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San Francisco operator Bill Wheeler takes a shine to Temsa luxury buses, as they prove adept at handling corporate and leisure runs with the quality of a motorcoach but the economics of a minibus.
PLEASANTON, Calif. — Longtime operator Bill Wheeler noticed some distinct trends in group transportation emerging a few years ago, as the economy began to pull out of the recession.
His corporate clients in the San Francisco Bay Area region were asking for more bus service for employee shuttles and company site visits. While many of the groups could still fit into a minibus, the number of companies needing extra seats per trip increased. Clients also had to travel longer distances while raising their expectations for more advanced technology access, luxury-level creature comforts and the smooth handling of a full-size motorcoach.
What to do? Wheeler, who founded Black Tie Transportation in 1986 and runs a diverse fleet of 90 vehicles, says he sought a practical option with all the “bells and whistles” of a large motorcoach. After first seeing Temsa buses in the January 2013 LCT Magazine, he took delivery from CH Bus Sales in February at the International LCT Show in Las Vegas, where CH Bus Sales had a display. He bought his first two TS30 30-passenger buses at the Show, a TS35 40-passenger bus in March, and two more TS35s in June.
“We were doing larger moves with opportunities for employee shuttles, site inspections, and long distance trips going out to Bakersfield or to Southern California,” Wheeler says. “It became a bigger part of our business. We wanted to keep that business in house and control the client’s ultimate experience so they got the same high-end service they had come to expect from Black Tie.”
Black Tie Transportation’s five Temsa buses are flexible for both local and long distance runs. The buses are made with superior stainless steel integral monocoque shells and offer the smooth ride of a motorcoach.
The Temsa TS30 and TS35 buses are unique entrants to the U.S. chauffeured transportation market. Their mid-coach sized, monocoque bus shells retain the attributes of a motorcoach while preserving the overall cost and value elements of minibuses. Those qualities provide smooth rides and durability superior to conventional cutaway and chassis-based minibuses. For limousine operators who want to maintain luxury level group transportation but do not need full-size 55-58 passenger charter buses, the Temsa is a flexible alternative. Temsas can seamlessly handle both local minibus-type runs and longer-distance motorcoach-type trips. With operating costs below those of a larger motorcoach, the Temsa saves money for group transportation providers.
CH Bus Sales Chairman Mike Haggerty has capitalized on his experience as a limousine operator (Stardust Limousine) and charter bus operator (Ryan's Express) to bring innovative luxury buses into the U.S. market well suited for group transportation.
The Temsa, built in Turkey, is moving quickly into the U.S. market via CH Bus Sales, a bus distributor based in Minnesota with service facilities in Orlando, Fla., and Las Vegas, Nev. CH Bus Sales Chairman and co-owner Michael Haggerty, the founder of Ryan’s Express (see article) and previous owner of Stardust Limousine in Los Angeles, bought the company in 2011 after selling Ryan’s Express so he could capitalize on his years of running stretch limousines and charter buses across the southwestern U.S.
“The motivation for selling the company in 2011 was the opportunity we received from Temsa,” Haggerty says. “They liked our footprint in the Southwest. It was better to sell Ryan’s so I could focus on the Temsa opportunity. I saw the benefit of being an exclusive distributor for U.S. and Canada instead of being a regional bus operator.”
Temsa had approached Haggerty about distributing its U.S. buses after learning about his company and using one of his facilities for prototype testing. “They chose our site and we developed a relationship with good chemistry between us,” Haggerty recalls. “We made trips back and forth to Turkey and developed a rapport and distribution agreement. Then we started taking delivery.”