March 1, 2012

Northfield Lines named METRO’s ‘Operator of the Year’

METRO publisher Frank DiGiacomo presented the award to John Benjamin and Larry Benjamin's family at the United Motorcoach Association's 2012 Motorcoach Expo in Long Beach, Calif., in February.

METRO publisher Frank DiGiacomo presented the award to John Benjamin and Larry Benjamin's family at the United Motorcoach Association's 2012 Motorcoach Expo in Long Beach, Calif., in February.

METRO Magazine recently chose brothers John and Larry Benjamin, owners of Northfield, Minn.-based Northfield Lines, as its 2012 Motorcoach Operator of the Year to honor their exceptional achievements in the industry. METRO publisher Frank DiGiacomo presented the award to John Benjamin and Larry Benjamin’s family at the United Motorcoach Association’s (UMA) 2012 Motorcoach Expo in Long Beach, Calif., in February.

Larry, who passed away last November, had initially forged a career in the restaurant business, was successful in car sales, and drove a school bus route before taking over a local school bus and motorcoach operation in 1989. He brought John, an electrical engineer at the time, on board to help him run the business. “We really didn’t have prior bus experience before that,” John recalls. “He was looking for a different type of business to get into.”

Eventually, the brothers grew the operation, providing premium motorcoach, charter, shuttle, and daily route service to a varied customer base throughout Minnesota. In February, 2011, they were named “Business People of the Year” by the Northfield (Minnesota) Chamber of Commerce.

Deeply involved in the industry, Larry served on the UMA since 2005, and on the International Motorcoach Group board of directors. John Benjamin has served on the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association since 2004 and won the National School Transportation Association Golden Merit Award in 2002.

What makes Northfield successful, John Benjamin says, is the diversification in the business, with a customer base running the gamut from corporate employees and convention customers, high school and college transportation to wedding bus shuttles.

What makes Northfield successful, John Benjamin says, is the diversification in the business, with a customer base running the gamut from corporate employees and convention customers, high school and college transportation to wedding bus shuttles.

What makes Northfield successful, John says, is the diversification in the business, with a customer base running the gamut from corporate employees and convention customers, high school and college transportation to wedding bus shuttles. “We hit every different type of customer that you can have in the motorcoach business,” he says. Northfield also diversifies its equipment, offering vehicles ranging in variety from 56-passenger motorcoaches to mini-vans, with a fleet mix of Van Hools, MCIs, Setras and even one Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minibus.

To see where Northfield Lines ranked in METRO's Top 50 Motorcoach Fleets survey, click here.

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