Busline News May 2020
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Over 600 motorcoaches, traveling from throughout the country, participated in the "Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness” rally in Washington, D.C. The event took place May 13.
By Harrell Kerkhoff,
Busline Magazine Editor
Private and public operators of buses and motorcoaches continue to look for help and answers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Problems with decreased ridership and revenue linger, due in part, to canceled events and social distancing practices.
One major objective is to get the word out that bus/motorcoach transportation is a vital service. To make that point, hundreds of motorcoaches, representing every part of the contiguous United States, participated in the “Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness” rally. The event took place in Washington, D.C., on May 13, and included member operators — and their coaches — from both the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) and the American Bus Association (ABA).
According to both UMA and ABA, the event was designed to “showcase how our big buses and small businesses move America. Buses were decorated with informative signs about our industry and the groups we carry, the economic impact we have and the people we employ.”
UMA Interim President/CEO Larry Killingsworth said, during the May 7 UMA online town hall meeting held several days prior to the rally, “Our message (during the event), from all over the country, will be our size, our unity and our diversity.”
“Our 'ask' is simple,” UMA Board Chairperson Jeff Polzien, of Kincaid Coach Lines - Red Carpet Charters Division, Oklahoma City, OK, added, in a joint UMA/ABA press release about the rally. “The U.S motorcoach industry is requesting Congress put motorcoaches back on the road by making available $10 billion in grants for operational and payroll assistance, and $5 billion in long-term zero percent interest rate loans to the industry, and ensuring these monies are available immediately and are easily accessible. Our businesses need a lifeline, so we can be there when the country needs us next.”
“The current economic remedies available to small businesses don’t address sectors like ours that will take much longer to recover from the current crisis. Airlines, Amtrak and transits have received more than $75 billion to prop up those industries,” ABA President/CEO Peter Pantuso added. “Of the 3,000 bus and motorcoach companies in the United States, 90 percent are small, family-owned businesses that have had to close their companies during the COVID-19 crisis. By having to shut their doors while no one is traveling, nearly 100,000 employees, which include drivers, cleaners, maintenance and repair, administrative and safety personnel, are now without incomes.”
According to the UMA/ABA release, vehicles that took part in the “Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness” rally shared several messages that underscore the many ways the industry helps move America. That includes:
• Serving as military transports across the nation for troops in all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces;
• Evacuations of Americans from wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes and floods;
• Connecting people to jobs with commuters and employee shuttles;
• Connecting rural America to urban centers and to other modes of transportation;
• Providing school transportation as well as sports and educational trips; and,
• Reducing congestion by taking 36 cars off the road for each coach.
Supporters were in full force during the "Motorcoaches Rolling for
Awareness” rally in Washington, D.C.
LETTERS FOR CONGRESS
UMA and ABA have also joined forces in asking members of Congress for additional help for private operators through a recent joint letter writing campaign. That has involved hundreds of members of the two associations, outlining the critical needs of the motorcoach industry.
According to UMA and ABA in their latest correspondence to Congress, “Serving nearly every community, the motorcoach industry is woven into the fabric of our nation’s transportation system. The motorcoach industry’s 3,000 companies provide nearly 600 million passenger trips annually, and contribute $101 billion in direct economic impact to the nation’s economy.
“The industry has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly all motorcoaches, drivers and support employees sitting idle. It is imperative that this important industry receive specific relief outlined in the joint letter so we may survive and continue to provide the transportation communities rely on, as well as serving active military, National Guard and Federal Emergency Management Administration evacuations.
“Briefly summarizing, the industry seeks:
• A $10 billion Payroll Grant Program by adding ‘over-the-road bus carriers’ to the airline payroll grant program in the CARES Act;
• A $5 billion Loan Guaranteed Fund, subject to the same provisions as airline carriers eligible for loans; and,
• Changes to the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, including continued funding for those programs; amending the PPP affiliation provisions to reflect the diverse operations of motorcoach companies; adjusting the payroll requirement for PPP loan forgiveness to 50 percent; extending PPP forgiveness provisions beyond eight weeks and permitting up to three additional loans, providing each prior loan was spent in the manner prescribed; and adding the same forgiveness provisions to the EIDL as contained in the PPP.
