Insider Exclusive: Legroom vs. Capacity on Motorcoaches

Insider Exclusive: Legroom vs. Capacity on Motorcoaches

Operators Speak Out on Hot Industry Trends

By ABA Media

The Insider recently posed the following industry question to several ABA member motorcoach operators: Seating capacity versus leg room? When it’s time to buy a new bus, does this affect your decision whether to buy a 52- or 56-seat vehicle? If so, how?

Here is what our members had to say:

“I have mostly 56-passenger coaches, and I would like to keep them all the same. It’s one less thing to think about when you are sending out a large coach.”

Randal Steelman, General Manager

Lone Star Coaches Inc.

Grand Prairie, Texas

“We look at the anticipated usage, knowing students can tolerate reduced legroom and require max capacity; however, adults prefer increased legroom over greater capacity. There is a growing trend to reduce capacity and increase legroom. Having varying capacities in a fleet calls for more intense scheduling attention, which is becoming more common.”

Alan Glickman, CEO

Starr Bus Charter & Tours

Trenton, N.J.

“Good question. We have gone to a fleet of all 55. School groups always want 55, and what happens when we have to switch a bus with fewer seats at the last minute for whatever reason—[it leads to] trouble.”

Michael Faulkner, President

Cape Fear Coach Lines

Wilmington, N.C.

“Our business model is to replace our seated coaches on a 54- to 60-month cycle. We are exclusively MCI with our coach fleet of about 125-plus coaches. With our replacement cycle and what MCI has recently done with reconfiguring the lavatory, we are able to utilize 60-passenger seating without any sacrifice on legroom. Currently, we either already have or will have within the next 30 days, approximately 25-plus 2018 MCI coaches with the new lavatory configuration. Some are 56-passenger and some are 60-passenger coaches. We are going to move forward with all future purchases to be the 60-seat version of the J4500. Our customers are very happy with the additional legroom and/or the 60-passenger seating.”

John McCommon, President

Cline Tours

Ridgeland, Miss.

“Our preference is 52 seats due to the issue of limited legroom on the 56 models. It is more of a problem on Prevost than MCI with the new engines.”

Stephen Evans, Vice President of Safety

Pacific Western Group of Companies

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

About the American Bus Association

The American Bus Association (ABA) is the trade organization of the intercity bus industry, with more than 1,000 motorcoach and tour company members in the United States and Canada. Its members operate charter, tour, regular route, airport express, special operations and contract services. Another 2,800 members are travel and tourism organizations and suppliers of bus products and services who work in partnership with the North American motorcoach industry.


Melanie Hinton, Vice President, Communications & Marketing, ABA
Office: (202) 218-7220
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