Faced with investigations two months after a fatal accident, the TNC plans to regroup its venture for another day and place.
LOTS OF LEGROOM N’ BLACK LEATHER: A Virginia operator goes for a new niche in the bus market that wants luxury service and amenities without the size and expense of a big bus.
RICHMOND, Va. — JAMES LIMOUSINE recently bought a 36-foot, 36 passenger “mid-coach” that will be fully stocked with luxury amenities and seating to accommodate sports teams and corporate road shows alike.
Allen intends to upfit the smaller motorcoach with a host of amenities designed to give it more of a living room feel: luxury black leather forward-facing seats with high-backs and wrap-around headrests; extra four-inches of legroom at each seat compared to a typical motorcoach; full fold-out airline-style tray tables; extensive WiFi with enough bandwidth for universal Internet access onboard; satellite TV service; power outlets in each seating row; and three-point seatbelts.
“This will not look like a typical bus on the inside,” Allen said.
The G3400 also features a Cummins 280 HP ISB Engine, and an Allison 300 5-Speed Transmission. This unit includes six audio visual monitor systems and 276 cubic feet of luggage storage space.
Allen projects the mid-motorcoach will be in service by September. It will be the first motorcoach-style bus for James Limousine, which so far has three mini-buses in its 23-vehicle fleet based in Virginia’s state capital.
The diesel engine bus, which on average costs about 25-40% below the price of a typical 55-passenger motorcoach, will use 50% less fuel and cost about 10% less to rent than a typical big bus. Its fuel economy fits the green travel programs of many colleges and universities, Allen said.
Allen aims to market the bus to several key client groups: sports teams (college, professional, youth); hotels; corporate group travel; other bus companies; and church groups.
“In talking to college players and coaches who rode the bus a lot, they came up with some specs that I wanted to use for the bus,” Allen said. “This will be a niche vehicle for groups large enough to want a motorcoach but not large enough to need a full size 55-passenger motor coach. This will offer a better ride and amenities than available in mini coaches.”
One of the biggest complaints about motorcoaches so far is that many do not provide enough Wi-Fi bandwidth for multiple laptop users, Allen said. As a result, Allen is making sure the James Limousine “mid-coach” will have enough hardware installed to accommodate iPods and wireless laptops.
“We’re not competing with the full-size motorcoach but instead offering teams a smaller vehicle at a lower price,” said Allen, whose company is up 20% in revenues this year compared to 2009. “We have the same if not better amenities than you have on full-size buses.”
— Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine
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