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Cross-Border Issues for Motorcoaches and their Passengers

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Presentation on theme: "Cross-Border Issues for Motorcoaches and their Passengers"— Presentation transcript:

1 Cross-Border Issues for Motorcoaches and their Passengers
November 2, 2011 1

2 Defining the Motorcoach Industry
Provides a variety of services Tour, Charter, Schedules, Sightseeing Major cog in the US and Canadian economic engine - $55 Billion Industry Flexible, Diverse, and Independent What can they do for your business and the local economy? How can you “catch” them and their customers? How can you make them an ongoing partner? Before getting into how to connect with the industry, it is important to know what they are and what they do. Motorcoaches provide a variety of services: charters (like weddings, family reunions, casino trips, shopping excursions), tours (set itineraries with multiple stops, sometimes in multiple cities, mostly a la carte), sightseeing (usually set to follow an event or series of sights within a defined area), airport shuttles, scheduled service (long haul fixed route service, usually intercity), and contract commuter (generally subcontracted with a transit agency brining people from the suburbs into bigger cities). Motorcoaches are major cog in the US economic engine a nearly $55 Billion industry. Because of these differences among operators in geography and services, they can be very diverse, very dispersed, have completely different business models and sometimes they can be hard to find. If you do find them, what can they do for you, how can you make them an ongoing partner, and how can you best connect with them? 2

3 What is a Motorcoach? Elevated Passenger Deck Baggage Compartment
30 – 45 Feet Long Carries Passengers Still evolving . . . Today’s motorcoach is more than a people mover, or a mobile hotel, or an eyesore belching black smoke down the highway. It is modern, digital, wi-fi ready, environmentally friendly, ADA compliant 180 passenger miles per gallon Less emission than any other passenger mode of travel, ULSD fuel 2010 series engines are 90% better than what’s on the road now 3

4 Small Business Characteristics
A network of small businesses 3,200 private sector motorcoach companies Family businesses Operating about 32,000 buses Less than 50 companies have more than 100 buses 90% have fewer than 25 buses The average operator owns 7 – 10 buses Every bus supports five jobs The motorcoach industry is truly a network of small businesses and entrepreneurs Many are family-owned businesses, generally mom and pop operations There are about 3500 companies in the industry, the vast majority concentrated in the Northeastern and Southeastern US. These 3500 companies operate about 28,000 buses. Less than 50 companies in the US have more than 100 buses. 90% of the companies have fewer than 25 buses, 75% have fewer than 10 buses. Every bus supports about 5 jobs, although as you get into really rural areas it may be more like 2 or 3. 4

5 An Overview of Private Motorcoach Services
(by percentage of companies) Contract Commuter – 7% Scheduled Service – 19% Airport Shuttle – 21% Sightseeing – 29% Tours – 59% Charters – 96% 96% provide charter services, 59% provide tours, 29% sightseeing, 21% airport shuttle, 19% scheduled service, 7% contract commuter service. 5

6 US Passengers Carried Annually
(In Millions 2010) 6

7 The Economic Impact of Motorcoach Tourism
One coach visiting overnight, is worth nearly $12,000 to a destination. This includes meals, lodging, entertainment and shopping. Add services for the coach and the number can exceed $13,000. The motorcoach industry supports 200,000 direct and 800,000 indirect U.S. jobs.

8 Motorcoach Industry Trends
Historical Growth. Frequent Development of New/Niche Services. Charter & Tour Oriented. City to City Opportunities, Increase in Low-Cost Curbside. Flexibility in Trip Customization. Moving away from Group-only to a la carte. Intermodal Capability and Connectivity. Safe! Since 2001, there has been tremendous growth in the industry, with new access to packages/products, fairly easy entry into the market (as opposed to the mid-1980’s or early 1990’s), new services rolling out at a steady rate (e.g. high-end express bus service to metropolitan destinations), and a focus on discretionary travel with charter/tour orientation, and flexibility in trip customization. Motorcoaches have become the most capable of intermodal transportation and passenger transfers. Federal legislation has also enhanced opportunities, providing new roadways, grant programs to offset costly mandates as well as improve safety and environmental features of motorcoach operations. 8

