February 2009

Krapf Turns Family Bus Route into Multi-Faceted Business

by Nicole Schlosser, Associate Editor

Dale Krapf, chairman of the board for Krapf Bus Companies began his career in the bus business as a child, working alongside his parents sweeping school buses. “I will probably always bleed yellow, because I came up in the school bus arena, and what we did there enabled us to get into these other businesses, like charter and transit,” admits Krapf.

In 1942, Krapf’s parents, Eleanor and George Krapf Jr., started the company in Exton, Pa., with two buses running one single route per day, in the morning and afternoon.

Krapf is leading the company into its third generation of family-run management, working closely with his children, including his son, Gary Krapf, president, Krapf Coaches, Bradley Krapf, president, Advanced Student and Gregg Bus Company, and Blake Krapf, CEO, Krapf Bus Companies. The company now operates more than 1,000 buses, which also serve public transit and paratransit in southeastern Pennsylvania and Delaware, and is a member of the International Motor Coach Group (IMG).

With a background rooted in school buses, Krapf has made significant contributions to that aspect of transportation, as well as to the motorcoach side of the industry. He is the past president of the National School Transportation Association (NSTA), serving a term from July 2003 to July 2005, and won SCHOOL BUS FLEET magazine’s “Contractor of the Year” award in 1994. Krapf is also active in the United Motorcoach Association (UMA), serving on the board of directors.

To recognize his exceptional achievements in the industry, METRO Magazine selected Krapf as its 2009 Motorcoach Operator of the Year. METRO publisher Frank Di Giacomo presented the award to Krapf at the United Motorcoach Association’s 2009 Motorcoach Expo in Orlando, Fla., in January.

Diverse aspirations

In 1982, Krapf and his brother, Dallas, decided to branch out and take on the motorcoach business. Krapf noticed there was no motorcoach company in the area, and spotted an opportunity to provide that service to the community and become involved in a more exciting aspect of the transportation business. “I wasn’t only looking for diversification of our business structure, but to get into something new and re-energize,” says Krapf. “It was something that I thought we could have a lot of fun with.”

Soon after getting into the motorcoach industry, in 1984, the brothers added paratransit to their list of services, and then won multiple public transit contracts from Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). “We were probably one of the first companies, in this part of the country, that really embraced stepping beyond just one specific core business and getting into transit, coach and paratransit,” Krapf says. “However, that all grew and evolved from our yellow school bus business,” he adds.

Making growth greener

The company also shows a strong commitment to greening the workplace. Krapf notes that they have built modern operational facilities to include “green” aspects. Currently, in their facilities, Krapf Bus Companies has a gantry wash with recycled water, heats their buildings with waste motor oil, uses power-efficient lighting and a 20 percent blend of biodiesel in their fleet.

Krapf also notes the company was the first in the region to begin equipping their fleet of school buses with diesel particulate filters, a project that is now more than 65 percent complete. “We won the first national ‘Go Yellow, Go Green’ award from the National School Bus Association this past year because of our work in that area. We intend to do the same thing in the motorcoach side of our business,” says Krapf.


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