ABA Insider FEBRUARY 15, 2010 | Issue Number 65
The Most Accurate News Source for the Motorcoach, Tour, and Travel Industry
FMCSA Set to Replace SafeStat With Enhanced System
he Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that
In This Issue:
The Insider Q&A: Scott Riccio,
NorthEast Charter & Tour
T enforcement of safety regulations affecting U.S. motorcoach operators is
scheduled to become more comprehensive starting in July.
The Obama administration has been working for months to prepare the bus
and motorcoach industry for Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010, which is
being tested in six states in preparation for its launch. The system will replace the
current SafeStat system with a more comprehensive Safety Measurement System.
ABA Co-Hosting FMCSA says the change was driven by the slowing rate of decline for commercial
Infrastructure Convo vehicle crashes resulting in injuries or deaths. This development led the agency to
revisit how it evaluates the safety of motor carriers and drivers. The new program
3 is the result.
Current compliance reviews are
resource-intensive and reach a small
in 1999 Bus Crash percentage of motor carriers. In
4 addition, SafeStat does not focus on
the behaviors known to cause
crashes, according to the agency.
CSA 2010 builds on FMCSA’s current
processes but will use a new safety
measurement system and a new
suite of tools, including enhanced FMCSA plans a more robust approach
to bus safety starting in July.
compliance review and focused
Did You Know? enforcement, BUSRide reported.
Field tests began in February 2008 in Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey,
ABA members can now
follow ABA on Twitter:
Montana, and Minnesota. The University of Michigan Transportation Research
twitter.com/AmericanBusAssn Institute (UMTRI) will evaluate the program’s effectiveness and efficiency.
In other enforcement news, federal agents raided more than a dozen Houston
bus companies February 4 that they suspected of transporting dozens of illegal
immigrants across the country, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The raids were part of a three-month investigation of immigrant smugglers’
alleged use of Houston transportation companies to disperse the immigrants they
bring into the country. Agents targeted 14 businesses, one of them where armed
Individual Highlights: guards and pit bulls held immigrants in a stash house until they could be shipped
In The States 4 out. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents detained 81
Member Services 6 undocumented immigrants. The companies charged up to $650 for a one-way bus
ticket and paid $200-$300 in commissions on each immigrant to smugglers.
Canadian Currents 6
A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency official said 22 people have
Travel Tracks 7 been charged with conspiracy to transport illegal immigrants. Conviction on each
Executive Excursions 7 count carries a maximum term of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Passings 7 “This example shows the crucial role law enforcement plays in stopping rogue
New Members 8 bus operators,” said ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso.
THE INSIDER Q&A: Scott Riccio, President, NorthEast Charter & Tour,
ABA | Please tell our readers about the
new program NorthEast Charter &
Tour has initiated to make its drivers
and other staff more aware of how
their actions can save fuel to go green
and save money at the same time.
SR | NorthEast Trailways has initiated
driver and garage staff idle limits,
implemented company maximum
speed limits, and purchased a 6,000-
gallon above-ground double-walled
diesel fuel tank so that we do not fuel
on the road anymore, saving more than
4,000 gallons of fuel each year. We
recycle everything—scrap metal, any
plastic, cardboard, white paper,
beverage cans, and bottles consumed
while aboard the coach. We’ve installed building lights on timers to save energy,
fans in the ceiling of the garage to push the heat to the floor, and block heaters in
all coaches so they can be plugged in at night while on overnight trips instead of
running all night. For tune-ups to coach engines for better performance, we have
been using true synthetic oils in our engines to achieve better engine life and
fewer oil changes. Last year, we traded in two of our older units for two 2009
coaches equipped with 2007 clean burn engines and ZF Transmissions. We have
not only been able to reduce our carbon footprint, but have created a new logo as
a result: “See why riding with us is a breath of fresh air.”
ABA | You recently joined ABA’s Environmental Committee, chaired by Board
of Directors member Darren Berg. What motivated you to become active
in the group?
