Busline News July 2020
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By Harrell Kerkhoff,
Busline Magazine Editor
Bus/motorcoach company representatives across North America are playing the waiting game for when business returns to some type of normalcy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this uncertain, unprecedented and unwelcomed downtime, many operators are not only building their individual company’s brand awareness, but helping as well with community needs and programs.
Three well-established operators spoke on brand awareness and community involvement during a recent United Motorcoach Association (UMA) online town hall meeting. The panelists were: Clarence Cox III, of Georgia Coach Lines, Fayetteville, GA; Brian Scott, of ESCOT Bus Lines, Orlando, FL; and, Cary Martin, of Little Rock Coaches, Little Rock, AR.
Hosting the town hall meeting and asking questions directed at the three panelists were UMA Interim President & CEO Larry Killingsworth and UMA Vice President of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs & Industry Relations/COO Ken Presley.
“Business owners will often hear of good ideas related to running a company, but then feel they don’t have the time to follow through on those ideas,” Presley said. “During this slow period in business for many, however, they may now have more time to explore new ways to promote their companies and the overall industry.”
He added that, over the years, the three operators on the panel have also spent a lot of time focused on community involvement and service, helping their individual companies become quite active within the communities they serve. In the process, each company has developed greater brand recognition, along with building the image, in a positive way, of the entire bus and motorcoach industry.
CLARENCE COX III,
GEORGIA COACH LINES
Headquartered in Fayetteville, GA, 22 miles south of downtown Atlanta, Georgia Coach Lines (www.georgiacoachlines.net) provides luxury motorcoach transportation for athletic teams, bands, civic organizations, conventions, corporate and religious activities, schools, tour operators, travel agencies, weddings and more.
The company, which started in Atlanta, GA, in 1985, is family-owned and operated. Over the years, its leaders have placed a strong emphasis on community involvement — well before COVID-19.
Prior to retiring from a career in law enforcement, Georgia Coach Lines President/CEO Clarence Cox III started the Convoy of Care program. In partnership with the non-profit organization, Caring For Others, participants of Convoy of Care transport essential supplies to people in need, including those devastated by such events as tornadoes and hurricanes. Included in those ‘Convoys’ are drivers and motorcoaches from Georgia Coach Lines. Also involved are other transportation providers, such as bus/motorcoach and trucking companies, as well as members of different law enforcement agencies.
With its participation in Convoy of Care, Cox said his company is not only giving back to others in surrounding communities and states, but in the process, receives positive recognition. Often, Convoy of Care activities are covered by local TV stations and in the press.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Georgia Coach Lines has also been involved in delivering N95 masks, gloves, hand wipes (as well as fresh vegetables and fruit) to senior citizens, and other people, who would normally have had to stay inside due to the pandemic.
“They were very happy to get those items and be able to go out in the public. I am a big proponent of trying to serve those who can’t serve themselves. Those are people who really appreciate the help,” Cox said. “At Georgia Coach Lines, we try to follow through on our passion of giving back to those less fortunate. It’s more than just gaining exposure for our company. The focus on our efforts is true benevolence.
“To be honest, one of the things that has helped me get through the COVID-19 situation is being able to participate in such programs as Convoy of Care. That includes the delivery of food, such as fruits and vegetables, to people in need; and delivering fans for those who do not have air conditioning.”
Cox added that many of his company’s employees also find it very rewarding to help those in need.
“They love it, and get a good feeling when participating,” he said.
During COVID-19, and the subsequent slowing down of bus and motorcoach activity, Cox has also been active in contacting and communicating with various political figures, making sure they know about the different challenges facing the industry.
“I have written our (Georgia) governor and members of the state legislature about our industry’s situation. At first, I received a lot of ‘canned’ letters, so I started calling offices and asking for meetings. I was often told that due to COVID-19, there were no face-to-face meetings taking place. I persisted, telling them I could meet via Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting — however they wanted to meet online,” Cox said. “Since then, I have been a part of many great meetings with political figures. That includes a recent meeting with the governor’s office, involving several other (bus/motorcoach) operators.”
Topics discussed at those meetings have included how the industry provides needed transportation for people of lower economic status, as well as victims of natural disasters, such as hurricanes.
