Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.
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38 LIMOUSINE, CHARTER & TOUR SEPTEMBER 2016 WWW.LCTMAG.COM BUS/VAN: ILCT SEMINAR SERIES: MANAGEMENT & LEADERSHIP Regarding paying drivers, Wynne said he pays a flat rate and a per diem for drivers on overnight trips. "We'll give drivers a credit card for incremental charges, port of entry fees, and other expenses," he said. Bauer said it depends on the contract. "Everybody is different. Some will charge an hourly rate for a day trip or a flat daily rate. Some may charge a flat rate and gra- tuity and others will charge a higher rate with no gratuity. It all depends on the market and the margins you want." — Tom@LCTmag.com Attending industry shows and association meetings is an excel- lent way to ask fellow operators about the used bus business. "We bought used buses and upgraded them when the econo- my crashed and started our motorcoach brand and went straight up from there," Holden said. "You can find refurbished buses with new engines, transmissions and paint that look practically new for one-third the cost of a new bus. Get your feet wet first before you swim in the ocean buying new." Leasing is another way to sample the motorcoach business. Some busmakers offer short-term leases attractive to new op- erators, who then do not have to spend much money upfront on the vehicle. Operators can use the savings for marketing and good wages to hire and train professional drivers. Further, know your costs. Bauer stressed operators need to get close to their bankers to make sure they get the best interest rates for such a large purchase. Knowing your fixed costs and yard costs will help you price your motorcoach business so you can build in the profit margin that works for your company and market, Holden said. 2017 ELECTRONIC LOGGING DEVICES MANDATE Rose Chauffeured Transportation's Tom Holden advised motorcoach operators will be required to use electronic logging devices (ELD) next year. The new rule is intended to help create a safer work environment for drivers, and make it easier and faster to accurately track, manage, and share records of duty status (RODS) data. For carriers using AOBRDs (automatic onboard recording devices) before the rule compliance date of Dec. 18, 2017, the rule will replace AOBRDs with ELDs over a four-year pe- riod. An ELD synchronizes with a vehicle engine to automati- cally record driving time for easier, more accurate hours of service (HOS) recording. The rule applies to most carriers and drivers who are required to maintain RODS. The ELD Rule: • Specifies who is covered by the rule and exceptions to it. • Provides for ELDS to be certified, registered, and listed on a FMCSA website. • Includes technical specs to ensure ELDs are standardized and compliant. • Includes a phased timeline to give drivers and carriers time to comply. • Includes provisions to help prevent data tampering and harassment of drivers. • Creates standard data displays and data transfer process- es, making it easier to demonstrate compliance and faster to share RODS with safety officials. Carriers and drivers subject to the rule must install and use ELDs by the appropriate deadline: • Carriers and drivers using paper logs or logging software must transition to ELDs no later than Dec. 18, 2017. • Carriers and drivers who use AOBRDS before the compliance date must transition to ELDs no later than Dec. 16, 2019. Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FDMA) Experienced motorcoach operators Gary Bauer of Bauer's Intelligent Transportation in San Francisco; Tom Holden, director of operations at Rose Chauffeured Transporta- tion in Charlotte, N.C.; and Bedford Wynne, vice president of Wynne Transportation in Dallas shared some insider tips for pursuing the motorcoach business. PERCENTAGE OF CARRIERS PROVIDING TYPES OF SERVICES Commuter: 8% Special 0perations: 13% Scheduled service: 16% Sightseeing: 20% Airport: 24% Packaged Tour: 40% "What I like about the motorcoach business I learned is the longevity of the vehicles. After five years it's paid off and become an asset." — Bedford Wynne Jr.