Motorcoach

2013 Innovative Operators: B&W Charters

Posted on January 8, 2013 by Nicole Schlosser, Senior Editor

Starting out as a collaboration sparked by friendship, B&W Charters, in operation for two generations, evolved from a single motorcoach in 1983 to the sizable fleet of 16- to 56- passenger motorcoaches, vans and trolleys it is today.

Two friends, Paul Best and Gene Wright, combined their business management and coach company experience and started a motorcoach operation together to provide top-notch charter service to the Kalamazoo, Mich. area. Over the years, the company expanded its service throughout southwestern Michigan and beyond. While still headquartered in Kalamazoo, B&W is now accessible to many major cities in the region, including Grand Rapids and Lansing, Mich., as well as South Bend, Ind.

B&W recently found a way to diversify its business when its coaches aren’t running as frequently by partnering with a local bus broker to introduce a trolley service last year, purchasing two Hometown Trolley vehicles.

“We try, like most forward-thinking businesses, to capitalize on opportunities when we can,” Gene Wright II, GM, B&W Charters, says.
The trolleys are particularly popular as a transportation option for weddings, which are by far the most sought-after service B&W offers.

“We really haven’t done any advertising for them, but they’re booked up most weekends during the wedding season,” Wright II says. “Some brides want an option other than a limo. They don’t want to crawl over people. They want to be able to walk around [and] not wrinkle their dress before they get to the reception.”

In reaction to the trend toward smaller groups seen by many motorcoach carriers around the country, and to keep diversifying its services, B&W also uses smaller, 14- to 29-passenger vehicles and minibuses, which are popular for weddings as well.

Meanwhile, events such as holiday and light tours keep the trolleys running in the winter. Families often come to downtown Kalamazoo to ride the trolleys as a holiday tradition.

In addition to its unique vehicle offerings, B&W stands apart from other carriers with its service and follow-up by collaborating with its customers as they plan important events, Wright II says.

“I’ve spoken with prospective clients that have had poor experiences in the past. They often tell me that previous companies they have worked with didn’t seem to value them as a client,” he adds. “[Some companies] don’t partner with the customer to provide the service. It really is a partnership. If you’re not really paying attention, listening and asking what’s important to them, you’re just hired help. If you partner with them, it adds an extra touch and lets them know you care.”

That entails working with customers on the shuttle schedule, making recommendations on pickups, timing and going over itineraries to make sure the scheduling is realistic, Wright II says.

“A lot of times they don’t think about loading and unloading time, but when you’re running a tight schedule and want everything to go right on time, [it could] throw things off by 15 to 20 minutes per run, through the night,” he explains. “It doesn’t have to happen that way. You can’t protect against everything, but most of the time, everything works the way it’s supposed to with proper planning.”

While these efforts require more time, Wright II adds, B&W has communication templates in place to increase efficiencies, creating more time to work with customers on their plans.

“That results in not having to add staff but just having [our] staff work more efficiently. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time we work with a new client,” he says.

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

More News

MCI delivers 5 J4500s to Miami's Travel By Bus!

The 2015 J4500 also comes with a variety of model improvements, including an independent ZF front suspension for tighter turning and an improved ride; and Bendix brakes that offer car-like control.

ABC delivers 17 Van Hools to Texas, New Orleans

Euless, Texas' Roadrunner Companies added eight TX45s, while New Orleans' Hotard Coaches added nine TX45s.

CH Bus delivers Temsa TS35 to Ky.

R&R‘s new coach is seated to 38 passengers and is utilized for a variety of groups such as corporate events, weddings and tours.

MTR Western deploys Lytx DriveCam safety program across entire fleet

The Lytx DriveCam Program helps prevent collisions, reduce injuries and save lives by combining video with predictive analytics, real-time driver feedback and coaching, empowering fleets to identify and correct driving behaviors that could lead to collisions.

IMG names STARR Bus Charter & Tours Operator of the Year

Each year, IMG shareholders recognize one of their own for this honor, based on a criterion of operational excellence, safety performance, best practices, community and motorcoach industry involvement, and engagement within the International Motorcoach Group.

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