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2014 Press Releases

READING BUS LINES ADDS VAN HOOL T2145 TO FLEET

December 1, 2014

"We like to think we combine u2018small town hospitality with big city Expertise,'" says Sharon Fritz of Reading (MN) Bus Lines. "We'd better, because the town of Readingu2019\'s entire population can pretty much fit into one our motorcoaches. We've built our business in an atmosphere where everyone knows how well you serve people.u201d

Sharon's husband Bud was driving a school bus for the town in 1970 when several local governments decided to use private contractors and they decided to enter the business themselves. Over the years they evolved out of school buses into motorcoaches. In 1990 they acquired Ken Hirsch Travel in Sioux Falls SD. Reading Bus Lines now operates a fleet of luxury coaches out of 3 facilities, serving the Minnesota's Twin Cities area, Southwest Minnesota, Eastern South Dakota as well as Northern Iowa with nationwide charter service and tours. In addition to operating 17 Van Hool's , Reading recently has come full circle, adding a new school bus division.

Sharon Fritz points out that the operation has grown and adapted over the years without losing touch with their roots. "Bud, and our sons, Darin and Tony, are all highly skilled mechanics, and their pride shows in Reading's coaches. Our motorcoach drivers are terrific; we choose them based not only on their driving skills, but on their character and personality. Recently Darin and Tony have assumed ownership of the company and weu2019re excited about the future."

Continuing the Fritz family's tradition of offering their customers first rate service and equipment, Reading has added a new 2013 T2145 to their all Van Hool fleet. The coach is driven by a Cummins ISX 11.9 (425 HP) EPA 2010 engine coupled to an Allison B500 Six-Speed Automatic (Gen4) transmission. The 57 passenger coach features Van Hool's unique contoured parcel racks with six 22" video monitors, a rear passenger window, 110 volt outlets at each seat, WiFi, and Alcoa Dura Bright aluminum wheels.

"We've been with ABC and Van Hool from the start. Whether itu2019s our salesman, John McFarlane, or ABC's parts and technical staff, they have always been there when we need them. We also love the fact that the coaches are dependable, and it's a huge benefit to have a standardized fleet, when the supplier is so reliable" said Fritz.

According to McFarlane, Account Manager for ABC Companies, the exclusive North American supplier of Van Hool motorcoaches, "The Fritz family is a joy to work with. They've managed not only to hold on to the traditional small town values that build great relationships with customers, they've been able to translate them into big city markets. "Bud and Sharon have built a solid foundation, and Darin and Tony are 'movers and shakers' able to further expand the business in today's challenging times. All of us at ABC are delighted to serve them."

"We like to think we combine small town hospitality with big city expertise," says Sharon Fritz of Reading (MN) Bus Lines.  

BADGER ADDS SEVEN VAN HOOL CX45s TO THEIR LUXURY FLEET 

November 18, 2014

Badger's recent purchase of 7 Van Hool CX45's brings their fleet of luxury coaches to more than 60 units. With major facilities in Madison and Milwaukee WI, Badger runs scheduled service, charters and tours in addition to operating a large school bus division.   The diverse fleet ranges from 81 passenger Van Hool TD925 double deck coaches through mini-buses and vans.

ABC Companies is Van Hool's exclusive North American distributor and their Account Manager, John McFarlane, says, "The Meier family is passionately committed to providing quality transportation and their customers recognize it. Badger's phenomenal history and growth rests on that foundation. They're an awesome family owned business and all of us at ABC are delighted to be part of their success."

The Meier's quickly pointed out, "Everybody is happy with the Van Hool's because they've proven to be efficient and effective in all markets.  Our customers and staff love them for many reasons, but most important they're reliable, ABC's support is excellent, and we're getting good fuel mileage. Maintenance is simpler because the CX45's and the TD925's share so many components."

The 7 new CX45 coaches are all ADA lift equipped and powered by Detroit DD13 engines coupled to Allison B500 GenV transmissions. In addition to WiFi systems and 110 volt outlets, they all have 3 point seatbelts, panoramic rear passenger windows, REI Elite entertainment systems, Alcoa Dura Bright aluminum wheels, and Saucon navigation and tracking systems. Four of the coaches feature Van Hool's unique contoured package racks with large screen 22" video monitors. 

ROADRUNNER CHARTERS TAKES DELIVERY OF FOUR VAN HOOL TX45s

November 18, 2014

Irving, Texas, based Roadrunner Charters recently took delivery of four Van Hool TX45 coaches.  CEO Ron Wills points out that this purchase is part of the Company's (roadrunnercharters.com) carefully crafted expansion, which also includes a new six acre, 20,000 sq. ft. office and maintenance facility in Ft Worth, and the acquisition of HME Executive Coach. This is Roadrunner's 5th acquisition since 2008 and their fleet has grown to 80 coaches.

Wills said The people that we work with at ABC go above and beyond in supporting Roadrunner and the Van Hool's are built very well and easy to maintain.  Our maintenance costs are among the lowest in the industry. Customers love the way they look and our drivers enjoy driving them."

Bob Holloway, Senior Account Manager for ABC Companies, Van Hool's exclusive US distributor, points out, "Ron is very knowledgeable about the charter industry and has an excellent staff headed up by his son Allen in operations. He has an excellent sales team and Roadrunner is a pleasure to deal with. They've purchased 25 new Van Hool's in the last 3 years. All of us at ABC are excited about being part of their growth.  

BRIAN PINCKNEY TAKES ON SALES MANAGER ROLE AND CLAUDE PAYNE RETURNS TO ABC FLORIDA

October 24, 2014

Industry Heavy Weights Team Up at ABC Companies Southeast Location.

ABC is pleased to announce the promotion of Mr. Brian Pinckney to Sales Manager for ABC's Southeast Region and the return of Mr. Claude Payne to the ABC sales team. Both Pinckney and Payne have extensive experience in the sales and service of motorcoach equipment u2013 offering a combined 40+ years of in-depth sales and customer service to motorcoach operations throughout North America.

In his new role as Sales Manager for ABC's Southeast Region, Pinckney's key responsibilities include day-to-day management of sales operations, inventory management and optimization of customer relationships within his territory.  "Rejoining forces with Claude is like putting the team back together," said Pinckney.  "I'm  very excited about the potential for growth and confident in our ability to achieve our business goals, expand our brand and nurture important customer relationships."

