Management & Operations

Significant benefits to bus pros and BusCon

Posted on July 1, 2003 by Frank Di Giacomo, publisher

Every year since 1995, METRO has been the main sponsor of BusCon, a unique bus exposition for public and private operators. There’s nothing complicated about the mission of this annual event — to bring bus buyers and the supplier community together for a meaningful exchange of information. In addition, it’s our charge to provide a top-drawer educational program that enlightens and inspires. Those objectives are especially relevant these days given the state of the economy and the unpredictable nature of the world in general. For example, who could have guessed that the travel industry, already slammed by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, would be further battered by the spread of a disease such as SARS? Or who could have predicted the debilitating power outage in mid-August that shut down much of the East Coast and parts of Canada? How to prepare for anything The bus industry needs to be ready for anything. As such, BusCon provides valuable guidance — and networking opportunities — for operators of small, medium-duty and larger buses transporting passengers in an uncertain environment. I mentioned networking opportunities for a reason: coordinated transportation linking public and private operators is becoming a critical issue. The threat of terrorism, coupled with technological vulnerabilities such as the recent power grid failure, makes it imperative that transit agencies work more closely with private bus companies to create contingency plans. Using private coaches to help move stranded rail passengers in New York would have relieved some of the incredible pressure on the transit network. But the key is planning. BusCon provides an excellent opportunity for public and private operators to get the ball rolling. The business of moving people is a serious one. Let’s get serious about exploring new partnerships between the public and private sectors. But let’s not forget that BusCon also provides great access to scores of new bus models and related products and services. The medium- and light-duty markets, especially, are gaining momentum as operators look for shorter procurement times and more flexibility in their service programs. The Las Vegas Convention Center will be chock-full of exhibitors who will be happy to explain the benefits of their products, small and large. It’s up to you to bring a game plan that allows you to inspect the wide range of transportation options and ask tough questions of the vendors. Where else can you literally kick the tires of up to 80 different bus models at a single venue? Triumphant return to Las Vegas This year’s show will be held Oct. 26 to 28 in Las Vegas, the site of the inaugural BusCon exposition in 1995. As I mentioned earlier, METRO is the main sponsor of the three-day event, but we’ve also got an impressive cadre of allies — the American Bus Association, the Airport Ground Transport Association, the California Bus Association, Grayline, the Mid-Size Bus Manufacturers Association, the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association and Trailways. These organizations are an incredible source of industry knowledge and will be sending officers and members to discuss member benefits at their booths. Early reports indicate that attendance in Las Vegas will be higher than in years past. We’re trying to lend a helping hand. Because we understand that your travel budgets could be tighter than ever, we’ve lowered BusCon’s registration rates accordingly. Visit www.BusConExpo.com for more information or to register online. I hope to see you there!

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