February 13, 2012 | Issue #116
The American Bus Association offers its congratulations to the 97 recipients of the fiscal year 2011 federal funding to help make over-the-road motorcoaches accessible to passengers using wheelchairs and other mobility devices.
Through the U.S. DOT's Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Over-the-Road Bus Accessibility Program nearly $8.8 million was made available in grant awards for intercity fixed route operators and other types (local fixed route, charter, tour, commuter and special operations) of bus operators. ABA members received nearly 95 percent of the grants awarded
"With a typical wheelchair lift costing operators upwards of $40,000 per coach for the lift acquisition, installation and employee training, the costs of meeting DOT's standards have become prohibitive," ABA President and CEO Peter J. Pantuso explained.
The purpose of this special grant program is to assist motorcoach operators in providing accessible transportation services to persons with disabilities in compliance with the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA). The majority of grant awardees in FY 2011 received funding for less than $100,000, which is enough to cover the cost of one or two wheelchair lifts. Funds from this program will also be used to train bus line personnel in the proper operation and maintenance of the lifts, boarding assistance, securing wheelchairs, and other related functions such as customer service.
Since FY 1999, roughly $80 million dollars in FTA grant funds have been distributed thanks to ABA's lobbying efforts for the Over-the-road-bus accessibility grant program. By law, federal funds for this grant program may be awarded to pay for up to 90% of the project costs and operators must provide a 10% cash match. Despite those funds being successfully allocated this year, the announcement that only $8.8 million of the more than $40 million that was requested for grant projects in FY 2011 demonstrates that there is a continuing need for this grant program.
ABA would also like to congratulate its grant writing partner Terrapin Blue for their efforts during the FY 2011 grant cycle. Terrapin Blue successfully secured grant funding for 72 of the 97 (74%) grant award recipients. For FY 2011, ABA partnered with Terrapin Blue to provide grant writing and grant management solutions for ABA members, taking ABA's member services to another level.
There are several ADA compliance deadlines that go into effect for the motorcoach industry on October 29, 2012, including a 100% fleet compliance requirement for large fixed route operators. Operators will want to take advantage of the FY 2012 ADA grant program to ensure that they are positioned to be compliant in 2012.
Please go to http://www.buses.org/Government-Affairs/Federal-Funding/ADA-Wheelchair-Grants for a full listing of the FY 2011 grant recipients.
It won't be business as usual for the Bus Industry Safety Council when the group meets in Dulles, VA on June 11th and 12th this year. Instead of participating in their normal committee meetings, BISC members, who are the leading safety and security experts in the bus industry, will receive 10 hours of workplace safety and health training so that they can help keep their companies in compliance with federal regulations.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has ramped up it enforcement and spot inspection programs in recent years. Companies that have been found violating workplace safety and health standards the threat of crippling fines. (Recent fines have exceeded $1,000,000 per company)
The training that BISC members will receive is known as the OSHA 10. It will cover the recognition, avoidance, abatement, and prevention of safety and health hazards in workplaces. The ultimate goal of the training is to help BISC members provide their employees with a safer workplace environment by staying in compliance with OSHA standards.
"I hope all of our members will take advantage of this fantastic opportunity," said BISC Executive Director Norm Littler. "Every person who attends this two-day training will bring home some valuable knowledge that could potentially save their company thousands if not millions of dollars. And we're providing this all free of charge."
If you would like to join BISC to attend the training visit http://www.buses.org/Government-Affairs/Bus-Industry-Safety-Council
The Pennsylvania State Police recently participated in a weeklong enforcement effort inspecting motor coaches, State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan announced earlier this month.
State and municipal motor carrier enforcement personnel, along with the Public Utility Commission staff, inspected 284 motor coaches at sites throughout Pennsylvania, including casinos and other popular tourist destinations.
Between Jan. 21 and Jan. 27 enforcement personnel placed a total of 15 motor coaches and 23 drivers out of service for various safety violations.
"Motor coaches account for more than 750 million passenger trips each year, and with a large number of popular travel destination locations throughout Pennsylvania, the safety of these vehicles and their drivers is of great importance to us," Noonan said. "These enforcement efforts are just one of the many ways we help ensure the safety of everyone traveling on Pennsylvania roadways."
Registration is still open for the second OMCA/ABA Tour Operator Summit, a two-day event that brings together bus and tour operator members from both associations with suppliers from around the continent.
The Summit will be held March 28-29 at Resorts Casino & Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The schedule is packed with great networking opportunities, including a mini-trade show, and fantastic meal functions and receptions.
Participants can also attend educational seminars taught by professional instructors who cover a wide range of topics.
