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Is the Agency having a change of heart and a change of mind?

Follow-up news on CSA from ASECTT (From Rick Gobbell to Trailways Stockholders):
 

August 31, 2012 – This week, the Agency hosted a meeting of its handpicked motor carrier safety advisory committee at which it tasked a new subcommittee shared by David Parker of Great West Casualty. Apparently this new committee will do more than offer cosmetic changes which the Agency requested of it last August.  The Agency has announced several major changes in SMS Methodology including dropping the speed warnings and under 5 miles per hour violations which so unfairly contaminated the unsafe driving BASIC. All of these changes go into effect at the end of the year. Even more interesting are comments by Bill Quade, as reported by Todd Dills at overdriveonline.com, that the Agency, "will propose an absolute scale” for ratings in the Safety Fitness Determination, “not a relative scale” like the SMS BASIC (Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Category) numbers. One of the challenges they’re dealing with is “finding a threshold level that does not change month to month."

Does this mean the Agency is abandoning grading carriers on a curve? Does it mean it's finally acknowledging the SMS Methodology as currently published has systemic flaws? If the Agency seems to conclude that a relative scale with scores that change month to month is not valid for its use – why does it still insist on displaying the scores for public use?
On another interesting issue, the Agency seems to indicate it's looking at yet a new feasibility or causation study to justify the nexus between SMS Methodology and Safety. Does this mean it no longer can defend the UMTRI Study in light of the Wells Fargo and Iyoob studies? For further information, see the following news clips published in the Agency's own daily news.

Sincerely,
ASECTT
ASECTT.blogspot.com
________________________________________
FMCSA Daily News Summary 1679
2) New Advisory Panel Broadens Access to CSA Planning
3) EOBR mandate, CSA rating proposals coming early 2013

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Pillar Hotels & Resorts: Newest Trailways Affiliated Partner

We are pleased to announce Pillar Hotels & Resorts as the newest Trailways Affiliated Partner. 

The hotel company manages more than 300 hotels with 21,000 guest rooms under 16 branded hotel flags in 37 U.S. states.

See Pillar Hotels & Resorts Directory

Pillar’s hotels are “motorcoach friendly,” with lots of free parking and good roadside access, such as Hampton Inn, Fairfield Inn, Comfort Inn, Hyatt Place and Holiday Inn. Located in key markets and along key routes, Pillar Hotels is your tour partner from coast-to-coast.

Based in Irving, Texas, Pillar Hotels and Resorts provide on-site hotel management services and are one of the largest franchisees of Marriott, Hilton and Intercontinental Hotel Group.

Amanda Higgins-Thibeau, national sales manager, said:

“Pillar offers Trailways the lowest group rates guaranteed*! We also offer flexible contracting, generous comp room policy, a discounted room rate for drivers with the group, plus a commission for tour & bus companies who refer groups in need of hotel accommodations for their trips.”

Contact: Amanda Higgins-Thibeau,
Amanda.Thibeau@pillarhotels.com
National Sales Manager – Motorcoach Groups, Pillar Hotels and Resorts
6031 Connection Drive, Suite 500, Irving, Texas 75039
Cell: 972-757-9742 (Florida)

 

www.pillarhotels.com
*Based on advance request and space availability.

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New Stockholder Resource Guide Launched: Trailways’ Toolbox

Team Members

Today, we launched a new Stockholder Resource Guide: Trailways’ Toolbox, which is a special new section on our website (www.trailways.com). The new Toolbox provides a listing of varying topics, along with corresponding answers or reference sources.  Topics range from Advertising to the Website.  Initially, there are approximately 65 Reference items listed within the Toolbox; more will be added. For easy searching, the Trailways Toolbox is arranged with an Index, which is in alphabetical order by topic.     

To access the Toolbox section, visit our site (www.trailways.com); click on Stockholders; then click on Toolbox; this section is password protected—User ID and Password provided upon request to Stockholders.  Contact tracey@trailways.com
703-691-3052 Corporate Communcations.

 

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Capital Trailways Adds Selma Bus Service in Alabama

July 8, 2012 – SELMA TIMES JOURNAL STORY By Robert Hudson

From now on, Capital Trailways buses won’t just be passing through Selma, as it’ll now call the city home.

Trailways will now have departures from Selma, as a ribbon-cutting ceremony will officially welcome the business back on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at its location on Broad Street. Trailways is making its return, after leaving from Selma years ago.

Mark Szyperski, corporate vice president of Trailways, said Trailways will fill a need for customers in rural locations thanks to a federal grant it applied for through Alabama Department of Transportation, which helped it get started.

“The federal government, multiple years ago, realized that small-town America needed to have some sort of connection with the rest of the United States, so they have a federal program called the 5311(f) grant,” Szyperski said. “The 5311(f) was meant for private companies to get back into rural service.” The grant doesn’t pay for service, but gets it off to a start so it can become self-sustaining. Szyperski said Trailways will offer a number of advances for customers, including wireless internet, and purchasing tickets will be easy. “It’s not your grandfather’s bus anymore. The buses have wireless internet … and all that stuff on them,” Szyperski said. “So it’s a different extreme from what it used to be. People tend to ride once they have the availability of the service. People can buy their tickets from the driver. He can take credit card, debit card or cash on the site. And they can go online and buy their tickets as well, and they can get a discount if they do go online because they can buy them in advance.”

Szyperski also said the service will fill many needs of the community. “The general public — and we’ve noticed this at Trailways throughout the United States — are coming back to buses because of the cost of fuel,” Szyperski said. “It’s just so much easier to leave your car at home and ride and go someplace.