SR | I contacted Peter Pantuso with a list of things we did at NorthEast Trailways
that I thought I could share with the industry. From there he asked me to
participate in the Environmental Committee meeting at 2010 Marketplace. As an
industry, we are promoting that we are an environmentally friendly mode of
transportation to the general public. We all need to extend our practices to how
we run our daily businesses. We at NorthEast have become better stewards of the
environment both via our equipment and through adopting environmental best
practices across the company. If each company implements one new policy that
equals a best practice towards the environment, we will all be doing our part to
promote a cleaner environment, reduce our carbon footprints, and cut our fossil
ABA | What are some of the demographic changes and trends in ridership you
are seeing at NorthEast Charter & Tours?
SR | We have recently taken an aggressive approach in understanding more about
our customers that we hope will equal more coach bookings. With budgeting
becoming a factor in school districts, I have offered our services to them on days
when we have coaches sitting around. I hope to bring awareness of NorthEast to
GRAPEVINE VINTAGE TEXAS the schools by providing a superior mode of transportation to the kids. Our newly
launched Web site will inform the general public about what we do and who we
are. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.
ABA | You recently made it a point to equip your entire fleet with ABA’s safety
tools for pre-trip passenger safety messaging. What drove you to make
public awareness about safety such a priority?
SR | We have found that it is one more way to take care of our customers. Years ago,
I implemented a mandatory driver introduction program that started with a
“welcome aboard” speech from the driver, but also called for reviewing guidelines
to the passengers and what to do in the event of an emergency. I was shocked at
the number of passengers who would tell drivers they have been riding coaches
for years and had never heard this type of welcome/safety speech before. When
The Premier ABA made available DVDs talking of safety and emergency procedures, we had
the drivers use them before a trip got started and referred to the safety cards that
Destination of were in each seatback magazine pocket. I have always felt that the more
information you can provide to your customer the better. The ABA pre-trip
North Texas passenger safety message does just that. It’s a great tool. In both of our divisions,
NorthEast Trailways in Lewiston, Maine, and Richards Coach of Lincolnville, Maine
drivers and staff are sure each coach has a sufficient number of these Safety Cards
800-457-6338 in each coach prior to each trip.
ABA | What was your reaction to the Capital Region Marketplace 2010 last month?
SR | Marketplace 2010 was amazing. I was able to spend time on the floor, at the
Product Pavilion, at educational seminars, networking and partaking in the Bus
Industry Safety Council meetings. In true ABA fashion, I was able to accomplish
what I set out to do and enjoy what ABA has to offer. Marketplace is always a
great opportunity to promote what you do, network with your peers and keep
on top of industry trends.
ABA Co-Hosting Transportation & Infrastructure Convention
ABA is participating once again as a
National Co-Host Organization for the
third annual Transportation &
Infrastructure Convention slated for
March 10-12, 2010 in Washington. The
goal of the meeting is to educate officials
on critical transportation issues that
require urgent attention, and to create
new opportunities for the private sector
to engage with governmental leaders on
those issues. Scheduled speakers include
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.),
Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, Rep. John Mica
(R-Fla.), the Committee’s Ranking Member, and many other members of Congress.
“ABA’s leadership as the voice of the motorcoach, tourism and travel industry at
this influential gathering will give us an historic chance to position buses as a
crucial part of the transportation solution,” said ABA SVP for Government Affairs
Sleep Apnea Driver Safety Conference Slated
The American Sleep Apnea Association plans to conduct a first-ever national
conference on sleep apnea and driver fatigue, with ABA VP for Regulatory &
Industry Affairs Norm Littler serving on the conference’s advisory board.
Studies show that up to 28 percent of commercial drivers among all surface
transportation modes may be afflicted by the illness, creating a six times greater risk
of being involved in a crash, and a seven times greater risk of having multiple crashes.
