ABA's Marketplace rolled into the recently opened Music City Center in Nashville. Photo courtesy Nashville CVB
Music, business and motorcoaches were key themes at this year’s American Bus Association (ABA) Marketplace in January, which was held in Nashville for a record sixth time.
At the Opening Ceremony, ABA President/CEO Peter Pantuso gave an overview of the motorcoach industry’s success and growing stature in communities around the nation. He also said delegates were set to have more than 100,000 face-to-face meetings to book business to destinations, attractions and hotels, adding the ABA expected to top the $108.3 million in total business reported at 2013’s Marketplace in Charlotte, N.C.
The program also included several musical acts from Nashville. Meanwhile, METRO Magazine VP, bus and rail/Publisher Frank Di Giacomo presented the inaugural Innovative Motorcoach Operator of the Year Award to Jim Jalbert of Portsmouth, N.H.-based C&J Bus Lines, who implored the crowd to dive headfirst into the show and explore and learn from their peers as much as possible to fuel their own professional growth.
ABA President/CEO Peter Pantuso addresses the crowd at ABA Marketplace in January.
Over the course of five days, Marketplace gave its delegates an opportunity to grow through an educational program that touched on everything from social media to how to attract young urban travelers and keys for building business relationships to finding work/life balance.
Several groups also held meetings throughout the course of Marketplace, including the Bus Industry Safety Council, Women in Buses, Trailways, several state and regional and motorcoach associations, and ABA’s new Hispanic Motorcoach Council. Representatives from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, including Administrator Anne Ferro, were on hand for two listening sessions to discuss its new entrant program for motorcoach companies, with several operators and industry group representatives voicing their concerns, offering opportunities and even volunteering to be part of helping to find the solution.
Temsa unveiled the new TS 45.
On the Marketplace showfloor, CH Bus Sales Inc. and Temsa Global un-veiled a new 45-foot motorcoach, featuring a fully-integral monocoque design with stainless steel for durability.
The TS 45 offers seating for 57 passengers and couples a Cummins 425 HP ISX-EPA 13 engine with an Allison B500 generation five transmission. Standard features include LED headlights, a six-cylinder Bitzer compressor on the HVAC system along with a full automatic convector system for the passenger compartment, ISRI seating for the driver, and three-point seat belts for both drivers and passengers.
The company expects to begin full production on the vehicle by mid-2014.
Motor Coach Industries (MCI) show-cased 2014 versions of its popular J4500 and Setra S 417 models.
The new J4500 features 2013 EPA-compliant Detroit Diesel and Cummins engines. Cummins estimates a 2% mile-per-gallon gain versus 2010 engines, and MCI’s initial three-mile flat-ground tests showed the J4500 achieving 10.27 miles per gallon at 50 miles per hour, according to MCI. Changes inside include new parcel racks, which provide a more spacious-looking interior and better views for flat-screen monitors as well as more passenger headroom above the seats.
Meanwhile, the new Setra S 417 fea-tures a Mercedes Benz OM 471, EPA 2013 engine and new touches, including an optional second door and club corner lounge seating.
Prevost showcased its 2014 H3-45 motorcoach with a Volvo D13 engine with SCR; Amaya Torino A 2-ten seats with three-point seat belts and an electronic stability program. The coaches also feature Prevost’s Liason 2.0 telematics system, Aware adaptive cruise braking and Prime energy management system.
ABC Companies showcased the 2014 version of the Van Hool TX45, which couples Detroit Diesel’s DD13 EPA 2013 engine with an Allison transmission. Standard features include the REI ELITE touch screen with in-dash DVD player, 56 Van Hool Body Line 210 seats with three-point seat belts, SmartWave tire pressure monitoring, Kidde fire suppression, a back-up camera and more.
Marketplace 2015 will be held in St. Louis from Jan. 10 to 13 at the America’s Center Convention Complex.