ABA ELD Program Experience Questionnaire for Active Members of SYTA

The American Bus Association-affiliated Bus Industry Safety Council (BISC) asked SYTA to survey member tour operators and receptive tour operators to better understand their experiences related to the implementation of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in late 2017. On January 25, 2019, the results of the survey were presented during the ABA Marketplace in Louisville, Kentucky, by SYTA President Justin Shuler, and Michael Bowers from Travel Safety Solutions, LLC. Here is the summary of the survey:

1. Is your company familiar with the ELD Mandate?

Response: YES 93% – NO 7%

2. Do you know what the current hours of service limits are for motorcoach operator in the US?

Response: YES 97% – NO 3%

3. Do you know what the current hours of service limits are for motorcoach operator in Canada?

Response: YES 25% – NO 75%

4. How has your trip planning been impacted since ELDs became required for motorcoach operators?

Response: YES 60% – NO 40%

Most Common Responses, Highest to lowest:

1. Minor or no impact
2. Reduced tour hours
3. Significant Tour Cost
4. Better Communication with Motorcoach Operator

5. Have you been on any trips without any sort of electronic logging device?

Response: YES 61% – NO 39%

1. Unknown
2. On motorcoach but not used

6. Have you been on trips where motorcoach drivers were still using paper logs? If so, do you know the reason?

Response: YES 41% – NO 59%
Did you know the reason: No trend identified?

7. What would you like to share with motorcoach operators that attributes to the overall success of your tours?

Tops Responses:

1. Teamwork

a. Driver and Tour Guide,
b. Motorcoach company and Tour Operator

2. Student Friendly Drivers

a. Courteous and professional
b. Introduces themselves.
c. Builds repour with leaders and group
d. Positive attitude
e. Treats client as client
f.  Driver and Tour Director make or break a tour

3. Focus on Safety
4. Well maintained motorcoach
5. Good trip planning
6. Driver knowledge of destination

8. What constructive feedback would you like to give motorcoach operators to improve your operations?

Response: Comments: Many very happy with current Motorcoach provider!

1. Cooperative and timely pre-trip communication and planning to make sure drivers are legal and fully understand the itinerary and objectives of clients.
2. When quoting based on itinerary; let us know when or if we need to hire local coaches or change itinerary on certain days.
3. In contracts put the hours – off duty/driving/hours from beginning to end – include the minute the driver steps on the coach
4. Tour Operators and Coach Companies keep in touch and communicate.  For drivers – if we have a request, we understand it is a request, but do the best to honor it.
5. Do not farm out trip to third party without Tour Operator knowledge and consent.
6. Please don’t sell directly to our clients.
7. Earlier assignment of drivers so they can familiarize themselves with the trip
8. Consider customer service training with drivers.
9. Well maintained vehicles and action plans in case of breakdowns.
10. Spend time informing drivers of the details.  Brief them on the client and the itinerary
11. When quoting, be sure to account for Switch Drivers.  We know we’re going to need them, we expect the cost to be included when itinerary requires
12. Power outlets at seats are number one request.

9. What is the biggest challenge your organization faces when it comes to working with motorcoach operators?

Response:  Comments:

1. Equipment availability
2. Late changes
3. Communication
4. Outdated information for trip in dispatch and for driver
5. Knowledge and behavior of motorcoach drivers
6. Timeliness of receiving quotes
7. Lack of overnight travel options
8. Limited number of drivers
9. Resolving unforeseen mechanical issues

10.  What is the best advice you could provide Motorcoach operators to help them secure your business?

Response comments:

1. Help Tour Operator keep cost down
2. Disclose condition of equipment so we can prepare the client. No Wi-Fi or working bathrooms starts the trip of VERY NEGATIVELY.
3. Being flexible and adaptable, within reason, is important
4. Well trained staff who can provide accurate and affordable pricing.
5. Prompt in answering requests.
6. Never underestimate the value of building relationships
7. Competitive price and customer service.
8. Avoid fuel surcharge as most guarantee rates up to a year in advance.  Late increases reflect negatively on the travel planner.
9. Be professional with each other. Respect each other’s role.
10. Disclose commission or discount without being asked.
11. Good communications and accessible upper management

Very common response throughout the entire survey: “The operators I work with are professional and easy to work with.  I have no problems with any or I do not use them again.”