Management & Operations

Helping college kids get home

Posted on April 1, 2005

About a year ago, a Virginia Tech student was desperately searching for a way to get home from school. It was spring break, and he needed to find a way back to his home in New Jersey. After scouring travel Websites for a flight that wouldn’t cost a year’s tuition, he came across a small bus company headquartered in Blacksburg, Va. This bus company — Home Ride of Virginia — wasn’t like others. Its buses specialized in helping college students get home for breaks and weekends. “We are one of the very few companies that are organized primarily for college students,” said Steve Schade, owner of Home Ride. “Our business is taking students home for breaks.” Every Friday afternoon, Home Ride picks up students from four universities across Virginia — Virginia Tech, Radford University, James Madison University and the University of Virginia. Students can take buses to different locations in the state, such as northern Virginia, Richmond, Hampton, Harrisonburg and Charlottesville. In some of these cities, students can catch subways and trains to get even closer to home. On Sunday evening, the buses pick up the students and return them to their respective colleges. You might think a company like this would need a large staff. Not quite. Schade purchased Home Ride in 2003. He runs the company out of a small office in downtown Blacksburg. “In the home office it’s just me and a part-time assistant,” Schade said. “We sell the majority of our tickets at the [university] bookstores.” Home Ride keeps its staff lean by using contracted drivers and buses. “There are a couple of companies we charter from,” Schade said. “The new ones we use for Virginia Tech students are manufactured by Prevost. We charter other ones for Tech and Radford from Abbott Trailways in Roanoke. The charter companies supply the drivers.” Home Ride has been around for two decades. The company was started in the mid-1980s by enterprising Virginia Tech graduate students. The business lasted a few years, but the students eventually graduated and sold the company. Under the new owners, the company fell apart. In 1991, however, one of the original owners and former New York Giant football player Bill Ellenbogan purchased the company. “It continued along well [under] Ellenbogan,” Schade said. “Two years ago, it was sold to me.” And it has prospered under Schade. Dozens of Virginia college students rely on Home Ride every week. On an average fall weekend, more than 200 students ride the buses. “On some of the bigger weekends, we need as many as 12 buses,” Schade said. — FRANCIS GODFREY

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Waymo begins offering rides in self-driving cars

Waymo, Google's self-driving car project, and Fiat Chrysler haved teamed up to offer rides to the public so that it can get feedback on the experience.

King County Metro, Intersection extend advertising contract

The agency first tapped Intersection in 2005, when, operating as Titan, the company won a competitive contract granting the exclusive rights to sell advertising on its 1,400 buses and facilities

BAI Communications acquires inMOTION Wireless

In 2014, inMOTION was awarded an exclusive 22-year license by Boston’s MBTA to design, build, finance, and operate a multi-application high-speed network along the MBTA Commuter Rail System and on MBTA ferries.

Calif.'s Big Blue Bus rolls out mobile ticketing app

The program will be evaluated after a six-month period to determine whether customers feel that the app fare payment is beneficial, in addition to BBB staff determining the cost/benefit of adding the app to BBB’s suite of fare media products.

Pace mourns death of Bolton, former deputy exec. director

He passed away in the early hours of April 15, 2017, after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 69.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close