Confirmed participants include ABA, the American Trucking Associations, the
Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, and other agencies. The
conference is slated for May 12 at The Westin Baltimore (BWI airport), and will be
preceded by a reception and keynote address from NTSB Chairman Deborah
Hersman on May 11. For more information about the conference, contact Reid
Blank at (408) 247-0030 or email@example.com and click here.
IN THE STATES: Judge Rules Guard Rails Culpable in ‘99 New Orleans Bus Crash
Civil District Judge Rosemary Ledet has awarded damages of more than $800,000
to four plaintiffs in a civil suit resulting from the May 9, 1999 bus crash that killed
22 and injured 19 others in Louisiana en route to a Mississippi Gulf Coast casino.
Ledet reduced the actual award by half, saying that the bus driver, Frank Bedell,
shared part of the blame for the
accident. The judge ruled in 2007 that A federal judge ruled that guardrails
on I-610 in Louisiana were inadequate.
the I-610 guardrails were inadequate
and that the highway department was
as much to blame for the fatal accident
as the driver, who authorities say was a
drug user and in chronically poor health.
Ledet’s judgment, issued earlier this
month, is the first of what is expected to
be several regarding suits plaintiffs filed
against multiple parties, including the
state Department of Transportation and
Development and the bus company, Custom Bus Charters. “This is a potentially
precedent-setting case,” said ABA VP for Industry & Regulatory Affairs Norm Littler.
“This means that in future failures of states to conduct adequate inspections, they
can be implicated and not be able to duck behind state immunity.” Littler, who
also serves as Bus Industry Safety Council Executive Director, was called at the
time to the scene of the crash by the National Transportation Safety Board.
IN THE STATES: CBA Holds Seminar at ABC Companies Facility
The California Bus Association recently held its annual Maintenance Seminar at ABC’s
new Sales, Service, and Parts facility in Coast Mesa, Calif. The two-day event was
attended by 52 technicians representing 29 coach operators, as well as 23 suppliers
and the California Highway Patrol. ABC recently moved into the new complex, which
includes 11 double-length service bays and a huge warehouse with a $2 million parts
inventory designed to support operators in the Western U.S. and Canada.
IN THE STATES: “MCI in Motion 2010” Tour Takes Models, Seminars to Customers
The Motor Coach Industries “MCI in Motion 2010”
road-show tour is being launched Feb. 16 to bring its
models, services and training expertise directly to
operators free of charge. The one-day events will
include demonstrations of MCI J4500 and D4500
models as well as seminars covering business and
technical topics important to operators.
The tour kicks off tomorrow at Angel Stadium in
California, with a stop in Orlando March 9. MCI will also
roll into Nashville, Dallas, Chicago, and New Jersey
before summer is over. ABA’s Brandon Buchanan will
discuss government grant opportunities available to
private operators. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
IN THE STATES: California Transit Agency Agrees to Abide by Charter Rule
The San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) transit system, part of the San
Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), has formally agreed to no
longer perform charters under a signed agreement with the California Bus
Association and Coach America. The agency’s decision to abide by the federal
charter rule precludes the need for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to
issue a final ruling in defense of the charter rule designed to protect private bus
operators from predatory transit competition. The result achieved—a clear victory
for free-market competition under the new charter rule—was not thought
possible without filing a formal complaint.
IN THE STATES: Anchor Trailways of Kentucky Unites Paducah, Nashville Brands
Paducah, Kentucky-based Anchor Trailways is joining its parent, Anchor Trailways
of Nashville, under the same brand. Anchor provides scheduled route and
motorcoach leasing services out of Nashville, and charter services from both
locations. “Buyers include military and university clients, as well as church and
senior citizen groups who travel to destinations like Nashville, Branson and St.
Louis,” said Anchor VP Jared Stancil. “Quilters are good for our business too.
Paducah is home to the American Quilters Society’s annual show, and last year we
moved 30,000 people around the city for various activities during its annual
conference.” For more information, call Stancil at (615) 860-6800.