A 22-year industry veteran, Mr. Claude Payne has rejoined ABC as Senior Account Manager.

He will join forces with Ryhan Cornell, Account Manager, to provide team support that will focus on serving customers throughout the Southeast region where Payne previously supported sales efforts both as an account executive and sales manager. "I am proud to rejoin the ABC family and once again be a part of a company that leads the industry in so many different areas," says Payne.  A true industry icon, Payne has dedicated his career to the motorcoach industry and is the recipient of numerous awards and industry recognition for his outstanding service and performance.

"Both Brian and Claude are among the most respected professionals in our industry and have been integral to fostering valuable relationships between ABC and operators over the decades," states Roman Cornell, Senior Vice President, Eastern Region & Specialty Vehicles. "Weu2019re fortunate to leverage their business savvy and unique expertise as we continue to forge our leadership position."

ECHO TRANSPORTATION ADDS FOUR VAN HOOL'S TO FLEET

October 24, 2014

When a couple of college buddies joined forces to buy a small Wyoming based bus company in 2010, they had no idea how it would change their lives, as well as the region's ransportation landscape.  Chris Jarrard and Tanner West bought Sublink Stage and fell in love with the business. A year later they acquired Gotta Go Trailways and brought in Thom Fox, a third college friend, also a Logistics and Transportation major to help run the growing venture.

Using a hybrid strategy of acquiring established carriers and starting from scratch in promising markets, Echo Transportation {www.echotransportation.com) now headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, has grown into a 150 vehicle fleet operating out of 7 facilities in Texas, Colorado and Wyoming.

Chris Jarrard feels that their formula for success is being, "A true one stop shop emphasizing excellent customer service, and building strong relationships with our clients.  We are growing in local communities while having a headquarters in Ft. Worth to capitalize on synergies. Echo is focusing on providing quality experience and quality service and we employ the latest in technology to operate both safely and efficiently. We're able to provide superior quality at competitive prices."

Echo currently operates 4 types of service (Motorcoach, Mini-bus, Shuttle and "Select Series") and is experiencing what one observer describes as "exponential growth."  As part of the growth strategy, Echo has added 4 new Van Hool coaches to their fleet. The acquisition of two TX's and two CX's is an indication of their willingness to adapt their fleet to specific customer needs.

Jarrard pointed out, "Echo has had an excellent relationship with Van Hool from the very beginning.  ABC has been there every step of the way in supporting our efforts. We are glad to be partners with ABC."

ABC Account Manager, Zane Gray, says, "Chris, Tanner, and Thom are real innovators... courageous in implementing their dream. They're striving not only to be the biggest but the industry best. They've built one of the most diverse transportation companies in the region, and more growth seems to be on the horizon."

DAISY TOURS ADDS EIGHT CX45 LUXURY COACHES TO FLEET

Spetember 16, 2014

"Our Customers are very pleased with the new coaches. They're the best marketing tool we have," according to David Bratcher of San Antonio TX based Daisy Charters.  He's referring to Daisy's (www.daisycharters.com) recent purchase of eight new Van Hool CX45 luxury coaches.

Voted Best Motorcoach Company in San Antonio by the hospitality industry, Daisy has hosted the Final Four basketball tournament, as well as offering tours, convention services and charters. They hold the Department of Defense's highest rating, and have transported Heads of State, as well as handling four military contracts for more than 20 years.

Twenty- eight years ago June Bratcher came to the conclusion that her tour and convention business needed to control the quality of coaches she used on trips she sold. She decided that the best way do that was to operate her own coaches  and Daisy now has built a fleet of 26 coaches - 23 Van Hool's and three midsized coaches. In recent years, Bratcher's sons David and Daniel have become heavily involved in managing the company, adding a second generation's energy and vision.

"Over the course of 2013 and 2014 we had paid off most of our coaches.  When ABC/Van Hool announced the new CX and TX models we knew it was a perfect time to update the fleet," indicated Bratcher.

The  eight 2014 CX45's, like the rest of Daisy's fleet, are packed with features that offer the best possible experience for passengers  including wood grain flooring, REI Elite Entertainment systems, Saucon GPS,  WiFi, 110 volt electric outlets, passenger side shades, Van Hool's unique rear window and Alcoa Dura Bright aluminum wheels. They are powered by Detroit DD13 engines coupled to Allison B500 G transmissions.

ABC Companies is Van Hool's exclusive North American distributor, and Senior Account Manager, Greg Gates, says "ABC and Daisy Tours have enjoyed a great partnership since 1998 when we sold them their first new coach, a Van Hool T940. They have always worked hard to gain and retain their customers and to be a positive influence in the motorcoach industry. I am proud to have been a part of their success!"  According to Bratcher, "Greg Gates and the folks at ABC have been great to work with on this purchase - Just as they have been for the past 30+ Van Hool's we have purchased over the years."

LOUISIANA MOTORCOACH WILL TAKE DELIVERY OF FIRST FOUR 2015 VAN HOOL CX2045s

September 16, 2014

Louisiana Motor Coach, of New Orleans, LA. was part of a select group of premier coach operators invited in May 2014 to the Grand Opening of Van Hool's new manufacturing plant in Macedonia.

Mary Sanders, (President) and her husband Louis Sanders, (Vice President) surrounded by Van Hool plant employees and distinguished government officials were in attendance as the Prime Minister did the ribbon cutting honors. 

After an extensive tour of the facility, Mary and Louis made the decision, along with their son and partner Jeffrey, to place a major order. Beginning in September, Louisiana Motor Coach will begin taking delivery of the first four 2015 Van Hool CX 2045's and CX 2045L's in New Orleans.

"Since beginning our business in May 2010, Greg Gates and the members of Team ABC have shared our vision.   From the Cornell Family to Tim Wayland, Clint Guth, and Shari Sanders, they have all made the difference for us and made it easy to do business with them," said Louis. "Family is important to us. That's the way ABC & Van Hool treat us. We are recognized for our abilities to deliver outstanding safety and customer service. This is how we'd like to be known," stated Mary.