ESCOT BUS LINES
Family-owned and operated since 1983, ESCOT Bus Lines (www.escotbuslines.com) operates from several Florida locations to service a wide variety of clients. Not only does the company offer charter work, but also shuttle services to and from airports, the Daytona (FL) International Speedway, and the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, in Tampa, FL.
ESCOT Bus Lines President Brian Scott is very willing to serve on various transportation-related committees and boards — all in an effort to help his community, his business and the bus and motorcoach industry grow. He is a past board member of both UMA and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA-St. Petersburg, FL).
“I started doing something real simple around 2010 by attending my local transit authority meeting every month. When attending such public meetings on a regular basis, it’s easy to think you will not get noticed in the crowd, but you will. Eventually, I ended up serving on my local transit board (PSTA) for six years,” Scott said. “I have now either served on, or am currently a member of, several local boards and committees. That has included citizen advisory, safer streets, and finance and performance management committees.
“As an owner of a company, I believe it’s my responsibility to lead by example, and encourage employees to follow my lead when it comes to community involvement. It’s also important to remember that when you get involved, you get noticed. It’s a good way to meet people of authority and influence. They become familiar with who you are, and what you do. Such participation also allows you to help structure, and lead, the transportation conversation within your community.”
One of the key drivers for Scott when becoming more involved in community events, committees and boards was an appreciation for what his community has done for him, his family, his company and his employees over the years.
“I have looked at my community involvement as a way to ‘pay it forward,’ with the side benefit that it gives my company added visibility,” Scott said. “It’s often difficult to quantify the results of such efforts. It’s similar to marketing. If you put your company’s name on an outfield sign at a local baseball field, what does that get you in terms of sales at the end of the day? You many never really know.
“Through time, however, you may pick up business due to something you, or your company, has done. It can take a long time for those things to pay off. It’s not something you start today and expect immediate results. It may come years down the road.”
Scott noted there is one big advantage for bus and motorcoach operators who follow the activities and/or serve on local government and public transit boards — they can learn about large transportation-related projects coming down the pike.
“Many big projects are in the discussion phase for years, or even a decade, before they actually happen,” Scott said. “For example, President Trump just approved a multi-million dollar BRT project for downtown St. Petersburg, FL. That project was discussed the entire six years that I was on the PSTA board, and I haven’t been on that board for two years. The project may not start for another two years.
“If you (as a bus/motorcoach operator) can get plugged-in at the beginning of those conversations, you never know when an opportunity is going to come up for your company.”
He added: “Our industry is an enigma to a large percentage of the general public. Many people have only ridden buses/motorcoaches on a few occasions, and don’t really think about our industry the rest of the time. Therefore, trying to tell the world who we are, as an industry, and the valuable services we provide, is often challenging. However, the more you do as a company, and as an industry representative, the more you will meet people and experience greater networking opportunities. That allows you to share more about your company and industry. Also, when you participate on a committee or a board, you are often with other business and community leaders. That has great value, too.
“I will provide a great example. There are about 20 members of the Citizens Advisory Committee for Forward Pinellas (Pinellas County, FL). Every one of them is a business leader in the community. They can have input on every single transportation infrastructure project that is coming down the line. It doesn’t matter if it’s about transit, a new toll facility, bridge replacement or road redesign — they can provide input. As a transportation provider, participation in such as committee can offer great opportunities to meet people and add input.”
Scott also recommended that bus and motorcoach operators become active within their political party of choice. That can lead to greater access to political leaders at the local, state and national levels.
“It is within those settings that you can better educate elected officials about what you do — as a company and as an industry — including all of the valuable services that both provide,” Scott said.
Serving the local community in other ways is also important for Scott and ESCOT Bus Lines.
“This year alone, we participated in a Goodwill Ambassador Program, where we hosted an event at our Largo, FL, facility. In April, when the COVID-19 shutdown was really hitting people hard, we also partnered with a local church for a successful food drive, similar to what Clarence (Cox) has done,” Scott said. “Looking ahead, our company plans to participate in a back-to-school program in August, picking up supplies and delivering them to schools in three counties. ESCOT Bus Lines will also take part in a local children’s toy drive in December.”
LITTLE ROCK COACHES
Community involvement takes many forms at Little Rock Coaches (www.littlerockcoaches.com), located in the state capital city of Little Rock, AR. Such collaboration with area residents and organizations helps the company become better known within its primary service region, and beyond.