9 Motorcoach Industry Trends
Following the cruise model Intermodal Capability and Connectivity adds to success of the industry Capitalize on the point-to-point service Safe Since 2001, there has been tremendous growth in the industry, with new access to packages/products, fairly easy entry into the market (as opposed to the mid-1980’s or early 1990’s), new services rolling out at a steady rate (e.g. high-end express bus service to metropolitan destinations), and a focus on discretionary travel with charter/tour orientation, and flexibility in trip customization. Motorcoaches have become the most capable of intermodal transportation and passenger transfers. Federal legislation has also enhanced opportunities, providing new roadways, grant programs to offset costly mandates as well as improve safety and environmental features of motorcoach operations. The cruise model of choice at every point of the journey will create successes in the industry. Customers want to have some control of their journey and their destiny. There are many examples of operators around the country who have grown their business based on this modes, and made more money doing it. 9


11 Making Border Crossings Easier

12 A Few Border Stats NY is the #1 state for northern US bus border crossings. In 2010: 39,000 out of 116,000 (33%) buses 1.2M out of 2.4M bus passengers (50%) MI was #2 (29% for buses &14% passengers) Border Crossing Results at NY State Level (Yearly) Year Trucks Trains Buses Personal Vehicles 2006 4574 42550 2007 3816 49405 2008 4071 46452 2009 4042 40386 2010 3984 39148 Source:

13 14 Lanes Available for CMVs*
NY Land Ports of Entry 6 Areas of Entry 14 Lanes Available for CMVs*

14 12 International Airports
NY Airports 12 International Airports

15 Border Crossing Concerns
Unpredictable delays can severely disrupt group travel itineraries and planned events. Having passengers leave the bus for processing not only creates delays, but it can create a negative travel experience. Traveler wait times vary wildly across the travel modes. Can you imagine a 3-4 hour wait for an air passenger to go through customs?

16 Border Crossing Concerns
Safety and logistical problems can arise from a long delay at a border crossing. Driver’s hours of service compliance issues. Relief driver possibly needed, which may increase the cost of the trip. Some drivers are being removed from trips at border crossings due to rehabilitation issues based on past US misdemeanor convictions. At times events occurred (15 – 20 years earlier (beyond pre-employment background checks) Driver background checks can span 10 – 15 years and information at the time the driver was hired, say 10 years ago, did not go back far enough to pickup a misdemeanor that occurred 20 years earlier. However, technology and record searches available to the DHS and CBSA does uncover events 20 – 30 years earlier.

17 Border Crossing Recommendations
Provide additional commercial vehicle traffic lanes for processing. Create an advance manifesting system. Pilot program currently in use at Port Champlain. Limited usage thus far (30), but potential for expansion. ABA hosted webinar in late August 2011 to increase participation. Need to have online and offline access. Understand differences between scheduled service vs. charter bus services. Scheduled carriers often have to meet schedules to connect passengers with other bus schedules, or with trains and airlines. At the same time charter bus customers often have schedules that must be met including tickets for events, teams attending and playing in sporting events, etc.

18 Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) Pilot Program
Although few companies are aware of the Pilot Program, those who have used it have been pleased.

19 Border Crossing Recommendations
Increase staffing at border locations to help expedite motorcoach screening. Why use 1 officer for a group of 50 (or a random sampling) when you could use 3 or 4? Allow for advance customs declaration cards to be used. Consider a pre-screening location in advance of the actual border. Introduce roadside signs displaying current wait times. By knowing of delays well in advance, the driver can call ahead to destinations and make them aware of late arrivals. In addition, if the delay is so, long so as to impact the driver’s time allowed under the Hours of Service rules, the driver can call the company and make them aware of the situation so that a relief driver can be located.

20 Border Crossing Experiences
DHS and CBSA have an important role to protect both countries from inadmissible persons, to intercept contraband and collect applicable taxes. Our industry wants to cooperate and support those efforts ABA works in conjunction with our counterpart in Canada, Motor Coach Canada and their motorcoach and travel members across North America.

21 Border Crossing Experiences
In April 2010, a Quebec coach operator had two coaches wait in line for over 6 hours to cross from Quebec to Vermont. The hockey teams they were transporting to a tournament in Vermont had to forfeit their games Charter and tour coach passengers were seen by CBSA and DHS as relatively low-risk and therefore processed in a different manner than scheduled line-run buses. Now charter coaches are often treated the same: passengers disembark; baggage is removed/inspected; passengers processed individually; documents are scanned. 45 percent of coach passengers are students and 35 percent are seniors, with both categories low security risks.

