Latest Lamers News
Lamers Bus Lines, Inc. has been built on a foundation of strong principles that include always offering the best in value, service, quality and safety - always! In recognition of their dedication to one of the basic ideals promoted by the International Motor Coach Group, Inc. (IMG), Lamers Bus Lines has been presented the IMG 2012 Safety Award.
The IMG Safety Award was presented to Lamers Bus Lines on Tuesday, January 10th, 2012, at the IMG's recent Maintenance and Safety Conference in Grapevine, Texas. The award is presented annually to the company within the IMG organization who has demonstrated the highest level of safety throughout their organization. "Lamers not only meets the highest level of federal, state and location regulations, but goes above and beyond implementing company safety measures that insures their employees and customers experience the safest work and transportation experience", said IMG's Director of Member Services and Purchasing, Mike Mattison.
In Fall 2010, Lamers purchased a driver training simulator in a custom motor coach to further their driver educational programs. The mobile simulator is designed to give drivers the skills they need to become safer, more confident, and better prepared behind the wheel, the simulator helps drivers become familiar with navigating an up to 45-foot vehicle through traffic, mountains, and inclement weather.
The IMG membership consists of the United States' and Canada's (52+) most elite motor coach companies. Lamers is a longtime, exclusive member of the IMG, meeting stringent safety, driver training, quality and cleanliness, customer service and reputation standards. IMG staff monitors and conducts quality checks on its members to ensure compliance of the standards.
IMG Headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas maintains insurance, Department of Transportation, Department of Defense and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration documents on each member. Activity is also observed by independent Alliance Members who work in the insurance and vehicle safety consulting industry.
Lamers Successfully Completes the Transportation Safety Exchange Comprehensive Review; Approved to Join Elite Group of Safer Motor Carriers
[GREEN BAY, WI March 28, 2012] - Lamers Bus Lines is proud to announce that it has become TSX Approved as a safer motor carrier, having successfully completed the Transportation Safety Exchange Comprehensive Review (TSX-CR). Transportation Safety Exchange (TSX) is the ground transportation industry's only independent rating organization that inspects, monitors and reports the safety performance of motor carriers.
"We are proud to earn this distinction, because it demonstrates that we have implemented the highest standards of safety," said Allen Lamers, President of Lamers Bus Lines. "Earlier this year, we were awarded the IMG Safety Award and now with the TSX approval, we are proving just how committed we are to providing safe and comfortable transportation to everyone we serve. With our TSX approval, we can be recognized for achieving and maintaining the most stringent safety standards in the industry."
"Being TSX Approved demonstrates a motor carrier's dedication to better safety standards," said TSX President Patrick Labriola. "In today's crowded marketplace, it is important for customers to have a way to identify the safer carriers on the road. With TSX Approval, carriers demonstrate that they are making safety a top priority."
Passenger trip organizers and sponsors all bear responsibility and potential risk for operator performance and safety. They must demonstrate that they have used the highest standard of care possible in selecting a motor carrier. As passenger trip organizers and sponsors perform their due diligence, TSX Approval will help them identify their safest options.
"We know that our customers deserve the safest transportation possible and are committed to maintaining our safety focus. We expect that our customers will select a motor carrier that they can easily determine to be safer by having been TSX Approved," says Lamers.
Lamers Bus Lines played an important role in the running of Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, IN on Sunday February 5, 2012. Lamers sent 10 deluxe motorcoaches to the biggest game of the year, where the busses provided shuttle service to and from Super Bowl Village. The story was picked up by NBC 26 (WGBA-TV in Green Bay, WI) and posted on their website (you can read it here: http://www.nbc26.com/news/local/138607124.html). You can read more about Super Bowl 46 here.
Eric Stadler of Lamers Bus Lines said, "It's definitely a nice spike to have some extra busses on the road in the first uarter that is typically, in our industry, a little slower. It's very nice, and we're glad to be a part of such a major event."
The company says it's an honor to be representing Wisconsin."
In 2011, Business increased for 70% of METRO's Top 50 operators, which is even higher than last year's reported increase of 42%. On average, the uptick for those operators is very slight compared with last year's 9%, at 9.4%. Twelve percent said business was down, significantly lower than 2010's 20% figure. On average, business decreased by 9.2%. For 17% of operators, business remained the same.
To increase business, significantly more operators secured government and school contracts than in 2010, at nearly two-thirds of respondents, compared with 46% last year. Seventeen percent of carriers formed co-ops with other providers, and the same number diversified into limousine and paratransit operations. Other efforts cited primarily included university and employee shuttle contracts.
