Topics: Motorcoach Operation and Safety; Situational Awareness & Critical Incident Preparedness; Issues of Group Touring 

9:00 Registration & Morning Brew (on your own) Auraria Faculty and Staff Club 

9:30 Motorcoach Operation and Safety (Arrow Stage Lines)

  • The Modern Motorcoach (a tour of a motorcoach)
  • Motorcoach Safety (view the ABA Safety Video)  Motorcoach Staging, Standing, and Parking
  • The Driver’s Employment and Driving Requirements
  • The Expectations Arrow Stage Lines Has of a Tour Guide  
  • Driver/Tour Guide Coordination
  • Etiquette
  • Practice speaking on the Motorcoach PA system 

11:00 Break (Walk to the Auraria Faculty and Staff Club)

11:15 Situational Awareness, Critical Incident Preparedness (Denver Police Department) 

12:30 Lunch (Served in the Auraria Faculty and Staff Club) 

1:15 Issues of Group Touring (Small Group activity, report back to whole group) In “table groups,” participants will discuss situations that have occurred on a group tour and arrive at a solution for the tour guide. Each table group then presents their solution to the whole group and receive comment. 

2:50 Closing Remarks 

3:00 Dismissal 
Seminar Leader: Mike Pearl, Ph.D., C.I.T.M. 19291 E Rice Dr. Aurora, CO  80015 (303) 868-0023 (voice & text) 

RMGA Seminar:  Leading a Successful Group Tour   

Seminar Review

RMGA Seminar – February 20, 2017

Leading a Successful Group Tour

Auraria Faculty and Staff Club

1041 West 9th Avenue, Denver, CO 80204

There were just eight of us who met at the Auraria Faculty and Staff

Club at 9:00 am on February 20, 2017.  At 9:30, Mike Pearl led

us out to the Arrow coach, waiting nearby.  Mike introduced Sherri

David, Denver Administrative & Safety Assistant who is a great resource

for any tour manager/tour guide.  She has been a driver for 30 years,

was in the Army for 10 years, and is now the Safety and Training person

at Arrow – a position she has held for 4 years.  Sherri is also a graduate

of IGA.  Sherri introduced us the several styles of coaches and described

the differences.  Arrow uses only new (less than two years old) coaches

for OTR tours – safety and reliability are key. 

All of these have microphones, be sure to check it out – the wireless mike may not be working, generally the wired mikes do work.

Coach styles:
MCI – easy to get to USB – use auxiliary
Van Hool

Sherri stresses three points of a successful tour guide: Effectiveness, are you able to handle a critical incident and are you aware of your environment.

We each introduced ourselves to Sherri – we have varied roles in tourism: docent, tour guide, tour manager, M&G, Amtrak, Visit Denver, and the Capitol.

Sherri went over requirements for loading and unloading a coach:

  • Length of the coach
  • Safety restrictions (these are driver responsibilities)
  • The driver’s first duty is SAFETY 1ST
  • The newer coaches have an anti-roll system that automatically brakes the coach to prevent rolling.
  • The Bendix wing-man tells the driver the distance from the vehicle in front of him and will brake the coach if they get too close
  • Only five coaches have this now though two new coaches will soon arrive with this capability.
  • There are cameras all over: in front, in back, on each side that are constantly keeping track of clearances all around.  They do not record.
  • Six of the last 20 coached purchased have 360 ºcameras.
  • There is a fire suppression system – standard on all coaches since 2007.

               There is a fire extinguisher either behind the driver or near the right front seat

  • There is a safety video – required since 2009 to be shown to passengers before the loaded coach goes anywhere.  This video talks about the recliner seats, the seat belts and reminds guides/managers to hold on tight if they actually stand on a coach
  • Any 2010 or newer coach has no exhaust emissions – diesel exhaust turns to fluid

               The coach is not supposed to idle longer than 5 minutes

               The coach needs to run at 15,000 BTUs from 20-40 minutes to burn of this exhaust buildup “regen” and to avoid                         excessive buildup the coach needs to run at more than 20 mph

  • As a tour guide/manager/passenger: use the hand supports in the RR in the rear of the coach, hold on to the seats as you make your way back to the RR.
  • No smoking on coach - No alcohol on coach -Keep your feet out of the aisle
  • Don’t let passengers talk to the driver
  • The driver’s responsibilities also include everything under the coach:

                Loading and unloading luggage is the driver’s responsibility

                The driver loads the luggage – NOT YOU – nor the passengers

                Remember that it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to match passengers and luggage

  • The driver is responsible for the cleanliness of the coach – and he/she cleans it every day so that it is presentable for clients.  If you have a problem w/dirty windows, etc. tell the driver
  • The driver’s duties should never inhibit your tour
  • Emergency exits are the windows and roof – the first window behind the driver is not an exit window.
  • If you are the OTR manager – be sure you have a manifest list of each passenger
  • In the event of an emergency, ask the driver (who is in charge of the coach) what you can do to help
  • To enhance the driver/guide relationship, communicate the route you want to follow and reconfirm as you go along
  • The driver cannot use his cell phone or a written itinerary as he is driving so be sure you are aware of where the turns and stops are. 

