Team Trailways News


Trailways.com to build more opportunities for operators in 2022

As passengers step up travel in 2022, the team behind Trailways.com has been expanding features on the system’s website to help North American operators boost line-run and charter revenues.

In June 2019, Trailways established Trailways Ticketing & Marketing LLC, DBA “Trailways.com”, naming Alexander Berardi President, and launched the all-new Trailways.com site later that same year. Berardi is supported by a dedicated team responsible for 24/7 monitoring of transactions, customer service and implementing cutting-edge digital marketing strategies.

“The launch of the new website took Trailways in a new direction,” said Berardi, “We are now able to market our services directly to the consumer both at the regional level and on a national scale. We’ve been able to add features over time and our search rankings are strong with hundreds visiting our site in any given moment.”

“Trailways’ online operation now connects”, with several software platforms and related inter-connected line-run carriers, including Greyhound Lines, to support easier city-to-city online booking and offers first-of-its-kind digital features such as ticket rescheduling.  This feature allows customers to change their intended time of departure without visiting a terminal. The website also takes care of regulatory compliance for individual carriers by meeting PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security) and ADA (American Disability Act) standards.

Digital marketing is also an important part of Trailways.com’s new infrastructure. “Our priority is to convert browsing visitors into paying customers,” said Berardi. “I’m proud to say we have the technology and a growing team in place to make that happen. By combining resources and leveraging the national brand, we have done what some carriers found difficult on their own: near instant advertising to customers that visit the Trailways.com website, across an array of media channels, with personalized imagery targeting the products they are likely to purchase.”

Trailways’ digital marketing strategies are paying off. Some campaigns are logging a conversion to sales rate of more than 15% as of mid-December with bookings up 20% year-to-year. In the last week of November, the Trailways site had 25,000 visitors and October 2021 individual gross sales volume reached 730,000. “We are now hitting our first highs (following COVID-19 March 2020 shutdown) with room to go higher,” said Berardi.

Trailways.com already has 60,000 members enrolled in its Driven Rewards by Trailways, a loyalty program which tracks travel and allows riders to redeem points toward new travel. The program is heavily promoted via the site and in passenger email correspondence.  

In 2022, Trailways.com will launch a new business-building charter lead system that Berardi says will help operators streamline the quote process.

“Charter is an important part of every operator’s business – even for line-run carriers who need to keep their coaches out earning revenue at every chance they get. And it makes sense for us to have the best technology for charter as we do for line-run. The industry is changing. Riders and charter customers are price-shopping and we are meeting them where they are – and that’s online. We want to serve them on desktop and mobile. If passengers and groups are more comfortable with paper tickets and schedules, we’ll make sure we accommodate their needs. We want to serve and accommodate all Trailways customers equally — and Trailways.com will help make that happen.”

Every day, Trailways.com is building a more robust digital marketing program that will help you and your team members increase sales. You are invited to hear more from Alex and other Trailways leaders about building your business at Trailways 2022: Roadmap for Success, Jan. 6-8 in Grapevine, TX.

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Capture More Charters Now 

Trailways launches groundbreaking online charter booking system with Busie
Early results proving beneficial to members and customers alike

Trailways hosted an online webinar for members on May 26, Revolutionizing a Historic Brand and Bringing it into the Digital Age. The online seminar discussed early results of Trailways’ launch of its new online charter booking system with Busie, a leading cloud-based charter software company. The platform, now live on Trailways.com, can be viewed here.

“Our platform technology is groundbreaking; no one else has anything like it,” said John Zaworski, Strategic Initiatives Manager, Dean Trailways, Lansing, Michigan, who spent two years spearheading the project and represents one of seven Trailways operators involved in the platform’s pilot. “We are already getting feedback that more charters are coming in and praise for the technology’s time saving benefits.”

Customers are also finding the platform convenient. “We heard about a customer booking one charter trip and came back to the site to book four more trips because he found the system easy-to-use,” continued John.

