Operations

Operator Gains Steady Work From Military Transportation

Martin Romjue
Posted on July 24, 2019
Military contract workers residing at temporary accommodations in downtown Norfolk, Va., about to depart for Naval Station Norfolk on a motorcoach provided by Charlottesville, Va.-based A. Goff Transportation. (photo: A. Goff)

Military contract workers residing at temporary accommodations in downtown Norfolk, Va., about to depart for Naval Station Norfolk on a motorcoach provided by Charlottesville, Va.-based A. Goff Transportation. (photo: A. Goff)

NORFOLK, Va. — Motorcoaches are commonly associated with elaborate chartered tours and corporate bespoke trips, all involving multiple destinations.

One area packed with potential for coach operators is the realm of military-related shuttles and fixed routes, not just for troops, but the many itinerant contractors who work on major projects at military bases. The timing is consistent, the routes vary among fixed paths, and the mileage ranges much lower than over-the-road trips.

Best of all, the revenue is reliable, as Virginia operator Dan Goff has found with a contract to provide daily transportation between hotels in downtown Norfolk and Naval Station Norfolk, which supports the operational readiness of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet.

“The work is structured, timed, monitored, and vetted,” says Goff, co-owner and general manager of A. Goff Transportation of Charlottesville with facilities in Norfolk. “It’s a long process, which started two years ago before the contract was given. Once you’re in, you’re in. You can parlay your credentials into the next one.”

Two A. Goff Transportation motorcoaches making a daily run between downtown Norfolk and Naval Station Norfolk.

Two A. Goff Transportation motorcoaches making a daily run between downtown Norfolk and Naval Station Norfolk.

His company started providing daily transportation on March 11 for an average of 50 military contractors per day for the 20-mile round trips among the hotels and the naval base, using Volvo and MCI coaches and vans. The contract is projected to generate about 500-1,200 trips per year. A. Goff Transportation supplies up to five buses and coaches per day, including Volvo and MCI coach models.

Goff is also working with another client to expand the contract to Fort Eustis, a U.S. Army base near Newport News, Va., in the same coastal region as Norfolk. That would involve 1,750 trips per year carrying contractors between work and off-base hotels.

“The way these contracts work is somebody gets an overarching contract, and that company selects local hotels, transportation providers, and vendors, and then offers a package to the military,” said Goff, who served from 1976-79 with the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, in South America, also known as the Green Berets.

The transportation service for Norfolk Station, Norfolk carries civilian contractors who work for the Navy but are not employed by the military branch. Most provide crucial functions for the design and construction of Naval vessels. “They are not full-time long-term, but they have to come back and build another ship,” Goff said. “The military needs a large pool of technically capable people working like three to four-year temps.”

A Goff Transportation underwent an extensive vetting process to secure the contracts as part of its Department of Defense transportation certification.

“Part of contract arrangements is you have to be willing to be nimble, buy equipment, hire and train people, and get base IDs,” Goff said.

Veteran Dan Goff finds his military-related bus transportation can provide a steady revenue opportunity for motorcoach operators. (LCT file photo)

Veteran Dan Goff finds his military-related bus transportation can provide a steady revenue opportunity for motorcoach operators. (LCT file photo)

Like other luxury ground transportation companies that offer motorcoaches, Goff uses trained chauffeurs and bus captains instead of mere drivers, which helps provide the precision and professionalism inherent in a military-related contract.

“We keep our company committed to the mission with reliable service, and that gives everyone structure,” said Goff, adding the buses all leave right on time on the dot, no exceptions. “Every route has its own vehicles with no staggered runs. Everyone moves at the same time. Everybody has to be fully credentialed with IDs and every movement has to clear security each time. We never hold a bus; they move every day at the same minute. We’re onsite an hour early. Everything is tracked electronically in real-time. The moment a bus captain enters data, everyone gets it, not just the dispatchers.”

Despite the clearances, rules, and vetting, Goff said military-related transportation provides a solid, predictable revenue stream for motorcoach operators without the heavy-duty demands of interstate charter work. “The real advantage is you never have to answer the phone, make a sale, or spend any overhead time on procuring business. The business is there. You can focus 100% of your effort on providing a flawless service.”

Related Topics: business opportunities, client markets, customer contracts, customer service, Dan Goff, government contract, motorcoach operators, motorcoaches, shuttle buses, Virginia operators

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