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Actions to offset costs, particularly increasing fuel prices, included fuel surcharges at 71%; rate increases at 55%; and fuel hedging, reducing idling and highway speed at 11%.
About 28% of operators reported having to downsize staff, up 2% from 2010, indicating that while business may be growing for many carriers, they are not necessarily able to hire more employees or retain workers.
The most favored marketing methods were once again word of mouth, selected by 41% of respondents, and the Internet, chosen by nearly one-third of surveyed operators. Internet use for marketing is slowly increasing, on average, by about 2% each year. Selected by less than one-tenth of operators were print ads (6%), Yellow Pages (4%) and Radio/TV (2%). More carriers appear to be using the Yellow Pages, with an uptick of about 3% over the last two years.
Wi-Fi and GPS topped the list as the most popular innovation selected by surveyed carriers, at 29% each. Social media use, listed at 11%, increased by 3% since 2010. Search Engine Optimization and installing 110-volt outlets also came in at 11%. Other innovations cited included San Diego-based Sun Diego Charter Co.'s idea to provide an iPad or tablet "so that the client will be able to track their buses in real time, which is a great tool when providing time sensitive services such as airport transfers," and Northfi eld, Minn.-based Northfield Lines' ticket scanner that quickly processes boarding passes for its daily commuter bus.
Pricing and hiring and training and retaining good drivers are the biggest challenges that nearly one-third of surveyed operators are facing. The cost of fuel and "low-ball" competitors were other common concerns for one-tenth of operators, higher than in previous years. In fact, 40% of carriers surveyed responded "yes" to the new question, "Have you had to adjust your pricing downward this year to compete?" The average cost cut that operators offered to draw business away from competitors was 7%.
Additionally, in response to another new question about adding driver training in 2011, one-third of operators reported offering customer service training, while nearly one-third offered more safety training last year. New training topics coming in third place were ADA, CSA and security training.
In light of the new rules and regulations regarding cell phone use and hours of service, METRO also asked whether motorcoach operators think that the federal government's focus on coach safety will pay off. Three-quarters of operators responded yes, with most saying that they felt it was an important step in weeding out rogue operators. The other one-quarter was not so confident, judging from some of the write-in responses. Among these, several felt that there is "not enough manpower and too much bureaucracy," as one operator put it. Another carrier wrote that the new rules are "overdramatizing exceptions to the industry," causing "increased expenses in rebuilding/refitting coaches when the vast majority of the issues are caused by driver error." Another operator responded that the rules continue to focus on the wrong areas and the wrong companies. The operator added that "the increased inspections could be helpful, but they generally put too much emphasis on the number of violations (including oil/grease) that they fi nd, rather than finding meaningful violations from people intending to break the law."
The average fleet size, excluding Dallas-based FirstGroup America - Greyhound Lines Inc., which holds by far the largest fleet, is 166. The median fleet size is 73.FirstGroup America once again took the top spot among surveyed operators, with Coach USA coming in second, with 1,642 vehicles.
Forty-three operators plan to buy vehicles this year. Eighty-one percent of those carriers are planning to buy buses with seat belts, up slightly from last year. The mix of acquisitions will include 352 new vehicles and 100 used vehicles, showing a slight increase over the numbers reported in 2010.
By all accounts, even in the midst of a recession, it's been a very good year for Lamers Bus Lines. The company is building a new corporate headquarters in Green Bay, and earlier this year it sent nearly two dozen motorcoaches to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Lamers also was recently named one of the top 20 motorcoach operators in North America.
"We remember where our roots are and who got us to where we are today," says Lamers' Charter Sales Manager Eric Stadler.
The company was launched in 1944 when a 1936 red, white and blue bus drove off founder Lyle Lamers' farm in the Town of Lawrence. The family-owned company is perhaps recognized most for its omnipresent gold school buses, which service 25 school districts in the state. The company now has 1,200 vehicles in its fleet, housed at 24 terminals statewide. The company's 127 motorcoaches are enough to place Lamers at No. 18 on Metro magazine's list of Top 50 operators. That's the highest ranking Lamers has received, says Stadler, adding that while the company is proud of its reputation, it's not resting on its axles, so to speak.
"The worst thing that a company can do is take its reputation for granted," Stadler says. "No matter what industry you're in, competition has become so fierce."