The new online booking system replaces Trailways’ charter lead dashboard as of the end of June 2022.

Changing habits

Customer shopping preferences have shifted. “More people are going online to book travel and they expect convenience and instant gratification,” said Louis Bookoff, cofounder of Busie. “This trend is a big driver of why Trailways made the switch. The goal is not to get rid of the personal interaction operators have with their customer, but rather enhance that and give operators the ability to spend more time with customers as a result of the time savings and efficiencies they gain.”

As the systems’ network of users grows, Louis says the value for each Trailways member increases, with no need for brokers or ad dollars spent on leads, resulting in profitable charters when using standard pricing.

“The platform lets Trailways members control and own every step of the process with a customer; controlling rates, profit margins, and inventory availability,” he says.

Amy Brooks, Trailways board chair and Susquehanna Trailways’ vice president of sales, first thought the Busie system would require doubling the entry work into her company’s current database.

“The person seeking the booking request is responsible for entering the information. You will only need to enter the data into your own business system once the charter reservation is booked,” she says, explaining that potential customers who cannot commit to booking a trip are automatically eliminated from the system.

Attracting new customers

If a member of the Trailways network cannot facilitate a trip, Trailways would like to create an affiliate base of operators to fulfill the booking. This group would have access to the system under another pay- scale structure.

“We see the new platform as a reinvestment opportunity to help members grow their markets and the organization’s network of members,” John said, adding that Trailways has budgeted for greater investments in SEO and campaigns to drive more people to Trailways.com.

Aries Trailways, serving the Chicagoland area, is among the first group of five additional operators added to Busie since its May launch. Sam Trevino, Sales and Marketing Manager of Aries, said: “We have been on the site for a week and see new business coming in.”

Next steps

Trailways is purposefully holding a soft opening for the new site to allow members to get up to speed on the technology. Amy suggests apprehensive operators try out the site booking smaller, one-time events such as weddings. “This will allow you to become familiar with the technology and gain confidence in the system,” she says. “You can build from there.”

Busie also offers a safe and intelligent mapping platform, with capabilities to include routing times, state-by-state tolling information, and more, with the ability to launch an SEO-optimized website in less than two weeks.

In case you missed the webinar, or want to replay any portion, email Sabina Dhami, Trailways Director of Accounting and Office Management at Sabina@Trailways.com , who will send you the video link and password.

If you want to be in the next group of operators to go live, please fill out this waitlist form or book an onboarding meeting and a member of the Busie team will contact you.

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Celebrating 50 Years: Thrasher Brothers Keeps Growing, Building New Markets

Thrasher Brothers Trailways, which turned 50 in 2021, enters its next half-century with optimism and loads of work. Alan Thrasher, President and second generation to lead the Birmingham, Alabama-based company, has managed the day-to-day operations and owned the business along with his sister Alyce since 2007. Like his father Jim Thrasher, the co-founder of the company who died in 2019, Alan has a genuine passion for the bus business, the Trailways brand, and a knack for spotting sales opportunities.

“I was practically born on an Eagle bus,” says Alan, “I’ve been around the entertainment and bus business my entire life. I’m proud to be following in my dad’s footsteps and am dedicated to helping Thrasher Brothers and the industry flourish.”

An Entertaining Start

The Thrasher Brothers, Jim, Buddy, and Joe, performed on the Wally Fowler Gospel Sing at the Grand Ole Opry when they were children in 1948 and won Ted Mack’s The Original Amateur Hour five years later. The family produced a TV show called America Sings, which aired on 100 stations around the nation from 1967 to 1976 and made several hit records including “Still the One,” a country and pop music standard.

To keep up with life on the road, brothers Jim and Joe co-founded the Thrasher Brothers motorcoach company in Birmingham, becoming pioneers in entertainment coaches in 1969.

The brothers’ first encounter with Trailways began that same year when Jim was in Dallas for a taping of America Sings and walked into the regional Trailways office. He talked the organization into becoming a national sponsor of the show.

