Significant opportunities for the motorcoach industry arise when airline service is impacted by labor actions, said American Bus Association President Peter Pantuso.
Pantuso wants to prepare ABA members to step up their service when opportunities such as airline strikes, which limit air service capacity, occur. The ABA compiled information on ways the motorcoach industry could fill the potential gaps in service resulting from air service cancellations. During a meeting with U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) officials, the ABA presented such information and promoted the motorcoach industry’s reliability in times of service capacity shortages. The ABA also touted the benefits of the motorcoach industry’s extensive geographical coverage that can provide a seamless passenger transportation network.
Pantuso said the ABA sees this as an important business opportunity as well as a chance for the motorcoach industry to be seen as a transportation solution.
“We want to make sure that the DOT knows we are there, and that we as an industry have the equipment, the personnel and the ability to move large numbers of people,” Pantuso said.
He is getting the word out by speaking with members of Congress and plans to speak with the secretary of transportation on the subject. “This is an opportunity to present ourselves as a choice, hopefully as a first choice, to dealing with the many issues facing the transportation community. We want to be a part of the solution,” he said.
There are many instances in which the airlines have relied upon the industry, Pantuso said. “What we’re suggesting is that it be done in a more concentrated and visible way by working together with our members, the organization and the DOT to cement the relationship,” he said.
Response to the proposal by ABA members has been overwhelmingly positive, Pantuso said.
“I am supportive of it, absolutely,” said Frank Powers, national marketing director at VecTour Inc. Powers said the motorcoach industry can assist the airlines by transporting passengers to major hubs when commuter airlines are unable to. “There has been a lot of bad weather in the northeast, so we’ve dispatched luxury motorcoaches to get the passengers from a diverted flight in Allentown to New York.”