Vehicles

MAX LEGROOM: Fewer Seats Pay Off For Bus Operator

Posted on January 5, 2011 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

As airlines increasingly cramp customers with squeezed seat pitches, one Florida operation underscores the timeless virtue of investing in passenger enjoyment.

COCOA BEACH, Fla. — Customers will pay a little bit more for comfort, even in the recession.

That's what Kim Hinton, account manager of Cocoa Beach-based charter company TRAVELYNX, says — and that strategy has helped TraveLynx's business grow 25% from 2009.

With that growth, it will double its fleet of custom, 38-passenger motorcoaches and add a new terminal in Miami.

Hinton said the custom luxury motorcoaches have been a staple of the company's business, offering a third more legroom than a traditional charter coach. Much of TraveLynx's business comes from school groups, church groups, athletic teams or senior groups looking to travel regionally.

The coaches are the size of a traditional large, luxury bus, but have 17 fewer seats built in. It comes with a price tag: For a private charter in the Daytona Beach area, such as a dinner outing, wedding or corporate event, a 38-passenger coach would cost about $100 per hour with a four-hour minimum, said Sandy Burroughs, charter sales coordinator.

“Initially, many thought that these would not be applicable with the economy," Hinton said of the motorcoaches, which have fewer seats than the traditional 55-passenger model. "It was thought that individuals or seniors would not pay to see the difference.”

However, with custom features, such as wi-fi and footrests, customers decide they can be more productive than driving on their own, and they can save time they would have spent in an airport. Plus, the average cost to ride on a 38-passenger vehicle exceeds the cost of riding on a 55-passenger bus by about a cup of coffee.

"Most of us, myself included, were baby boomers, and when it translates to less strain on your body ... it really is cost-effective," Hinton said.

Charter vehicle travel as a whole isn't growing at the pace of TraveLynx, although a company spokesman for Greyhound said charter sales make up a significant portion of business and have increased over the past few years.

Phil Strack, owner of Gainesville, Fla.-based charter service Legendary Coaches, said business has been down for two consecutive years. However, he said he's seen an increase in customers who add up the costs and decide that taking a group bus can cost around the same as driving where they need to go.

“I think we've been doing better than a lot of industries," Strack said. "You're getting a little bit more of an intelligent shopper."

With a terminal on West International Speedway Boulevard in Daytona Beach, many of TraveLynx's clients are local. Bethune-Cookman University's basketball teams were the first to sign on to use the coaches in early 2009, Hinton said, and they signed a contract with the company soon afterward.

TRAVELYNX's other clients include Stetson University, Daytona State College and Central Florida Community College. The company's fleet includes about 60 vehicles total and 10 of the 38-passenger coaches. Its 55-passenger vehicles traditionally go out to bigger school groups, such as elementary students, Hinton said.

Source: Daytona Beach News-Journal

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Forest River Acquires Assets Of Battisti Customs

One of the top makers of minibuses for the limousine industry teams up with a high-end luxury conversion company.

Hyundai Genesis A Great Used Luxury Car Value

There are tons of V6-powered, lightly used Genesis sedans out there in the mid-$20,000 range.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Upgrades Unveiled

Big changes under the hood involve a 48-volt electrical system, which can transmit power more efficiently than traditional 12-volt wiring.

2019 Cadillac CT6 Spotted In Camouflage

The grille and lower bumper valance up front matches the design on the Escala concept.

Extra-Long Continental Limo Spied

If the Conti in question does come from the factory, it will join a long line of Lincoln limousines, for better or worse.

See More News

Facebook Comments ()

Comments (0)

Post a Comment

Submit

Blog

See More

LCT Store

LCT Magazine - June/Fact Book 2017 $12.95 * Facts & Stats * Directors & Guides *



Connect

Experience the three annual industry events for networking for business, showcasing vehicles and products, and getting the tools for success.

Read About Your Region

What’s Happening Near You?
Click on any state to see the latest industry news and events in that region.

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Metro Magazine

Serving the bus and passenger rail industries for more than a century

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

Please sign in or register to .    Close