“Trailways ran ads for years and we had a Trailways miniature bus replica as a prop on the stage,” recalls Alan. “My granddad, who was known as Pop Thrasher, would drive the band’s Eagle bus, pulling only into Trailways members’ shops for service. He also won a Trailways Driver Safety Award.”  Trailways even hired The Thrasher Brothers Quartet to perform at its annual meeting in 1972.

The band retired in 1986, and Jim, who is in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, became the sole owner of the bus company. He was influential in the industry as a co-founder of the Alabama Motorcoach Association (AMA). He served as its first board president for three years.

Thrasher Brothers officially became a Trailways member in 2002, with Jim and Alan Thrasher both contributing their talents to Trailways for many years. Alan served on the Trailways Board from 2013 to 2019 and now serves as Vice-Chair of UMA’s board.

Like his dad, Alan also had a musician’s life on the road supporting touring bands before returning full-time in 1997 to focus solely on building the bus business. With the growth of the charter company, the Thrashers left the entertainment side of the bus business in 2013.

“Many doors have opened for us because of our reputation for quality coaches and caring for customers,” says Alan. “Big moves are easy for us, and we’ve always worked on the premise of risk and reward.”

Alan points to his company’s efforts to arrange Trailways members’ participation in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver as a big undertaking that paid off. “The move was one of the single biggest revenue earning events for Trailways members,” he says.

Since 2015, Thrasher Brothers has been the exclusive transportation provider for Daimler’s Brand Immersion Experience at its Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama. Thrasher currently runs five Setras, made by Daimler, to carry participants arriving in Birmingham from all over the country to tour the only Daimler-owned manufacturing facility in the U.S. where they build SUVs, C-class automobiles, and now the electric cars. “We’ve just extended the contract by three years for the EQ Experience,” says Alan.

Thrasher is looking at Daimler’s new Tourrider coach to feature on the service. “We will be among the first to experience the new Mercedes model,” says Alan. Tourrider was introduced to the industry at UMA EXPO 2022.

Thrasher Brothers keeps a modern, well-maintained fleet of 20 coaches in its yard and shop near the heart of Birmingham. “We have the right number of coaches required for Birmingham,” says Alan, who knows he can count on other operators in Alabama and in the Trailways system for help when extra buses are required. Thrasher is always ready to reciprocate. “I do enjoy helping other operators out when they’re in a coach-down situation or technical jam.”

It’s happening in Birmingham

The company’s charter business is booming as well. Thrasher is wrapping up a three-month, eight-coach assignment for the revived United States Football League (USFL), transporting the league’s eight teams to practices around the city’s stadiums. The inaugural-season of games were played April through June in Birmingham’s new Protective Stadium and the recently upgraded Legion Field. In between, the company handled charter transportation moves for Garth Brooks’ June 4 concert at the new stadium, which broke an attendance record with 52,000 tickets sold. 

Up next is the World Games, an 11-day international multi-sport event taking place in Birmingham July 7-17, 2022. An anticipated crowd of 100,000 will be watching 3,600 elite athletes from over 100 countries compete for gold in more than 30 next-generation sports including waterskiing, dancing, and billiards. As current president of the state motorcoach association (AMA), Alan made sure other Alabama Trailways members and the state’s smaller operators were contacted to help fulfill the transportation requirements.

“Now is our time,” said Alan. “As an industry we can accomplish more when we work together.”

Getting passengers to their destinations with care and class

Driver and passenger safety are of utmost importance to Alan, who would like the industry to come together on how to serve overnight trips requiring relief drivers. “These types of trips add to the burden of driver shortages, and affect the safety of the group,” he says. “I’d like to see groups include overnight hotel stays for longer trips rather than rolling through the night. I see it as an extra safety measure and a win-win for everyone because travelers also arrive at their destinations well-rested.”