IN THE STATES: ABA Member Sodrel Seeking Indiana Congressional Seat Again
ABA member Mike Sodrel, former CEO of Sodrel Truck Lines and
Sodrel Logistics, and founder of the Free Enterprise motorcoach
company in 1976, has announced that he again will seek the GOP
nod for Indiana’s 9th U.S. House District. If he wins the GOP
nomination, he potentially could face Rep. Baron Hill (D-Ind.) for the
fifth time. Hill defeated Sodrel in 2002, 2006, and 2008. Sodrel won in 2004. The
district represents Southeastern Indiana. “We need to get the economy back on
track. We need to create real jobs, not another huge government bureaucracy,”
Sodrel wrote in an e-mail to supporters.
MEMBER SERVICES: ABA Offers New Premium Partnership Through TRAVDEX
ABA is proud to offer members another money-savings tool as part of its benefits
package—a new Premium Partnership with TRAVDEX, a travel technology trade
show that features one-on-one meetings, networking and demonstrations. The
trade show provides a venue for participants to discover travel technology solutions
that will give them a competitive edge. TRAVDEX features marketing solutions,
distribution and reservation systems, inventory management systems, payment
solutions, travel planning tools, and more. To learn more, visit TRAVDEX online.
CANADIAN CURRENTS: Prevost, MCI Ramped Up for Vancouver Winter Olympics
Both Motor Coach Industries
and Prevost have set up special
services to assist coach operators
working for the Olympic Winter
Games in Vancouver. Prevost’s
6,600-square-foot facility in
Delta, BC, provides full service for
all makes of motorcoach, as well
CHECK OUT as any buses equipped with a
THE LATEST The service center, which has
DESTINATIONS four bays and one wash pad, has
ONLINE been open 24 hours a day prior
to and during the Olympics, from Feb. 8-28. Customers can reach Prevost service
personnel any time at (604) 940-3306. Mobile service units will also be available
January/February 2010 for on-site emergency service throughout the games. In addition, the Prevost
Action Service System will support customers and will be available for additional
emergency service support at (800) 463-7738.
THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE AMERICAN BUS ASSOCIATION
MCI is working with Western Bus Parts in North Vancouver to assist motorcoach
operators with maintenance, repair and OEM parts availability during the games.
NEWS In addition, there will be a limited number of pre-owned MCI coaches on site for
short-term lease in case of emergencies.
GUIDE TO THE RESOURCE
FUTURE OF CAPITAL
OUR INDUSTRY REGION
CANADIAN CURRENTS: Moore Named New Canadian Minister for Tourism
Rob Moore, MP for Fundy-Royal (New Brunswick) has been appointed to the
The Official Publication Federal Cabinet as the new Minister of State for Small Business and Tourism.
of the American Moore was first elected to the House of Commons in 2004, and was appointed
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
in February 2006. Moore has been a member of several legislative committees of
the House of Commons.
Did You Know?
BUSPAC helped you pack up at
Marketplace—how about helping
BUSPAC by asking us for informa- CANADIAN CURRENTS: Enforcement of Ontario’s Ban on Hand-held
tion on BUSPAC and how it helps Electronic Devices Underway
the motorcoach, tour, and travel
industry? Ontario’s distracted driving regulation that took effect Oct. 26, 2009 under
“educational enforcement” has moved into a new phase, as police agencies across
Ontario have been instructed to begin issuing tickets to offenders. Ontario has
exempted UHF and VHF two-way radios and CB radios for a period of three
years—until Oct. 26, 2012—after which the hand-held microphone must be
replaced with a hands-free device.
TRAVEL TRACKS: Smithsonian Visitor Guide Now Comes with $40 in
Coupons for $2 Each
The official Smithsonian visitor guide, goSmithsonian, began selling for $2 apiece
February 1, but now comes with $40 worth of coupons as it ends its run as a
freebie. The guide includes descriptions, exhibit highlights, and floor plans for
each museum. Sales will take place at the visitor information desks in all
Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC and Chantilly, Va., and at the retail stores
and theater box offices. The guide will be updated twice a year, as it is currently.
