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Busline News April 2021
Click here for complete current print issue of Busline Magazine

By Rick Mullen,
Busline Magazine Associate Editor

The following import/export categories include motor buses, coaches, trolley buses and gyrobuses.

The U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau trade figures for January 2021 indicated vehicle imports were down in four categories outlined, compared to January 2020.


8702103100 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Only Comp-Ign Internal Combustion Piston Engine (Diesel Or Semi-Diesel), Designed For Transport Of 16 Or More Persons, Incl

The United States imported 130 vehicles in January 2021, down 46 percent from 239 vehicles for January 2020.

Canada sent 88 vehicles to the United States during January 2021.

The average price per vehicle for January 2021 was $369,623, up 19 percent from $311,532 for January 2020.

8702106100 Public-Transport Passenger Vehicles For Transport Of 10 Or More Persons With Only Comp-Ign Internal Combustion Piston Engine (Diesel Or Semi-Diesel), Other

The United States received two vehicles, both from Canada, in January 2021, compared to 96 vehicles for January 2020.

The average price for January 2021 was $348,732, compared to $48,869 for January 2020.

8702403100 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Electric Motor Only, For Transport Of 16 Or More Persons Including Driver

The United States imported 30 vehicles during January 2021, up 67 percent from 18 vehicles for January 2020.

China sent 20 vehicles during January 2021.

The average price for January 2021 was $203,827, compared to $60,721 for January 2020.

8702406100 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles, With Electric Motor Only For Propulsion, NESOI

The United States imported five vehicles during January 2021, compared to 17 vehicles for January 2020.

China sent three vehicles during January 2021, while the United Kingdom exported two vehicles.

The average price for January 2021 was $12,422, down 1 percent from $12,572 for January 2020.

8702903100 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles For 16 Or More Persons Including Driver, NESOI

The United States imported 107 vehicles, all from China, during January 2021, up 23 percent from 87 vehicles for January 2020.

The average price per vehicle for January 2021 was $157,674, up 13 percent from $139,372 for January 2020.

8702906100 Motor Vehicles For The Transport Of 10 To 15 Persons Including Driver, NESOI

The United States imported 37 vehicles during January 2021, down 61 percent from 95 vehicles for January 2020.

Canada sent 33 vehicles to the United States during January 2021.

The average price per vehicle for January 2021 was $41,816, down 7 percent from $44,831 for January 2020.


Export totals for January 2021 were up in two categories outlined, compared to January 2020.

8702100002 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With A Compression-Ignition Internal Combustion Piston Engine (Diesel Or Semi-Diesel) Only

The United States exported 325 vehicles during January 2021, down 2 percent from 332 vehicles exported in January 2020.

Canada received 135 vehicles during January 2021, while Mexico imported 128 vehicles.

The average price per vehicle for January 2021 was $50,7 `48, down 28 percent from $70,711 for January 2020.

8702200000 Public-Transport Vehicles With Both Compression-Ignition Internal Combustion Piston Engine (Diesel Or Semi-Diesel) & Electric Motor

The United States shipped 70 vehicles in January 2021, compared to 25 vehicles for January 2020.

Mexico received 51 vehicles during January 2021.

The average price per vehicle for January 2021 was $5,771, down 6 percent from $6,115 for January 2020.

8702300000 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Both Spark Ignition Internal Combustion Piston Engine & Electric Motor

The United States exported 36 vehicles in January 2021, up 80 percent from 20 vehicles for January 2020.

Mexico received 18 vehicles during January 2021.

The average price per vehicle for January 2021 was $19,499, down 52 percent from $40,301 for January 2020.

8702400000 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Only Electric Motor For Propulsion

The United States shipped 56 vehicles, all to Canada, in January 2021, down 46 percent from 104 for January 2020.

The average price per vehicle for January 2021 was $27,344, down 26 percent from $37,028 for January 2020.