Industry accolades

Alan’s business know-how and service-oriented nature has won multiple awards for the company. Trailways presented Alan with a leadership, valor, and team spirit award for his contributions to the 2010 Olympics effort.

Metro Magazine also recognized Thrasher Brothers as an Innovative Operator in 2016 for its inventive long-term Mercedes-Benz contract, modern fleet, and the emphasis the firm places on safety.

Alan credits operators and the Trailways organization for keeping the industry in business during COVID-19. “I am particularly grateful to the heroic efforts of our industry’s state and national associations and carriers throughout our country to make the government aware of our plight during the pandemic. We are still in business today because of all of you.”

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Suzanne Thornburg Joins Trailways Board

Suzanne Thornburg, CEO and President of Alabama-based companies Capital Motor Lines DBA Capital Trailways and Colonial Trailways, has joined the Trailways board of directors. Capital Trailways celebrates 92 years and Colonial Trailways marks 87 years in the bus business this year. When Trailways formed in 1936 both carriers were among the first to join its network.

With a 25-year career in banking and a board member of Capital and Colonial since 2011, Suzanne became CEO and President of the businesses in 2019. She is the first wife of the late Frank E. Montgomery III, the first family member who worked in the day-to-day operations of Capital and Colonial since his great grandfather Avery Austin Crow founded the first company in the 1930s. Frank purchased the businesses from family members in 2005 before his death in 2010. Suzanne joined the Board the following year in the interest of her then-minor children, who represent the fifth generation of family ownership.

“I am all in,” she says. “It is so important to me to protect our employees and move the company forward.” 

Suzanne worked in regional and corporate banking institutions located in Mobile and Baldwin County.  Experienced in financial management, Suzanne is especially conscientious about controlling costs, which sustained the company during the COVID-19 shutdowns.

“We slowly started coming back to life with military trips and our scheduled service partnership in July 2020,” said Suzanne.

Suzanne sees a sales-driven culture and a fresh perspective as the way ahead for Capital and Colonial. Her oldest son, Frank Montgomery lV, now on board as General Manager of Capital Trailways Madison-Huntsville location, reports that June has been the busiest month of the year. Frank worked as an intern with Colonial Trailways in 2019 in the Mobile location while attending the University of South Alabama and working toward his bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in marketing. He joined the business full-time after graduating in June 2020. 

Today, the businesses operate a fleet of more than 50 motor coaches, minibuses and trolleys from three operations in Mobile, Madison and Montgomery, Alabama with charter services that extend into Tennessee, Florida, Mississippi, and Louisiana and to other points in the United States and Canada.

Devoted to her family, employees and the businesses alike, Suzanne includes Trailways in that sphere. “Trailways is a big part of our family’s business heritage. The affiliation helped us get to where we are today,” she says. “Now it’s my turn to collaborate and support the many operators and vendor partners in the Trailways system. We all need a network of people we trust. I’m honored to serve on its board to help build our futures together.”

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Trailways and Greyhound End Partnership After 25 Years

Change reflects Trailways’ commitment to improving customer experience

NEW YORK, June 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ – Today, family-owned Trailways of New York announces the end of its almost 25 year partnership with Greyhound Bus Lines. Valued at over $50 million in revenue annually, the partnership began in 1998 and placed the two major ground transportation carriers under one alliance along bus routes including New York to Toronto and New York to Montreal.

Trailways announces the end of its partnership with Greyhound, and will continue to independently offer affordable, comfortable and dependable bus travel along the New York to Toronto and New York to Montreal corridors. (CNW Group/Trailways of New York)
Trailways announces the end of its partnership with Greyhound, and will continue to independently offer affordable, comfortable and dependable bus travel along the New York to Toronto and New York to Montreal corridors. (CNW Group/Trailways of New York)

Dissolving the agreement between the two companies gives Trailways full control over the end-to-end travel experience for passengers, allowing it to reaffirm its commitment to providing affordable, comfortable and dependable transportation.