Louisiana Motor Coach serves the New Orleans and southern Louisiana market with charters to 48 states, as well as tours, convention shuttles, airport and cruise ship transfers and casino trips

ABC is the exclusive North American distributor of Van Hool coaches and according to Senior Account Manager Greg Gates, "These 4 coaches bring to 18 the number of new luxury vehicles that Louisiana Motor Coaches has added to their fleet in the past few years. This family, Louis and Mary Sanders, along with their son Jeffrey, are doing a fantastic job of building a great transportation company. Their service is terrific, and they're really creative, as evidenced by the fantastic graphics they put on their coaches."

The coaches are equipped with 3 point seat belts, Van Hool's unique rear passenger windows, WiFi, Alcoa DuraBrite aluminum wheels, Saucon GPS, 110 volt outlets, REI entertainment systems with 15.4" monitors and satellite radio/TV and are powered by Detroit DD13 engines coupled to Allison B500 Gen IV transmissions. 

MIKE WHITTAKER JOINS ABC COMPANIES AS PARTS AND SERVICE MARKETING MANAGER

September 16, 2014

ABC has announced the new hire of Mr. Mike Whittaker to direct marketing activities for their Parts and Service business operations. As such, Mr. Whittaker is responsible for developing and executing all marketing strategies and tactics to support ABC's Parts and Service brands.

With an extensive background in the automotive supply industry, Mr. Whittaker has served as a senior level marketing professional for leading global brands, where his scope of duties encompassed brand development, market analysis, product development, communication and public relations activities to support and grow existing and emerging markets both stateside and abroad.

"This is a new position specifically designed to support two key business areas within our service offering," states Dan Leo, Director of Marketing, ABC Companies.  "Mike brings valuable insights and a fresh perspective to this new role and we welcome him as an excellent addition to the ABC family."

Mr. Whittaker will oversee day-to-day marketing activities from ABC's Florida location. "The ABC and Muncie/Baker brands are highly-respected industry wide, and I look forward to deploying novel strategies that can build greater brand awareness and customer engagement for the Parts and Service businesses," says Whittaker.

Whittaker holds his MBA and a BBA in Marketing, as well as numerous marketing and professional development certifications. 

THREE 2014 VAN HOLL TXs DELIVERED TO WISE COACHES OF NASHVILLE, TN

July 24, 2014

"I started working as a coach cleaner when I was 16, and fell in love with the business," says Alan Wise, owner of Wise Coaches of Nashville TN. "By my early 20's I figured out that I love travel and liked the people in the bus business, and decided there was no reason I couldn't run my own company successfully."

Starting in 1997 with a couple of used 1982 Eagles, Wise has built a fleet of 25 full sized motorcoaches and 15 mini-coaches, and offers nationwide charter and tour services, as well as convention shuttles and military transportation.  "Our business model isn't 'rocket science' - we offer the best equipment and service we possibly can. Nashville is a high quality market, and we work hard every day at being the best. We listen to our customers because our future depends on responding quickly to their thoughts and needs."

As part of Wise's effort to maintain their edge, they recently took delivery of three 2014 Van Hool TX's powered by Detroit Diesel DD13 engines coupled to Allison B500 Transmissions. The distinctive Red and Black coaches are equipped with a REI Elite entertainment system including five 22" LCD monitors mounted in Van Hool's exclusive contoured parcel racks. In addition they have 110v Outlets with USB ports, Satellite TV and WiFi, as well as leather seats, seatbelts and hardwood floors.

According to Eb Vazquez, Account Manager for ABC Companies, Van Hool's exclusive North American distributor, "Alan works hard at every aspect of the business, and you can see it in the 'wow factor' he adds to every coach."

Wise pointed out, "We've tried other brands of coaches, and they've done a fine job. We feel the Van Hool TX is the best coach we can offer our customers, and ABC treats us extremely well. Eb is always available when we need him, and ABC clearly values Wise as a customer. That's a real confidence builder for a company that runs charters all over the country.

AT&T CHARGER SERVICES TAKES DELIVERY OF 2014 VAN HOOL CX

July 10, 2014

I think we're on a first name basis with every one of our customers," says Denny House, of Louisburg, NC, based AT&T Charter Service. "We run 13 coaches and our tour company offers more than 100 tours a year, so it takes some effort. That sort of personal attention is what makes us special. When customers need help at odd hours, they not only get someone on the phone - it's someone they know." AT&T is a unique mix of tradition and innovation. The same family owned company that won Metro Magazine's 2009 award as one of the nation's  seven most innovative motorcoach operators still has its office in Bobby and Ann House's home, where it began with a used coach in 1989. Their fleet is one of the most modern in North Carolina's Research Triangle.

Ann House, a country music enthusiast, took the family on an annual trek to Nashville, Tennessee, for the "Fan Fair" event. One year she decided to charter a bus, and bring along some friends. The trip was successful, but exhausting, and she vowed not to do it again. After three more successful trips, the family decided to buy a used coach and go into the business that now had them hooked.

AT&T Charter serves schools, colleges, churches and businesses in North Carolina and southern Virginia with luxury charter service, while sister company, A&B Tours, offers prepackaged, fully escorted tours to destinations throughout the United States and Canada. "When we recently expressed an interest in adding additional coaches, ABC responded with enthusiasm and competence." according to House. "There are other fine coaches out there, but their responsiveness was a real confidence booster. We already had a good relationship with Brian Pinckney so buying Van Hool's made sense. We enjoyed working with him and Ryhan Cornell."

AT&T recently took delivery of a 2014 Van Hool CX 45 with a Detroit DD13 engine and an Allison B500G5 transmission. The ADA accessible luxury coach is equipped with Braun wheel chair lift, Saucon WiFi and TDS, 110 volt outlets at every seat position, an REI Elite entertainment system with 15" monitors, and Alcoa Dura Bright aluminum wheels. "We are excited to welcome Ann, Bobby & Denny to our ABC family with their first new Van Hool." said ABC Account Manager, Ryhan Cornell. "It's rewarding to serve a company like AT&T that offers traditional service and relationships, while embracing the newest technology and amenities for their customers."