Click on statistics to open .pdf file

24 CNG Express Commuter Buses Built By MCI
MTS (San Diego, CA) Retires Last Diesel Buses, Adds CNG And Electric Buses

Pictured from left are: Sharon Cooney, MTS CEO; Matthew Vasilakis, Climate Action Campaign co-director of policy; Mark Fisher, New Flyer of America director of national sales; Nathan Fletcher, MTS board chair; Steve Goble, MTS board member/councilman, city of El Cajon; Bill Fay, GILLIG vice president of sales; and, Bee Mittermiller, San Diego 350.

San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has officially retired the last of its diesel buses and added two electric buses to its fleet.

The agency has a history of adopting clean fuel technology, and is on a path to convert its entire bus fleet to zero emissions by 2040.

Replacing the last diesel buses are 24 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) express commuter buses built by Motor Coach Industries (MCI).

“Not only do the new buses offer an improved riding experience for our customers, we get substantially better air quality results from them as well,” said Sharon Cooney, MTS chief executive officer. “There will be a 100 percent reduction in particulate matter, and a 98 percent reduction in NOx emissions over the diesel counterparts.”

MCI said, “The new express commuter buses offer 57 forward facing seats, are designed for highway speeds, and offer touring class comfort and safety.

MTS also added two GILLIG zero-emission battery electric buses, raising the agency’s total to eight. A full transition to 100 percent zero emissions is expected by 2040.

MTS continues to operate 95 bus routes and three trolley lines. Frequencies and spans have been restored to near-pre-COVID-19 levels.

For more information, visit mcicoach.com.

Freedman Seating Company Names Christy Nunes and Sam Cardone Chief Operations Officers

Freedman Seating has promoted Christy Nunes and Sam Cardone to chief operations officers. Nunes previously held the position of director of business operations and Cardone the position of director of strategy.

“Over the years, Christy and Sam have both grown in responsibility and authority at Freedman Seating and Freedman Mobility Seating (FMS),” said Dan Cohen, president. “Because of their leadership, business acumen, and management skills, we have grown and weathered some tough storms. They have shown themselves to be exemplary and capable leaders.”

Christy Nunes, COO

“Joining the company in 1996, Christy Nunes exemplifies internal growth and opportunity. Her introduction to manufacturing was that of many young adults at the time, simply a job. As she moved through the company from receptionist to customer service, she realized the long-term opportunities available in manufacturing, despite its reputation as being a male-dominated industry. Over the next two decades, Christy became one of the most respected people in the bus world. As Freedman’s director of customer service, she continued to advance the company’s history of service. In 2011, Freedman Seating purchased the assets of Braun Seating, in Rochester, IN, servicing the needs of the mobility van market. She was named managing director of the rebranded Freedman Mobility Seating. Under her leadership, FMS developed a new line of luxury seating products for the growing executive shuttle market.

“Christy’s desire to learn existed on the job and in the classroom. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and management from Loyola University of Chicago in 2017. That year, Christy was promoted to director of business operations. Under her leadership, Freedman Seating and FMS would continue to grow in market share and product development. New solutions such as Passenger Protective Equipment have shown the versatility of Christy’s direction, and the ability to meet the industry’s evolving needs while maintaining record sales year-over-year. In her new role, she oversees manufacturing, customer service, and supply chain operations including purchasing, sourcing, inventory, shipping and receiving,” said the company.

Sam Cardone, COO

“In 2008, Sam Cardone joined Freedman Seating’s engineering team as an intern. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering, he was offered a full-time position as project engineer. He became lead project engineer, and eventually engineering manager. In these roles, Cardone worked to improve ESR on-time completion rates, executed product line cost saving initiatives, led multiple projects on Federal Motor Safety Standards, enhanced existing products and developed new solutions with cross-functional teams.

“He was promoted to director of strategy in 2016, a company first. His focus on strategic planning and advancing key success metrics have resulted in measurable strategic objectives and standardized protocols throughout the production process. In 2017, he earned an M.B.A. in general management, strategic management and finance from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. In his new role, he oversees engineering, manufacturing engineering, metals production, quality control and testing/compliance, information technology, accounting, and maintenance.”

