Relying on work habits engrained since childhood and working weekend auctions with his father, Royal Excursions founder Shannon Kaser took a calculated gamble on the transportation business in 1998. Seeing his operation as more than a taxi or limo service, Kaser chose the name to denote a more dynamic style of transportation. Twelve years later Kaser believes he has nailed the concept with his most recent purchase of three all black, unmarked motorcoaches, two of which are 2010 Van Hool C2045Es.
Chartered motorcoach tours remain a major component in the mix of services that operators provide. Motorcoaches exist in the first place for people to load up a group and go somewhere for fun and entertainment, or educational purposes. I think what may look like declining interest in this industry staple over the last several years is actually a state of change. It will just take some creative thinking to grow the numbers.
As all-electric buses continue to make greater inroads into the motorcoach and transit industries, the terminology is slowly changing from miles-per-gallon to miles-per-kilowatt. Although the Chinese have been using some form of electric bus for years, an increasing number of agencies in the U.S. are accepting and utilizing all-electric transit vehicles. Fleets now sport sleek, all-electric vehicles with the capacity to save thousands of dollars over a vehicle’s lifetime. Also, technology has improved to the point where recharging can be done in minutes.
The convergence of an Academy Award-winning film and a bus tour operator led to one of the more interesting travel tour destinations in South Dakota. Herman Jones, owner of Mount Rushmore Tours and a reminder of the rugged Old West individualism, forged his longtime dream of building a working town square with the remnants of the original movie set for Kevin Costner’s 1989 film, “Dances with Wolves.”
For years while on his way to work Rick Cibik passed by the yellow school bus parked in the yard of someone’s home on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation northeast of Phoenix, AZ. As general manager of Fort McDowell Adventures, Cibik hit on an idea to put the old bus to use for the company that offers visitors the Wild West experience. Inspired by “The Mexican Bus” he had heard about in San Francisco, Cibik envisioned a moving party bus for corporate events and special occasions.
I recently visited Japan to meet operators and manufacturers. It was a fascinating experience, with many surprises. Until recently, with a very strong motor industry that features household names like Toyota, Honda, Isuzu and Mitsubishi, Japan was the second largest economy in the world. But now China has overtaken Japan, and it is clear the country is concerned about its much larger neighbor.