TCS EXPANDS FLEET WITH TWO 2014 VAN HOOL TX45s

July 10, 2014

It's been almost two years since I bought the company, and if you'll pardon the pun, it's been quite a ride, says Terry Fischer, owner of Orange, California based Transportation Charter Services (http://tcsbus.com). "it was a fine company at that time, and with a combination of new market opportunities and my personal experience, we've launched into several new directions." When Fischer bought the 20 bus operation (now expanded to 25) it had a fine reputation in Southern California, doing mostly local charters, specializing in serving school and religious groups. His management skills were developed over a career that began with pulling wrenches in the garage of the family bus business and driving coaches while in college, and eventually included everything from maintenance through operations and sales.

"We're enhancing TCS's repertoire" he points out. "We're now doing long distance charters, luxury tours, and collegiate athletics as well as some other market segments that were not part of the TCS book of business. The previous owners had offered fine quality customer service, and what I've tried to do is use my 28 years of motorcoach experience to improve utilization. We've refined preventative maintenance, and worked hard at adding services to our loyal customer base, performing convention services and transfers, as well as offering repair service to other companies." Perhaps the most exciting part for Fischer has been watching TCSs corporate culture embrace the growth. "We have a great team and they love the new directions. It's a fun and exciting place to work, and our customers sense that."

TCS's Mission Statement says they want "to offer an exceptional customer experience through providing clean, safe and reliable transportation with outstanding customer service." To that end they recently took delivery of two 2014 Van Hool TX45s.

The 56 passenger luxury touring coaches are powered by Detroit D13 engines and Allison B500 G5 transmissions, and feature REI Elite Entertainment Systems with 15.4" monitors, 110 volt outlets and WiFi. Both coaches are equipped with a Saucon TDS GPS integrated system that monitors coach performance, safety features and location. One coach is configured with two passenger entrance doors and a traditional European center restroom. Both have safety equipment now standard on Van Hool coaches, including Kidde fire suppression, 3 point seatbelts, Smartwave tire monitoring, automatic traction control, lane departure warning, back-up camera and UN ECE-RU66 rollover certification.

ABC Companies is Van Hool's exclusive US distributor, and their Senior Account Manager, Charlie Walser, said "It's exciting for all of us at ABC to work with TCS. Terry has taken a really good company and made it extraordinary.

"The Van Hool is a proven product that our passengers and drivers love. ABC considered my background as an asset, and really worked with me in all sorts of ways to assist in our growth. It would have been difficult to have made so much progress without ABC's help," says Terry. 

ABC APPOINTS TROY SNYDER TO AMERITRANS GENERAL MANAGER

June 18, 2014

Industry Veteran Brings High-Output Production Expertise to Mid-Size Coach Product Line.

Mr. Troy Snyder has recently been selected by ABC Companies to oversee the Ameritrans mid-size transport facility located in Elkhart, Indiana. Mr. Snyder brings extensive knowledge and expertise in manufacturing to Ameritrans. Most recently, he served as both President and VP of Sales at Goshen Coach, where he specialized in the product development and high-output production of Goshen Coach Inc.

"We are very fortunate to have Troy on-board at Ameritrans," states Roman Cornell, Senior Vice President, ABC Companies. "We're excited to leverage his production expertise to accelerate coach manufacturing cycle times. His hiring marks an important milestone in establishing Ameritrans' leadership position as a high-end, high-quality brand committed to achieving manufacturing cycle times with predictability and accuracy."

As General Manager, Mr. Snyder will maintain full oversight of day-to-da6 operations, and is responsible for developing and executing business strategies aligned with Ameritrans organizational goals. "The key to our success is in the repeatability of processes and practices that drive and sustain quality throughout the entire organization," comments Snyder. "Ameritrans is poised to make a serious impact in the mid-size transport market, and I am pleased to be part of its growth and mission of establishing a market-leading presence." Mr. Snyder attended Ball State University and Indiana University and holds his B.S. and M.S. degrees respectively.

About Ameritrans

Ameritrans manufactures and distributes a diverse range of mid-size transport vehicles from its modern 100,000 square-foot facility in Elkhart, Indiana. With a dedicated dealer network in strategic locations nationwide, Ameritrans offers an exclusive line of mid-size and specialty vehicles that integrate exceptional style and quality components, performance engineering features, unique passenger amenities and superior fit and finish details. For more information, visit www.ameritrans.com or contact your nearby Ameritrans dealer. 

HEATHER LI'S ARTWORK FEATURED IN USDOT'S 2015 SAFETY CALENDAR

June 10, 2014

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro recently participated in a ceremony honoring the winners of the 2014 "Be Ready. Be Buckled." Safety Belt Contest Winners. The national contest, sponsored by the US Department of Transportation is an effort to stress the role of seat belts in saving lives. The artwork of the winners as well as that of ten other students will be included in the 2015 "Be Ready. Be Buckled." Art Contest Calendar, available this fall.

Heather Li with her winning artwork featured in USDOT's 2015 safety calendar.

Heather Li, a third grade student at West Creek Elementary School in Orlando Florida, won top honors in the third through sixth grade age group. Ms. Li started drawing before she was 5, and has been consistently encouraged by her teacher Ms. Bittick and West Creek Principal Mrs. Durango to enter her artwork in contests.

The winning entry had a Van Hool TX45 motorcoach in the foreground. Heather may have inherited part of her interest in buses.  Her father, Yao Li works at ABC Companies Parts Division and he points out that she is already adept at recognizing different models of coaches...particularly the Van Hool's that Yao Li and ABC support. Her mother Wen Zheng and younger sister Meaghan traveled to Washington along with Heather and her Dad for the event. Meaghan (5), a kindergarten student, also participated in the competition.

The ceremony was held on May 5th at the US. Department of Transportation Headquarters in Washington DC, and was followed by a special program for the winners at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum on the National Mall.

 

TRANSPORTATION CHARTER SERVICES ADDS TWO VAN HOOL TX45's TO FLEET

June 10, 2014

"It's been almost two years since I bought the company, and if you'll pardon the pun, it's been quite a ride," says Terry Fischer, owner of Orange, California based Transportation Charter Services http://tcsbus.com). u201cIt was a fine company at that time, and with a combination of new market opportunities and my personal experience, we've launched into several new directions."  When Fischer bought the 20 bus operation (now expanded to 25) it had a fine reputation in Southern California, doing mostly local charters, specializing in serving school and religious groups. His management skills were developed over a career that began with pulling wrenches in the garage of the family bus business and driving coaches while in college, and eventually included everything from maintenance through operations and sales.

