Saturday, May 25, 2019

Emerald Luxury Motorcoach Emerald Luxury Coaches’ 2020 Prevost H3-45 conversion Stephenville, Texas — Emerald Luxury Coaches, a luxury motorcoach convertor that has been building a unique industry niche around its highly distinctive Prevost X3-45 coaches since 2015, has added Prevost H3-45 conversions to the mix for the 2020 model year.

Emerald states that this addition positions them to the forefront of the Prevost conversion field. The H3-45 is Prevost’s “touring bus” platform, one that with its higher profile, panoramic windows and larger storage capacity has long been the standard for the industry’s elite coaches. That, combined with Emerald’s reputation for offering high-quality Prevost conversions at exceptionally competitive prices, is raising eyebrows throughout the industry.

A quick look at Emerald’s initial offering of completed H3-45 models reveals a product that the company believes will holds its own in the extremely competitive Prevost marketplace.

“We surveyed customers about what they want in a coach, and we listened,” says John Walker, Emerald’s owner and president. “We started by redesigning all of our bays, to increase storage, reduce maintenance costs, and just make them easier to work with. On the inside, we worked to open things up and use every inch of the floorplan, to give the design a chance to shine.”

The H3-45 series also reflects Emerald’s commitment to incorporating cutting-edge technology and premium quality components. Of particular note is the 58-volt house electrical system featuring Volta Power System’s automotive-grade lithium ion batteries, an advanced energy system that cuts hundreds of pounds of total weight from the coach. Other noteworthy features include oversized HD LED TVs throughout—49-inch displays in the living room and bedroom and an enormous 65-inch unit in the lower bay Entertainment Center—as well as a Creston-based control system designed to be simple and easy to operate.

“Simplified operations have always been a priority for us, and a characteristic of the Emerald brand,” Walker says. “We program the Crestron ourselves with our own interface, and combine everything into one central control panel. You can also run it through your phone, tablet, or smart TV. Again, the idea is to keep it simple.”

With the introduction of their new H3-45 series coaches, Emerald is looking to keep their pricing well below the average Prevost conversion, and competitive with many high-end Class A motorhomes.

“In terms of value, the Emerald H3-45 is like no other vehicle in its price range,” says Frank Konigseder Jr. of Liberty Coach, which provides sales, service, and marketing support for Emerald. “The quality of the workmanship is obvious. The same goes for the technology and design work. And there’s no comparing any Class A chassis to a Prevost.”

Walker agrees, pointing out that Emerald will continue to build coaches on both Prevost platforms. “H3-45 or X3-45, you’re talking about a million-mile coach. And we want to give everyone in the market the chance to experience it.”

Visit emeraldluxurycoaches.com for more information.

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More than 60 members and supporters of UMA attended the association’s annual Bus & Motorcoach Industry Legislative Fly-In event Washington, D.C. — The United Motorcoach Association (UMA) and 20 partner organizations took to the nation’s capital April 3 to not only advocate for maintaining motorcoaches’ partial fuel tax exemption but also to educate members of Congress on the vital role that private motorcoaches play in creating jobs, generating tourism dollars, and a providing safe, fuel efficient, and green solution to transportation and travel.

“With a new Congress in place, and new leadership in the House, the Bus & Motorcoach Industry Legislative Fly-In is an opportunity for bus and motorcoach operators to ensure that their priorities are known,” says UMA President & CEO Stacy Tetschner. “Meeting face-to-face in group settings, operators can share important facts and statistics that show the industry’s contribution to the economy and its status as the safest mode of transportation. And most important, they can tell their individual stories of local job creation and how regulations affect small businesses. Eighty-one percent of private bus and motorcoach operators nationwide own between one and nine coaches and each coach directly provides about 3.5 jobs. Bus and motorcoach businesses are small businesses that contribute to local economies. Moreover, buses and motorcoaches bring all these benefits to the economy while producing the smallest carbon footprint among 12 different modes of transportation when considering everything from air and rail travel to hybrid cars.”

UMA The scheduled meetings allowed operators to meet with federal legislators and inform them about the role their businesses play in transportation in their district and state while also educating them about national concerns and issues like the partial fuel tax exemption. When the exemption started out, Congress granted motorcoaches a full exemption from the fuel tax; it has been eroded by subsequent Congresses, and operators are concerned it could potentially go away if enough legislators do not realize its value.

This year’s Bus & Motorcoach Industry Fly-In was supported by 20 partner organizations from around the country joining UMA in this advocacy effort. They included: Alabama Motorcoach Association, Asian American Motorcoach Association, Bus Association of New York, California Bus Association, Georgia Motorcoach Operators Association, Greater New Jersey Motorcoach Association, Hawaii Transportation Association, International Motorcoach Group, Maryland Motorcoach Association, Midwest Bus & Motorcoach Association, Minnesota Charter Bus Operators Association, Motorcoach Association of South Carolina, National Association of Motorcoach Operators, New England Bus Association, North Carolina Motorcoach Association, Northwest Motorcoach Association, Pennsylvania Bus Association, South Central Motorcoach Association, Trailways Charter Bus Network, and Virginia Motorcoach Association.

Check out the May issue of Chauffeur Driven for expanded coverage of this annual lobbying event.

Visit uma.org for more information.

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NELA Director NELA Executive Director Rick Szilagyi Durham, N.H. — A few years ago, the New England Livery Association (NELA) Board of Directors decided to work toward establishing separate, state-by-state funds to finance contracting with lobbyists and other professionals.

In Connecticut, the association was unable to rally members to develop a legislative fund for the state. In Rhode Island, meanwhile, they did so—though NELA’s legislative effort ultimately failed. But in Massachusetts, the association was successful in developing a state legislative fund: The fund is ongoing today, and NELA was successful in passing new legislation in the commonwealth.

In August 2016, the Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed NELA’s TNC legislation into law. One of the results of the legislation was a new procedure, mandating that all TNC drivers in Massachusetts be subjected to a background check by the state’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU). TNCs can—and do—still conduct their own version of background checks; since the spring of 2017, their approved drivers must also be checked by the MA DPU. According to statistics from the department, the results have been consistent: 10% of drivers approved by the TNCs have been screened-out due to the DPU checks.

NELA Another aspect of that 2016 legislation was the creation of a fund: the Transportation Infrastructure Enhancement Trust Fund is financed by TNCs remitting 20 cents for every TNC ride in the commonwealth for five years, with 5 cents of that set aside for the taxi and livery industries. Doing the math, those nickels amount to $3M dollars in Year One; assuming TNC rides remain stable in number, that’s $15M over the full five-year period.

How is the money to be used? The legislation does not prescribe any details. A firm has been contracted by the state’s finance and economic development authority to develop a plan. We have held initial conversations with the firm, and more will transpire over the next few months.

What can be expected? The fund is real. Should operators all expect a check? No, but operators should expect that NELA is on top of this, and using professionals to guide them—just as they did to get the legislation passed in the first place. The association’s goal is to see that this money is used as intended: to support the efforts of taxi and livery in Massachusetts.

Persistence works. NELA not only has but also will continue to win battles on behalf of its members. Now is the time to strengthen its base: Ask fellow operators who are not members to consider joining the NELA today. Additionally, all of members with business interests in Massachusetts should consider supporting the fund.

Email NELA Executive Director Rick Szilagyi at rick@lexian.com or call 866-736-6352 for more information.

Visit nelivery.org for more information about NELA.

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