“As a family-owned and operated business for almost 100 years, we want every rider to feel cared for, but this wasn’t possible in our partnership with Greyhound,” said Eugene J Berardi Jr., president and CEO of Trailways of New York. “We weren’t able to operate our routes the way we wanted but that all changes now.”

Trailways will continue to operate along the New York to Toronto and New York to Montreal corridors, but with many improvements to the rider experience, including:

  • Dynamic scheduling allowing for added buses to meet the demand on popular routes
  • Ticket agents stationed in all major bus terminals to provide on-site customer support
  • Enhanced digital-first online experience due to multi-million dollar investment in Trailways.com and Trailways.ca

“With travel top of mind and consumers hoping to return to the road, now is the time for us to take back control and reclaim our position as a leading provider of affordable, comfortable and dependable transportation for those wishing to explore along the New York to Toronto and New York to Montreal routes,” continued Berardi.

For nearly 100 years, North Americans have depended on Trailways to confidently explore the world around them. Every Trailways ticket unlocks new possibilities for long-awaited reunions, thrilling adventures, or simply welcoming what the weekend brings. Trailways has been making regional travel easier and more accessible to weekend warriors for decades, providing a surprisingly affordable, reassuringly comfortable, and relentlessly dependable service on every ride.

Trailways is the perfect exploration option for the sustainability-minded traveler. In fact, bus travel has been proven to use the least amount of energy and produce the lowest carbon dioxide emissions per passenger mile of all travel modes including air, automobile, and rail transit.1About Trailways of New York:

Trailways of New York (Adirondack, Pine Hill, and New York Trailways) operates over 150 trips per day to more than 140 destinations in New York, New Jersey, and Canada. The largest, and longest continuously operating, privately held, intercity bus carrier in New York State, Trailways of New York boasts an unmatched legacy of service in the region. Gateway cities include Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, Montreal, New York, Rochester, Syracuse, and Toronto. As an interline partner with Amtrak, and member of the National Trailways Bus Network, Trailways of New York is able to connect millions of passengers to thousands of destinations throughout North America each year. Connect online at Trailways.comTrailways.ca, and on Twitter.

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These tips will keep you better prepared for FMCSA/DOT compliance reviews

Now that summer travel is underway, it’s a good time to be sure your business is compliance- review ready. Mike McDonal, who is also Chair, Bus Repair and Maintenance Council and Past Chair Bus Industry Safety Council, recaps important “to do’s” including:

  • Know when your review is due. Check out FMSA’s website to verify your last audit. Expect to be audited every three years, but keep your records up to date at all times, one bad day could lead to a very extensive investigation.
  • Know how to proceed if you don’t have a safety director. Designate a specific staff member or an outside source, to be responsible for safety policies and compliance. This person will need to be knowledgeable about compliance, audits and able to enforce drug testing and maintain drug-testing census. Additionally, they’ll have to track and record driver and maintenance crews’ certifications while keeping orderly files on drivers’ commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), medical cards (A DOT medical exam is valid up to 24 months) and pre-employment drug testing and other current records on file.
  • Know what should be included in a driver’s binder onboard the buses. Information should include proof of vehicle insurance, registration and the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) information sheet to be carried on each trip. Also, don’t forget copies of paper logs if there is a malfunction of your ELD.
  • Know how to prepare your drivers. Each driver should know what to expect if they are stopped for a roadside inspection, including how to properly operate emergency hatches and windows and the ADA complaint wheelchair lift. They should also be prepared to show all of their documentation form the bullet above as well as transfer their electronic logs if requested.
  • Know to offer specific ELD training. Drivers should know all FMCSA-required ELD features and how to use the technology as intended. Check if your ELD vendor has training materials for drivers. Train with your payroll staff on paperwork verifying that hours-of-service information provided to FMCSA is correct.
  • Know to keep your maintenance team’s training and certifications current. A safety inspector will often ask to see documentation your mechanics have showing they’ve been trained and tested to repair brakes and other key components on your coach.
  • Know how to inspect your equipment. Using the following FMCSA criteria found here, and check emergency exits within the 90 -day required period.
  • Know how to write your documentation. Make sure documentation is clear and needs no further explanation, when uploading to FMCSA’s site. Many investigations are being off site now. Your documentation will have to “speak for itself.” You may not have the opportunity to answer questions or explain a situation like you could in person in the past.