"We're enhancing TCS's repertoire" he points out. "We're now doing long distance charters, luxury tours, and collegiate athletics as well as some other market segments that were not part of the TCS book of business. The previous owners had offered fine quality customer service, and what I've tried to do is use my 28 years of motorcoach experience to improve utilization.  We've refined preventative maintenance, and worked hard at adding services to our loyal customer base, performing convention services and transfers, as well as offering repair service to other companies." Perhaps the most exciting part for Fischer has been watching TCS's corporate culture embrace the growth. "We have a great team and they love the new directions. It's a fun and exciting place to work, and our customers sense that."

TCS's Mission Statement says they want "to offer an exceptional customer experience through providing clean, safe and reliable transportation with outstanding customer service."  To that end they recently took delivery of two 2014 Van Hool TX45s.

The 56 passenger luxury touring coaches are powered by Detroit D13 engines and Allison B500 G5 transmissions, and feature REI Elite Entertainment Systems with 15.4" monitors, 110 volt outlets and WiFi. Both coaches are equipped with a Saucon TDS GPS integrated system that monitors coach performance, safety features and location. One coach is configured with two passenger entrance doors and a traditional European center restroom. Both have safety equipment now standard on Van Hool coaches, including Kidde fire suppression, 3 point seatbelts, Smartwave tire monitoring, automatic traction control, lane departure warning, back-up camera and UN ECE-RU66 rollover certification.

ABC Companies is Van Hool's exclusive US distributor, and their Senior Account Manager, Charlie Walser, said "It's exciting for all of us at ABC to work with TCS. Terry has taken a really good company and made it extraordinary."

"The Van Hool is a proven product that our passengers and drivers love.   ABC considered my background as an asset, and really worked with me in all sorts of ways to assist in our growth. It would have been difficult to have made so much progress without ABC's help," says Terry. 

NEW MEXICO TEXAS COACHES ADDS 2013 VAN HOOL C2045 TO FLEET

May 21, 2014

Chris Knittel, President of New Mexico Texas Coaches learned the basics of the bus business at an early age. "My father, Jack Knittel started the company in 1988, just about the time I was born. From the time I was old enough to walk in the door, I was doing 'bus' things, and literally grew up in the business." He says, "When my Dad passed away unexpectedly in 2009, I was young to be taking on this much responsibility, but I already had quite a bit of experience. My mother, Denise Madrid Boyea, remains majority owner of the company, but she entrusts me with the day-to-day operation of the company."

Carlsbad NM based New Mexico Texas Coaches (www.1800buslimo.com) started using taxis and minibuses shuttling railroad workers and later parlayed that experience into a Department of Energy contract hauling employees near the company's facility. As the company grew, it became clear that there was an opportunity to serve the charter coach market in both Carlsbad and Lubbock, Texas, and New Mexico Texas Coaches now operates 30 vehicles, including 9 luxury coaches out of facilities in both cities. Offering everything from limousines and mini coaches to 57 passenger motorcoaches, they've evolved into one of the region's most diversified transportation companies.

Knittel points out, "I learned early on that the key to success in operating buses is setting high standards in every aspect of the business. We hire the best people we can find, with special emphasis on first rate drivers. Our staff is committed to excellence. When one of our coaches shows up for a job, its driver looks sharp in a uniform that's a visible symbol of the quality service we provide. We operate late model equipment and work hard at keeping it in like-new condition."

New Mexico Texas Coaches just took delivery of the newest motorcoach in their fleet, a 2013 Van Hool equipped with a Detroit DD13 engine driving through an Allison B500G4 transmission. The 57 passenger C2045 offers passenger amenities including Alcoa Dura Bright wheels, WiFi, 110 volt outlets, satellite radio, and an REI Elite entertainment system with 15" monitors. Additional equipment includes a backup camera, 3 point seat belts and Saucon TDS to supplement Van Hool's standard features including a 6 channel ABS system, Lane Departure Warning, Automatic Traction Control, Fire Detectors, Electronic Stability Control, and a Tire Monitoring System.

Zane Gray, Account Manager for ABC, Van Hool's exclusive US distributor pointed out, "This Company is in a growth mode, and it's pretty obvious why. They're easy to work with, energetic and extremely responsive. Chris's attention to every aspect of the business is remarkable.. ABC is delighted to be working with a spirited company like New Mexico Texas Coaches. We think they have a great future ahead of them, and we are going to work hard to be part of it."

Knittel says, "We've operated several brands of coaches, and they're all good. We've found that ABC and Van Hool offer a unique combination of a top notch product supported by a responsive service organization. All our coaches offer a great experience for our passengers, but the Van Hool/ABC team does it more efficiently, allowing us to put more of our energy into other parts of the business."

NORTHFIELD LINES ADDS CX45 TO FLEET

April 14, 2014

"Since 1989 the motorcoach travel industry has taught me that this is, through and through, a people business," says Northfield Lines President, John Benjamin. "Just after college, my late brother Larry took over a failing restaurant and made it a resounding success. He recognized that quality service and building relationships with customers is key to doing well in any business. He also figured out that driving a school bus run for a local bus company fit neatly with his schedule as a restaurateur and when the owner of the bus company retired, he bought the business, nicely combining the two skill sets."

John Benjamin was enjoying a career as an electrical engineer when Larry prevailed upon him to join Northfield Lines. Engineering's analytical thought process turned out to be ideal for running operations and designing routes.

"Over the years we expanded the company dramatically, but have worked hard at remembering where we came from. We work hard at relationships with customers. Our sales staff meets weekly to discuss how to better serve clients. We genuinely care about our customers, but even a good marriage needs fine tuning. We look for new ways to show them that they are our number one priority."

ABC's Account Manager John McFarlane points out , "At a time when it is increasingly difficult for operators to meet industry demands, they manage to excel at school and college transportation, corporate work, as well as scheduled service, charters, and convention support. Many operators are successful providing some of these services, but Northfield is unique in their ability to provide them all."

