With a fleet of luxurious Prevost motorcoaches, this Brooklyn-based operator caters to top-level travelers
After running shuttles and mini-buses for five years since his company’s creation, Aly Goldenberg, vice president of Best Trails & Travel, Brooklyn, NY, saw market demand in 2000 shifting toward charter business. Rather than a simple business expansion, Goldenberg saw this as an opportunity to distinguish Best Trails & Travel from its competitors in the charter market and cater to high-end customers.
“We were looking for the customers that wanted a superb service, that wanted the best drivers, vehicle quality and overall experience,” Goldenberg says. “We wanted to build a brand that focused on servicing the most select, distinguished customers who were looking for first-class travel.”
When selecting the coach that would lead Best Trails toward that higher-end customer, Goldenberg looked at what other esteemed operations were running. The fleet make up of Trailways of New York, a long-time operator Goldenberg considers excellent, led him to select the H-Series™, Prevost’s top-of-the-line pedigree, to outfit the Best Trails & Travel fleet. .
“At the time, our research pointed toward Prevost representing the most ‘first class’ option, providing the best in style and overall ride experience,” Goldenberg says.
From there, Best Trails & Travel approached Prevost and began negotiations to purchase its first Prevost coach, a used H3-45®. Goldenberg purchased another used coach immediately after, citing a positive sales experience and excellent customer feedback. Expansion of the charter business came soon after, and with it more purchase orders for brand-new motorcoaches.
“Prevost understood and appreciated the kind of brand we were building and felt our brand was what they design their coaches for,” Goldenberg says. “They also try to target the most distinguished customers out there.”
Prevost H3-45 coaches make up most of the Best Trails & Travel fleet today; which numbers 22.
“We are very proud to have partnered with Best Trails & Travel for almost two decades,” says Prevost VP of Sales Jack Forbes. “You never see a Best Trails coach going down the road that isn’t sparkling; their equipment is meticulously maintained. The image and level of service they offer are in perfect alignment with the Prevost brand, and we are honored to have them as part of the Prevost family.”
Under the hood
A clean and efficient Volvo D13 engine powers the H3-45, which sports many features that make it unique from other high-end motorcoaches. One is Prevost PRIME® — power recovery by intelligent management of energy. Prevost PRIME reduces fuel consumption by using the engine downtime in braking, deceleration and other negative torque situations to charge the batteries and compress air. A Prevost coach equipped with PRIME can obtain maximum fuel economy driving over hills and flat portions that allow the batteries to charge only when the vehicle is in free wheel. The batteries charge with free energy without consuming fuel during the charging process.
The coach’s independent suspension features stabilizer bars on the front and drive-axles, which compliments ZF Servocom® power steering to provide directional stability and incredibly responsive handling.
Prevost AWARE® — adaptive cruise braking by Bendix® for the coach market — maintains safe following distance behind other vehicles when cruise control is activated. The coach achieves better fuel economy because it allows drivers to stay in cruise control for longer periods. An audible alert tells drivers when they are too close to another vehicle. Using a small radar sensor mounted on the front of the coach, the system sends out a radar signal up to 500 feet in front of the vehicle, tracking up to 32 objects in its range.
For drivers, Prevost places frequently-used controls, like cruise control, shifting, engine braking, horn actuation and electric sun visor adjustment on the steering wheel for easier driver access.
Best Trails and Travel’s 56-passenger coaches also feature Prevost’s patented tire pressure monitoring system, which is active within one minute of a coach’s ignition. Its state-of-the-art dashboard provides the driver with real-time pressure readings, as well as information about inner drive tire failures. The system aids the coach’s excellent fuel economy by allowing Best Trails to maintain optimal tire pressure.
Prevost’s unique Electronic Stability Program (ESP™) provides improved stability and allows drivers to react quickly to inclement weather or adverse road conditions by monitoring wheel speed, lateral acceleration, yaw and steering angle. It compares the actual vehicle’s movement to performance models, allowing drivers to minimize loss of control.
With standard three-point seatbelts further ensuring the safest possible experience for Best Trails customers, the coach’s fire detection and suppression system utilized a linear thermal detector as well as optical infrared to protect the engine compartment and auxiliary heater. Audible and visual warnings alert the driver to any emergencies.
Praising the H-Series
Goldenberg says, since his operation purchased its first two used coaches from Prevost, rider feedback has been universally positive.
“All of our riders really believe that the H-Series coaches give the best overall ride compared to any other coach they’re familiar with,” he says. “From the design of the bus, to the layout of the overhead compartments, the seating layout, the driver cabin – we hear nothing but praise for the overall design of our Prevost coaches.”
Praise from Best Trails drivers has been similarly effusive.
“Our drivers think the vehicle handles exceptionally,” Goldenberg says. “It turns excellently, and its stability on the road is phenomenal. Again, I hear only positive things regarding the overall riding ability of these coaches.”
Prevost Action Service System™ (PASS™) is the manufacturer’s 24/7 call center assistance line, and the company has more than 175 Prevost Parts & Service™ centers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, a large team of mobile service trucks are available at certain events. The company also offers 24/7 emergency parts ordering and shipping and 24/7 online parts ordering with a special discount. Best Trails & Travel most frequently relies on Prevost’s service center in South Plainfield, NJ, for major maintenance that it can’t undertake at its own facilities.
Goldenberg says that Prevost’s backend support has been extraordinary since the beginning of their relationship.
“They’re always very responsive to our needs,” he says. “No matter if it’s been a design change, or making sure our older coaches are up to date, Prevost is always helping us out to make sure that everything is working properly. They’re always backing us up and very attentive to our needs.”
That high-quality service came in handy when some trouble arose with newly-installed Bitzer compressors.
“The harness was not compatible with the new compressor and it had all kinds of electrical issues,” Goldenberg says. “Prevost worked nonstop to fix the problem. It took some time but their attentiveness was second to none, and they resolved it. They’re always willing to do whatever they can to help us.”
“First class” is best for business
The Prevost-aided expansion and upgrade to top-tier travel allowed for a major uptick in business in 2011, when Best Trails & Travel began servicing the professional sports market with customers like the Brooklyn Nets and their home arena, the Barclays Center. Best Trails also services Madison Square Garden and recently inked deals with some of the city’s other sports franchises.
This growth in business can be attributed to Best Trails & Travel’s dedication to the first-class experience, which is even more important to professional athletes than the average charter tour. The company even modified a few coaches to accommodate 50 passengers, so as to give NBA players necessary extra legroom.
More than anything, Goldenberg says the mutually beneficial relationship can be attributed to a singular vision between Prevost and Best Trails & Travel.
“Prevost represents the highest level of service, which is reflected in the way we run our business,” he says. “We’re targeting the highest level of service, and Prevost’s vision works hand-in-hand with ours.”