Hosted by Bobit Business Media with METRO magazine as its lead sponsor, BusCon 2009 kicked off its 14th convention at Chicago’s Navy Pier Sept. 14 to 16, displaying 59 vehicles and hosting more than 130 exhibitors.
“America’s Convention for Buses” — BusCon — offered new and green-friendly products to attendees on the show floor, while technical sessions and speakers addressed topics such as driver safety training, alternative fuels and 2010 engine emission standards. A special track of educational sessions focusing on University Transit-related issues was also featured.
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., one of many exhibitors unveiling new products, introduced its newest commercial bus chassis, the MB-65. Designed with a lowered engine and softer suspension, the MB-65 is powered by an Allison automatic six-speed transmission and a 2010 Cummins ISB 6.7-liter engine.
American Seating unveiled its new stainless steel seating product, Vision, which features a thin ergonomic profile offering increased leg room. Q’Straint, which received the booth award for “Best New Product,” showcased its QPOD complete wheelchair passenger securement station.
Other debuts taking place on the more-than-60,000-square-foot show floor included vehicle offerings from Federal Coach, Glaval Coach, Goshen Coach and GulfTran Inc.
A highlight of the event was the keynote address from Dave Bolger, chief operating officer for Chicago 2016, the bid committee charged with working to bring the Olympics to Chicago. “We want the Games at the heart of the city — right here, front and center in downtown,” he said. The event would help “spur economic stimulus to Chicago and the surrounding area with an estimated $22.5 billion economic impact. Bolger also discussed the wide-ranging transportation plan for the Games, which would take advantage of the city’s impressive transportation infrastructure.
During his presentation, which featured videos showcasing past Olympians and animation of the comprehensive plans, Bolger likened the immense scale of the event to being the “equivalent of having seven Super Bowls going on the same day.”
In addition to networking on the show floor, show attendees got a chance to reconnect with old friends during the REI-sponsored Welcome Reception at the Hyatt Regency Chicago’s Crystal Ballroom. Video game playing, raffle prizes and baseball were also on tap for show-goers at the ESPN Zone networking reception sponsored by Freedman Seating.
BusCon 2010 will be held at Chicago’s Navy Pier from Sept. 29 to 30.