Innovation is a word that best suits New World Tours. The operation’s fleet consists of 32 2007 Van Hool C2000 series motorcoaches, built by ABC Companies, designed based on feedback provided from a focus group.
The coaches are all equipped with VuStar technology, which includes multiple embedded PCs, large High-Definition monitors, an enhanced audio system, DVD player, DirecTV, XM Radio and Microsoft Office applications to keep passengers entertained during their trip.
The technology can also be used as a platform for entertainment, education and business meetings.
“We now ask if there is information that the group would like for us to display,” explains Dave Bolen, president of New World Tours. “If so, they electronically send it to us and we download the content onto the coaches prior to departure.”
Passengers can also download their own videos, documents or MP3s directly into the media panel and navigate the entire system through custom touch-panel technology.
“We also track fleet unit requirements through the onboard system and GPS monitoring,” adds Bolen.
New World’s three full-time maintenance technicians are trained at the Van Hool factory in Belgium, and, with a ratio of one technician and service bay to approximately ten fleet vehicles, are able to more easily perform daily and weekly maintenance on each coach, according to the operation.
“Maintenance procedures have required us to acquire skill sets not previously required in our business,” says Bolen. “This change extends throughout the staff of our company and is a continual work in progress.”
To become more “green,” the operation uses only 2006 Caterpillar C13 engines, a decision made after participating in the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions study conducted for the American Bus Association.
Driver performance has been modified in the last year through the use of DriveCam and the GPS monitoring of its fleet activity.
“More importantly, our most effective drivers have successfully integrated the display technology into their management of the passengers,” says Bolen. “This process continues to evolve as our operators develop more effective techniques.”
Marty Bowman, the operations’ safety director, is credited with inspiring the name because he believed that a new kind of motor carrier company was being born.
New World Tours was created in 1994 through the merger of two smaller coach companies that served Washington, D.C., and the Northeastern U.S. The operation pledges its customer’s outstanding safety, service and value.
“The biggest obstacle that we face is ourselves,” says Bolen about his operation. “We are trying to educate ourselves as rapidly as possible to be able to accommodate the changing requirements of our passengers and fleet — much easier said than done.”
In addition to being named one of METRO’s Innovative Operators of 2008, Bolen also received the magazine’s Motorcoach Operator of the Year award in 2005.
When told of the honor at that time and again when asked for headshot for this article, Bolen made sure to express that New World Tours is a team-oriented operation. Upon winning the award in 2005 he selflessly added: “Whatever I can do with this award and in the magazine article, if it helps other people, then that is the biggest thing that can come out of it.”
At a Glance
Fleet mix: Van Hool,ABC
Service area: Mid-Atlantic region, Washington, D.C. Metro area
Services offered: Charter, contract, tour
Year started: 1994
Average annual mileage: 1.8 million
Annual ridership: 590,000
President: Dave Bolen