Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Making progress! After months of letter writing, phone calls, and in-person meetings urging members of Congress to assist the COVID-shuttered bus and motorcoach industry, Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) have introduced a bill that would be part of the next round of pandemic economic relief. The Coronavirus Economic Relief for Transportation Services Act (CERTS Act, S. 4150) calls for $10 billion in grants and loans that would aid the industry in the long-haul recovery that is expected for the travel and tourism sector. The emergency assistance would be facilitated through the Department of the Treasury and with guidance from the Secretary of Transportation.

CERTS Act

This bill is specific to over-the-road private motorcoach operators including those that provide services for local and intercity fixed routes, commuters, charters and tours, and school transportation.

These legislative efforts were coordinated and spearheaded by the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), the American Bus Association (ABA), the National School Transportation Association, the Passenger Vessel Association, and the Amalgamated Transit Union, and through the intensive efforts of their members and supporters.

Although the bill is still in its infancy, some of the proposed key highlights include:

  • Not less than 50 percent of the amount will be used to provide grants.
  • Funding for an over-the-road bus company may not exceed their 2019 calendar year revenue.
  • Operators must recall or rehire any employee laid off, furloughed, or terminated because of reduced service and maintain employment through December 31, 2020 (pay, paid administrative leave, and paid benefits as of the date of enactment).
  • Funds can be used for continued operations and maintenance of existing capital equipment and facilities including rent, leases, insurance payments, and debt service, as well as any special COVID requirements (PPE, Plexiglas barriers, cleaning materials).

The full text of the bill can be read here

Because the bill is time sensitive and the legislative window is quickly closing for the summer, UMA and ABA are urging members, vendors, suppliers, and supporters of the industry to take action and keep the pressure on the Senate to take action. The associations have created a form letter that can immediately be sent to Congress, which can be found at busesmoveamerica.com

[07.07.20]

In an effort to court new and existing members, the Minnesota Chauffeured Transportation Association (MCTA) has announced that they have reduced the price of membership dues for 2020.

MCTA President Gus Ortiz MCTA President Gus Ortiz

For the remaining months of 2020 and the first month of 2021, MCTA dues are just $30 per in-service vehicle, with a minimum investment per operator of $100. This is a reduction of last year’s $100 per vehicle, and this spring’s $90 per vehicle. The Board of Directors also voted to adjust partner (vendor) memberships. The MCTA’s flash sale and membership drive will last until July 15. Operators are encouraged to join MCTA online here

“Our industry is in crisis and transformation. We also know that sticking together to continue to be a source of information, access, clout, and more is as important now than ever, which is why we’ve made some changes to the membership dues for 2020,” says MCTA President Gus Ortis of Executive Transportation.

For the remainder of 2020, MCTA is planning on quarterly meetings at new and different locations with a focus on education and tips to network and save money. The 2020 membership offer will include the association’s annual holiday reception in January. The MCTA is also looking at bringing back casual happy hours for more networking and member tips.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the association held numerous teleconference calls that provided valuable information to their members and friends.

Minnesota Chauffeured Transportation Association

“We hope you will join us because of the value and affordability. We’re a strong team in Minnesota and feel that with membership working together, our industry will remain strong and profitable,” says Ortis.

Partner Memberships
$500 Gold Membership sponsorship package. Includes Silver and Bronze packages, plus:

  • No additional cost for two people attending MCTA meetings, happy hours, and holiday reception.
  • Name, logo, and contact information listed on every email sent by MCTA to the membership
  • Membership spotlight in a quarterly MCTA newsletter
  • Membership spotlight on MCTA Facebook and social media
  • Opportunity to address MCTA members at every membership meeting/event
  • First opportunity to select golf sponsorship & pairings

$300 Silver Membership sponsorship package. Includes Bronze package, plus:

  • Invitations to semi-regular “happy hours” with MCTA members ($100 value)
  • Invitation to annual January Holiday Reception ($100 value)
  • Name and logo listed for every meeting email
  • Opportunity for presentation on topic of your choice at a MCTA meeting during the year

$100 Bronze Membership sponsor package. Includes:

  • Invitations to quarterly membership meetings ($200 value)
  • Recipient of all MCTA update emails (latest news, information, etc.)
  • Listing on MCTA website and newsletters
  • Framed membership certificate

Operator Memberships
Membership dues: $30 per vehicle in-service and includes:

  • Invitations to quarterly membership meetings ($200 value)
  • Invitations to semi-regular “happy hours” with MCTA members ($100 value)
  • Invitation to annual January Holiday reception (dinner/drinks included for two people—$100 value)
  • Recipient of all MCTA update emails (latest news, information, etc.)
  • Listing on MCTA website and newsletters
  • Framed membership certificate
  • Networking, access, impact, recognition, and more!

Note: To cover costs, the minimum operator membership fee is $100.

Visit mnlimo.com for more information. More details about membership levels and benefits can be found here

[07.07.20]

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]