“The key elements in a review are drivers, vehicles, drug testing, qualifications of drivers and mechanics, hours of service, maintenance, accidents, and record-keeping systems. A compliance investigation will include the drivers and vehicles in use over the past 365 days and DOT reportable accidents during the past year,” said McDonal. “Be investigation-ready all the time. If the FMCSA gives two days or two weeks’ notice for a safety audit, you’ll be prepared.”

For more information, find FMCSA compliance manual here, or reach out to Mike McDonal with your questions at mmcdonal@saucontech.com or call: 410-245-5525.

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Trailways: The Name Travelers Trust

How rapport, responsiveness and customer solutions forge relationships that last

In 1936, Burlington Transportation and the Frank Martz Coach Company helped found the Trailways system. They remain two of the best-known and respected names in the travel industry, speaking volumes about the Trailways brand and its legacy as a membership-based organization.

“We are made of like-minded carriers, determined to maintain their operational independence, yet unified by the service standards and operational integrity by those early founders,” said Amy Brooks, Trailways Board Chair and Susquehanna Trailways’ Vice President of Sales. “They’ve been ambassadors for future Trailways members, and we all succeed because travelers trust us.”

Trust is the foundation of everything Trailways does. So here are tips to consider when building long-term trust with others, from the teachings of business coaches and communication experts.

Establish rapport

  • When connecting with customers either in person, remotely by phone or virtually, avoid the impulse to get right down to business, and instead begin with welcoming conversation that sets the tone for a lively give and take
  • Listen attentively.  Don’t be distracted by thinking about what you want to say in reply
  • Avoid interrupting. Let clients set the conversational pace

Provide responsive service

  • Texts, phone calls and video chats are today’s tools for quick response
  • Respond within a day
  • When you make a promise, do what you say you will

Find solutions

  • Validate the problem a customer is trying to solve by choosing words such as “I understand you” and, “Let me know if this is what you are looking for”
  • Communicate your action plan with your client before you execute to make sure it fits them. Make it a collaboration
  • Complete the job and get feedback
  • If relevant, keep notes on solutions and approaches that can help all of your customers

Customers stay with companies they trust to offer value and solve problems quickly. View every client contact — written, verbal or in person — as a chance to build that trust.

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World-renowned Unclaimed Baggage stops by Trailways HQ on its 50th-anniversary road tour

For more than 85 years, Trailways has helped launch many successful bus businesses. But did you know Trailways helped start Unclaimed Baggage, the nation’s only discount retailer of lost luggage items?

Unclaimed Baggage is a thrift store shopper’s dream come true. It attracts over one million tourists annually who shop the 50,000-square-foot-store for the weird and wonderful contents of lost luggage. The business got its start with a truckload of luggage left behind at a Trailways depot in Washington, D.C. more than 50 years ago.

“It’s amazing to see how even here, in Scottsboro, Alabama, Unclaimed Baggage could grow into an international tourist destination,” said Bryan Owens, owner of Unclaimed Baggage and son of the retailer’s founder, Hugo Doyle Owens. “It all started with my father’s big idea, a borrowed pickup truck and a $300 loan to go to Washington, D.C. and buy his first load of unclaimed bags from Trailways Bus Line.”

Now, Unclaimed Baggage is marking its 50th anniversary with the launch of an online store and a 50-state road tour, and traveling pop-up shop. Shoppers can get their picture taken with Hugo, the store’s 1965 Chevy truck that picked up the first load of unclaimed bags at Trailways in 1970. The tour runs through August.