The registration fee is only $99 for operators and suppliers. Suppliers who wish to exhibit at the mini-trade show will have to pay an additional fee of $200.
Click here to register today!
In celebration of Black History Month, ten direct descendants and family members of Harriet Ross Tubman, including Charles E.T. Ross and Valery Ross Manokey visited The Presidents Gallery by Madame Tussauds to help unveil a new wax likeness of the renowned abolitionist and conductor of the Underground Railroad.
"Harriet Tubman was an incredible woman whose accomplishments and contributions played a pivotal role in the history of the United States, cementing her status as a true American icon," said Dan Rogoski, General Manager of The Presidents Gallery by Madame Tussauds. "We are honored to have Harriet Tubman's descendants with us today for the unveiling and induction of her wax figure into our expanding Presidents Gallery — an interactive journey through America's history."
Harriet Tubman was an African-American abolitionist, humanitarian and spy for the Union during the U.S. Civil War. After escaping from slavery she reportedly freed more than 300 slaves via the elaborate network of safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. Tubman was born in Dorchester County, M.D., an area from which many of the descendants and family members attending the event currently reside, including Charles E.T. Ross and Valery Ross, who live in Cambridge, M.D.
"We are ecstatic and overjoyed to see Aunt Harriet being celebrated and receiving recognition for her contributions to humanity, which is long overdue," said Charles Ross.
Children from Washington D.C.'s Harriet Tubman Elementary School were also on-hand to witness the unveiling of the figure of the historic woman for whom their school is named.
ABA is now accepting nominations for those interested in joining the top 100 selection committee.
Members of the Selection Committee that annually chose ABA's Top 100 Events in North America are motorcoach and tour operators who judge hundreds of nominations received from state and provincial destination marketing organizations.
To be eligible to serve on the committee an applicant must meet the following qualifications:
• Current ABA motorcoach or tour operators;
• Attend in-person judging meeting in Essex, VT, June 3-6, 2012 (up to $500 reimbursed);
• Follow timeline for completion of all projects and programs including pre-meeting homework;
• Demonstrate enthusiasm and professionalism towards the Top 100 program, ABA and its members;
• Fully participate in all of the FAM activities;
• Access to a high speed computer.
Contact Vicki Osman at email@example.com with any questions you may have regarding this leadership opportunity or to nominate yourself for this committee.
Later this week, ABA will send an email reminder to all Travel and Associate members who have yet to pay their 2012 membership dues. Companies who do not pay their dues by February 29th will be suspended, and will lose access to ABA services.
Why Renew? You Can't Afford Not To:
• ABA gives you access to 1,000 of the largest and most diversified motorcoach and tour operator companies in North America.
• ABA promotes your business to ABA members and the traveling public all year long through our publications, website and group travel planner.
• ABA provides you with industry trends, research and education to help grow your business.
• Your return on investment by being a member of ABA is worth more than $10,000 if purchased separately.
Click here to renew today.
Were you a first-time delegate at Marketplace 2012 in Grapevine, Texas? Then make sure to check out all four issues of STAR Tales on our website.
STAR Tales is the official electronic newsletter for first-time delegates, usually referred to as STARs. The four issues cover useful topics that help prepare STARs for their first show including: appointment research, profile sheets and checklists.
The fourth and final STAR tales, which was just posted online, focuses on follow up, so STARs can maximize the potential business from the contacts they made while in Grapevine. Click here to read.
ABA would like to extend a special thank you to all of our Marketplace 2012 sponsors. Their generous support helped to make this year's show the best yet!
ABA has posted a listing of all of our fabulous sponsors on our website. You can view the listing here.
ABA has posted the Marketplace 2012 Directory of Participants online. The Directory is sponsored by Ohio has IT!
ABA publishes the Directory of Participants every year to help Marketplace delegates follow up on the contacts they made during the show. It contains the name and email address of all operators, sellers and associate delegates that attended the show. It does not include non-registered delegates who attended functions or volunteered during Marketplace. More information on the companies and delegates in the Directory can be found in the Research Database in the Marketplace Passport.
Click here for the full Directory of Participants.
New Members- Print and Add to your 2012 ABA Motorcoach Marketer
Doubletree Fallsview Resort & Spa by Hilton-Niagara Falls
Flat Rock Playhouse
The following Motorcoach & Tour Operators have submitted application(s) for membership between January 23, 2012 through February 5, 2012 and have met all membership requirements. They are currently in the mandatory 30 Day period for member comments. Should members have comments regarding these applications, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quick's Bus Company
Royal Coach Tours
TKO Coach Commuter Express