After several failed attempts in past years to form a partnership, the American Bus Association (ABA) and the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) are going to ask their members whether they should unite.
The boards of the organizations voted in December to accept a framework for creation of a new association that would replace the ABA and UMA.
By March 31, 2005, members of both associations will be asked to vote on a unification plan. Before the vote can take place, however, additional due diligence is required and a more in-depth transition plan needs to be developed.
The proposal was developed by a joint unification task force that was composed of five members of each organization.
Leaders of both groups praised the unification plan.
“Our industry has seen a lot of changes in the past few years,” said ABA Chair Charles Zelle, “and I think the board members recognize that in order to lead the industry, service our members appropriately and adapt to changing trends in the marketplace, unifying our organizations makes a great deal of sense.” Zelle is president of Jefferson Lines in Minneapolis.
“I want to commend the members of both boards for setting aside all other issues to have the single goal of doing what is best for the industry,” added UMA Chair David Brown. “Once we can speak with a single voice that truly represents the interests of all North American motorcoach operators, I believe we will enjoy unprecedented success on the pressing legislative and regulatory issues that have been causing us so much concern.” Brown is president and CEO of Holiday Tours in Randleman, N.C.
If approved by two-thirds of UMA members and a majority of ABA members, the plan to join the associations will move forward. The voting and initial unification of the two staffs at a single location would take place by the end of the year. Members would be asked to participate in naming the new association.