Founded in 1894, Freedman Seating is a family-owned and operated company. FSC designs, engineers, and manufactures products for markets including small bus, mid-size coach, heavy-duty transit, rail, marine, delivery truck, and paratransit. Freedman Seating is an ISO 9001 registered company.

For more information, visit www.freedmanseating.com.

ARBOC Launches Its First Fully Accessible, Battery-Electric Low-Floor Bus With The Zero-Emission Equess CHARGE™

ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, LLC (ARBOC), a subsidiary of NFI Group Inc. (NFI), has introduced its battery-electric low-floor purpose-built bus, the zero-emission Equess CHARGE™.

“Available in 30-foot and 35-foot models, the Equess CHARGE™ builds on ARBOC’s proven Equess transit bus platform, and utilizes the in-field electric vehicle technology from New Flyer of America (New Flyer), another NFI Group subsidiary. The Equess CHARGE™ offers battery technology Made in America by XALT, SIEMENS electric motors (highest torque available for steep grade cities) with efficient regenerative energy recovery, and charging infrastructure compliant with industry standards,” according to a press release.

“Today, we expand NFI’s comprehensive suite of sustainable transportation solutions with our Equess CHARGE," said Doug Minix, general manager, ARBOC. “With the Equess CHARGE, we continue to lead the industry in low-floor, accessible mobility — providing transportation solutions that improve the environment while delivering a better experience for passengers through spacious entranceways, elimination of steps, superior entry ramp ratio, and a smoother ride. From the introduction of low-floor cutaways, to being the first to incorporate multiplexing on all products, and producing the first purpose-built medium-duty bus, ARBOC continues to lead the industry with superior manufacturing and innovative technology.”

According to the release, “Passengers on the battery-electric Equess CHARGE™ will experience a smooth ride and added benefits the Equess design offers. With no steps throughout the bus, a spacious 39-inch entrance door opening, and a superior entry ramp ratio for passengers with mobility assist devices, the Equess platform offers an enhanced level of accessibility. The Equess CHARGE™ features a carrying capacity of up to 33 seated passengers and six wheelchair passengers, all accomplished by optimized battery placement on the roof of the vehicle and in a rear compartment. Extended range configurations allow for up to 437 kWh battery capacity, with anticipated transit ranges of approximately 230 miles on a single charge.”

The release also stated, “The Equess CHARGE™ will feature the SIEMENS ELFA three direct drive motor and a roof-mounted energy storage system (ESS) compromised of four-five strings of batteries (dependent on bus length), with each string housed in an IP67 (weather tight) enclosure. The Equess CHARGE™ also includes a roof-mounted battery thermal management system, SIEMENS inverter rack assemblies (with 702 volts primary and 460 volts secondary), Parker Vansco electric controls and multiplexing, and will be compatible with a depot charger with a common CCS Type 1 plug.

“The first production bus will undergo testing through the Federal Transit Administration’s Model Bus Testing Program in Altoona, PA, in 2021, with production for distribution anticipated for Q4 of 2021. The Equess CHARGE™ will be distributed exclusively by Creative Bus Sales in the United States, and by Dynamic Specialty Vehicles, Crestline Coach, and Creative Carriage in Canada.”

For more information, visit ARBOCsv.com.

New Service From Prevost

Prevost recently introduced Block of Hours, a new program allowing operators with any sized fleet to reserve a regularly scheduled time slot in a Prevost service center for service from preventive maintenance to unexpected stops.

“Block of Hours is designed to help operators increase uptime, plan ahead, and keep coaches on the road where they belong,” according to a Prevost release.

“Prevost is committed to providing effective solutions for our customers’ needs, and we recognize maintenance costs can be some of the largest expenses for operators in both time and money,” said Randy Castillo, Prevost service network director. “Block of Hours can be tailored for any sized fleet, and was developed specifically to ease budgeting and allow operators to more effectively plan for expected and unexpected maintenance.”

The program guarantees regularly scheduled bay time for all services, from preventive maintenance to emergency repairs. The program is available for all major coach makes and models, and can be scheduled for weekly or bi-weekly visits. A Block of Hours agreement includes discounted rates for both parts and service.

