal notices to operators generally in mid-
September. Between October 1 and the end of December, there are scheduled WV
Board of Public Works (BOPW) meetings featuring contentious discussions over
appraisal amounts. During this time, operators may also advise the PTD on
possible errors made in the appraisal process, leading to the potential that
appraisals may be amended. If the amending efforts are not satisfactory to the
Did You Know? operator, the operator then may schedule meetings with the WV Board of Public
Works. At the end of December, the BOPW finalizes the appraisals. Those notices
Diesel’s national average retail price
rose for a third straight week, jump-
are then sent to the operators.
ing 6.3 cents to $2.991 a gallon, its The appraisals are also sent to the WV Auditor. The WV Auditor sends the bills
biggest increase in four months, the out the next July. If an operator operates in or through 5 or 10 counties, he only
Department of Energy said. gets one bill from the WV Auditor, who allocates the taxes across those counties.
That keeps the operator from being billed by the separate assessors.
TRAVEL TRACKS: TravelCenters of America Reward Bus Driver Loyalty
TravelCenters of America, operating in 41 states and Canada under the
TravelCenters of America and Petro brands, has launched its new UltraOne Coach
Rewards card for professional motorcoach drivers. The new card allows
professional coach drivers to earn and redeem points at more than 230 TCA and
Petro Stopping Centers-branded sites as well as to earn benefits.
UltraOne provides drivers with non-expiring points for all members; year-end
savings points bonuses; free meals, beverages and preventive maintenance; and
other benefits. TCA and Petro offer customers diesel and gasoline fueling services,
full and quick-service restaurants, maintenance services, 24-hour convenience
stores, Wi-Fi and other services all within large, high traffic facilities.
“We are so bus TRAVEL TRACKS: Carmine’s Opens 670-Seat Restaurant in DC
friendly. We greet Group-tour-friendly Carmine’s family-
style Southern Italian restaurant came
hungry group to Washington earlier this month
tours with heaping opening a 670-seat venue that makes
it the largest Carmine’s to date.
helpings of home- Located in the Penn Quarter District
made hospitality.” in Washington, DC, at 425 7th Street
—Carmine’s spokeswoman NW, between D and E, the new
Joanne DeSantis establishment offers, among other
amenities, a motorcoach-dedicated
entrance portal for group tours. DC
Carmine’s includes a 40 seat wrap-
around bar equipped with USB connections along with free WiFi; a 50-seat
cocktail lounge; nine rooms for special event flexibility that use moveable walls to
meet each group’s needs; and other features. For more information, call Joanne
DeSantis at (212) 221-3800 x 250, e-mail her at email@example.com.
TRAVEL TRACKS: Los Angeles Mulls New Hotel Fee to Promote Tourism
Hotel owners in Los Angeles are pushing a plan to add a new 1.5 percent fee to
hotel bills that would generate an estimated additional $10-11 million annually to
promote the city as a worldwide tourist destination. The city already spends $11.4
Moving group travel into the fast lane.
million a year to attract tourists, but proponents of the new fee say Los Angeles
spends far less to promote itself than Las Vegas, San Diego and Orlando.
The city already levies a 14 percent transient occupancy tax, or bed tax, on hotel
guests. The new proposed fee of an additional 1.5 percent would be levied only
on guests at the 192 hotels in Los Angeles with more than 50 guest rooms. The
assessment would be added only to the room rate, not to the cost of meals or
other hotel services.
The charge must be approved by
the Los Angeles City Council and the
hotel owners. The proposal is
scheduled for a vote of a City
Winner’s Circle Race Council committee later this month.
(Aug 1 - Oct 29)
Under the proposal, the City Council
Win a laptop must approve the creation of a
Be the ﬁrst 20 tour planners
citywide tourism marketing district.
crossing the ﬁnish line and earn Hotels with 50 rooms or more would
a FREE LAPTOP. then vote to adopt a 1.5 percent fee
The race is on! added to the daily hotel room rate. A
Toll free 1.866.644.1664 or
committee of the council is
expected to vote on the proposal in
two weeks, followed by a vote of the city's 192 large hotels in late August or early
September. Tourism leaders hope to begin collecting the fee as early as this fall.
Hotel and tourism leaders say creating a tourism district would be an easier way
to raise money than increasing the bed tax, which would require approval of city
voters. The money raised by the assessment would be collected by a nonprofit
group called the Los Angeles Tourism Marketing District Management Corp.,
which would handle the funds.
TRAVEL TRACKS: New Enhanced Tribal Card Issued By Pascua Yaqui Tribe
DESTINATIONS The Pascua Yaqui Tribe of southern Arizona last month began issuing an Enhanced
ONLINE Tribal Card (ETC), which operators are urged to be aware is compliant with WHTI
identification document stipulations. This ETC is only available to members of the
Pascua Yaqui Tribe who are United States citizens, and shall be considered an
acceptable stand alone document for purposes of entry into the U.S. by land or
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION OIL SPIL
sea by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). When the card is presented by a
Coast volunto Gulf
Pascua Yaqui traveler, no other documentation is required for the purposes of
establishing identity and citizenship. Operators could begin seeing travelers with
the Pascua Yaqui ETC immediately. For more information on this new ETC, please
contact CBP’s Bryan Kegley at (202) 344-2525.
