After 10 years, six cities and countless thousands of product exhibitions, seminars and networking opportunities, BusCon returns to its city of origin, Las Vegas, to start a new chapter in North America’s largest mid-sized bus show.
Kicking off the new era, BusCon has tweaked its image slightly, now emphasizing a narrower focus on equipment and technology. The end result of the show’s makeover is a more comprehensive and in-depth look at the latest bus models, chassis and vehicle components that the market has to offer.
Scheduled Nov. 8 to 10 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the show will utilize about 20 sponsors, 130 exhibitors and dozens of expert presenters to offer three days of world-class education, entertainment and business opportunity. Unveiling its new theme, “Laser Focus,” BusCon 2005 will provide the perfect slate of events catering to professionals working in public transit, tour and charter, airport transportation, campus and community transit, vehicle rentals, limousine service, paratransit, hotel shuttles and other related businesses.
Typically, the wide range of vehicles on display offers a bounty of purchasing opportunities for the newest mid-sized, light- duty, shuttle and trolley buses, as well as motorcoaches and transit buses. Last year, the number of vehicles exhibited was more than 70, while other new product launches were also plentiful.
With attendance at the past few editions of BusCon averaging between 1,500 and 2,000, the conference represents one of the most extensive gatherings of public- and private-sector decision makers in the transportation industry.
BusCon has also managed to create relationships with several influential industry organizations and businesses, securing sponsorship from the Airport Ground Transport Association, California Bus Association, Gray Line, National Limousine Association, Mid-Size Bus Manufacturer’s Association, Trailways Transportation System and many others.
In addition to the shopper’s paradise on the trade show floor, BusCon delivers a workshop lineup reflecting the industry’s most current, hot-button topics. This year attendees can take advantage of up-to-the-minute seminar tracks that address subjects in the following five categories: equipment, maintenance, operations and finance, university transit and best practices in safety.
But if increasing industry knowledge and education isn’t incentive enough, conference planners have reworked the registration fee structure for attendees and exhibitors, allowing for several new deals and discounts. One innovation made for this year allows any qualified BusCon attendee to visit the exhibit hall for free.
“BusCon 2005 will have a little more of everything than it ever had before — more education, more networking opportunities, more products and more new features,” says Ty Bobit, president of Bobit Business Media, which puts on the show. “I’m confident that if someone’s in the small or mid-sized bus business, this is an event they will greatly benefit from.”
BusCon: 10 years and counting…
Bobit Business Media’s first-ever BusCon show was launched on Sept. 11, 1995, at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, where keynote speaker and Texas entrepreneur Boone Pickens discussed the bus industry’s alternative-fuel revolution.
Chicago hosted the second BusCon, which drew more than 1,200 participants, up nearly 75% from its opening run. Exhibit space also topped the previous year’s mark, totaling more than 50,000 square feet.
Atlanta was BusCon’s next stop in 1997, where best practices for establishing effective driver training programs and retaining drivers were touted during one of the educational sessions.
The fourth annual event was held at Navy Pier in Chicago, which provided a forum for several high-ranking Airport Ground Transportation Association officials.
Basketball Hall-of-Famer Bill Walton was on hand to deliver the keynote speech at BusCon 1999 in Las Vegas.
BusCon 2000 in Baltimore drew more than 1,900 participants, including more than 130 exhibitors representing all facets of the bus industry.
In 2001, the 9/11 terrorist attacks prompted the evacuation of the Cleveland Convention Center, where BusCon’s trade show was being held. Before the premature closing of the event, attendees were treated to product launches by ABC Bus Companies, Thomas Built Buses and Ford.
BusCon visited Orlando for the first time in 2002. The growing popularity of mid-sized buses was one of the main themes of the educational program.
With promising signs of economic recovery, BusCon’s third turn in Las Vegas was highlighted by attendees’ robust interest in bus procurement. It also featured the first university transit roundtable.
The 10th engagement of BusCon in 2004 saw its highest-ever attendance, with nearly 2,000 people on hand in Chicago. Transportation security was one of the hot topics on the conference agenda.