“We are fortunate to have employees who are also community-oriented,” Little Rock Coaches President Cary Martin said. “I had a list of what programs our company participated in during the past, but when I started to ask employees if there was anything else they had participated in, for the community, I was blown away. They were part of many other activities. They are really community-minded.”
As a company, Little Rock Coaches offers free transportation for several annual church camps. The company also participates in an annual block party, along with other local businesses. And, employees at Little Rock Coaches volunteered their time, a few months ago, to cook for a local Ronald McDonald House.
“It was really great to see our staff come together for that project. They had roast beef in Crockpots, took them to the Ronald McDonald House, took part in the cooking and became acquainted with various people associated with the project,” Martin said. “I have always found you do get a lot more out of such projects, as a person, than you will ever put in. Word also spreads quickly, and people look kindly, on the employees and companies involved with such efforts.
“As a person gets busy, it’s easy to just say ‘no’ when asked to help with a cause. It’s often hard to know how much time and effort something will take, and there is always a question of how much it will cost. However, I have found the reward can be great if you just say ‘yes,’ and figure out the other stuff later. It usually pays of in the long run. It helps to be surrounded by great people, and we do have a great team at Little Rock Coaches.”
Properly responding to changing situations can also lead to new areas of business for a company. A prime example is the recent effort of Little Rock Coaches to enter the sanitation business, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We originally purchased equipment and chemicals to properly sanitize our company’s equipment, and soon received requests from people wanting their own vehicles and facilities sanitized. Thus, a new venture was born,” Martin said. “It’s been pretty busy. As companies are reopening and bringing employees back, they are wanting their facilities sanitized. We are sanitizing churches, production facilities, homes and personal vehicles. We even sanitized a local 35,000-square-foot TV station.”
Martin also discussed the success and importance of the “Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness” rally, which took place in Washington, D.C., on May 13. He noted it was great to see various bus and motorcoach company representatives, from throughout the country, not only participating but also discussing the needs of their individual businesses, due to the pandemic.
He added that if such an event takes place again, it would also be good if more people who depend on the industry — as customers and passengers — take part and discuss the value of bus and motorcoach travel. For example, people (other than bus and motorcoach company representatives) who are involved with military transports or multi-day school field trips could discuss what they see as the great value of the industry, especially as it pertains to safety and dependability.
“It’s important to let more people know what our entire industry does for our country. Many people in our communities simply don’t realize the services that we, within the bus/motorcoach industry, offer,” Martin said. “It’s therefore essential to find people within a community who have been touched, in a positive way, by what our industry has to offer. It’s good to have them preach our story.”
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 April 2020 indicated vehicle imports were down in six categories outlined, compared to April 2019. For the first four months of 2020, vehicles imports were down in five categories, compared to the first four months of 2019.
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 19 vehicles in April 2020, down 91 percent from 222 vehicles imported in April 2019. For the first four months of 2020, the United States imported 585 vehicles, down 27 percent from 803 vehicles for the first four months of 2019.
Canada sent 413 vehicles to the United States during the first four months of 2020, while Mexico shipped 120 vehicles.
The average price per vehicle for April 2020 was $253,703.53, down 16 percent from $302,132.67 for April 2019. The average price per vehicle for the first four months of 2020 was $302,801.89, down 11 percent from $339,861.47 for the first four months of 2019.
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 one vehicle in April 2020, compared to 133 in April 2019. For the first four months of 2020, the United States imported 102 vehicles, down 79 percent from 479 for the first four months of 2019.
The United States imported 96 vehicles from Germany during the first four months of 2020.
The price of the vehicle for April 2020 was $685,740. The average price per vehicle in April 2019 was $37,849.31. The average price per vehicle for the first four months of 2020 was $61,099.37, up 40 percent from $43,517.68 for the first four months of 2019.
8702203100 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 two vehicles in this category during April 2020, down 97 percent from 68 vehicles for April 2019. During the first four months of 2020, 80 vehicles were imported, down 32 percent from 118 vehicles for 2019.
All the vehicles were imported from Canada, during the first four months of 2020.
The average price per vehicle for April 2020 was $240,184, up 5 percent from $229,396.76 for April 2020. The average price for the first four months of 2020 was $249,881.53, up 3 percent from $241,776.19 for the first four months of 2019.
8702303100 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 no vehicles in this category during April 2020 or April 2019. Three vehicles were imported during the first four months of 2020, up 50 percent from two vehicles for the first four months of 2019.
