Talks between the United Motorcoach Association (UMA) and the American Bus Association (ABA) to create a joint industry association dissolved after the two could not come to an agreement on a unification plan. “We had some thing to work off of, but we were just too far apart,” said Steve Van Galder, who sits on UMA’s Board of Directors. The idea of a joint association is one both the UMA and ABA feel would better serve the motorcoach industry, especially when dealing with government and the media, said ABA President Peter Pantuso. “If you look at other industries, it’s more common to have multiple associations serving them,” he said. “But it’s stronger if the industry can be completely united with one association.” In light of the hours of service and Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, an association representing the entire motorcoach industry might act as a better lobbyist, said Van Galder. “It’s always better to have one voice when going before Congress. We need a strong lobby for this industry,” he said. Though unification talks are stalled for now, Van Galder said the two associations will probably work together on government affair issues. That way, a more diverse group of operators is represented from the roughly 800 motorcoach members that each association has. A joint motorcoach association is something the ABA and UMA discussed before, and just might be revisited in the future. “Maybe down the road, we’ll try again,” said Van Galder.
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