AUGUST 20, 2019
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FMCSA listening to industry:
Proposes more flexibility in hours of service;
Schedules listening sessions in coming weeks
by Ken Presley, UMA Staff | August 19, 2019

Washington, DC - If made final, a proposed rule would allow passenger carrier drivers a bit more flexibility in complying with hours of service requirements. The administration wants to hear from our industry.

Although largely targeted at interstate trucking, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced a notice of proposed rulemaking that has two provisions that directly benefit the passenger carrier industry:

  • Extend the distance short-haul drivers (who are not required to keep logbooks) from 100 air miles to 150 air miles and allow short-haul drivers to be on duty for 14 hours rather than just 12; and,
  • Extend the adverse driving conditions exception by up to two hours.

The combination of an administration willing to listen, with the precision and accountability of the electronic logging device, likely make these deviations possible.

There are two listening sessions scheduled:

  1. August 23, 2019, in Dallas, TX, at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, 650 S Griffin St., Dallas, TX 75202; and,
  2. September 2019 (date TBA), Washington, DC at the U.S. Department of Transportation

All meetings are scheduled from 10:00 AM until noon.

The sessions will be available via webcast to allow interested parties to participate remotely. There will be 45 days to comment on the proposed rule one it's published. Click here to review and make comments. Nearly 5,400 comments have been received so far.
Changes to Hours of Service will be among the hot topics at the Safety Management Seminar powered by UMA, Dec. 4-5, in Ashburn, VA. Motorcoach professionals will gather with regulators from key agencies for updates and insights on regulatory developments, and for timely professional development designed for motorcoach compliance, operations, and risk management professionals.
James Cobbin honored on ballfield during NAMO summer meeting

James Cobbin, longtime NAMO and UMA member, and owner of Inner City Transit, threw the first pitch (at right) at the beginning of the Springfield Cardinals game at Hammon Stadium. Cobbin was a former player in the Negro Baseball League for the Yankees. The game took place during the recent NAMO meeting and fellow members enjoyed watching the game after days of doing business at the meeting.

The success story of James Cobbin in baseball and in his career as an entrepreneur was chronicled in a news article in his native town of Youngstown, OH during Black History month. Read the article here.
Award nominations for EXPO due September 27
Do you know outstanding motorcoach operators?
The motorcoach industry is a dynamic and challenging market segment. Do you know operators rising to challenges? Pivoting to react to trends? With vision that lets them succeed where others cannot? Consider nominating an outstanding operator for a Vision Award, UMA's highest honor.

In addition, UMA is soliciting nominations for the Motorcoach Marketing Award, Safety Leader Award, and Environmental Leader Award. Go to the Motorcoach EXPO website to learn more!

The deadline for nominations is September 27, so act quickly!
Diesel falls 1.7 cents per gallon, to $2.994, in sixth consecutive decline

Transport Topics | August 19, 2019 | by Roger Gilroy

The U.S. average retail price of diesel dropped 1.7 cents to $2.994 a gallon, the Department of Energy reported Aug.19. Crude oil prices lifted moderately to pass $56 a barrel as U.S.-China trade tensions eased somewhat, while a drone attack on an oil field in Saudi Arabia rekindled concerns over the oil supply chain.

The price of diesel has fallen for six consecutive weeks since July 15, when the price was $3.051 per gallon. It also marked the first time diesel fell below $3 since Feb. 11, when it cost $2.966.

Diesel fuel costs 21.3 cents less than it did a year ago, when it was $3.207, DOE said.

All regions of the country experienced lower average weekly prices, too.

Also, the national average price for regular gasoline dropped 2.6 cents to $2.598 a gallon, DOE’s Energy Information Administration said.

All regions saw average prices decline. The Gulf Coast district posted the largest decline, 5.5 cents, and fell to $2.269 a gallon.
Fuel costs are a given in the motorcoach business, like insurance and personnel. "Capturing Your True Costs" is an important education session to help operators understand and control expenditures, to be featured at the 2020 UMA Motorcoach EXPO, Jan. 19-23 in Nashville.
Five things to know about America's school bus driver shortage & what states can do about it
The 74 | August 19, 2019 | by Phillip Burgoyne-Allen

As the new school year begins, students in many districts are once again boarding the iconic yellow school bus each morning. But  communities   across   the country  are struggling to find enough drivers, making it difficult to ensure that students will arrive at school on time and ready to learn.

Here are five things you need to know about school bus driver shortages:

  1. The school transportation sector employs roughly 500,000 bus drivers, who transport nearly a third of U.S. students to and from school each day.
  2. Most districts struggle to hire enough drivers to operate their fleets. Based on recent surveys, more than 90 percent of districts and school transportation contractors face some level of driver shortage, and more than a quarter have shortages that they describe as “severe” or “desperate.” As a result, many students and families face daily transportation challenges, such as delayed buses or longer rides.
Motorcoach operators concerned about workforce issues are invited to attend "Driver Recruitment Insights from Other Industries," an important education session at the 2020 UMA Motorcoach EXPO, one of two dozen topics on the agenda, Jan. 19-23 in Nashville.
Join colleagues online to learn about the FMCSA Portal
Region I - September 10, 2019 - 2:00 p.m. ET
Region II - September 11, 2019 - 2:00 p.m. ET
Region III - September 12, 2019 - 2:00 p.m. ET
Directional arrow on a blue wall pointing left.
Meeting Code: 366-513-9797
Phone in to: US: 1 669 900 6833 or 1 646 876 9923
Use the Meeting ID: 366 513 9797
Who's responsible when a driverless vehicle is involved in a crash? Answer is unclear, so far
TribLive | August 19, 2019 | by Nicole Brambilla

Who is liable when an autonomous vehicle is involved in a car crash?

