Featuring a larger show floor with 80-plus vehicles and all the latest technology, as well as the inaugural Transit Maintenance Forum, BusCon will return to Indianapolis’ Indiana Convention Center Sept. 19 to 21. Registration at the event begins Monday, Sept. 19 from Noon to 5 p.m. at the convention center.

The show kicks off Monday afternoon with two sessions hosted by the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) and the Bus & Motorcoach Academy, which will touch on public-private partnerships and wheelchair securement and regulations.

“One of our missions as an organization is to help reach out to the industry by looking at areas where there is a need, and then, try to fill that void through educational programming,” said UMA President/CEO Vic Parra. “These are two very important topics coming down the pike for operators, and we’re pleased that our partnership with BusCon continues to allow us to continue our mission to provide that education.”

Following the afternoon programming, this year’s BusCon Night on the Town will be held at the local dueling piano bar, Howl at the Moon, where attendees can network with peers and take part in a high-energy music show, which is guaranteed to be a good time.  

Maintenance, Vehicle Tech
New to the show is the BusCon Connect hosted buyers program and the inaugural Transit Maintenance Forum (TMF) for senior transit maintenance professionals.

This new forum will feature content curated by a steering committee that includes Bus Maintenance Consultant and well-known industry expert Halsey King; Rick Streiff, manager, fleet design and maintenance, at Southern California’s Access Services; Gary Glasscock, VP, maintenance, for San Antonio’s VIA Metropolitan Transit; and John Calame, sr. VP, fleet and facilities, for MV Transportation. The TMF will give senior transit maintenance professionals the chance to learn about some of the latest trends they are facing in their shops.

A highlight of the educational program includes the “Maintaining for a State of Good Repair” session by the American Public Transportation Association’s Jeff Hiott, director, operations and standards, which will discuss the FTA’s proposed rule as well as its impact on maintenance managers and their departments. Other presentations slated will focus on the advances in battery technology, how wireless power transfer is fueling the electric vehicle revolution, and how apps can help troubleshoot multiplex systems and improve asset management and employee training.

Once again, “North America’s Biggest Bus Show” will offer the largest quantity and widest variety of vehicles and products on the show floor, giving attendees the chance to see more than 80 buses of all sizes and types, including electric, CNG and propane vehicles. The 135,800-square-foot show floor will be open Tuesday, Sept. 20 from Noon to 5 p.m. and Wednesday, Sept. 21 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with attendees able to use BusCon’s new mobile app to get around the show.  

In addition to vehicles, many other suppliers and technology providers will be on hand to showcase all the latest solutions on the market, with more than 32 new companies taking part in this year’s BusCon, compared to last year.

Returning to the show with a major presence will be REV Bus Group and its seven bus brands — Champion Bus, Collins Bus Corp., ElDorado, ENC, Federal, Goshen and Krystal — as well as the launch of its eighth bus brand, World Trans.

“I’ve always been a big proponent of BusCon because it touches so many different vertical markets — tour and charter, transit, paratransit, limousine, you name it,” said REV Group President John Walsh. “So from our standpoint, as the number one bus company in the industry, if you get an opportunity to get in a room with all of our brands and all of those verticals in one place, it’s a real win-win.”

Also on the show floor, New Flyer and Motor Coach Industries (MCI) will exhibit in the same booth for the first time at any trade show. The shared booth space will provide attendees the opportunity to see both a 2017 MCI J4500 — the industry’s best-selling private-sector coach, featuring clean-diesel technology — and New Flyer’s MiDi® — a medium-sized, multi-purpose low-floor bus ideal for all types of service, including shuttles.

Additional manufacturers scheduled to display vehicles include ARBOC Specialty Vehicles, Blue Bird/Micro Bird Commercial, BYD, CH Bus Sales, Complete Coach Works, Diamond Coach, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford Commercial Vehicles, Freightliner Custom Chassis, General Motors Fleet, Glaval Bus, Indbus, Karsan USA, MobilityTRANS, Thomas Built Buses and Turtle Top. New bus suppliers to the BusCon show floor from last year, include Embassy by SVO Group Inc., Grech Motors and Irizar.  

Safety, Succession & Alt. Fuels
The Keynote Address on Tuesday at 11 a.m., “Creating Rock Solid Strategies for Transportation, Business and Life,” will be delivered by USSC Group’s Ray Melleady.

Melleady’s speech will help attendees develop a better understanding of the meaning of thoughtful strategic planning from a real-world transportation operations mindset and learn how to build relational equity with key stakeholders within the industry, as well as leverage those relationships to enhance personal networks for support, knowledge and information sharing.

BusCon’s educational sessions will also help attendees focus on key issues facing their operations, including how to implement a world class safety culture; managing and measuring customer service to maintain positive online reviews; and techniques to diffuse and deal with conflicts and aggressive situations.

Addressing a major issue in the industry, the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority’s Gene Rhodes’ “Preventing the Knowledge Drain by Building a Succession Plan” session will help you implement a succession plan that will not only teach you how to identify future leaders but also how to groom them to take your organization to the next level.

Additionally, two separate sessions will focus on alternative fuels and the latest in electric buses, with the latter featuring Antelope Valley Transit Authority’s GM, Len Engel, who will discuss the agency’s aggressive plan to go all-electric, as well as IndyGo’s Vicki Learn and the latest on the evolution of the technology from bus suppliers who will be on the show floor.  

Meanwhile, BusCon’s Evening Reception at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, located on the grounds of “the greatest race course in the world,” will allow attendees to network while also getting an up-close at one of the most iconic sports venues.

Awards, Beyond Limos
Attendees will also not want to miss the BusCon Breakfast Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, featuring the return of METRO’s Innovative Solutions Awards, honoring operations and their supplier partners who launched new programs that positively impacted their business. Also on hand to present awards will be the Propane Education & Research Council, who will honor operators out in front in the use of propane-fueled vehicles.

The educational program also continues on Wednesday with a special session for limousine operators and others looking to get into the motorcoach industry, entitled “Transitioning from Limo Operators to a Full Service Ground Transportation Company.” The session, by long-time limousine industry veteran Ron Sorci, founder/CEO of Professional Consulting Resources Inc., will touch on a host of topics, including using existing accounts to build a motorcoach revenue base; how to work with DMCs, schools and sports teams; the importance of hiring employees with motorcoach experience; and the need to understand and follow U.S. DOT rules and regulations for commercial motor vehicle carriers.

Sponsors for the 21st installment of BusCon, include Platinum Sponsor REV Bus Group; Gold Sponsor MobilityTRANS; and Silver Sponsors Ford Commercial Vehicles, HSM Transportation Solutions and Terrapin Blue. For more info and to register, visit www.BusConExpo.com or call (800) 576-8788.