Said Sabina Dhami, Trailways Director of Accounting and Office Management, “Great ideas can come from anywhere in travel because we’re so focused on customers, and Unclaimed Baggage is proof of that. We couldn’t be more pleased to help Unclaimed Baggage celebrate 50 years of making people happy.”

Sonni Hood, head of public relations and community involvement for Unclaimed Baggage, said: “With just an ingenious idea and $300, Mr. Owens made orphaned bags with anonymous possessions into a unique, sustainable business and helped millions of people stretch a dollar over the last 50 years. We are taking our tour city to city to celebrate with our customers and hear their stories. It’s been great to stop at Trailways where everything started in 1970.”

Learn more about Unclaimed Baggage founder Hugo Doyle Owens (1931-2016) in this tribute video, where he explains the tremendous success of the opening day, knowing a great business was born.

With the majority of bags coming from airlines, the company reports it still has products coming from bus lines and depots. Over 99.5% of domestic airline’s checked bags are picked up at the carousel. After the airlines conduct an extensive 3-month tracing process and travelers are compensated, Unclaimed Baggage purchases the orphaned items from the airlines.

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Flagship Trailways’ Vintage Buses on the Silver Screen

With the prolific growth of independent film companies and a wave of nostalgia in movie scripts, Flagship Trailway’s vintage buses are busier than ever. “This year has just been on fire,” said Tom McCaughey, owner of Flagship based in Cranston, RI, who finished up a March shoot in Deerfield, Massachusetts, with his 40-foot, 92-inches wide 1958 GM for “The Holdovers.

A comedy-drama that takes place over the Christmas holidays in 1970, the movie stars Paul Giamatti as a disliked professor at a prep school, who along with the school’s head cook and a 15-year-old trouble-making student are the only “holdovers” left at the school. The movie’s release date is still to be announced.  

McCaughey’s 1975 Silver Eagle 05 was also in upstate New York this year on the set of “Three Women,” a Showtime hourlong series based on the No. 1 Nonfiction Bestseller by Lisa Taddeo, who has adapted her book that covers the emotional lives of three women from different backgrounds and stars Shailene Woodley.

McCaughey was also behind the wheel of his Silver Eagle in episodes of “Castle Rock,” a former Hulu® show inspired by stories created by Stephen King.

Flagship also owns a 1953 GM TDH 5106 and a 1964 GM Fishbowl.

Other shows featuring Flagship buses include Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” starring Steve Martin, three episodes of “Julia,” a documentary about chef Julia Child; and “Black Mass,” a Johnny Depp film based on the life of Boston mobster Whitey Bulger.

McCaughey bought Flagship, founded in 1981, from its previous owner in 2001, after selling a waste management fleet business he founded.  He got into collecting vintage buses by chance, learning of an Eagle bus for sale in Denver, and then heard from a business acquaintance in Connecticut of seven vintage buses in good condition for sale.

“I bought three of the buses and he closed on the other four,” said McCaughey, who said getting into the film business was just as fortuitus. “It’s a small industry, and as they say: Once you know a guy, it just grows from there.”

McCaughey advises operators interested in featuring equipment in films to check if their state has an official Film Office with a film production resources department. He noted his close proximity to Massachusetts and added that the state’s highly competitive package of tax breaks is the reason it’s a popular place for filmmakers today.

Even with all those high-profile sets and film credits, McCaughey’s showstopper moment is one closest to home. “Last year, I started going to car show cruise nights. I pull up in my 1958 GMC 5106 and it brought the house down,” he laughs. “The one thing about the film business is that it pays for the upkeep of the vintage buses, and I have a lot of fun doing it.”

A Trailways member since 2005, Flagship operates a modern, versatile fleet of 18 coaches and specializes in short or a long-distance charter trips, meetings and conventions, school trips and weddings.

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Trailways Board Welcomes Prevost’s Brad Wiese

With a Board seat open to industry vendors, Trailways elected Brad Wiese, Prevost Vice President, New Coach Sales and Funding, North America, as a new Board Member for a two-year term.

