Luxury Coach & Transportation

September 2018

Magazine for the professional limousine, charter and tour industry.

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Page 39 of 83

HR / TRAINING / CUSTOMER SERVICE Handling The Seat Belt Debacle And Other Motorcoach Matters Operator Jason Sharenow has gone from limousines to buses and does what it takes to do it right. By Lexi Tucker, LCT associate editor C HATHAM, N.J. — It's amaz- ing Jason Sharenow finds time in a day to sleep. As the COO of Broadway Elite Chauffeured Services Worldwide, president of Passaic Valley Coaches (PVC), presi- dent of the Limousine Association of New Jersey (LANJ), and a volunteer EMT and police officer, he's got his hands rather full. He recently found the time to speak with LCT about what he's learned while transitioning from traditional luxury transportation vehicles to motorcoach- es, and the challenges that come along with it. He serves as a good example of how black vehicle operators can make the big leap aboard the bus sector. Overcoming The Seatbelt Crisis rough PVC, Sharenow operates 12 motorcoaches: 11 Prevost and one Tem- sa. Of the 12, eight have seatbelts…and two more will be retrofitted as well due to the incredibly high demand. "Demand for buses with seatbelts is enormous. e school districts are driv- ing it, and more boards of education are passing resolutions that mandate seat- belts in coaches due to the recent school bus accidents," he says. Sharenow retrofitted two of his coaches with seatbelts in 2017, which ran him about $12,000 per coach. Since the other two coaches he owns are slightly older, it wouldn't be worth the costs. "e life expectancy of a motor- coach runs from about 18 to 20 years. ere's plenty of older metal out on the road, but it'd cost me $70,000 or $80,000 to retrofit the other two I have. e ones I retrofitted last year only cost me three days of down time; if I were to do the others, it'd take roughly three to four weeks," he explains. Despite this demand, he refuses to charge more for his buses with seat- belts. "I look at it as taking advantage of the situation. People are requesting a safety item; it'd be one thing if they were looking for Wi-Fi, TVs on every headrest, or another premium ameni- ty," he says. However, he does point out that hav- ing seatbelts may actually pose more risk. e worst thing that can happen to a bus isn't a crash, but a fire. "Tell me how you're going to unbuckle 50 second graders and get them out of a burning coach fast enough to make sure they're all safe." Most children that young aren't able to belt themselves properly, or have them adjusted correctly for the size of their bodies. "A three-point seatbelt is designed for adults rather than small children. While a high schooler would be OK, an elementary school student wouldn't. It actually becomes a safety hazard in itself," he says. Motorcoaches are cre- ated with safety in mind, and the seats are designed for impact absorption. For generations coaches have not had belts in them, but starting in November 2016, newly manufactured buses are required to be equipped with three-point seat- belts for each driver and passenger seat. 3 8 WWW.LCTMAG.COM LUXURY COACH & TRANSPORTATION SEPTEMBER 2018 Tell me how you're going to unbuckle 50 second graders and get them out of a burning coach fast enough to make sure they're all safe. Jason Sharenow, president of Passaic Valley Coaches, takes safety seriously and wants other operators getting into the bus business to understand the details involved in running motorcoaches the right way. PHOTO: ISTOCK.COM/MICHAEL BURRELL

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