The average price per vehicle for the first four months of 2020 was $221,611.33, compared to $15,200 for the first four months of 2019.
8702306100 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 April 2020 or April 2019. One vehicle was imported during the first four months of 2020 from the United Kingdom, at a price of $8,357.
8702403100 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Electric Motor Only, For Transport Of 16 Or More Persons Including Driver
The United States imported four vehicles during April 2020, down 95 percent from 79 vehicles for April 2019. During the first four months of 2020, 36 vehicles were received, down 83 percent from 213 vehicles for the first four months of 2019.
China shipped 21 vehicles during the first four months of 2020.
The average price per vehicle for April 2020 was $6,600, down 95 percent from $130,665.37 for April 2019. The average price for the first four months of 2020 was $52,128.50, down 45 percent from $95,020.43 for the first four months of 2019.
8702406100 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles, With Electric Motor Only For Propulsion, NESOI
The United States imported five vehicles during April 2020, up 67 percent from three vehicles for April 2019. During the first four months of 2020, 27 vehicles were imported, up 8 percent from 25 vehicles for the first four months of 2019.
China sent all of the vehicles during the first four months of 2020.
The average price per vehicle for April 2020 was $8,494, up 32 percent from $6,420.33 for April 2019.The average price per vehicle for the first four months of 2020 was $8,494.20, up 32 percent from $7,947.32 for the first four months of 2019.
8702903100 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles For 16 Or More Persons Including Driver, NESOI
The United States imported 42 vehicles during April 2020, down 70 percent from 141 vehicles for April 2019. During the first four months of 2020, 426 vehicles were received, up 4 percent from 408 vehicles for the first four months of 2019.
Canada sent 424 vehicles to the United States during the first four months of 2020.
The average price per vehicle for April 2020 was $93,189.42, up 49 percent from $62,674.26 for April 2019. The average price per vehicle for the first four months of 2020 was $108,124.23, up 77 percent from $61,203.79 for the first four months of 2019.
8702906100 Motor Vehicles For The Transport Of 10 To 15 Persons Including Driver, NESOI
The United States imported 15 vehicles during April 2020, down 79 percent from 71 vehicles for April 2019. During the first four months of 2020, 235 vehicles were received, down 40 percent from 390 vehicles for the first four months of 2019.
Canada sent 122 vehicles to the United States during the first four months of 2020, while Germany exported 99.
The average price per vehicle for April 2020 was $47,515.27, up 5 percent from $45,293.32 for April 2019. The average price per vehicle for the first four months of 2020 was $46,849.53, up 4 percent from $45,026.72 for the first four months of 2019.
Export totals for April 2020 were down in three categories, compared to April 2019. For the first four months of 2020, three categories reported increases.
8702100002 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With A Compression-Ignition Internal Combustion Piston Engine (Diesel Or Semi-Diesel) Only
The United States exported 463 vehicles during April 2020, down 27 percent from 630 vehicles exported in April 2019. During the first four months of 2020, 2,059 vehicles were sent, up 1 percent from 2,030 vehicles for the first four months of 2019.
Canada received 942 vehicles during the first four months of 2020, while Mexico imported 786.
The average price per vehicle for April 2020 was $68,687.51, up 10 percent from 62,302.98 for April 2019. The average price per vehicle for the first four months of 2020 was $57,376.35, down 11 percent from $64,664.64 for the first four months of 2019.
8702200000 Public-Transport Vehicles With Both Compression-Ignition Internal Combustion Piston Engine (Diesel Or Semi-Diesel) & Electric Motor
The United States shipped 23 vehicles in April 2020, down 94 percent from 361 vehicles for April 2019. During the first four months of 2020, 181 vehicles were exported, down 86 percent from 1,327 vehicles for the first four months of 2019.
Canada received 91 vehicles during the first four months of 2020, while Nigeria imported 41 vehicles.
The average price per vehicle for April 2020 was $68,895.52, up 149 percent from the average price for April 2019 of $27,683.46. The average price for the first four months of 2020 was $45,949.45, up 64 percent from $28,073.63 for the first four months of 2019.
8702300000 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Both Spark Ignition Internal Combustion Piston Engine & Electric Motor
The United States exported 24 vehicles in April 2020, down 14 percent from 28 vehicles for April 2019. During the first four months of 2020, 263 vehicles were sent, up 160 percent from 101 vehicles for the first four months of 2019.
