Innovative Motorcoach Operators-Sun Diego Charter Co., San Diego, Calif.

Posted on January 13, 2010 by Alex Roman, Managing Editor

[IMAGE]Sun-.jpg[/IMAGE]Going green is becoming more popular in nearly every sector of industry and motorcoach is no different.

San Diego's Sun Diego Charter Co.'s President Richard Illes saw that going green could help his operation appear more unique than the competition.

"About a year ago, we saw a niche in the market for green transportation and, with that, we changed our culture," says Illes. "We went on an environmental campaign to see what we were doing versus what we should be doing, and then came up with some concepts and carried those forward."

Sun Diego started its culture change, subtly, instituting a recycling program both in the office - everything from paper to toner —and on its motorcoaches, requiring drivers to separate refuse after each trip. It soon spread to the garage with the recycling of such items as tires, antifreeze and motor oil.  

"Everybody has to buy into the culture, and that was probably the biggest challenge; trying to educate people and have them understand what it means to be environmentally responsible," says Illes. "Once they understood it, they signed on to the program, and they are now consciously addressing things that need to be changed further."

Illes adds that the operation has also instituted a "Green Committee," which addresses how everything in the operation can be even greener.

The operation also goes paperless when possible and has changed most of its cleaning products to more eco-friendly brands.

Taking the green approach to Sun Diego's motorcoach fleet, Illes says that he has been aggressive in updating the fleet so that the oldest coaches still in operation are 2004s and is way ahead in meeting the stringent state air quality standards, developed by the California Air Resources Board, that are slated to go into effect in 2013.

The operation also has a strict five-minute idling policy; a sophisticated, satellite-based GPS speed-monitoring system to control motorcoach speeds and help improve fuel economy; and began using a 10-percent blend of biodiesel fuel, complete with an on-site fueling station.

"It seems like a lot of companies are turning toward using environmentally-friendly vendors, and we kind of created a niche by going green," says Illes of his operation's efforts. "So far, it's actually helped us in the marketplace, and other organizations that are green-conscious have contracted us for their transportation, which probably wouldn't have happened in the past."

To help grow its business, the operation has increased its online presence and reached out to markets that they previously hadn't focused on, such as schools and government contracts. Currently, about 50 percent of its business comes from daily runs to local casinos.

In 2010, Sun Diego plans on going even greener by beginning work on a new facility that will be more sustainable, including using energy-efficient lighting and having a reclaimed water system for vehicle washing.

In the meantime, Illes says that he believes that green is the way to go for many in the industry and that taking small steps is the key to changing an operation's culture.

"It's such an easy thing to do that it surprises me that more people haven't jumped on the bandwagon," he says. "It's really not that difficult, it's just small changes — you can't just flip a switch and decide that tomorrow you are going to green. But, it's such the right thing to do that I'm sure we'll see more operators heading in that direction soon."  


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

More News

Driver in fatal Calif. motorcoach crash was also owner/operator

It's still too early to definitely say what caused the accident, officials say. There were no signs of braking, such as skid marks, so far, and the tour bus was also determined not to have seatbelts.

Calif. tour bus crash kills 13, injures 31

All the victims were adults, according to the report, with the surviving passengers and the big rig driver only suffering minor injuries.

FMCSA awards grants to train military vets to drive buses, trucks

The current Commercial Motor Vehicle - Operator Safety Training Grant Program awards are projected to go toward training more than 250 people.

FMCSA proposes enhancements to Safety Measurement System's public website

While the Federal Register announcement responds to comments received following the June 29, 2015, notice, no changes will be implemented in the public SMS website display until after completion of the National Academies of Sciences Correlation Study as required by Section 5221 of the FAST Act.

ABA Foundation to double scholarship amounts in 2017

Also announced that all proceeds raised from ABA’s Annual Meeting & Marketplace Live and Silent Auctions will be allocated to the ABAF’s Fund a Future program to fund this scholarship initiative.

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


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