Drivers have QR app that they can run to see the video on how this particular coach is run, how to work the audio/visual, etc. 
Driver requirements:

  • Class B passenger license
  • Two years driving experience
  • Clean driving record – 7-10 years
  • DOT requires drug testing
  • Arrow requires 90 hours of training for each new hire, including:

         40 hours of driving

         40 hours of class

  • Twenty-five of these 90 hours are mentored
  • They are also required to attend a monthly class

         This month’s class was on pre-check

         Last month’s was on driver fatigue

         These classes can be done by phone

These coaches have USB, Bluetooth, DVD capabilities. 

  • The Wi-Fi in California is through AT&T
  • The Rocky Mountain Region uses Verizon and
  • The Omaha area uses Sprint. 

For a tour guide / tour manager- Arrow suggests that you sit and face forward – much safer than any type of standing might be.  All the newer coaches have seat belts (since 2010) you would be wise to use them – even though there is not a law requiring the use.

  • All coaches since 2010 have different seat spacing because of the seat belts – this reduces the number of passengers from 54 to 50.  Globus/Cosmos want only 50 passengers on their tours. 
  • NTSB recommends use of seat belts
  • For staging: get the phone number of the driver, make sure he has yours
  • Staging means that the coach is standing or parked waiting for the next shuttle round

            Have the coach arrive at the pickup point 5 minutes early so that they are loaded and ready to go on time

            Be sure you are aware of parking/standing locations for the coach

           If you as a tour guide/manager have issues with the driver, communicate them to the driver – customer service is               extremely important at Arrow

  • Hours of driver service:  These requirements are the driver’s responsibility – you need to be aware of his hours on the clock so that your tour is not stopped mid-day because of ignoring the parameters below: 

          10 hours of driving in any 15 hour period
          8 hours of rest are required in any 24 hour period – this rest resets the clock of hours driving in any 15 hour period
          On duty 15 hours in any 24 hour period
          70 – number of hours the driver can be on duty in any 7 day period
          There are two exceptions:
                If there is a problem that takes his time – coach breakdown, etc. the driver can request an exception to                             continue on after problem fixed
                In 2018, DOT requires electronic sign in and sign out for the driver – this has not been required before
        Your passengers need to leave the coach at a tour stop (i.e., a tour of the Capitol) so that the driver can sign off                 because he is on duty if passengers remain in the coach as his responsibility
        They also need to exit the coach at a lunch break, again so that the driver gets time off the clock for a meal.

When do you call the company to report the driver?

After lunch, Mike Pearl continued with our education: 

  • If there is a Critical Incident (accident, speeding, not following the planned itinerary)

       Check the Critical Incident / Situational Awareness template

      Mike Pearl provided us each with a sample template for information if you encounter an incident when you are on a tour – not necessarily on the coach – please refer to this template for additional information

For extreme response such as an active shooter or incident in the area:

There are three options (check the Homeland Security video):

  1. Run (Escape)
  2. Hide
  3. Fight

Mike had suggestions for the protocol in such scenarios:
In Washington, DC – look for the National Park Police

  • In a school – Mike has had cards that he can slide under the door, rather than open the door, and also maintain silence – so, when you are on a tour – what do you do?
  • Watch the video on Homeland Security to learn what you can do with an incident such as an active shooter.
  • Watch the LA County Sheriff’s Department video which is a variation on the Homeland Security video for additional information and different possibilities
  • Mike also noted that often the first reaction is to freeze – which gives the shooter a few more seconds to take aim – this was noted in the January 8, 2017 newscast of the active shooter in Fort Lauderdale

The most important answer:   HAVE A PLAN!!!!!!!!

Know where the exits are, know where your group is, watch for unusual activity, watch for uniforms

What are your options?

  • Carry a clipboard with manifest
  • Have the emergency numbers for the company and the driver
  • Locate a safe gathering place
  • Turn off the ringer on your phone – call 911
  • Report to First Responders who might still be on the coach if it is a coach accident

And who might have difficulty getting off the coach

Identify a group leader so they don’t think you are the shooter

  • They do not want to accidently shoot the wrong people
  • Do your due diligence
  • Check out each passenger/member of your group
  • Give no response to reporters – the less you say the better
  • Reporters need to get their noted from somebody else, NOT YOU!!!!
  • Write up your account and get it to your company ASAP!

There is a “black box” in the coach that records everything in the coach

Afterwards, you and others may need to be treated for PTSD
On a coach, you cannot practice a walk-through of an incident so do it in your head to be sure you know what steps to take to work on the problem

Tour problems – road closures, bad weather
Guest problems – loud, unruly or drunk passengers

We finished up at 3pm and, as you can see, there is lots of information to digest and many scenarios to think about and ways to avoid or resolve problems

Great seminar!!!!!! Thanks Mike!

Contact Information for Arrow Stagelines:
                Address for all:
                                12295 East 37th Avenue
                                Denver, CO 80239

                Sherri David, Denver Administrative & Safety Assistant
                O - 303.373.9119
                C - 303.995.4616

                Sheri Kite, Rocky Mountain Sales Representative
                O – 303.373.9119 , ext 14

                Tony Barrios, Rocky Mountain Safety & Training Coordinator
                O - 303.373.9119, ext 124
                C - 303.523.2346

---Nancy Brueggeman 

Content copyright 2017. Rocky Mountain Guides Association. All rights reserved.

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