DISTINCT FLAVOR TRAVEL
GETTYSBURG GEARS & SOUTHEAST
UP FOR CIVIL WAR Page 39
PASSINGS: Bill Peppers, All West Tours Owner, 93
The motorcoach, tour and travel industry is mourning the loss of Bill Peppers, who
The Official Publication passed away last week at age 93. Peppers, the original owner of All West Tours, was
universally beloved throughout the group travel community. He was an icon of
of the American the industry, and represented everything good about it in his demeanor as both
Bus Association businessman and friend. He will be missed by those who knew him.
New Members—Print and Add to
Your 2010 ABA Motorcoach Marketer
TRAVEL INDUSTRY The Queensbury Hotel
Buttonwillow Church Civil War Dinner Theater Karen Drozdyk, Dir. of Sales & Mktg.
Can’t wait for the Steve Gipson, Owner
P.O. Box 37/1155 Incline Rd.
88 Ridge St.
ABA Insider to make Whitwell, TN 37397
Glens Falls, NY 12801-3621
the office rounds? PH: (423) 658-7478 Fax: (423) 658-0050
PH: (518) 792 4453 Fax: (518) 745-5427
Sign up today to receive Dinner Theater
it automatically by Lodging, Food Service
e-mail every other week. Fremont/Sandusky County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Connie Durdel, Exec. Dir. Park Place Hospitality Group
712 North St., Ste. 102
Click here to be added Fremont, OH 43420
Fred Lopez, Dir. of Revenue
to the ABA Insider PH: (419) 332-4470 Fax: (419) 332-4359 1014 S Tryon St., Ste. 207
distribution list. firstname.lastname@example.org Charlotte, NC 28203
www.sanduskycounty.org PH: (704) 377-1002 Fax: (704) 377-2505
DMO - Convention & Visitors Bureaus
Naperville Convention & Visitors Bureau www.parkplacehg.com
Christine Jeffries, Pres. Lodging, Management Group
212 S Webster St., Ste. 104
Naperville, IL 60540
Historic Shopping & Dining Attractions of the East Coast
PH: (630) 305-7701 Fax: (630) 305-7793
email@example.com Carolyn Feimster, Pres.
www.visitnaperville.com 2227 U.S. Hwy. One., Ste. 274
DMO - Convention & Visitors Bureaus North Brunswick, NJ 08902
PH: (732) 249-6080 Fax: (732) 545-3138
New York State Division of Tourism
Jamin Clemente, Admin. Assistant firstname.lastname@example.org
633 Third Ave. Shopping
New York, NY 10017
PH: (212) 803-3764 Fax: (716) 846-8262
Salmon Berry Tours
www.iloveny.com Candice McDonald Kotyk, Owner
DMO - State/Prov./Regional Promotion Ag Govt. 527 W Third Ave.
ABAInsider Holiday Inn Atlanta Downtown -Centennial Park Hotel
Anchorage, AK 99501
PH: (907) 278-3572 Fax: (907) 278-3573
Eron Shosteck, Editor In Chief Jacquelyn Simmons, Sales Mgr.
101 Andrew Young International Blvd.
Pat Jones, Associate Editor Atlanta, GA 30303 www.salmonberrytours.com
PH: (404) 604-2031 Fax: (404) 221-0702 Sightseeing
Ali Brewer, Membership Editor email@example.com
Brian Parker, Advertising Director Lodging
Judith Whitt, Circulation Manager ASSOCIATE INDUSTRY
Holiday Inn Inner Harbor S.H. Smith & Co. Inc.
Jessica Greene, Sales Mgr. Weston Day, Program Mgr., Public Automotive
301 W. Lombard St.
20 Church St., Ste. 1500
Baltimore, MD 21201
PH: (410) 637-4625 Fax: (410) 727-5238 Hartford, CT 06103
firstname.lastname@example.org PH: (860) 656-1246 Fax: (860) 656-1146
Riverside Inn Pigeon Forge
Stephen Foley, Sales & Mktg.
2492 Parkway QUALIFIED OPERATORS
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863-1403
The following Motorcoach & Tour Operators have submitted
PH: (865) 428-5500 Fax: (865) 429-8984
email@example.com application(s) for membership between July 24, 2010
www.riversideinnpigeonforge.com through August 9, 2010 and have met all membership
Lodging requirements. They are currently in the mandatory 30-day
700 13th Street NW, Suite 575 period for member comments.
Super 8 Savannah (K&S Hospitality LLC)
Washington, DC 20005 Prakash Patel, Owner/Mgr.
(202) 842-1645 387 Canebrake Rd. Stylus Transportation Inc.
Savannah, GA 31419 (DOT #774211)
FAX (202) 842-0850 PH: (912) 925-6996 Fax: (912) 925-6896
Paul Tabachow, Sales Manager
E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
www.buses.org Lodging www.stylusbus.com