“Thank you for the assistance Congress has provided thus far. Unfortunately, our industry shares similar fates with the airlines, public transit and Amtrak — it will take some time for our industry, so vital to the public, to recover.”
APTA ASKS FOR ADDITIONAL
FUNDING DUE TO PANDEMIC
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) recently urged Congress and the Administration to provide $23.8 billion in additional emergency funding to help public transit agencies, across the country, continue to provide essential services.
According to an APTA release, the additional COVID-19 funding will enable agencies to continue to provide a critical lifeline to essential workers and help communities rebuild the economy. The release stated that the public transportation industry has significantly experienced increased costs and dramatic revenue losses due to COVID-19.
“An independent, economic analysis by EBP US, Inc. determined a $23.8 billion funding shortfall through the end of 2021, in addition to the $25 billion allocated for public transportation in the CARES Act,” APTA said.
“The $25 billion that was earlier provided by the CARES Act was a lifesaver for public transit services, but we now have a more complete picture of the extraordinary and devastating impact (from the pandemic),” APTA President & CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said. “Those additional funds are critical to continue serving essential workers, and to make sure we can help get our country back to work and to other activities that are so important for our economic recovery.”
The APTA release added that COVID-19 has significantly increased public transit operating costs and slashed state and local sources of transit funding, including agency farebox, parking and other revenue; dedicated sales tax, gas tax, and other state and local tax revenues; and state and local funding. For instance, with stay-at-home orders and fare-free services for essential riders, transit fare revenue has dropped 86 percent over the past month.
“The EBP US, Inc. economic report also showed that decreased investment in public transit doesn’t just impact systems, but would also cost the country 37,000 construction jobs in 2020 and 34,000 construction jobs in 2021,” according to APTA. “In addition to this immediate need for emergency funding, APTA urges Congress and the Administration to continue to press forward on the Surface Transportation Authorization bill. APTA believes a long-term authorization bill is critical to jump-start construction of public transit projects, and help our communities and nation recover from the economic fallout of the pandemic.”
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 February 2020 indicated vehicle imports were down in five categories outlined, compared to February 2019. For the first two months of 2020, vehicles imports were up in six categories, compared to the first two months of 2019.
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 184 vehicles in February 2020, down 10 percent from 205 vehicles imported in February 2019. For the first two months of 2020, the United States imported 423 vehicles, up 17 percent from 362 vehicles for the first two months of 2019.
Canada sent 295 vehicles to the United States during the first two months of 2020.
The average price per vehicle for February 2020 was $320,173.32, down 18 percent from the average price for February 2019 of $391,257.20. The average price per vehicle for the first two months of 2020 was $315,291.11, down 18 percent from $386,026.98 for the first two months of 2019.
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 in February 2020, compared to 72 in February 2019. For the first two months of 2020, the United States imported 98 vehicles, down 56 percent from 225 for the first two months of 2019.
The United States imported 94 vehicles from Germany during the first two months of 2020.
The average price of the vehicles for February 2020 was $33,775.50, down 40 percent from $56,464.89 for February 2019. The average price per vehicle for the first two months of 2020 was $49,572.79, up 7 percent from $46,354.52 for the first two months of 2019.
Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Comp-Ign Internal Combustion Piston Engine (Diesel Or Semi-Diesel), And Electric Motor Designed For Transport Of 16 Or More Persons
The United States imported 34 vehicles in this category during February 2020, compared to one for February 2019. During the first two months of 2020, 59 vehicles were imported, compared to one for 2019.
All the vehicles were imported from Canada, during the first two months of 2020.
The average price per vehicle for February 2020 was $259,125.47, up 1 percent from $257,731 for February 2019. The average price for the first two months of 2020 was 255,446.47, down 1 percent from $257,731 for the first two months of 2019.
Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Spark Ignition Internal Combustion Piston Engine And Electric Motor For 16 Or More Persons
The United States imported two vehicles in this category during February 2020, at an average price of $170,798.50. No vehicles in this category were received in February 2019. Three vehicles were imported during the first two months of 2020, up 50 percent from two vehicles for the first two months of 2019.
The average price per vehicle for the first two months of 2020 was $221,611.33, compared to $15,200 for the first two months of 2019.
Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Both Spark Ignition Internal Combustion Piston Engine and Electric Motor for 10 to 15 Persons
The United States imported no vehicles in this category during February 2020 or the first two months of 2019. One vehicle was imported during the first two months of 2020, at a price of $8,357.
Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Electric Motor Only, For Transport Of 16 Or More Persons Including Driver
The United States imported 12 vehicles during February 2020, down 67 percent from 36 vehicles for February 2019. During the first two months of 2020, 30 vehicles were received, down 30 percent from 43 vehicles for the first two months of 2019.
China shipped 17 vehicles during the first two months of 2020, while Canada sent 12 vehicles.
The average price per vehicle for February 2020 was $41,500, up 70 percent from $24,421.50 for February 2019. The average price for the first two months of 2020 was $53,032.53, up 7 percent from $49,422.65 for the first two months of 2019.
Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles, With Electric Motor Only For Propulsion, NESOI
The United States imported five vehicles during February 2020, down 38 percent from eight vehicles for February 2019. During the first two months of 2020, 22 vehicles were imported, up 47 percent from 15 vehicles for the first two months of 2019.
China sent all of the vehicles during the first two months of 2020.
The average price per vehicle for February 2020 was $9,647.80, up 8 percent from $8,898.38 for February 2019. The average price per vehicle for the first two months of 2020 was $11,907.41, up 44 percent from $8,241 for the first two months of 2019.
Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles For 16 Or More Persons Including Driver, NESOI
The United States imported 178 vehicles during February 2020, up 141 percent from 74 vehicles for February 2019. During the first two months of 2020, 265 vehicles were received, up 98 percent from 134 vehicles for the first two months of 2019.
Canada sent 263 vehicles to the United States during the first two months of 2020.
The average price per vehicle for February 2020 was $90,671.16, up 60 percent from $56,682.91 for February 2019. The average price for the first two months of 2020 was $106,659.64, up 74 percent from $61,374.82 for the first two months of 2019.
Motor Vehicles For The Transport Of 10 To 15 Persons Including Driver, NESOI
The United States imported 39 vehicles during February 2020, down 71 percent from 136 vehicles for February 2019. During the first two months of 2020, 134 vehicles were received, down 30 percent from 191 vehicles for the first two months of 2019.
Canada sent 66 vehicles to the United States during the first two months of 2020, while Germany exported 56.
The average price per vehicle for February 2020 was $43,292.74, down 6 percent from $46,268.22 for February 2019. The average price for the first two months of 2020 was $44,383.07, down 2 percent from $45,480.13 for the first two months of 2019.
Export totals for February 2020 were up in three categories, compared to February 2019. For the first two months of 2020, three categories also reported increases.
Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With A Compression-Ignition Internal Combustion Piston Engine (Diesel Or Semi-Diesel) Only
The United States exported 632 vehicles during February 2020, up 45 percent from 436 vehicles exported in February 2019. During the first two months of 2020, 964 vehicles were sent, up 21 percent from 799 vehicles for the first two months of 2019.
Canada received 426 vehicles during the first two months of 2020, while Mexico imported 364.
The average price per vehicle for February 2020 was $51,755.96, down 21 percent from the average price for February 2019 of $65,605.06. The average price for the first two months of 2020 was $50,284.03, down 20 percent from $62,495.51 for the first two months of 2019.
Public-Transport Vehicles With Both Compression-Ignition Internal Combustion Piston Engine (Diesel Or Semi-Diesel) & Electric Motor
The United States shipped 11 vehicles in February 2020, compared to 222 vehicles for February 2019. During the first two months of 2020, 36 vehicles were exported, compared to 504 for the first two months of 2019.
Mexico received 14 vehicles during the first two months of 2020.
The average price per vehicle for February 2020 was $16,802.63, down 38 percent from the average price for February 2019 of $27,100.81. The average price for the first two months of 2020 was $9,380.67, down 66 percent from $27,840.18 for the first two months of 2019.
Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Both Spark Ignition Internal Combustion Piston Engine & Electric Motor
The United States exported 191 vehicles in February 2020, compared to 23 vehicles for February 2019. During the first two months of 2020, 211 vehicles were shipped, compared to 42 vehicles for the first two months of 2019.
Mexico received 179 vehicles during the first two months 2020.