22 Operator Experiences When specifically asked about border crossing experiences, operators said: Good flow at Port Huron, Sarnia, Detroit. Windsor Lake Champlain can be problematic with no wait time to hours or wait time The Niagara crossings are the biggest problem spots Need automated equipment so CBP/CBSA can swipe passports and documents Montreal to NYC bus at Christmas was 12 hours delayed and 6 hours at Easter INCONSISTENCY is the biggest problem – Can’t Plan!

23 Border Crossing Experiences
It’s not just the actual passenger processing time that creates the long delays, rather the time buses have to spend in the queue with other traffic waiting to reach primary inspection Unpredictable delays at the border can severely disrupt itineraries, missing scheduled events such as sporting events, concerts, meal reservations, boat cruises and flight connections (a TX to Winnipeg carrier just discontinued service because connections with other carriers could not be guaranteed) Long delays create safety and logistics issues for companies regarding driver hours of service regulations. Bus companies now have to factor in additional costs associated with sending relief drivers to the border to meet a delayed coach or begin trips with an additional driver to conserve hours for the border segment

24 Border Crossing Experiences
Air passengers would never tolerate 2,4 or 6 hour delays to be cleared. It would be front page news and would be rectified quickly. Motorcoach passengers are discriminated against in relation to travelers arriving at a port of entry by other modes. All passengers regardless of their choice of transportation mode should be entitled to the same level of service from CBSA and DHS

25 Border Crossing Experiences
Seniors have told tour directors they were made to feel so unwelcome, the experience, stressful and intimidating and they won’t take another cross-border tour/charter Tour operators tell us they feel some border crossing officers appear to have a disdain for bus passengers and are lacking in customer service skills CBSA and DHS have shown sincere concern about any allegations of unprofessional conduct and poor customer service and encouraged persons to request a supervisor and report incidents, but most are reluctant to do so

26 Border Crossing Experiences
Existing CBSA and DHS facilities and staffing levels at some of the busiest ports of entry are inadequate to comfortably and efficiently process all bus passengers so procedures should be modified Consider implementing a mandatory advance passenger information (manifest) system for charter and tour buses at all ports to expedite clearance procedures Consider implementing an “ETA” system, in conjunction with advance passenger information, to address the unpredictability of bus volumes, so staff can be scheduled and deployed accordingly

27 Border Crossing Experiences
Imagine your driver is bringing a group home at the tail-end of a long holiday weekend at a busy U.S./Canadian border; the inspection line is long; a couple of the coaches ahead of him are double-decker line-haul vehicles; on top of it all, he has already been at the wheel for close to his allotted service hours. It may sound like perfect-storm conditions for a difficult border crossing, but for many operators it's an all-too-common scenario. Border crossings, especially at high-traffic spots like Windsor and Niagara Falls in Ontario and Douglas/Peace Arch at Surrey, British Columbia, can try drivers' patience.

28 Border Crossing Experiences
When a Canadian tour and coach company was invited to participate in a pilot program, management was eager since with pre-manifesting they can usually get through by going to the front of the line and can then be processed in about five minutes as opposed to the previous 40 to 45 minutes. Passengers in these situations require all charter/tour passengers to provide information to help with pre-screening. This process should be standard (with few exceptions for scheduled carriers) for all operators. For a charter/tour the passengers are the same crossing in both directions. Scheduled carriers already collect passenger names and information

29 A Focus on Safety Motorcoaches are the safest form of surface transportation There have been 67 motorcoach accidents with onboard fatalities between 1999 and 2009 that have resulted in nearly 250 passenger fatalities. Of the formally investigated motorcoach accidents, 54 percent of bus passenger and bus driver fatalities over the past decade were caused by bus companies that were either operating illegally or with significant safety problems Priority #1 – Get the illegal, unethical companies off the road ……. NOW!

30 Let’s Stay in Touch! Peter Pantuso, CTIS President & CEO
111 K Street, NE, 9th Floor Washington, DC 20002 Phone: (202) Web Site: Reach us toll-free, 24/7 at (800)

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