Mexico received 188 vehicles during the first four months 2020.
The average price per vehicle for April 2020 was $50,344.75, up 50 percent from the average price for April 2019 of $33,658.86. The average price for the first four months of 2020 was $32,376.65, up 7 percent from $30,284.89 for the first four months of 2019.
8702400000 Public-Transport Type Passenger Motor Vehicles With Only Electric Motor For Propulsion
The United States shipped 324 vehicles in April 2020, compared to 73 for April 2019. During the first four months of 2020, 1,286 vehicles were exported, compared to 81 vehicles for the first four months of 2019.
Canada received 1,268 vehicles during the first four months of 2020.
The average price per vehicle for April 2020 was $27,250.33, down 4 percent from the average price for April 2019 of $28,438.85. The average price per vehicle for the first four months of 2020 was $35,615.93, up 25 percent from $28,414.42 for the first four months of 2019.
Click on statistics to open .pdf file
Peak Rock Capital Affiliate Sells ProFusion
An affiliate of Peak Rock Capital (Peak Rock), a middle-market private equity firm, announced that it has sold ProFusion Industries (ProFusion) to an investor group led by ProFusion management.
Headquartered in Fairlawn, OH, with a manufacturing facility in Marietta, OH, ProFusion is a manufacturer and provider of transit and industrial flooring, protective linings, specialty films and customer compounds.
“ProFusion was formerly the industrial products division of the RJF International Corporation. Following the carve-out of the business in 2014, the company has executed a series of transformational initiatives, including substantial operational improvements, development of new product capabilities, and an expansion of the its go-to-market strategy,” according to a press release.
Robert Strauss, managing director of Peak Rock and former board member of ProFusion, said, “We have been privileged to work closely with the ProFusion team on this investment, and are proud of what the team has collectively accomplished. We wish the new management-led investor group and the company continued success in this next stage of ownership.”
Alex Williamson, CEO of ProFusion, said, “We are thankful for the tremendous support provided by Peak Rock and our board over the last several years. The ProFusion team is energized and highly motivated to continue to provide exceptional quality and service for our key customers and create growth opportunities for our valued employees.”
For more information, visit www.profusionindustries.com.
Ed Clark Becomes Company Chairman;
Tom Bush Named CEO
Pictured, left to right, are Edward Clark and Thomas Bush
American Seating has announced that longtime Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of the Board Edward Clark is moving to the chairman role. President/Chief Operating Officer Thomas Bush has been appointed CEO. Bush has been with American Seating for 29 years and served as the chief financial officer before being named president in 2007.
As chairman, Clark will continue to lead American Seating’s board of directors as president/CEO. Bush will serve on the board, lead the company’s development of short- and long-term strategies, and manage the company’s overall resources and operations.
Clark led a group of private investors to purchase American Seating from Atlanta-based Fuqua, Inc., in 1987, bringing ownership of the long-time Grand Rapids, MI-based company back to the region after several years under Fuqua.
“Founded in 1886 by Grand Rapidians, American Seating always has maintained manufacturing operations in Grand Rapids. Corporate headquarters has been on the same campus on the northwest side of the city for most of the company’s existence,” said the company.
Clark said, “A major reinvestment and renovation of the American Seating campus occurred in 2003. Historic buildings were preserved and repurposed while modern living and working environments were created. The area became known as American Seating Park.
“The development represented a commitment to our employees as well as to our community. Many options were explored, but, after careful consideration, we decided at that time to remain on the west side of Grand Rapids.”
According to a press release, “For nearly 35 years, Clark has been instrumental in keeping the company in West Michigan, and with a UAW union workforce.
“Over the years, American Seating’s architectural environments and transportation seating business lines expanded. In 2017, the company made a strategic decision to divest the architectural environments business and concentrate all resources on transportation. Today, American Seating focuses solely on seating and securement solutions for the transportation industry.”
Bush said, “During his tenure as CEO, Ed has led American Seating with a strong focus on innovation and a commitment to our employees, customers and the city of Grand Rapids. I am proud to succeed him in this role, and we are all grateful for, and proud of his leadership.”
RTA Restores Park-N-Ride Service
The Greater Cleveland (OH) Regional Transit Authority (RTA) said that Park-N-Ride service on all three routes will be restored Monday through Friday at a 30-minute frequency beginning Monday, August 10. Park-N-Ride service was suspended March 24 due to COVID-19, when the majority of downtown office workers began working remotely. The original Park-N-Ride service frequency was approximately every 15 to 30 minutes.
The announcement came at a meeting of the Operational Planning & Infrastructure Committee of the RTA board of trustees, where RTA staff presented additional service and schedule adjustments that will take effect August 9. Those service changes increase frequency on selected bus routes in time for expected increased ridership in the fall.
“We know that our Park-N-Ride customers welcome the news that this service is back up and running,” said RTA Chief Operating Officer Floun’say Caver, Ph.D.
Ready For Recovery
MCI Provides Guidance In Protection Protocols
“Over the past several weeks, MCI’s engineering/field support teams and colleagues from sister company NFI Parts have been meeting with suppliers, talking with customers and serving on industry task force committees. As a result, MCI has been providing guidance, establishing best practices in cleaning, disinfecting, distancing and other protection protocols to share with its customers,” said company representatives.
These efforts have produced the following resources for motor coach operators available on MCI’s website. They include:
NFI Parts™ Clean & Protect Product Guide
NFI Parts™ Clean and Protect Product Guide offers the most requested product for most MCI models with focus on next-level cleanliness and virus-transmission mitigation solutions. The guide consolidates current MCI and NFI Parts options for safe and successful operations organizing them under these four pillars:
✓ Distancing: Products that enable the driver to isolate from passengers and passengers to isolate from one another.
Options include high driver shields as well as partitions to protect drivers.
✓ Disinfecting: Products that kill viruses, bacteria, etc., on hard surfaces and in the air. For example, hard to find fogging systems for maximum disinfecting effectiveness are now available.
✓ Air Quality: Products that reduce unwanted airborne particulates, viruses and bacteria. On MCI coach models, the HVAC system circulates in fresh, outside air every 10 minutes. Air recirculated through an anti-microbial MERV 8 rated filter media removes respiratory droplets and kills pathogens.
✓ PPE: Products that are considered “personal protective equipment” such as face masks and hand sanitizer, along with dispensers are also available from NFI Parts.
Please read NFI Parts’ White Paper guide (found online) on these four pillars.
“One of the things MCI has been doing, in collaboration with NFI Parts, is to help evaluate what is effective against COVID-19, what helps meet CDC guidance, what is available, is it financially and operationally viable and will it inspire passengers to ride,” said Brent Maitland, MCI vice president of pre-owned coach, product planning and marketing. “The NFI Parts team has been working diligently to develop these solutions, advising operators and quickly meeting their demands.”
Maitland points to the increased use of UV-C lights mounted in the HVAC compartment to help kill pathogens and driver barriers available through NFI Parts.
“These can either be installed by the owner, at MCI Service Center locations or on models as they come through the MCI production line,” he said. “Still, the most effective measures are found in CDC’s guidance. Handwashing, distancing, wearing a mask and cleaning common touch barriers—these procedures remain part of the guidance. Our goal is to have products and tools that support operators’ efforts.”
MCI’s New Coach Disinfecting Protocol Checklist
Also Designed For Operator Use
Following coach cleaning and maintenance procedures practiced at MCI Service Centers as well as guidelines from the CDC and Health Canada, MCI has created a comprehensive checklist for keeping motor coaches clean and sanitized in most operating situations, including short movements on lots, pre-trip preparations and end-of-day maintenance.
“We’ve created this list in a template format so operators can edit it for their own use with specific practices required by their own maintenance and driving teams and as a training tool,” said Brent Danielson, MCI director of product planning and sales engineering. “The checklist also provides Clean-In/Clean-Out touchpoints that are now necessary as COVID-19 precautions continue.”
Communicate Cleaning Practices With MCI’s Extreme Clean Commitment Toolkit
Communications are be very important as passengers return. To help operators share their enhanced cleaning practices with customers, MCI has created the Extreme Clean Commitment Toolkit to share information on enhanced cleaning procedures, products and equipment that will optimize passenger and driver protection.
The toolkit offers outreach templates ready to use or customize:
• An enhanced cleaning checklist for website use;
• A sample customer e-blast summarizing enhanced cleaning practices; and,
• A sample press release to promote those practices with local media or on social media.
“These are templates and recommendations customers can use and make their own,” said Maitland. “We’ve made these tools available directly downloadable from our website.”
