Krapf Turns Family Bus Route into Multi-Faceted Business

Posted on February 6, 2009 by Nicole Schlosser, Associate Editor - Also by this author

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Family and community

In addition to running a successful transportation business, Krapf also gives back to the communities that the company serves. In 1986, Krapf Bus Companies began an annual scholarship program, reaching out to all the major area high schools and awarding students who demonstrate business acumen, and by participating in the Chamber of Commerce and area nonprofits.

 “Locally, he is an extremely well-known and respected business man, and has been active in many different organizations,” says Gary Krapf.

He also credits his father and uncle in particular with the initiative to bring the family business to the next level, noting that they took what was essentially a small school bus company and grew it into the million-dollar business it is today.”

Krapf’s son adds that his father is one of the family members that has kept the business together, and routinely keeps seven other family members and nearly 1,500 employees focused. “I think that’s an enormous challenge,” says Gary Krapf. 

Mapping future routes

Embarking on his forty-second year in the transportation business, Krapf pointed out that the industry is still full of challenges and that there are more unknowns now than ever. “I think the challenges ahead for the bus industry are enormous, but they create a lot of opportunities. We haven’t even determined what some of them are yet… [with] the economy, I don’t think anyone really knows how quickly as a country we’re going to get back on our feet,” says Krapf.

He advises those in the industry to be prepared to be quick to adapt and make sure they are in the right place at the right time to take advantage of arising opportunities, many of which he believes need to be created by the industry itself.

“The UMA board can really set the stage for growth, as a group of operators, manufacturers and the other tour and travel professionals in the industry. We represent more than 900 operators in the U.S.” Krapf says.

He predicts that the new charter rule could possibly be a terrific opportunity for privately owned companies, if the industry works hard over the next year to make sure that it remains intact.

The company is looking to implement new services and technologies, including GPS. “Tracking our vehicles and being able to monitor what our drivers are doing is of high interest to us. There are some new safety devices that are coming down the road that we’re trying to equip our vehicles with. Some of them are going to become standard very quickly.” He adds that seat belts may be beneficial for motorcoaches. “Personally, I think we should support that issue, because motorcoach travel is unlike school bus travel. You’re traveling at higher speeds on major highways, there’s more opportunity for rollovers,” says Krapf.

Krapf emphasizes that it has always been a goal of his to upgrade and improve the overall image of the bus industry, whether it be motorcoach, school bus or transit, and that he continues to find the constantly evolving motorcoach industry exciting. “Every day is different. I just celebrated my 64th birthday, and I [still] love to come to work, I love the action. There are always new opportunities, and that’s made it enjoyable for me.”                                                                               

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