Motorcoach

Five Star tailors tours to give back to community

Posted on January 11, 2012 by Nicole Schlosser, Senior Editor

Founded in 1972 to meet a need in the San Diego area for safe and reliable transportation to Tijuana, Mexico, Alfonso Hernandez Jr., owner, started Five Star Tours, a small, family-run shuttle service, and gradually grew the operation. After he passed away in 2001, his son, Alfonso Hernandez III, GM, tour product innovator; Alfonso's mother, Yolanda Hernandez, CEO/president; and Alfonso's brother, Carlos Hernandez, VP, operations, took over the business and, eventually, realized their vision to help the community that supported it.

The business went through a transition in 2002, when the Mexican government began strictly enforcing regulations against bus operators transporting international groups across the U.S.-Mexico border, forcing the carrier to change the services it offered.

"We had to make a business decision and change our focus to charter services and tours of the area," Hernandez III says. "We [now] focus mostly on special culinary events, a lot of brewery and winery tours in San Diego."

The carrier also offers tours of Mexico's Baja California region. The beginning of more change came nearly three years ago, Hernandez III says.

"[As a] family- and woman-owned business, my mom, brother and I were thinking of ways we could impact our community in a positive light," he said.

The Hernandez family made it a goal to reach out to low-income youth who normally would not have an opportunity to experience the arts or learn about conservation.

As part of that vision to give back to the community it services in the South Bay area of San Diego, Five Star started its "Tours for a Cause" program, working with nonprofits and school districts to provide field trips for children in lower income areas. One tour features an arts program with the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Providing students with a hands-on experience, artists teach them techniques and talk about their own life experiences.

"We wanted to enrich youths' experience and make sure there [are] different things for them to explore," Hernandez III explains.

Most of the children who have participated in the program are really happy, he adds.

"We got a letter saying it had a positive impact in that if the student hadn't [participated in] the program they wouldn't have been able to have this experience," says Hernandez III.

Another tour, conducted in partnership with the San Diego-based nonprofit Border Angels, focuses on educating students about human rights. Volunteers from the nonprofit talk to students about the importance of human rights, focusing on immigrants and how many people have died because they wanted to cross the border, explains Hernandez III.

Five Star got the program up and running a year and a half ago and completed about seven different tours, including one that focuses on conservation, using motorcoach travel as an example of going green. The operator is able to offer the tours free of charge, since its nonprofit partners donate all of the necessary resources.

"Nonprofit organizations [have] shown they're in this with us," Hernandez III says. "It's a win-win experience."

To expand the program, the operator plans to apply for grants that offer opportunities for businesses to provide free services for youth so it can bring the tours to more children.

"The main thing is having our message heard throughout the whole county," Hernandez says.  

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

More News

Megabus, Coach USA implementing GreenRoad system

The operations are targeting a 3% reduction in fuel consumption using the technology, which is being rolled out on its fleet of 2,400 buses. This initiative follows a successful pilot program in the UK in which a 3% improvement in fuel efficiency was achieved across UK bus operations.

53 evacuated after bus catches fire

The driver told investigators he heard what sounded like a rear tire's exploding and immediately pulled off to the side of the road. As soon as he stopped, he saw that the back of the bus was on fire. The bus was declared a total loss.

Prevost relocates, expands Greater Toronto service center

Additionally, the company announced the appointment of Jack Forbes to the position of VP Corporate Accounts and Commuter Sales.

ABC delivers Van Hools to Iowa, Calif.

Iowa's Windstar Lines took delivery of five new CX2045s while San Diego's Goldfield Stages took delivery of two new CXs.

Luxury bus co. Vonlane begins offering Houston-Dallas service

The vehicles feature free wi-fi, satellite television and radio and an attendant offering drinks and amenities more common on first-class flights than intercity bus service.

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 resource for managers of class 1-7 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