Part of quality service is providing great equipment, and to that end, Northfield Lines www.northfieldlines.com recently took delivery of a new luxury motorcoach from ABC Companies, Van Hool's exclusive US distributor. The 2014 ADA equipped CX45 is powered by a Detroit DD13 engine coupled to an Allison B500G5 transmission. The 56 passenger coach comes with Van Hool's standard safety features including Kidde fire suppression, Smartwave tire monitoring, automatic traction control, lane departure warning, back-up camera and is UN ECE-RU66 rollover certified.

Reflecting Northfield's commitment to passenger comfort, the coach is equipped with a wood grain floor, 110 volt outlets, WiFi, enclosed parcel racks and REI's elite entertainment system with 6 large video monitors, magazine nets, cup holders, Alcoa Dura Bright aluminum wheels, window shades and Van Hool's unique rear passenger window.

"When my brother Larry died in 2011, ABC, particularly John McFarlane and Brenda Borwege, stepped up and helped us raise $150,000 for lung cancer research for A Breath of Hope Foundation. A Breath of Hope (www.abreathofhope.org.) is a leader in the effort to find a cure for lung cancer by focusing on disease awareness, early detection and treatment. The majority of lung cancer is in non-smokers like Larry and It's critical to get that message out."

McFarlane pointed out, "Northfield has won a number of awards for excellence, in part because they provide their community with a variety of services performed with a superior level of customer satisfaction. They demonstrate that it's possible for a relatively small operator to be remarkably diverse, at a time in history when that's critical for a business. The awards have come, not just as a result of their services, but because this family-run business has been deeply involved in the industry, as well as their community. Their contribution of expertise and energy has benefited IMG, UMA, and the Minnesota School Bus Operators Association."

"In February, 2011, they were named "Business People of the Year" by the Northfield Chamber of Commerce, in recognition of their involvement in the community and recently won the 2014 UMA Vision award for small companies."

And McFarlane smiles, "John and Wanda Benjamin are two of the nicest people you ever want to deal with in business and in life in general. It's a pleasure working with Northfield Lines.u201d"

ABC SHOWCASES EVOLVED VAN HOOL COACHES AT UMA EXPO 2014

February 18, 2014

ABC will present the next generation Van Hool coach models during UMA Expo 2014. The all new Van Hool CX and TX coach equipment offer dramatically retooled designs that integrate a wide variety of new safety, performance and passenger features, along with evolved body styling as well as high quality fit and finish details.

"Our new equipment introductions are directly driven by the needs of our North American operators," said Dane Cornell, Chairman and CEO, ABC Companies. "Customer input was a driving force in many of the major improvements that define these new equipment models. Overall, ABC and Van Hool's position has been to identify market needs first, and make changes that can help operators remain stable and competitive in an ever-fluctuating business environment."

New Van Hool TX40' & 45' Coach Standard Feature Highlights

For high-end tour operators, the new TX40' & 45' coach models integrate global leader Van Hool's most advanced European technology and offer major design and componentry improvements. Key highlights include:

  • Taller overall height (12' 2.25") expands baggage capacity from floor up to 464.39 cu. feet
  • Detroit Diesel DD13 (450 HP)  EPA 2013 Engine
  • Goodyear Marathon LHS II 315/80 R22,5 + HL tires
  • Power driver's toll-window, heated, with tinted tempered glass
  • Interior trim offers a double, half open storage area in restroom back wall
  • Exterior lighting upgraded to include integrated light cluster with daytime running lights and
  • Hella static aiming lights integrated in front bumper
  • Interior LED lightstrips cover full length of ceiling left and right
  • 56 Van Hool Bodyline reclining passenger seats offer straighter back cushions and headrests,
  • 2 up-folding armrests (fixed on wall side) and 3-point seat belts (210) in accordance with 20G compliance

Newly offered STANDARD safety features include:

  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Adaptive Static Aiming Lights
  • Back-up Camera
  • 3-point Seat Belts (210)

Added STANDARD multiplex system features u2013

  • TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system) & Kidde Fire Suppression System
  • Van Hool CX45Coach Highlights

The new CX45 offers a significant style upgrade and includes a wide range of expanded passenger and driver-friendly features for tours, charters and commuter operators including:

  • Updated front and rear bumpers with integrated adaptive static aiming light
  • Integrated lights clusters at headlight and tail light positions, and added Hella LED Flex Light daytime running lights
  • Underfloor luggage compartment w/LED lights
  • Detroit Diesel DD13 (EPA2013) engine
  • Goodyear Marathon LHS II 315/80 R22,5 + HL tires
  • Main electric box in luggage area, secondary electrical accessible through gangway over rear axle
  • Eberspacher Hydronic L30 Auxiliary heater w/24V water pump (30kw)
  • Upgraded Drivers Seat u2013 ISRI 6800/348 (US, self-leveling/adjustable air suspension, plus adjustable arm and headrest, 3-point automatic seat belt)
  • 56 seats/54 Van Hool Bodyline reclining passenger seats w/straighter back cushion and headrest, spring-loaded footrests, 2 up-folding armrests (fixed at wall side), 3-point seat belts 20G compliant

NEWLY OFFERED STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES u2013

  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Adaptive Static Aiming Lights
  • Back-up Camera
  • 3-Point Seat Belts (210)
  • Added STANDARD multiplex system features u2013
  • TPMS (tire pressure monitoring system)
  • Kidde Fire Suppression System

The Van Hool TX and CX models will be available for inspection in ABC Booth #135 and in the outside demo coach area where ABC representatives will be on hand to field questions and provide more information about all ABC equipment, parts and service options. 