Wiese, who joined Prevost in January 2020, was previously a management consultant focusing on strategy and sales and has a 20-plus-year career in the banking industry. This included a position as a C-level officer with a bank in Nashville, TN, where Wiese represented the bank as a lender to businesses purchasing Prevost seated motorcoaches and conversion shells.

“As our portfolio grew with Prevost, I was sent to Quebec to meet its leadership and tour the manufacturing facility, and that started my relationship with Prevost and the industry,” recalls Wiese. “As time went on, I consulted with other banks and put effective sales teams in place that also saw the value in lending to businesses running Prevost equipment.”

Now, as head of new coach sales teams at Prevost, Wiese, whose home base is Wildwood, MO, 40 miles west of St. Louis, is also responsible for Prevost’s Funding team which finds the best financing options and solutions for customers either through its equipment finance arm, Volvo Financial Services, or alternative outside services.

Wiese sees his career expertise as bringing a new kind of talent to Trailways Board. “From what I’ve already seen, Trailways wants to conduct its business in new ways, and I bring decades of knowledge from multiple lines of business to deliver a fresh perspective and new ideas to the bus industry and in particular, Trailways, for additional marketplace successes.”

His competitive edge stems from his athleticism. Wiese is a former NCAA Division I baseball player. This fuels his desire to be a part of a high-performing organization and work as a team with Prevost and Volvo customers to create a mutual partnership benefiting both manufacturer and operator.

He is a devoted dad to his three daughters, ages 14 to 20 years old, and involved in supporting two of his daughters’ nationwide club volleyball games when time permits. His eldest daughter is on a college internship at Disney®.

When it comes to Trailways, Wiese, says: “I know the history of challenges this industry has faced and the way it has adapted and how Trailways endured the test of time with so many leading carriers. I’m honored to be a small part of it.”

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Get busy with Busie An easy way to manage charter bookings

For years, brokers have gained tremendous ground capturing customers in the ticketing and charter segments with superior technology, selling them back to operators at a 20-30% premium or more.

Trailways now has the tools to connect these same customers to our Trailways network directly, taking back control over the entire charter transaction for you to keep and capture more customers.

In collaboration with Busie, a leading cloud-based charter software company, Trailways has started a live pilot of the first-of-its kind charter-lead and booking platform on Trailways.com with the seven operators who were involved in the two-year development phase of the system. This new system will replace the old charter lead dashboard sometime in mid to late summer. In the meantime, operators not on the new charter platform will continue to have leads forwarded to them by the Trailways team.

Trailways will launch a series of webinars over the next couple of months with the Busie team for operators to see the platform in action. You can become part of the next group of operators to go live. Fill out this wait list form and a member of the Busie team will contact you. Here’s what the new system will offer:

Transparency + Improved Information Capture

Our charter lead platform has been updated for greater information transparency. You’ll have real-time visibility with customers and their trip needs, providing more thorough and accurate details when it’s time to book.

Improving Conversions + Margins

You’ll convert more leads. With Trailways.com’s new streamlined experience, trip organizers will be able to move through the quote and booking process quickly and efficiently. The system saves your teams time and money on quotes you don’t end up booking. The software provides instant quote capabilities, allowing customers to make decisions in real time. This will decrease customer quote-shopping and improve the quality of leads that convert to bookings.

Revenue Generation

Our goal is to drive more revenue directly to you with broker-equivalent technology throughout the Trailways system. With this new platform, you control and own every step of the process with a customer, not the broker. You also have total control of your rates, profit margins, and inventory availability.

“The Busie Charter platform is easy to use, saves substantial time in the quoting process, and offers a modern, online experience to our customers,” says pilot member Sarah Ring of Dean Trailways.

Want to be a part of the first group of operators onboarded to this platform? Please fill out this quick form to get on the waitlist.

Want to learn more? Reach out to Trailways@getbusie.com.

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