Motorcoach

Innovative Operator Profile: Breaking Out of the Box

Posted on April 24, 2013 by Metro staff

When larger school districts in South Dakota began preferring motorcoaches to the traditional yellow school buses in the early 1990s, a door opened for Miller, S.D.-based Foreman Charters. In business as a school bus company since 1969, the operation purchased its first motorcoach around that time, which they used for school activities — soon locals came calling.

“South Dakota is a very sparse state, so there’s not a lot of charter buses out here; they usually had to come from the east or west,” explains Doyle Foreman, company president. “Once people saw our names on the buses when we were hauling school children, they started contacting us to take them to places like Branson, Mo.”

Since they began offering charters, the operation’s business has grown to 12 motorcoaches and offers a range of services, including casino runs, Minnesota Vikings football game trips and employee shuttle services.

“It’s grown, we think, quite a bit for South Dakota,” says Foreman. “It’s been successful and we’re happy.”

Foreman Charters hasn’t rested on that success, however. The operation has made several innovative moves to grow business, including hiring two full-time sales people that travel the area trying to drum up business and a full-time tour director in charge of creating new and unique tours.

“Every year she looks to add at least one longer trip that is different than what people have done in the past,” says Foreman of his tour director. He adds that this year’s unique addition is a trip to Portland, Ore., for the Portland Rose Festival.

Foreman also uses several different mediums of advertising, including newspaper, some television and a local radio station that they often work with on cross promotions. Also, following the absorption of a local operation that went bankrupt, Foreman began a yearly travel show where travel planners and the general public are able to meet with representatives from various destinations.

“We invite all the travel planners, basically everybody who’s in competition with us, the first day. The second day is open to the general public,” explains Foreman. “We have an awful lot of people who come into book tours during the shows. It works out very, very well.”

To maintain high driver performance, the operation has family cookouts and get-togethers, as well as monthly driver meetings where problems, concerns and ideas for improvement are discussed. There is also a “Driver of the Month” award, which recognizes drivers for many aspects of their jobs, including being accident-free, on time, having no complaints and maintaining good paperwork.

Drivers that are chosen for the award each month are rewarded with a plaque and gift certificate and also have their picture and a small article about themselves posted on the operation’s Website. Foreman says that his drivers strive hard to attain the award and the accolades that come with it, which he hopes will help keep them loyal.

“What we are trying to do is to keep drivers happy and keep the good ones with the company, because the first person the people see is the driver,” he says. “If our driver is out there and they’re smiling, happy and excited to go on a trip, then they make it a very worthwhile trip for everybody.” 

At a Glance

Motorcoaches: 12

Fleet mix: Setra, MCI, Prevost

Employees: 45

Drivers: 30

Service area: Upper Midwest, 48 states and Canada

Services offered: Charter, tour, college/high school sports, casino, employee shuttle

Year started: 1990

Average annual mileage: 1 million

Annual ridership: 200,000

President: Doyle Foreman  

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

More News

Mobile Awareness unveils complete ELD compliance solution

MobileTRAQ® ELD consists of a mobile application installed on any Android device and the web-based MobileTRAQ® platform.

MCI opens new S.F. Bay Area sales and service center

The Hayward complex features the latest diagnostic equipment, nine service bays, a state-of-the-art parts inventory system, paint booth and OEM trained technicians.  

Seat belt usage by motorcoach drivers hits record levels

Since 2007, FMCSA, in collaboration with the NHTSA has conducted the Safety Belt Usage by Commercial Motor Vehicle Drivers Survey six times. In each survey, safety belt usage by commercial drivers has been shown to be steadily increasing.

ABA urges Congress to fund intercity bus security grant program

In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, Congress recognized the need to address security risks threatening the surface transportation network, specifically identifying the intercity bus industry as a vital mode of transportation through establishment of the IBSGP in the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007.

NTSB: Lack of oversight, sleep-deprived driver led to 2016 Calif. bus crash

A motorcoach operated by Fresno-based Autobuses Coordinados USA Inc., traveling from Los Angeles to Modesto on State Route 99, drifted out of its travel lanes, striking a barrier system and a highway signpost shortly after 3 a.m., Aug. 2, 2016, near Livingston, Calif.

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 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