AMERITRANS FEATURES NEW MID-SIZE COACH MODELS

February 18, 2014

Ameritrans, a leading manufacturer and distributor of mid-size transport solutions will feature two of their high-end models during UMA Expo 2014. Offering a full range of vehicles with seating to accommodate from 25 to 47 passengers, Ameritrans coaches are available in many configurations, and offer Ford, Freightliner and RAM chassis options including the Ameritrans E-series, F-series and M2-series. The premier 2014 M2 395RLRR model will be exhibited in Ameritrans Booth 1043 while the E285RL will be available for test rides during Expo show hours. The newly-enhanced models offer a host of luxury features and passenger amenities for church, school, tour and charter operations. Demo model highlights include:

2014 Ameritrans M2 395RLRR Premier Mid-Size Touring Coach

Built on the Freightliner M2 business class chassis, the M2 395RLRR delivers superior ride and handling and is equipped with the Cummins ISB 300HP engine, Allison 2200 series transmission and air ride suspension. The 39.5 foot bus accommodates 35 passengers and offers dedicated rear luggage, rear restroom and overhead luggage racks with individual LED reading lights. Ducted heat and air for passenger convenience and comfort, as well as a complete REI entertainment system with a forward 27 inch TV and (3) 15" flip down monitors in the rear provide an unexpected level of passenger luxury and comfort.

2014 Ameritrans E285RL Premium Passenger Vehicle

A top selling model, the E285RL is built on the popular Ford E450 chassis. Featuring ALL NEW body styling for 2014 the new model offers seating for 23 passengers and a dedicated rear luggage compartment. The 28.5 foot bus comes equipped with many features that can be customized to suit any operator's needs. Expo attendees can view our customized show bus, which features overhead passenger luggage racks with a roof top AC system, under seat heating, a sedan type plug door, ASA 22" monitor, and large 45" by 38" frameless side windows, in the outside demo area.

Ameritrans coaches are available through an exclusive dealer network throughout the U.S. Ameritrans management and product development team will be on-hand to answer questions and provide equipment tours during UMA Expo 2014 at booth #1043.

About Ameritrans

Founded in 1998, Ameritrans manufactures and distributes a diverse range of mid-size transport vehicles from their modern 40,000 square-foot facility in Elkhart, Indiana. With a dedicated dealer network in strategic locations nationwide, Ameritrans offers an exclusive line of mid-size and specialty vehicles that integrate exceptional style and quality components, performance engineering features, unique passenger amenities and superior fit and finish details. For more information, visit www.ameritrans.com or contact your nearby Ameritrans dealer. 

ROMAN CORNELL TO HEAD ABC SPECIALTY VEHICLES DIVISION

February 18, 2014

ABC Expands Operator Choice with New Partnership Distribution Agreements

ABC Companies has announced that Mr. Roman Cornell will head the company's Specialty Vehicles Division. With over 20 years of industry experience, Mr. Cornell will add the new responsibility to his current role as Senior Vice President and will lead the sales and marketing effort for ABC Specialty Vehicles focusing on customer outreach, new product development and partnership alliances.

"Thanks to our loyal Van Hool customer base, ABC has enjoyed sustained growth throughout our long history," states Cornell. "We are pleased to enhance our market position by offering a broader product range, with the core mission of providing our customers increased fleet flexibility and expanded revenue and ridership opportunities via premium quality equipment solutions and professional aftermarket services."

With a full range of Van Hool touring, charter and transit models, ABC Companies rounds out its diverse product lineup with a wide range of specialty vehicles to meet operator needs with offerings from key market leaders including:

New Flyer MiDi and Xcelsior Transit Buses

The New Flyer MiDi is a medium-sized, low-floor, clean diesel powered bus that is ideal for use in community, airport, university and hotel shuttle services. Available in 30' and 35' lengths, the streamlined design of the MiDi provides greater maneuverability while maintaining excellent accessibility for passengers with one or two doors and a 1:6 slope wheelchair ramp. Substantially lighter than vehicles in its class, the MiDi was developed through a joint venture with Alexander Dennis, and is based on their proven E200 design with over 16,000 vehicles deployed worldwide.

The New Flyer Xcelsior is a heavy duty, low floor bus that is ideal for use in rigorous duty cycles and provides higher passenger capacities. Available in 35', 40' and 60' lengths, the Xcelsior is offered with clean diesel, compressed natural gas, and diesel electric hybrid propulsion systems.

Alexander Dennis "Buy America" Compliant Enviro500 Double Deck Bus and Enviro400 Tourist Bus 

The Alexander Dennis Enviro500 Series offers a range of low floor, air conditioned double deck buses that offer high capacity, fuel efficiency and low emissions, designed to deliver the highest levels of comfort and passenger capacity for transit routes, interurban commuters and tourist applications. Available in a 42' length, the Enviro500 accommodates almost 100 passengers and is offered with a new u201cGo-Anywhereu201d low height option of 13'6".

The Enviro400 Tourist Bus is purpose designed as a tourist bus and offers high seating capacity and an uncompromising view for passengers in an open top design. Based on the proven Enviro400 transit bus, the Tourist Bus model is fully-equipped for tourist duty and offers the same levels of strength, maneuverability, ride comfort, and low operating costs. A wide range of options including lower deck air conditioning are available.

Ameritrans Premium Mid-Size Touring Coaches and Specialty Vehicles

Ameritrans, a leading manufacturer and distributor of mid-size transport solutions offers a full range luxury-level mid-size touring coaches, executive shuttles and specialty vehicles which can be custom-built to operator specifications. With floorplan designs that accommodate from 25 to 47 passengers, Ameritrans coaches are available in many configurations, and offer Ford, Freightliner and RAM chassis options including the Ameritrans E-series, F-series and M2-series. Several premier 2014 models will be exhibited during UMA Expo 2014 including the Ameritrans M2 395RLRR and the E285RL. The newly-enhanced models offer a host of luxury features and passenger amenities for church, school, tour and charter operations 

NEW FLYER APPOINTS ABC AS DISTRIBUTOR OF MIDI AND XCELSIOR BUSES FOR US PRIVATE BUS AND SHUTTLE OPERATORS

February 18, 2014

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada - New Flyer Industries Inc. the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses in the United States and Canada, signed an agreement today with ABC Companies, Inc.  to serve as the exclusive distributor of New Flyer's MiDi and Xcelsior transit bus models to United States private bus and shuttle operators.

Under the terms of the agreement, ABC will market, sell and provide after sales service for New Flyer's MiDi and Xcelsior transit buses through its established service locations and select independent dealerships. All New Flyer products purchased through ABC will be fully supported by New Flyer's industry leading warranty, genuine New Flyer spare parts, and lifetime customer care programs.

