HOUSTON, Texas — Nearly 50 Spanish-speaking bus operators came together in Houston, Texas, on October 9 to meet for the ABA’s newly created Hispanic Motorcoach Council (HMC). The Hispanic Motorcoach Council is led by HMC President Bill Torres of DC Trails (Lorton, Va.), and he is looking to offer tools to help operators continue to build their business. During the Houston meeting, the group heard from safety compliance experts, local law enforcement and inspection officers, ADA training specialists, motorcoach manufacturers and from other bus operators. Houston Sheriff Adrian Garcia provided a rousing bi-lingual welcome following an impressive flag display by a color guard detail.
There was discussion on a variety of topics including Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) inspection procedures and out-of-service criteria. Operational best practices were reviewed such as utilizing on-vehicle video technology, the scheduling of drivers, customer service recommendations on lost baggage, and how to get involved with grant programs.
As a member of the HMC and ABA, bus operators can receive a variety of association benefits that can serve their unique needs: a legislative voice, regulatory watchdog activities, money-saving services, connections to other operators and industry suppliers, regular communications, an annual meeting, specialized safety training and much more. It is the goal of the HMC to ensure operators are made aware of the information and tools available to them and to help guarantee that motorcoaches remain a safe mode of transportation, and to help them grow their businesses in the language they are most comfortable.
“I think we are assembling an incredibly talented, enthusiastic, and experienced group with the ability and resources available to help operators handle many of the challenges that can be encountered while providing safe and efficient top of the line motorcoach service, but it is also important to let the [HMC] operators know that they don’t have to try to take on all of these challenges alone and that is what the Hispanic Motorcoach Council is all about,” said HMC President Bill Torres.
As priority items, the group will be focusing on reducing southern border crossing wait times, providing increased access to intermodal facilities such as ports and airports, enhancing safe bus operations, and promoting business-to-business networking so as to establish a maintenance and breakdown network amongst Spanish speaking motorcoach operators throughout North America.
The next one-day HMC regional meeting will be held in South Florida in mid-November and the HMC will co-locate its first annual meeting at ABA’s Marketplace in Nashville, Tenn., on January 12, 2014. There will be additional one-day meetings held in other regional locations periodically throughout 2014 and virtual meetings via webinar will also be convened. All resources and information for HMC members are available in both English and Spanish.
Source: American Bus Association