It’s a question yet to be answered, and one the Governors Highway Safety Association broached in a recently released white paper the association will present at its annual meeting Aug. 26 in Anaheim, Calif.

“Finding fault and liability can be tricky when no driver is involved,” said Russ Martin, director of Policy and Government Relations for the Governors Highway Safety Association in Washington, D.C.

Martin added, “It’s its own legalistic can of worms. It’s definitely a hot topic in the insurance industry.”

EXPO hotel rooms are going fast at the Marriott!
The UMA room block for properties within the Marriott Tribrand complex is filling up fast! The Tribrand Marriott offers 470 total guest rooms and suites split among three premier Marriott brands:
  • SpringHill Suites - stylish suites at $200 per night
  • Residence Inn - spacious one- and two-bedroom suites at $200 per night
  • AC Hotels by Marriott - sleek, modern, thoughtfully designed rooms at $230 per night

At the Omni Nashville , rooms are available at $238 per night.

Both the Omni and the Marriott Tribrand are adjacent to the Music City Center where the majority of EXPO events will take place. They're also walking distance to dozens of iconic Nashville tourist attractions, including the Wildhorse Saloon where UMA will host the Sneak Preview After Party. The Wildhorse Saloon is the state's largest dance venue and features the best in live music and local smokehouse cuisine!
Advertisement: New opportunities in Bus & Motorcoach News
Bus & Motorcoach News  is mailed twice monthly to all UMA members. In addition, it's available online 24/7 at and by email, on a schedule you choose! Invite everyone on your staff to stay informed about the industry by signing up for email updates from  Bus & Motorcoach News Sign up here. You can choose daily or weekly updates! Below is a sampling of what's in our latest digital and print editions.
capitol building
Dog days of summer: August recess

Bus & Motorcoach News | August 17, 2019 | by Ken Presley

While your U.S. Senators and House Representatives are away trying to escape the D.C. temperatures, let’s look at a few bills introduced before the August recess. While it is not likely any of these bills are intended to pass independently, advocates will be working hard for their inclusion in the upcoming surface transportation reauthorization.

H.R. 3293 – Collision Avoidance Systems Act of 2019

Introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY-16), the “Collision Avoidance Systems Act” would allow pulsating light systems on passenger vehicles (including buses and trucks) in an effort to reduce collisions by amending the Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards.

Southeastern operators on standby for hurricane season

Bus & Motorcoach New s | August 19, 2019

National forecasters are predicting a “near-normal Atlantic hurricane season” this year. When it comes to hurricanes, however, “normal” is not necessarily good news–that category could include four to eight hurricanes, including two to four major hurricanes packing winds of 111 mph or more.

“They say it looks like there is a normal likelihood for a major hurricane making landfall along the U.S. coast. It only takes one to make for an active season,” said James Kelton, chairman of the Southeastern Regional Emergency Evacuation Committee, also known as SEEVAC, that coordinates motorcoach responses with state emergency management agencies in the southeastern U.S.
SEEVAC can assist state agencies in deploying 3,300 to 3,500 motorcoaches, said Kelton, who is also president of Kelton Tours in Gadsden, Alabama. “We primarily assist in moving people from low-lying areas.”
For the 2019 southeastern hurricane season, which runs through November 30, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) “forecasts a 40 percent chance of a near-normal season, a 30 percent chance of an above-normal season and a 30 percent chance of a below-normal season. NOAA predicts a likely range of 9 to 15 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 4 to 8 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 2 to 4 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher).”

SEEVAC assisted in two major hurricane deployments last year, Kelton said.

Discounts on premier
industry education

UMA members save hundreds of dollars when attending UMA Motorcoach EXPO, the Bus & Motorcoach Industry Sales Summit, and the upcoming Safety Management Seminar. For example, when members register at the Early Bird Rate for the UMA Motorcoach EXPO, you pay $399 per person while nonmembers pay $800 each. That's right, members get the best for less.

Member Rate: $315
Non-Member Rate: $495
Member Savings: $80
Member Rate: $325 Early Bird
Non-Member Rate: $625
Member Savings: $300

Member Rate: $399 Early Bird
Non-Member Rate: $800
Member Savings: $401
Motorcoach Industry Calendar

  • 10 UMA Region I Town Hall Meeting - 2:00 p.m. - Join the Meeting
  • 11 UMA Region II Town Hall Meeting - 2:00 p.m. - Join the Meeting
  • 11 Maryland Motorcoach Association Annual Crab Feast, Kentmorr Restaurant and Crab House. Stevensville, MD
  • 12 UMA Region III Town Hall Meeting - 2:00 p.m. - Join the Meeting
  • 18-22 Regional Meeting of NCMA, VMA, and MCASC, Embassy/Marriott/Benton Convention Center, Winston-Salem, NC Learn More

  • 9-10 GNJMA Fall Annual Meeting & Related Events including Group Leader Marketplace, Resorts Atlantic City
  • 13 -15 California Bus Association’s 46th Annual Convention and Trade Show, Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa
  • 20-22 Bus Association of New York (BANY) Annual Meeting and Marketplace, Sands Bethlehem, Bethlehem, PA –
  • October 21-23, 201920th Annual North West Motorcoach Association ROADEO Location TBD




MARCH 2020
  • 25- 27 California Bus Association’s 47th Annual Convention and Trade Show, Omni Rancho Las Palmas in Rancho Mirage, CA (Palm Springs)
Remember, as a UMA member you have the power of discounts on the best products and services, access to relevant education, targeted professional resources, and colleagues all over the map. Remember to consult your member directory when you need help on the road, access to more vehicles to meet demand, or services out of your area. We are UMA! Want to find other members to do business with? Use the online directory.

Reach the UMA staff by calling (703) 838-2929 or by email at . We love to hear from our members!