"This is a great opportunity for New Flyer to respond to private customer demand and expand our market reach in the United States," stated Paul Smith, New Flyer Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing. "The addition of New Flyer's best selling transit buses to ABC's current portfolio of highway coaches, light-duty cutaway buses, and refurbishment services provides a comprehensive solution for private bus operators."

The New Flyer MiDi is a mid-sized, low-floor, clean diesel powered bus that is ideal for use in community, airport, university and hotel shuttle services. Available in 30' and 35' lengths, the streamlined design of the MiDi provides greater maneuverability while maintaining excellent accessibility for passengers with one or two doors and a 1:6 slope wheelchair ramp. Substantially lighter than vehicles in its class, MiDi was developed though a joint venture with Alexander Dennis, and is based on its proven E200 design with over 16,000 vehicles deployed worldwide.

The New Flyer Xcelsior is a heavy-duty; low floor bus that is ideal for use in rigorous duty cycles and provides higher passenger capacities. Available in 35', 40' and 60' lengths, the Xcelsior is offered with clean diesel, compressed natural gas, and diesel electric hybrid propulsion systems.

"ABC is excited to partner with New Flyer to offer the Xcelsior and MiDi to the US private bus market," said Dane Cornell, ABC Chairman and CEO. "New Flyer's reputation for quality, reliability and innovation, aligns with our mission of providing market leading solutions to our customers."

ABC will offer New Flyer models through their Specialty Vehicles Division, headed by Mr. Roman Cornell, Senior Vice President, ABC Companies. As a third generation participant in the family-owned business, Mr. Cornell brings 20+ years of industry experience to the company's sales and marketing efforts. "ABC is committed to offering our customer base an expansive selection of transport solutions to support their fleet's unique requirements", stated Cornell. "The ABC/New Flyer alliance complements our overall strategy to offer a 2 diverse range of equipment solutions, and we're pleased to offer New Flyer's wide range of vehicle options to our customers, along with the industry leading after sales support for which ABC is known."

The MiDi and Xcelsior models have been designed to deliver life-cycle savings, offering industry leading reliability, better fuel economy, and lower maintenance costs, by incorporating features such as weight optimized structures, disc brakes and long lasting LED headlights. New Flyer vehicles meet or exceed all applicable US regulations, including FMVSS, ADA, Buy America requirements, and the Federal Transit Administration's new model bus testing program in Altoona, PA.

The New Flyer MiDi and Xcelsior bus models will both be available for sale at all ABC's North American sales locations.

About New Flyer

New Flyer, with its recently acquired NABI Bus, LLC subsidiary, is the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty transit buses in the United States and Canada. The Company is the industry technology leader and offers the broadest product line including drive systems powered by: clean diesel, natural gas and electric trolley as well as energy-efficient diesel-electric hybrid vehicles. All buses are supported by an industry-leading comprehensive warranty and support program, and service network. New Flyer and its subsidiaries NABI Bus, LLC and NABI Parts, LLC also operate the transit industry's most sophisticated aftermarket parts organization, sourcing parts from hundreds of different suppliers and providing support for all types of heavy-duty transit buses.

The New Flyer group of companies employ over 3,000 team members with manufacturing, fabrication, parts distribution and service centers in both Canada and the United States. Further information is available on New Flyer's web site at www.newflyer.com.

The common shares and convertible unsecured subordinated debentures of the Company are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols NFI and NFI.DB.U, respectively. 

JONATHAN ROBBINS NEW ACCOUNT MANAGER FOR NE TERRITORY

February 17, 2014

ABC Companies is pleased to announce the appointment of Jonathan Robbins as Account Manager in ABC's Northeastern Region. Jonathan will be responsible for coach sales in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.

Jonathan is an experienced relationship manager with six years of sales and client management experience in the retail banking and investment industry. A graduate of Lynn University in Florida with a degree in business administration, he has a solid background in finance and management.

Robbins will report to Mike Laffan, General Manager of the Northeast Region. "We are excited to have Jonathan on our ABC sales team. We feel his background in financial services and relationship management will be a definite asset to his ABC customers," remarked Laffan. "I am eager to apply hard work and a great aptitude to help my customers with all their transport needs," added Robbins.

Originally from New Jersey, Jonathan resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Kendall, and Ace, the family's American Pit-Bull Terrier. In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys visiting Central America for fishing and surfing. 

VAN HOOL CAPTURES GRAND AWARD BUS TITLE AT BUSWORLD EXPO

January 14, 2014

Six buses and twelve coaches from Van Hool were among the participants in the worldu2019s largest bus and coach exhibition during the recent European Coach Week Busworld Expo. Van Hool was awarded the highest honor of Grand Award Bus for their Exqui.City 24 meter hybrid articulated transit bus. Judged by experienced field jury members, the Exqui.City garnered praise for its new hybrid driveline concept, as well as many new ground-breaking features including:

An attractive new exterior design in urban transit

Innovative interior features designed to enhance passenger comfort such as improved lighting system and a unique sound system.

In addition to the Grand Award Bus, Van Hool was also the recipient of the Bus Comfort Label and the Design Label for the Exqui.City. Additional honors included the Comfort Label Coach, awarded to the Van Hool TX16, and Ecology Label Bus and Coach awards for the Van Hool Fuel Cell bus and Van Hool TX16, respectively.

"Van Hool continues to be a leading force in motorcoach and urban transit product design worldwide," stated Dane Cornell, CEO & Chairman, ABC Companies. "We are extremely proud of the achievements our esteemed partner consistently adds to their portfolio."

About ABC-Companies

ABC is the exclusive North American distributor of prestigious Van Hool motorcoaches. ABC also offers the largest selection of pre-owned bus and motorcoach inventory in the country.

With convenient service locations throughout the United States and Canada, ABC is there when and where you need us to keep your coach or bus working properly. We have parts for all makes and model motorcoaches and transit buses including Van Hool, Prevost, MCI, Temsa, Gillig, New Flyer, Novabus, Nabi, Goshen, Ameritrans, Blubird, etc. We offer fleet assist programs to keep your fleet running optimally while providing you with the convenience of a managed maintenance system. Our solution uses a proven fleet management software program to help you organize preventative maintenance activities based on your fleet composition, requirements and duty cycles.

We are at your service with 24-hour, 7 day per week customer care technical support.

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