New Year, New Hopes for the Motorcoach Industry

Posted on December 19, 2018 by Janna Starcic - Also by this author

Hiring and retaining drivers is the greatest challenge facing motorcoach operators, according to 70% of respondents of METRO Magazine's 2019 Motorcoach Survey. Photo: METRO Magazine
Hiring and retaining drivers is the greatest challenge facing motorcoach operators, according to 70% of respondents of METRO Magazine's 2019 Motorcoach Survey. Photo: METRO Magazine
Hiring and retaining drivers is the greatest challenge facing motorcoach operators, according to 70% of respondents of METRO Magazine's upcoming 2019 Motorcoach Survey. The public transit industry is not immune to this issue either. This summer, a shortage of San Francisco Muni bus drivers caused systemwide delays and stranded thousands of commuters, according to a San Francisco Examiner report.

Similarly on the private bus side, the shortage of coach operators is not only resulting in staffing issues, but is now beginning to have an impact on business, with many survey respondents saying they could in fact grow their operation if they had enough drivers to take on the increased work. Some steps being taken by motorcoach fleets is implementing referral and hiring bonuses, and improved benefits packages and increased wages.

The shortage of coach operators is not only resulting in staffing issues, but is now beginning to have an impact on business, according to respondents of METRO Magazine's 2019 Motorcoach Survey. Photo: Paul Hartley
The shortage of coach operators is not only resulting in staffing issues, but is now beginning to have an impact on business, according to respondents of METRO Magazine's 2019 Motorcoach Survey. Photo: Paul Hartley
Since taking on his role as President/CEO of the United Motorcoach Association, Stacy Tetschner said he's realized how crucial the issue of hiring drivers is.

“I now see the tremendous importance [drivers] play in the health and well-being of our industry. The driver shortage is not just about manpower, it affects the industry’s ability to grow and expand. Not having a qualified driver creates a ripple effect that can hinder everything from operational safety to an owner’s ability to book additional business and/or expand their fleet. A year later, I now understand the importance, and that we need to create greater influence in directing potential drivers to the bus and motorcoach industry as a positive career path, which includes attracting potential drivers earlier in their career/life and also helping owners and operators make this a sought-after position in their company.”

"I now understand the importance, and that we need to create greater influence in directing potential drivers to the bus and motorcoach industry as a positive career path."

Another key challenge Tetschner has observed this past year is how the pace of change and disruption in this industry has picked up tremendously.

“This increased pace has been a challenge for an industry that has traditionally been change averse. Much of the change has been spurred by technological changes, such as ELDs, that have gained acceptance leading to increasing new technologies and opportunities that are disrupting how business has always been done," he said.

"We have seen online crowdsourcing tools move from being looked at with tremendous skepticism by owners and operators to it being embraced as a new revenue stream for charter opportunities. Operational technology tools have also been developed and rolled out that include new software and smartphone apps for fleet management, safety inspections, and overall security,” Tetschner added.

Looking ahead to the New Year, Tetschner also talked about his three hopes for the industry:

1. “Knowing that the pace of change is going to continue, I hope to see the industry continue to reinvest in itself. Investing in professional development and continual industry education will be a necessity to keep pace with these changes while keeping our workforce engaged and industry growing.”

2. “I also see that with the contentious nature of the relationships in Washington, D.C., the industry needs to have a strong voice there now more than ever. I would be thrilled to see owners, operators and managers descend on Washington, April 2 to 3, for the industry’s biggest, baddest, and best legislative fly-in to date. While we have lobbyists that work for us, these legislators want to hear directly from the businesses owners and job creators in their districts that have concerns and a desire to grow the tax base and create more job opportunities. I do not want to see our industry become a victim of all the rhetoric and infighting in Washington, we have to protect our turf and UMA is powering a powerful yet affordable way to participate.

3. “Finally, I would wish for more drivers," Tetschner said. "I see tremendous opportunity for the industry to grow. Bus and motorcoach travel is the green alternative, as well as an answer to decreasing traffic congestion, and most importantly, it is the safest mode of transportation on the highway today. If we can come together as an industry to make driving an attractive career alternative, the possibilities are endless to creating new business opportunities for our owners and operators.”

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More From the Editor's Blog Posts

February 12, 2019

Come Together to Shut Down the Shutdown, Fund a Transit Bill

As I write this, we are a few days away from another potential government shutdown if negotiations on border security are not hammered out.

November 6, 2018

When voting 'yes' says 'no' to funding for transportation

I’m crossing my fingers that by the time you read this, the proposition repealing California’s gas tax and vehicle fees (SB 1) will have failed.

July 2, 2018

Lest we forget, we are all human beings

As you may know, I like to use this column to draw attention to transportation-related issues that are important to me, such as climate change, accessibility, and innovation.

June 30, 2015

Can Courtesy Campaigns Curb the 'Trashing' of Transit?

It drives me nuts when people litter. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people throw trash out of their car windows while they’re driving. I’m always tempted to honk my horn when I see drivers slyly ditching cigarette butts through their open window. Listen up, people. We see you!

April 28, 2015

How transit agencies can manage the 'blizzard' of negativity on Twitter

Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”

See More

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation