[IMAGE]MCI-1.jpg[/IMAGE]When it comes to transportation, many higher learning institutions throughout the U.S. and Canada are finding it a benefit to own their own coaches for reasons that range from financial to marketing.
"A motorcoach decaled with schools colors and logo is a rolling billboard," says Michael Melaniphy, vice president, public sector, Motor Coach Industries (MCI). "I started in this industry driving motorcoaches for my university and know firsthand the pride our teams and bands exhibited when they showed up at an event in their school's own motorcoach. It sent a powerful message to the competition that our school had arrived."
In August, MCI delivered J4500 coaches to Rowan University in New Jersey and James Madison University in Virginia, which took its third MCI J4500 model.
"Our J4500s work well for us," said Carl Puffenbarger, assistant director of facilities at James Madison. "They have a good ride, look good and have low maintenance costs, which is a plus for us." James Madison outfitted its new coach with a driver sleeping bunk for use on longer trips. "Our football season has just started and we plan to put our new J4500 on the road to our first game," added Puffenbarger.
Other schools with MCI coaches include Coahoma Community College, Ohio State and Kentucky State Universities, and St. Petersburg College. Purdue University, which has an extensive fleet of vehicles managed by its transportation department operates four MCI models, including a 1988 MCI 96A3 and a newer MCI J4500. In Alabama, MCI coaches can be found on the campuses of University of South Alabama, Lawson State Community College, the Wallace Community College and Southern Union State Community.
Today's MCI models are equipped with clean-diesel engine technology and advanced safety and performance features such as Electronic Stability Control, SmartWave tire pressure monitoring system and Amerex fire suppression systems. Popular options include three-point seat belts, seat back audio, iPod/MP3 connection, 110V outlets for laptops, Wi-Fi connectivity and wheelchair lifts.
"We all understand the importance of investing in our students," said Melaniphy. "It makes sense to invest in a vehicle that incorporates the latest advancements in safety and performance to transport them."
MCI offers technician training courses free of charge and supports its products with fast-access to parts and service along with technical and 24-hour emergency road side assistance.
MCI is exhibiting the MCI J4500 University model with seat belts at BusCon 2009 at Chicago's Navy Pier, Sept. 15 and 16, booth # 1314. To learn more, contact Tom Wagner directly at 847-285-2107, or call 1-866-MCI-624-2622.