“Gray Line Tennessee, a Nashville-based charter and tour company, was one of the first to pilot the program. After only two months of utilizing the program, Gray Line recognized the benefits of having guaranteed bay time available each week, and increased the number of hours in their block,” said Prevost.

“Implementing Block of Hours has allowed our maintenance team to focus on more complex, rigorous tasks with confidence in Prevost as a premium, high-caliber maintenance facility,” said Chuck Abbott, president/CEO of Gray Line Tennessee. “Since starting the program, we’ve lost zero dollars of revenue due to a coach being down.”

Prevost has provided coach solutions for nearly a century. Prevost is one of North America’s largest producers of premium intercity touring coaches. For more information, visit www.volvogroup.com.

Jack Forbes Retires From Prevost After 40 Years In The Motorcoach Industry

Jack Forbes

Jack Forbes has retired from Prevost after more than 40 years in the motorcoach industry. Forbes started his career in the industry in 1980, and joined Prevost in 1998 as vice president of part sales.

Prevost said, “Through providing great customer service and having the right parts available at the right time, Forbes grew the Prevost parts business. In 2012, he took on the dual role of vice president parts sales and corporate accounts.

“I continued working to grow the parts side while also developing our plan to move into the public sector commuter business,” Forbes said.

In 2016, Forbes moved to coach sales where he was responsible for seated coach and public sector as vice president of new coach sales.

“In the last year, Forbes shifted his focus to key corporate accounts, during which time he also began the process of passing the torch to Prevost newcomer Brad Wiese,” said the company.

“I mentored Brad, our new sales vice president, during the past year in preparation for my retirement,” Forbes said. “He is up to speed and ready for the tasks at hand.”

“We are grateful for the hard work, accomplishments and upbeat attitude Jack brought to Prevost,” said Francois Tremblay, Prevost general manager. “He leaves big shoes to fill, and we wish him the absolute best in his retirement.”

“I am extremely proud of the long-term relationships I’ve built with customers and bus industry associates over the years,” said Forbes. “Many go back almost 40 years, and much more than just business — they are friendships. I am proud of the reputation I have built as a resource who gets the job done, is always transparent and likes to have fun when the time is right.”

Forbes said he is looking forward to attending the 2021 UMA EXPO in Orlando before he officially becomes a retiree.

Agency News

Western Planner’s Citizen Planner Award Presented To RTC’s (Las Vegas) Andrew Kjellman

Andrew Kjellman

The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC—Las Vegas) announced Andrew Kjellman, transportation planning manager, received the Western Planner’s Citizen Planner Award for rising above the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and leading his team to complete the 30-year Regional Transportation Plan for Southern Nevada, or Access 2050.

Every year, the planning organization recognizes professionals who embody the principles of planning, and are leaders in the industry.

As the Metropolitan Planning Organization for Southern Nevada, the RTC is required to update its long range Regional Transportation Plan every four years. A critical component of that update is community input and feedback on long-term transportation projects that will impact the entire valley.

In light of the pandemic, and the limits that were placed on in-person engagement, extra efforts were made to develop a user-friendly website with a digital survey, a detailed video explaining the key components of the plan and significant projects and heavy social media outreach. The response was unprecedented for this plan. Under Kjellman’s direction, the RTC reached more than 20,000 individuals, resulting in thousands of social media comments, and nearly 500 survey responses.

Metro's (Los Angeles Co.) Fareless System Initiative

Metro is studying how it may eliminate fares on its buses and trains.

“Metro’s Fareless System Initiative study is underway and a leading concept has emerged — a fareless pilot program that would provide free rides on Metro buses and rail service for low-income riders and K-12 students starting in January 2022.

“We will make presentations at local Service Council meetings where the public can learn more about this concept and provide feedback. Metro’s local Service Councils advise on planning and implementation of Metro services. The meetings also are an opportunity for participants to ask questions and provide input,” according to Metro.

