Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) has completed a delivery of nine new 2020 MCI J4500 coaches to Transport Clément Bégin.

2020 MCI J4500 Transport Clément Bégin’s 2020 MCI J4500

Quebec-based Transport Clément Bégin purchased the new J4500s to shuttle mining personnel nearly 100 miles to a remote site in Northern Quebec seven days a week. These are the very first new MCI coaches for the charter and school bus company, now its third generation of family leadership and 61st year of operation.

Built with a semi-monocoque low-corrosion stainless steel body, MCI says that the J4500 is ideally suited to long-distance employee shuttles. Offering a modern, spacious interior and best-in-class legroom, Clément Bégin’s new coaches have a 52-passenger seating capacity. The model’s lighter weight, next-generation Cummins X12 engine, new for model year 2020, improves fuel economy and extends the J4500’s low total cost of operation even further, according to MCI.

MCI

To withstand Northern Quebec’s remote roads and cold weather conditions, Clément Bégin added a Spheros heater that pre-heats the engine to eliminate cold engine starts and accelerate window defrosting and defogging. The company also added heated taillights, LED headlights, and MCI’s optional severe duty package to assure smooth driving during the coldest months of the year.

The severe duty package offers supplemental engine air filters, drive and front axle mud flaps, engine compartment under pans, and a transmission shroud to help protect against the rough terrain conditions. It also includes a differential breather tube shield to protect compartments from road debris and guard against ice and snow, increasing the reliability of electrical connections, while a 3M paint film was designed to minimize small-stone damage. 

“We appreciate the confidence that Transport Clément Bégin has placed in us and we look forward to their continued business and servicing them from our Montreal Service Center,” said MCI Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Customer Service Patrick Scully. “We understand their operational environment and our severe duty package will allow the vehicle to operate in extreme weather and road conditions.”

Operating under current COVID-19 policies and protocols, Transport Clément Bégin limits the number of passengers to 12 on each coach and has added protective vinyl partitions between seats. All of its coaches are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each trip, using a fogging system designed to kill pathogens.

Visit mcicoach.com for more information. 

[07.02.20]

 

Industry veteran Jim Luff has recently been appointed to the position of director of marketing for Ecko Worldwide Transportation. Luff is well known in the ground transportation industry as a former operator, a feature writer for LCT Magazine for 15 years, and a consultant to many small operators across the nation. He joined the industry in 1990 as a private chauffeur and in 1993 began a 23-year career as the CEO of The Limousine Scene in Bakersfield, Calif. 

Jim Luff of Ecko Worldwide Jim Luff of Ecko Worldwide

Luff will be responsible for marketing management, public relations, corporate communications, and the continued partnership between Ecko and the limousine industry. He will also continue to develop Ecko’s worldwide affiliate network for both inbound and outbound work and represent the company at regional and national events and meetings.

Luff is a recipient of Lancer’s Outstanding Safety Award and was named Operator of the Year by LCT Magazine and Limousine Digest. Upon retiring from the daily operations of The Limousine Scene in 2016, Luff joined Chosen Payments as marketing manager and has continued his relationship with Chosen Payments as an account executive and marketing consultant. Luff was also a group facilitator for Driving Results and most recently served as publisher and general manager of LCT Magazine until it was sold to Chauffeur Driven in June. Luff also currently serves on the board of the Arizona Limousine Association as its fundraising director.

Ecko Worldwide

“We are very excited to add Jim to our team. His reputation for hard work, knowledge of the industry, and participation at important events like the NLA and GCLA Day on the Hill and other industry events are great assets for our company,” says Ecko President Harry Dhillon.

Ecko is based in San Jose, California, and has been recognized by LCT as Operator of the Year in 2015 and 2017 and received the People’s Choice Leadership Award in 2018.

Visit eckolimo.com for more information. 

[07.02.20]

It’s law! With the passage of House Bill 1039 and Senate Bill 1352—which was signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in late June—the playing field has officially been leveled for operators in the Sunshine State, at least regarding permits. Operators in the state had been plagued for years by the cumbersome registration process that required decals by jurisdiction—an expensive and unseemly way to “decorate” a windshield.

FLA FLA President Rick Versace

Florida Limousine Association President Rick Versace of A1A Airport & Limousine Service has talked extensively about the association’s efforts to make this a reality, and he shared that progress had been made legislatively during the association’s meeting at the CD/NLA Show in Las Vegas this past February.

According to Versace, the first thing Uber did when they came to town was to get a statewide ordinance passed that allowed them to operate everywhere in the state without fees and inspections from the local jurisdiction. He says that the legislation specially disallowed taxis and limousines from operating as TNCs, giving the ridesharing companies a competitive advantage and saving them the millions of dollars that chauffeured transportation collectively had to spend each year to operate in numerous jurisdictions.

FLA

“This new law finally put our industry on a level playing field with Uber and Lyft,” says Versace. “Florida has been burdened by an overlapping and very expensive regulation system, where every jurisdiction had a hand out to take money from our industry. In some places in the state, you had to have as many as 11 different decals on your windshield to operate legally. You practically had to have a permit for every city and county that you picked up in. The law we just passed amended Uber’s original legislation and allow chauffeured transportation companies to operate as TNCs.  There are requirements to act as a TNC, but they are a lot easier and much less expensive than what we were paying before. We do the exact same thing that they do, so why shouldn’t we be regulated the same way.”

Greater Orlando Limousine Association President Cliff Wright of Royal Coach Transportation Group is also thrilled about the new law.

“Rick Versace has worked very hard for years to get this bill through and it would have never happened without him,” says Wright. “He is a real champion in our industry here in Florida. Most small companies will never know how much time and effort he put into this.”

Read the text of HB 1039 and SB 1352.

[07.01.20]