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3 CHAPTER 2 THE MOTORCOACH INDUSTRY INTRODUCTION crash statistics are estimated from a national sample and do not distinguish transit buses from motorcoaches. FMCSA uses the Motor Carrier Management Information The following sections describe the motorcoach industry size System (MCMIS) to manage data on the commercial vehicle and segmentation, safety statistics, and economic indicators. operators under its oversight. Information in MCMIS is obtained from the MCS-150 Form filed by motor carrier firms when applying for a U.S. DOT number. The form requires INDUSTRY SIZE AND EXTENT companies to describe their operating and cargo classifica- Carriers by Size tions, as well as to identify the number and types of vehicles operated. Only companies traveling interstate or with haz- Data in Table 1 and Figure 3 were obtained from MCMIS. ardous cargo are required to register with FMCSA and, there- According to this database (which includes all interstate but fore, are captured in MCMIS. MCMIS includes intrastate only selected intrastate firms), there are over 8,000 motorcoach carriers for selected states as well, although coverage for firms with business activities in the United States, owning over intrastate carriers is incomplete on a national scale. 60,000 motorcoaches and leasing an additional 15,000. Of For this study, motorcoach companies in MCMIS were these firms, approximately 5,800 offer for-hire service. As fleet defined as firms operating a greater number of buses than size increases, firms are more likely to have for-hire service. trucks, as well as operating a greater number of motorcoaches An additional 3,000 firms could not be readily classified, either than school buses within their bus operations. due to lack of data or equal operations in multiple categories The American Bus Association (ABA) defines a motor- (e.g., truck and motorcoach, motorcoach and school bus). coach as "a vehicle designed for long-distance transportation Of the motorcoach companies in MCMIS, over half of of passengers, characterized by integral construction with an the firms operate a single vehicle, and of these, about three- elevated passenger deck located over a baggage compartment. quarters are owneroperators. More than three-quarters of It is at least 35 feet in length and carries more than 30 passen- the firms operate five or fewer vehicles. gers." As shown in Figures 1 and 2, motorcoaches are distinct In 2000, the American Bus Association commissioned from transit buses, which are designed for relatively short R.L. Banks & Associates, Inc., to conduct a motorcoach cen- trips, often have sideways-facing seats, and lack baggage sus. Using mail-in surveys to known motorcoach firms, as compartments. The American Bus Association uses the term well as estimates of unknown firms, the study estimated a "intercity bus" interchangeably with motorcoach. Technically, total of 4,000 motorcoach firms operating 44,200 vehicles in not all motorcoaches serve intercity routes (e.g., some, for the United States and Canada, as shown in Table 2. These fig- example, may be used to shuttle convention-goers between ures are for all commercial motor carriers, including both pri- local hotels and convention centers), but this distinction is a vate and for-hire carriers. The data are relatively consistent minor one. Data provided by the American Bus Association with MCMIS counts for larger firms, which are more likely generally represent the entire motorcoach population. to have interstate service, but undercount the small firms MCMIS includes all interstate and selected intrastate operating fewer than 10 vehicles. The American Bus Associ- motorcoach companies, while the American Bus Associa- ation census acknowledges the difficulty in estimating this tion attempts to estimate all motorcoach companies. This is a population based on the industry profile obtained from mail- key data limitation; because of the nature of motorcoach ing responses, particularly if many of these small firms are travel, it is possible that most motorcoach companies have private, as was found by the MCMIS analysis. the capability to provide interstate service and are therefore already registered in MCMIS. Another data limitation is that Geographic Distribution for safety data, statistics are reported by vehicle body type. The motorcoach fatality statistics are regarded as true popula- The motorcoach industry also can be described based on the tion totals and are reported for the "cross-country or intercity geographic location of firms, as shown in Table 3 and Figure 4. bus" vehicle body type. However, readily available injury and The geographic locations were established by the MCMIS