If visitors do not wish to pay for the guide, they can get a free floor plan of the
museum they are visiting, and a free copy of the guide can be downloaded from
goSmithsonian.com, but the guide will not include the value-added coupons.
Individual and bulk sales will be available online using credit cards at
goSmithsonian.com; orders for 26 or more guides may be purchased for the
discounted price of $1 each. The “Welcome” brochure will remain free of charge.
More information: (202) 633-5262.
GoSmithsonian now comes with $40
worth of coupons to offset the $2 charge.
EXECUTIVE EXCURSIONS: New Faces Take Posts at ABA Members from
Las Vegas to Virginia
The Tropicana Las Vegas has appointed Cynthia Mun as VP of marketing,
responsible for overseeing all aspects of marketing for the property’s $125 million
restoration and rebranding. Most recently, she served as executive director of
Did You Know? business insights and strategy at MGM Mirage, where she was responsible for
creating and overseeing a research and strategy department that supported 22
A “record number of motorcoach
companies” offered bus trips to
entities within the MGM Mirage portfolio… Bob Nelson has been named GM of
Provincetown on the tip of Cape the Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel and Conference Center near Richmond…
Cod, Mass., in 2009, Tourism Beyond Times Square has hired Robin Bass as Operations Manager. Bass has been
Director Bob Sanborn told the local working in tourism since 1999 and her experience includes stints with NYC &
Provincetown Banner this month. Company, restaurants, receptive operators, and hoteliers.
“Approximately 600 coaches toured
the town in 2009, up from the low
500 mark in 2008,” the paper said.
Provincetown has also been named
one of the 2010 America’s Dozen
PASSINGS: Ralph Jones, 90
Distinctive Destinations by the
Mid-American Coaches’ Ralph Jones, 90, died January 29, and a formal funeral took
National Trust for Historic place February 1. Donations in his honor may be made either to Loving Hearts, at
Preservation. 1902 W Main St., Washington, Missouri (636-390-8300); or to the St. Peters Church
Atrium Fund, 20 E Fifth St., Washington, Missouri (636-239-6176). He will be missed.
New Members—Print and Add to Your
2010 ABA Motorcoach Marketer
ASSCOCIATE Hilton Garden Inn Elkhart IN
Advantage Funding Susan Dawson, Director of Sales
Darren Martin, Regional Manager 3401 Plaza Ct.
Can’t wait for the 1111 Marcus Ave.
Lake Success, NY 11042
Elkhart, IN 46514
ABA Insider to make PH: (516) 280-1374 Fax: (516) 392-3933
PH: (574) 970-4444 Fax: (574) 970-5379
the office rounds? www.advantagefunding.com www.HiltonGardenInn.Hilton.com
Financial Service Lodging, Management Group
Sign up today to receive TRAVEL INDUSTRY Songo River Queen II
it automatically by Anderson/Madison County Visitors & Convention Bureau Kent Uicker, President
Maureen Lambert, Marketing/Sales Director
e-mail every other week. 6335 S Scatterfield Rd. P.O. Box 1482/841 Roosevelt Trail
Anderson, IN 46013 Naples, ME 04055
PH: (765) 643-5633 Fax: (765) 643-9083
Click here to be added email@example.com
PH: (207) 693-6861 Fax: (207) 693-3172
to the ABA Insider www.heartlandspirit.com
DMO - Convention & Visitors Bureaus www.songoriverqueen.net
distribution list. Floating/Boating/Cruise Line
Blue Horizon Hotel
John Pritchard, Director of Sales Stonebridge Companies
1225 Robson St. Heidi Bergos, Vice President Sales and Marketing
Vancouver, BC V6E 1C3
PH: (604) 688-1411 Fax: (604) 688-4461 9100 E Panaroma Dr.
