Electric vehicles are some of the cutting-edge technologies slated to create a buzz on the show floor and in the educational sessions at the 18th annual BusCon Expo.
“North America’s Biggest Bus Show” will be held Sept. 9 to 11. Registration is from noon to 5 p.m., Monday, Sept. 9 in Festival Hall A at Navy Pier. Pre-registered full conference pass attendees will be able to pick up their badges at 5 p.m., preceding the 5:30 p.m. Welcome Reception. Reception attendees will be privy to stunning views of Chicago’s skyline at The Signature Room on the 95th floor of John Hancock Center.
At the show
With exhibit hall space sold out months in advance, BusCon will offer the largest quantity and widest variety of vehicle and products in the 115,000-square-foot exhibit hall, which will be open 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 10 and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday.
This year, the show floor will feature up to five electric vehicles as well as natural gas and propane offerings. While bus, cutaway and chassis displays from a large array of manufacturers will take center stage, many other suppliers with cutting-edge products will also be featured. Manufacturers scheduled to display vehicles include: Ameritrans Bus Inc., Arboc Specialty Vehicles, BYD Motors Inc., Champion Bus, Collins Bus, Complete Coach Works, DesignLine, ElDorado National, Federal Coach by Champion, Ford Motor Co., Glaval Bus, GM Fleet and Commercial, Goshen Coach, Krystal by ElDorado National, Micro Bird Inc., New Flyer, Phoenix Motorcars, Proterra, Sprinter Vans, Supreme Corp., Temsa/CH Bus Sales, Tiffany Coachworks, Turtle Top and Winnebago Industries.
The evening networking reception will be held this year at The Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier on Tuesday and is open to all full conference pass holders.
Meanwhile, attendees will not want to miss the BusCon Breakfast, Awards and Keynote Presentation on Wednesday at 8 a.m., which will be followed by newly added bonus education sessions.
Be sure to stick around Wednesday, because this year’s BusCon is adding an exciting show floor experience called Contest Central. Upon arrival at BusCon, each attendee will be given a special bus pass that lists some great prizes offered from participating exhibitors. To qualify, attendees will need to get a stamp from each exhibitor and submit their "bus pass" at the show. Prizes will be awarded on the second day of the show with a live drawing in front of the Metro Magazine booth on the show floor. Attendees must be present to win.
Also, attendees can check bags for free at Navy Pier on Wednesday and pick up a discounted shuttle to the airport. Discounted airport shuttle service can be reserved by calling 800-2THEVAN. Vans will pick up between 12p.m. to 5p.m. at Entrance #1 downstairs from the exhibit hall.
The United Motorcoach Association’s motorcoach and transit seminars on Monday will feature two sessions open to all attendees, with the 3 p.m. program discussing how private bus operators are finding success working with local transit agencies to build public-private partnerships through capital cost of contracting formulas.
Meanwhile at 4 p.m., Joseph P. Schwieterman, director of the renowned DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, will discuss the findings of a report he conducted to find out “Who is Today’s Intercity Bus Rider?”
Attendees won’t want to miss the panel session “Electric Buses are Here to Stay,” which will be moderated by Michael Lewis from the Center for Electromechanics at the University of Texas at Austin, and feature representatives from manufacturers that will have their vehicles on the show floor.
Also on tap this year are multiple paratransit service sessions, featuring several long-time industry veterans, as well as a University Transit Track sponsored by First Transit. Additional educational sessions will cover topics including alternative fuels, lifecycle costing, reducing accidents, and modern bus marketing for public and private operators.
Sponsors for the 18th annual BusCon event include GM Fleet & Commercial, United State Warranty Corp., Neovia Logistics and Supreme Corp., as well as Official Host Dealer Best Bus Sales, providing free shuttle service between the Westin Michigan Avenue and Navy Pier. For more info, visit www.busconexpo.com or call (800) 576-8788.
By Alex Roman, managing editor Metro Magazine