GO Riteway Recently Opens West Bend (WI) Location

Pictured left to right, are: Jan Murray-GO Riteway director of Shuttle operations;
Steve Schmelling,West Bend fleet manager; Christophe E. Jenkins, West Bend mayor;
Jay Shambeau, West Bend city administrator; and Ron Bast, GO Riteway chairman.

As a result of GO Riteway Transportation Group operating the city of West Bend Shared-Ride Taxi service, the company has opened a new West Bend, WI, location. GO Riteway ownership, management and city of West Bend officials recently participated in a ribbon-cutting.

The curb-to-curb, demand-responsive, advance reservation shared-ride service is available to West Bend residents seven days a week, using a combination of vans and minibuses. The fare- based program provides transit services throughout the West Bend city limits.

The five-year partnership is the product of an internal West Bend committee reviewing proposals. It was decided GO Riteway Transportation Group offered the most cost-effective and thorough services. The agreement with GO Riteway started January 1, 2021 and run through 2025.

GO Riteway Transportation Group’s origin as a ground transportation company began over 60 years ago when Rollie and Pearl Bast founded Riteway Bus Service, Inc. with four school buses in the newly created Germantown School District. Now, into the third generation of family leadership, GO Riteway continues to expand and provides transportation for business travelers, tourists, students and local residents. For more information, visit www.goriteway.com.

SanUVAire’s 360™ Provides Continuous Inactivation Of Harmful Pathogens

SanUVAire 360™, the leader in air quality solutions for the public transportation industry, launches the latest addition to its product line. SanUVAire 360™ is not just a product, it is a portfolio suite tailored to your needs, with a plan to protect against harmful pathogens in the new age of pandemics, to detect by continuous monitoring, to respond with state-of-the-art comprehensive technological coverage, and to recover fully and effectively with the greatest return on investment.

The SanUVAire 360™ portfolio suite implemented into any public transport vehicle, whether a bus, train, ship, or airplane provides CONTINUOUS INACTIVATION of harmful pathogens, while maintaining a chemical and ozone free compartment, all without the need for reapplication.

Air is the most important environmental element we rely on every moment to survive, including, and especially, in spaces where the public congregates for daily routine needs such as traveling to and from work on a bus or rail car. This necessity has created a familiar, common place inside vehicle cabins where occupants want to feel safe. Under the direction of SanUVAire’s CEO, innovator Chad Sleiman, SanUVAire has launched the most comprehensive product portfolio to create continuous inactivation of harmful pathogens in the air and on surfaces within the confines of public transport compartments.

Since the onset of the current worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, public transportation and other marketplaces have been inundated with pop-up products claiming to provide safe air and sanitized surfaces. New and veteran companies alike have fleetingly rolled out product without sufficient testing and accreditation. Many tout claims without having any expertise in air purification, surface sanitation, UVGI technology, or transit applications, but rely on company history and name to promote product. SanUVAire, however, specializes in air quality and UVGI technology, and has over 60 years of combined expertise, engineering efforts, and talent. The launch of the SanUVAire 360™ system is the result of those many years of research and development prior to the current pandemic, not as a result of the pandemic, and is a testament to SanUVAire’s expertise in UVGI technology, its solutions, and its target public transportation market.

The SanUVAire 360™ introduces the plan first, to protect, detect, then to respond and recover. It is a full circle, 360-degree approach to air quality with a derivative methodology to surfaces. The plan is founded on UVGI technology principles, an all-angle implementation, and includes air purification, coil disinfection, surface sterilization, air filtration, and air quality monitoring. Not only is the approach all-encompassing, but it is provided by a company focused on air quality with a tried, tested and accredited UVGI product line. No other company provides this complete and comprehensive approach with the expertise that SanUVAire offers.

SanUVAire 360™ is the only portfolio suite on the market TO PROVIDE CONTINUOUS INACTIVATION of harmful pathogens, including COVID-19, without the need for any reapplication, while providing a chemical and ozone free environment. To breathe safe and breathe clean, to build the greatest and safest protection against harmful pathogens, SanUVAire 360™ is the only unmatched line of attack. Visit SanUVAire.com.

Air is Life, SanUV 'Air'e for Better Life.

Information provided by SanUVAire.

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