MCI Webinar: Clean, Disinfect, Protect
For operators wanting additional guidance, MCI Academy – MCI’s training division – has a video replay of its Clean, Disinfect and Protect June 2 webinar, which reviews optimal cleaning practices and the latest advice for customers restarting their fleets.
The video replay is now archived online via the MCI Academy’s Learn Management System (LMS) course code 19.111. If you don’t have an LMS account, email Scott.Crawford@mcicoach.com to register.
For more information, visit MCI at www.mcicoach.com.
BYD Institutes Safety Protocols In Its Electric Vehicle Manufacturing Plant In Los Angeles
BYD (Build Your Dreams), manufacturer of zero-emission vehicles and a major employer in Los Angeles County, CA, announced it has implemented stringent safety protocols and begun a phased reopening of its Lancaster Coach and Bus manufacturing plant. As it reopens, BYD will continue to follow guidelines for safe operations set by California, Los Angeles County, and Lancaster, while ramping up production of all-electric transit buses and motor coaches that meet Buy America standards.
“The health and safety of our employees and our community is our top priority,” said Stella Li, BYD North America president. “The systems we have implemented here will serve to protect our workers and the citizens of our entire community.”
As it reopens, BYD is focused on the safety of its workforce, many of whom are members of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation (SMART) Union, Local 105. The company’s human resources team has adopted an innovative multi-point safety protocol, which includes:
Social Distancing: including markings at all crowd gathering places to facilitate social distancing.
Screening and Monitoring: including non-contact body temperature scanning before anyone can enter the plant.
Disinfection and Sanitation: including regular sanitation of all common areas and touch-prone areas as well as promoting the use of sanitizers.
Prevention and Awareness: including providing and requiring the use of personal protection equipment such as masks and gloves for all employees, and promoting safety awareness through training, posters, and memos.
Promoting Safety Practices At Home For Workers, such as sanitizing personal vehicles, avoiding gatherings and frequent/vigorous hand washing.
BYD has divided its production workforce into shifts, has limited capacity in break areas, and has social distancing markings in gathering spots, including at entry points into the factory.
Following state, county and Lancaster safety guidelines, BYD limited operations at the manufacturing plant in mid-March. Only employees deemed essential, such as those providing service and care to transit agency customers, worked during this period. Although its manufacturing operation was paused, BYD continued to serve Lancaster, Los Angeles County, and its customers through its donation of personal protection equipment to fight the spread of COVID-19.
BYD has donated over $1 million worth of PPE items including masks and sanitizers.
For more information on BYD, visit byd.com.
Trinity Metro Plans Bus Rapid Transit In North Texas
Trinity Metro’s highest ridership area will be pioneering a new service in North Texas – the East Lancaster Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Features are similar to light rail and will provide a faster and more convenient bus service. BRT includes dedicated lanes, stations in the center of the road, and platform ticket validation to speed the boarding process.
The BRT project will be developed as a collaborative effort with the city of Fort Worth, Texas Department of Transportation, North Central Texas Council of Governments, Federal Transit Administration and the Federal Highway Administration.
“This first-of-its-kind partnership in North Texas will bring countless improvements for our residents, including pedestrian safety, faster travel times, and increased frequency of service for all riders in the corridor,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. “Investing in mobility in this corridor will spark an increase in ridership, while also bringing positive attention to the economic opportunities in East Fort Worth.”
The Trinity Metro board of directors authorized the agency to move forward with Simon Engineering & Consulting, Inc. for professional planning and engineering services. The first phase, which will last approximately six months, is for BRT concept development and sketch planning.
Wayne Gensler, vice president and chief operating officer for bus and paratransit, said the location in East Fort Worth is the perfect place for this innovative service.
“The corridor is ideal because of the high ridership, right-of-way availability, and the opportunity to advance urban design integration and implement state-of-the art technology.”
The BRT project also represents an opportunity to incorporate solutions for needs identified in the city of Fort Worth’s pedestrian and bicycle plans to improve multimodal facilities in the corridor.
Trinity Metro is a regional transportation system that provides public transportation to meet the mobility needs in Tarrant County. The agency offers connections throughout the North Central Texas region, annually providing 8 million passenger trips on buses, TEXRail, vanpools and the Trinity Railway Express (TRE), a 34-mile commuter rail line jointly owned and operated with Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART).
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