The average price per vehicle for February 2020 was $27,657.67, up 44 percent from the average price for February 2019 of $19,167.04. The average price for the first two months of 2020 was $28,856.04, up 35 percent from $21,446.54 for the first two months of 2019.
Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Only Electric Motor For Propulsion
The United States shipped 122 vehicles in February 2020, at an average price of $66,383.51. No vehicles were exported during February 2019. During the first two months of 2020, 226 vehicles were exported, compared to two for the first two months of 2019.
Canada received 221 vehicles during the first two months of 2020
The average price per vehicle for the first two months of 2020 was $52,874.68, up 75 percent from $30,203.50 for the first two months of 2019.
Click on statistics to open .pdf file
MTS CEO Paul Jablonski
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has announced the death of its Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski, who died suddenly Sunday, May 10. He was 67 years old.
His career in transit spanned more than 40 years; the last 16 years were at MTS.
He is survived by his wife, four children and his grandchildren.
“We are shocked and saddened about the passing of Paul,” said MTS Board Chair Nathan Fletcher. “He was a good man who not only ran a great agency, but was a respected national transit industry leader. The entire MTS family is grieving right now, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Paul’s family.”
To honor his life and legacy, the agency held a procession of 40 MTS buses through downtown San Diego.
The bus procession paused briefly for a traditional trolley three-horn salute.
The MTS board of directors unanimously appointed former Deputy CEO/Chief of Staff Sharon Cooney to take over as chief executive officer for the agency. Cooney is the first woman CEO in the history of the organization.
ABC Delivers 20 New Van Hool CX45 Coaches To ECHO AFC Transportation
Expanding his fleet with new equipment models is key to market success for Texas ground transportation provider and longtime ABC customer, John Ferrari, president/CEO of ECHO AFC Transportation, headquartered in Houston, TX. The company recently took delivery of 20 new Van Hool coaches over a 2-month period.
The new Van Hool CX45 coaches have been built to customer specifications designed to reflect ECHO AFC Transportation’s luxury brand image and reputation.
Ferrari attributes fleet revitalization as a major factor in the company’s growth and brand building efforts.
“Catering to our customers’ preferences influences the way we spec our equipment, and the feedback has been exceptional about the sleek and spacious cabin look on these new coaches,” said Ferrari.
The coaches feature ECHO AFC Transportation’s custom black on black reflective graphics and paint scheme, with a range of interiors – some with leather insert seating and modified parcel racks, some with contoured parcel racks, and others with wheelchair lifts. All coaches were ordered with available advanced driver assistance systems including adaptive cruise control and collision mitigation systems.
In addition to style, comfort and digital amenities, the 2020 Van Hool coaches also integrate a reengineered driver’s area.
“Drivers love the new look and feel of the dashboard,” said Ferrari.
According to ABC, “People First, Safety Driven" is the company mantra. The new 2020 models integrate ABC’s RECON (Readiness for Emergency CONditions) options and feature 360 exterior view cameras that give drivers a complete view around the vehicle, and capture incidents, providing accurate data about driver behaviors. Also, driver alerts and collision mitigation systems utilize the CX45’s new user-friendly digital dash to provide in-dash driver alerts for safe following distances, forward collision warning alerts, and more. ECHO AFC Transportation also upgraded the onboard entertainment system to enable customized safety messages which provide date and time log verification of announcements. And, ABC’s new Immersive Ambient Lighting System, featuring 12 selectable colors that can bathe the coach interior in programmable lighting schemes, adds dramatic lighting to these new coaches.
“ABC offers a full suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems through its optional RECON packages. RECON options can help increase driver awareness with driver alert displays that detect and warn drivers of potential risks. Available options include: 360 Exterior View Camera System; Side View Cameras; Driver Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control; Mobileye Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Forward Collision Warning (FCS), pedestrian & cyclist detection and over-speed warnings.”
A variety of other “smart-enabled” features are also available from ABC this year. From bolt on systems that offer adjunct auxiliary power and more visibility into fleet operations, to its asset management tool – ABC Connect, the company is focused on a number of new technology offerings in 2020.
ABC also supports customers with a comprehensive after sale service network for service and repairs, collision services, extensive OEM and quality aftermarket parts needs for transit, motorcoach and heavy-duty equipment from 10 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit abc-companies.com.