firstname.lastname@example.org Englewood, CO 80112
www.bluehorizonhotel.com PH: (303) 785-3100 Fax: (720) 228-2123
City of Geneva IL www.sbcos.com
Did You Know? Jamie Heflin, Administrative Assistant
22 S First St.
Geneva, IL 60134
The $1,000 Grand Prize Winner of PH: (630) 232-7494 Fax: (630) 262-0867 QUALIFIED OPERATORS
email@example.com The following Motorcoach & Tour Operators have submitted
the 2009 ABA Member-Get-A- www.genevadowntown.org application(s) for membership between Jan. 26, 2010
Member program is Laurie DiGrandi DMO - Convention & Visitors Bureaus through Feb. 5, 2010 and have met all membership
of the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Hanover Marriott Hotel requirements. They are currently in the mandatory 30-day
Danielle Colombaris, Sr. Account Executive period for member comments.
Vegas for referring as a new mem- 1401 Route 10 E
ber of ABA the Stratosphere Hotel & Whippany, NJ 07981 Thielen Bus Lines Inc.
PH: (973) 898-6471 Fax: (973) 538-7577
Casino in Las Vegas. firstname.lastname@example.org (DOT 152296)
www.hanovermarriott.com Joe Thielen, Vice President
Lodging Redwood Falls, MN
2010 Motorcoach Marketer Corrections
MOTORCOACH AND TOUR OPERATORS Incorrectly listed under District of Columbia instead of
ABAInsider Incorrectly Listed Under Mexico Header instead of Puerto
Autobuses Borinquen Inc.
Maryland Science Center
Eron Shosteck, Editor In Chief (787) 744-7279 (410) 545-5962
FAX: (787) 745-3996 FAX: (410) 545-5973
Roderick Lewis, Membership Editor E-MAIL: email@example.com E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Barrio San Antonio, Km. 2.2 WEB: www.marylandsciencecenter.org
Pat Jones, Contributing Editor Caguas, 00725 601 Light St.
Brenda Sastre, Director of Sales
Brian Parker, Advertising Director Tour/Charter Contact: Brenda Sastre
Baltimore, MD 21230
Nora Isis Campbell, Group Sales Mgr.
YEAR FOUNDED: 2004
Judith Whitt, Circulation Manager TOTAL NUMBER OF BUSES: 7
Attraction – Other
Incorrect Contact Last Name
OTRB: 5, MINI: 2, VAN: 1
SERVICES: AS, CH, LRO, PE, SCH, SP, SS, TA, TR
Pilgrim Sands on Long Beach
CUSTOMER BASE: AD, CC, IT, SG, SR
(508) 747-0900, (800) 729-7263
FAX: (508) 746-8066
Gray Line Puerto Rico dba Charter Coach Inc.
FAX: (787) 745-0925
150 Warren Ave., Route 3-A
P.O. Box 192312 Plymouth, MA 02360
San Juan, 00919 Marianne Garvey, Sales Dir.
Candise Sherwood, President Lodging
Tour/Charter Contact: Candise Sherwood
YEAR FOUNDED: 1986 Incorrect Phone Number Listed
700 13th Street NW, Suite 575 TOTAL NUMBER OF BUSES: 12 San Antonio Rose Live
Washington, DC 20005 OTRB: 10, MINI: 2 (210) 212-7638
FAX: (210) 226-8226
BUS TYPES: MCI, Metrotrans
(202) 842-1645 LIFT-EQUIPPED—MINI: 1 E-MAIL: email@example.com
SERVICES: CH, LRO, SS, TR WEB: www.saroselive.com
FAX (202) 842-0850 CUSTOMER BASE: AD, CC, IO, IT, SG, SR 201 E. Commerce, Ste. 310
E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org INTERMODAL SERVICES: Bus-Air, Bus-Cruise San Antonio, TX 78205
AIRPORTS SERVED: SJU Greg Gallaspy
www.buses.org U.S. ITINERARY PLANNING GUIDE Theater