[IMAGE]MountainView-.jpg[/IMAGE]The reason Greg Conser, president of Mountain View Tours in Tucson, Ariz., decided to sell his six coaches and relocate from Michigan is simple: location, location, location.
"I bought a brand new European coach and was looking for a nice place to move," he explains. "All I wanted was just one coach, to travel and hook up with a good tour company, but it didn't last long."
Missing out on jobs and being forced to sit at home when a cancellation occurred, Conser decided it was time to expand his motorcoach fleet to six, believing that to be the optimum number that would enable him to support an office, office staff and additional drivers.
Soon, Conser's fleet grew to 10. He was able to build a garage and continued to expand. His fleet is now up to 20 and features five brand new Volvo 9700s - some of the first to hit the North American market.
"We saw the coaches often in Mexico," says Conser, whose operation does extensive work in the country. "They have changed them immensely to get U.S. DOT permitted, but it's a bus that is basically around the globe in different forms."
Conser explains what he likes best about his new 9700s is their design and high-level integration.
"Every part inside of the vehicles has the Volvo brand name," says Conser. "It makes it so much easier to be able to just deal with one manufacturer, and there are Volvo Service Centers all over."
Conser adds that Volvo has been very hands-on in making sure his new coaches are running correctly and that problems are addressed immediately.
"If there's any small problem, we bring it to their attention, and usually Volvo already knows it's happening and is coming up with updates," he explains. "I'm really impressed, actually."
The 9700s also fit well with several other elements that factor into Mountain View's commitment to efficiencies, including fuel conservation - the vehicles are currently averaging 7.78 mpg - and three-point seat belts. The latter is especially important due to the operation's excellent safety record.
In Mountain View's nearly-20-years of service, the operation has had zero injuries and frequently wins awards for safety.
"I just never wanted to get that phone call, so we've been very strict with our driver hiring and training," says Conser about his operation's safety record.
To ensure that his drivers are being safe, Conser will follow his drivers while they are out conducting tours and charters.
Mountain View has a GPS system that aside from tracking the coaches' location also monitors how fast they are driving. Conser says that he is also currently testing a system that will continuously record, enabling the operation to track its drivers and do spot checks to see if they are tailgating, braking late or participating in any other behaviors that may be deemed unsafe. With his excellent safety record and new coaches, Conser adds that it has been relatively simple to find good, safe and reliable drivers.
"We draw from everywhere," he says. "We're on the interstate, people see us and we just have a good reputation. People also like driving for us because we have the sort of work a good driver would like — lots of gratuities and lots of tours."