Stertil-Koni Launches Heavy-Duty Shop Equipment Initiative
Stertil-Koni Transmission Jack
makes repairs safe and efficient.
Stertil-Koni has launched a new Shop Equipment initiative that substantially broadens the company’s product offerings in support of large-scale vehicle service and repair facilities across the U.S. and Canada.
Making the announcement, Stertil-Koni President Dr. Jean DellAmore said, “Serving municipalities, state agencies, corporate fleets, the U.S. military and other sectors – our customers are increasingly turning to Stertil-Koni to address an even greater range of maintenance needs.
“That is precisely why we are expanding our efforts to engineer and deliver world-class heavy duty Shop Equipment that can be used in conjunction with our lifting systems – all designed to boost SKWD-500 with wheel safety, efficiency and productivity for the technician on the shop floor. It is a mission-critical task, and Stertil-Koni is more than ready to make a major contribution in this area.”
Support Stands provide an added level of convenience and safety.
Stertil-Koni’s products include the latest in transmission jacks, wheel dollies, specialty platforms, pit jacks, waste oil containment, heavy duty air-over hydraulic jacks and more.
Carl Boyer, shop equipment specialist for Stertil-Koni, who is spearheading the initiative, said, “Beyond our established equipment offerings, we are also focusing on broadening our product range to include engineered applications, uniquely designed for larger customers and OEMs.”
Wheel repairs are safe,
quick, and ergonomic with
a heavy-duty wheel dolly.
DellAmore said, “The Stertil-Koni product range will offer everything a shop needs to safely and effectively accomplish a broad range of maintenance and servicing requirements quickly, efficiently and most importantly, safely. What’s more, our customers are fully supported by an unparalleled level of after-sales service from our factory-trained local distributors – each of whom has deep product knowledge coupled with a ‘let’s get-it-done now’ approach.”
Stertil-Koni's products meet all ranges of lifting needs and include portable lifts such as Mobile Column Lifts, 2-post, 4-post, inground piston lifts, platform lifts, and its axle-engaging, inground, scissor lift configuration, ECOLIFT. The company’s inground telescopic piston DIAMONDLIFT is now available with an optional Continuous Recess system, for low clearance vehicles.
Stertil-Koni USA is headquartered in Stevensville, MD, with production facilities in Europe, The Netherlands, and Streator, IL.
Clear Vinyl Curtains
RTA Ups Safety Measures For Operators/Customers
The Greater Cleveland (OH) Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has begun installing clear vinyl curtains in all RTA buses and paratransit vehicles to provide a protective barrier between operators and customers.
The barriers are made of optically clear, marine-grade vinyl, and are custom cut to provide a secure enclosure that extends from the back of the bus operator’s seat to the front windshield and from ceiling to floor, between the seat and the fare box. Double-sided Velcro is being used to position the vinyl in place.
“This barrier will serve to protect both operators and customers from any transfer of droplets and offers an added layer of protection for everyone while on board,” said RTA Chief Operating Officer Floun’say Caver. Visit riderta.com.
BYD Rolls Out Zero-Emission Bus For Toronto Transit Commission
BYD (Build Your Dreams) has delivered its first two zero-emission, battery-electric buses to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), the largest transit operator in Canada, and the third largest transit operator in North America. The bus is part of a total order by the TTC for 10 BYD 40-foot K9M buses.
The delivery was a milestone for BYD, as the vehicles were the first to undergo final assembly by BYD at its 45,000-square-foot facility in Newmarket, Ontario, that is the first new electric bus plant to open in the province in a generation.
The order represents a significant advance toward TTC’s goal of purchasing all emission-free buses beginning in 2025 and completing a fleet conversion by 2040. Each of these new buses will remove approximately 9 metric tons of nitrogen oxides, 159 kilograms of diesel particulate matter, and approximately 1,530 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere over the 12-year lifecycle of the vehicle, according to BYD.
“We are excited to put BYD’s first bus from our Newmarket facility into service in Toronto,” BYD President Stella Li said.
“This is really the first step in what we hope will be a long-lasting relationship,” BYD Canada Vice President Ted Dowling said. “TTC’s commitment to the health and well-being of Toronto pairs well with our commitments to technology and innovation.”
For more information, visit BYD.com.
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