There are some people who absolutely need the service and have not had the ability. For example, a person will be able to go to college courses in the morning. We’re going to get there at 7:30 a.m.to Tuscaloosa for example.  The V.A.hospital is up there.”

From now on, Capital Trailways buses won’t just be passing through Selma, as it’ll now call the city home.

Trailways will now have departures from Selma, as a ribbon-cutting ceremony will officially welcome the business back on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at its location on Broad Street.

Trailways is making its return, after leaving from Selma years ago.

Mark Szyperski, corporate vice president of Trailways, said Trailways will fill a need for customers in rural locations thanks to a federal grant it applied for through Alabama Department of Transportation, which helped it get started.

“The federal government, multiple years ago, realized that small-town America needed to have some sort of connection with the rest of the United States, so they have a federal program called the 5311(f) grant,” Szyperski said. “The 5311(f) was meant for private companies to get back into rural service.”

The grant doesn’t pay for service, but gets it off to a start so it can become self-sustaining.

Szyperski said Trailways will offer a number of advances for customers, including wireless internet, and purchasing tickets will be easy.

“It’s not your grandfather’s bus anymore. The buses have wireless internet … and all that stuff on them,” Szyperski said. “So it’s a different extreme from what it used to be. People tend to ride once they have the availability of the service. People can buy their tickets from the driver. He can take credit card, debit card or cash on the site. And they can go online and buy their tickets as well, and they can get a discount if they do go online because they can buy them in advance.”

Szyperski also said the service will fill many needs of the community.

“The general public — and we’ve noticed this at Trailways throughout the United States — are coming back to buses because of the cost of fuel,” Szyperski said. “It’s just so much easier to leave your car at home and ride and go someplace. There are some people who absolutely need the service and have not had the ability. For example, a person will be able to go to college courses in the morning. We’re also going to go at 7:30 in the morning to Tuscaloosa for example. The V.A. hospital is there."

 

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MCI Finalizes Acquisition of Setra in US & CAN; Partnership with Daimler

SCHAUMBURG, Ill.,  July 2, 2012 —Motor Coach Industries, Inc. (MCI) today announced the completion of its acquisition of Setra’s operations in the U.S. and Canada and the establishment of a strategic partnership with Daimler Buses (Daimler).   Through the acquisition, MCI obtains responsibility for sales and service support of Setra S 417 and Setra S 407 motor coach models; the company’s pre-owned coach inventory; the distribution of Setra and related genuine Daimler Buses parts; and the operations of Setra’s service center in Orlando, Fla.  Daimler has also assumed a minority ownership position in MCI, forming an engineering, technology  and manufacturing alliance as part of the transaction. Final terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.  Rick Heller, MCI CEO, said, “This transaction strengthens MCI’s luxury motor coach offerings in the North American marketplace with the Setra brand, while establishing a strategic partnership with the world’s leading manufacturer of motor coaches. While we expect to integrate our internal operations, the strategic intent is to maintain the integrity of the MCI and Setra brands.  This includes maintaining a separate new-coach sales effort. Much of the consolidation will occur in internal and support functions, and we will communicate these changes with our customers as quickly as possible.”    “We expect the transition to take about 150 days to complete, with minimal disruptions to both MCI’s and Setra’s customers,” added Sandra Morison, MCI’s Chief Financial Officer.  “Our goal is to quickly integrate Setra’s support processes within MCI’s current network.”   

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What’s the Best Mechanics-to-Vehicle Ratio?

Trailways Brand Survey (April 2012)

Below are the responses to the Trailways survey on the average ratio of full-time mechanics needed per bus/vehicle.  There are many varying opinions. However, based on overall numbers and comments provided, one full-time mechanic (highly trained/skilled) per 10 coaches/vehicles appears to be adequate.  Thanks to everyone who provided input! 

 

Detailed Comments:

"We own and operate 20 full-sized coaches and we have one factory-trained mechanic for our fleet of vanhools and our other two maintenance men have been trained at ABC’s Florida location, and the third is a helper to the other two. We believe in being pro-active…not reactive."
­Elaine Johnson, Cross Country Tours-Trailways
 
"We have 23 units and 1 great mechanic!"
Alyce Davidson, Thrasher Brothers Trailways 
 
"We tend to operate at a ratio of approximately one mechanic per 10 motorcoaches.  I suspect the ratio will vary depending upon age of fleet and use of outside sources for repairs."
Curtis Riggs, VIA Trailways
 
"We have 19 large motorcoaches, two mini-buses, three limousines, twenty school buses and three vans.  We employ three full-time mechanics and one part-time mechanic."
Julie at Huskey Trailways
 
"We have a diesel tech for every 17 buses and two assistant mechanics…  I have 14 2002 and 2004 V.H. C-2045s that my mechanics spend ninety-percent of their time on. Four mechanics to 25 coaches in all."
Dean Golden, West Valley Trailways
 
"We have two for a 21-bus fleet. One-per-ten buses would be a good fit."
Bill Gentry, Gentry Trailways
 
"I only own and operate 21 full-size motorcoaches and currently we employ three mechanics."
Jerry at Lone Star Trailways
 
"We have 56, full-size motorcoaches and employ seven mechanics, plus mechanics helpers, depending upon the skill level of the individual, probably, eight to 10."
Fullington Trailways 
 
"If you have one mechanic for 15 coaches, that should keep him busy and make his day pass quickly."
John McCommon, Little Rock/Memphis Trailways
 
 

 

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New Online MCILearn program

The new online MCILearn program makes education fun with Internet-based sessions.  Maximize your business through scheduled maintenance, marketing, and other best practices.  June  webinars:

June 13 – Tag Axle Steering
June 27 – Rear Axle Steering

please click here and register via our new Citrix Webinar Tool

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