Motor Coach Industries (MCI), a U.S. subsidiary of NFI Group Inc., (“NFI”), the largest transit bus and motor coach manufacturer and parts distributor in North America, notes that after 90 years in business, Arrow Stage Lines has built its status as a Top 10 U.S. charter operator on a platform of safety, innovation and service. However, its latest distinction is in recognition of its green operating practices with Arrow taking home the 2019 United Motorcoach Association (UMA) Environmental Leadership Award Sponsored by MCI and presented January 8 during UMA Expo at the Broward County Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The peer-judged award recognized Norfolk, Nebraska-based Arrow for a sustainability philosophy that begins with a strict maintenance schedule for its fleet of 236 motor coaches, supported by an idle-free education program that rewards drivers. Its fleet of mostly newer coach models with advance engine technology also advances fuel saving and lower emission goals.
Arrow’s green practices extend throughout its business. It became the first motor coach operator to adopt a digital signature for all customer agreements on its path to a paperless office. At the same time, Arrow’s software designers are developing an app to make all administrative functions digital and accessible on mobile phones and laptop computers. “IT is creating coding to have our booking, accounting and Electronic Logging Device (ELD) systems work through our own app,” Luke Busskohl, Arrow’s COO, said. Busskohl and his brother Alex, director of corporate operations and marketing specialist, represent Arrow’s fourth generation of family leadership.
Arrow has built an exclusive clientele including tour companies and serves NFL, NBA, NCAA and Major League Baseball franchises. The company also operates a luxury entertainment coach division that leases to top entertainment companies, including tours like Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, Jason Derulo, Luke Bryan, and more.
In all of its operating regions, Arrow maintenance teams use ESOC (environmentally safe oil change) machines and coolant recovery machines to safely drain and dispose of those fluids. They also gather scrap medal including copper and aluminum, which are regularly separated and recycled.
To make all this work, training is critical. For the past three years, Arrow has partnered with the University of Vermont’s (UVM) Certification for Sustainable Transportation Program to help all drivers and technicians earn e-Rating driving certificates. Additionally, Arrow’s drivers are required to take a new course every quarter through the MCI Academy Learning Management System (LMS) that offers more than 450 courses online and available 24/7.
Finally, all Arrow Stage coaches are set with a maximum speed of 68 miles per hour and run on verified low-rolling resistance tires with pressure monitors delivering even greater fuel savings and emissions reductions. Arrow is also considering adding a solar-powered auxiliary power unit (APU) to each coach’s HVAC system to heat and cool interiors without running the engine.
“We use an ‘ownership thinking’ rewards program that offers incentives to employees if they meet certain goals,” Luke Busskohl said. “In 2018, our goal was to reduce idle time. With our investment in driver and staff education along with an initiative to limit idling in our yards and lots during pre-trip inspections, we showed a 25 percent decrease in idling for the year.”
“We’re very honored to receive this award because we realize that green practices are not only good for the environment, but for the bottom line,” Alex Busskohl said. “Everything counts in our opinion. Our clients and passengers appreciate the reliability of our coaches and we consider green practices an important part of our marketing plan.”
Patricia Ziska, MCI’s vice president of new coach sales, said Arrow Stages’ unified program of green practices in driving, mechanical upkeep, recycling programs and office operations is helping set new standards in the motor coach industry.
“We’re proud to present this award to Arrow Stage Lines because they’re innovators in their business and green policies drive everything they do with the full participation of employees and staff. They set a very high standard,” Ziska said.
This press release originally appeared on MCI’s website. You can view it here.