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According to Metro magazine, two thirds of the operators surveyed report that business was down in 2009 compared to 2008. Stadler notes that corporate entertainment travel, in particular, was down. But he adds, "You find a different way to get business."
Servicing major events has always helped shore up Lamers' business. Last year, the company executed the largest move of the Wisconsin National Guard since World War II - with 75 coaches dedicated to moving 3,500 troops.
"In a tired economy, this work has helped us keep our drivers and staff busy in times that could have normally proven to be down," Stadler says, adding that the second and third quarters of the year are typically the company's slowest.
Earlier this year, Lamers sent 23 coaches, 44 drivers, a manager and a mechanic to Vancouver for the winter games. (The company also sent drivers and coaches to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.)
"Sending this amount of staff does diminish our roster a bit. However, selection for this assignment was taken very seriously," Stadler says. "All drivers had to pass stringent security prior to being accepted, to include background checks and other unspecified measures performed by the Canadian authorities."
Later this year, Lamers will gear up for two major events: the National American Legion Convention in Milwaukee and the 92nd PGA Championship in Kohler, both requiring a large contingent of vehicles and staff. Lamers also serviced the PGA Championship in 2004, when the company was hired by The Convention Store, which handles transportation logistics for the event.
Jennifer Williams, account executive for The Convention Store, which has had a decade-long relationship with Lamers, uses the company for Wisconsin-based and out-of-state events.
"They always do an excellent job," says Williams, who adds that Lamers will supply 230 vehicles for the August event. She estimates attendance to hit 9,000 or more.
Prior to that major event, however, by June, Lamers plans to move its motorcoach operations and accounting offices into a new facility, next door to its current offices, not far from Austen Straubel International Airport.
With expansion, Stadler says the company will continue to keep its profile and customer service in the minds of the community and beyond. He can't think of a better place to be located than the heart of the Midwest - honoring the family values of its now 90-something founder, whose sons now run the company. "You have to know where you are, and the New North, the Midwest, screams hospitality and family."
Six New Deluxe Motor Coaches
Lamers Bus Lines, Inc. knows their customers want much more than a fair price on transportation in these tough times. They also want unparalleled safety, comfort and clean fuel efficiency, and that’s why we, as an historic Wisconsin carrier have chosen six MCI® J4500s as the latest addition to our 100-plus fleet of charter vehicles.
Lamers’ newest MCI coaches are powered by clean-diesel engine technology and feature the latest in safety performance technology and in-cabin electronics. Providing a superior smooth ride with lower emissions, Lamers’ newest coaches come equipped with wide-ride suspension, electronic stability control, SmarTire tire-pressure monitoring and Amerex fire-suppression systems. Two of the six MCI J4500 coaches ordered by Lamers are equipped with wheelchair lifts. Inside, passengers enjoy the latest Blaupunkt entertainment system, 10.4-inch wide-screen video monitors, Wi-Fi and power outlets to charge electronics. They’re even fitted with an iPod dock.
Recognized as One of U.S. & Canada's
TOP 10 School Bus Contractors
Starting from humble beginnings in 1944 with one school bus, 65 years later Lamers Bus Lines is now contracted with 29 Wisconsin school districts and operates from 24 terminals. Lamers Bus Lines’ fleet includes 1,000+ school buses, in addition to deluxe motor coaches, mini-coach® buses, an executive coach, limousines, limo coaches, trolley buses, vans and medical transport vehicles.
“Lamers Bus Lines has always operated on a family-business philosophy. We credit our growth and success to just that”, stated Allen Lamers, President.
School Bus Fleet magazine is a trade publication serving more than 24,000 school transportation professionals in the United States and Canada. The magazine provides a wealth of information on the management and maintenance of school bus fleets. For more information find them online at www.schoolbusfleet.com.
About Lamers Topics
Who we areFor over 67 years Lamers Bus Lines, Inc. has been setting standards by providing premiere...
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Where we AreLamers Bus Lines, Inc. offers an extensive range of services in 29 locations across the state...
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Our HistoryFrom humble beginnings, Lyle and Ellen Lamers founded Lamers Bus Lines, Inc. in September, 1944...
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Safety & MaintenanceLamers has long been known and recognized in the industry as having stringent, proactive driver...
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Equipment & OperationLamers can be your transportation solution because we are able to offer you a full range of...
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Community InvolvementLamers can be your transportation solution because we are able to offer you a full range of...
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Green TravelFor over 67 years Lamers Bus Lines, Inc. has been setting standards by providing premiere...
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