The Road Explorer - Summer 2010 - (Page 12)

feature Road To Gold The by Annette Redican I f the absorbing story of Canada’s operators and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics was broken out by chapter, it’s a book that would begin well in advance of the numerous processions of coaches navigating the long trek west. And in many ways, it could be read as a cautionary tale. For while events such as the 2010 Games can indeed represent tremendous business prospects for suppliers, it would later be revealed these opportunities aren’t necessarily the obvious ones. From the onset, the Olympic Games were to prove a totally unique proposition from a carrier’s perspective. Clearly, the magnitude of this event impacted every aspect of doing business - from bidding for the contract through how equipment would be maintained and operated on-site. About a year and half before most of the country had given much more than a perfunctory thought to the Gold Rush that would ultimately prove to be the Canadian experience at the Vancouver Games, a group of seven Ontario operators met for the first time. While this initial meeting may not have been marked by the feverish drama that has historically accompanied earlier expeditions heading west in pursuit of gold, these operators were well aware that the Winter Olympics were sure to be an intense undertaking. Ultimately, this particular planning session manifested into a collaboration that saw 31 coaches, individually owned by the seven companies, but operating under the banner of the Ontario Group, plying the routes at the 2010 Games. The fleet departed from the province on February 1 and returned on March 5. As might be expected, every one of the 68 drivers and seven owner/supervisors involved with this modern version of a “wagon-train” has a tale to tell. However, the Canadian carriers’ Olympic narrative isn’t limited to this single, albeit impressive, convoy…not by a long shot. To begin at the beginning, for companies who harboured interest in servicing the 2010 Games, the starting point likely coincided with Vancouver Olympic Committee’s (VANOC) decision to award the contract to provide transportation to Gameday Management Group, an Orlando, Florida-based company. According to the company’s web site, the company has significant experience in “developing and implementing transport systems for athletes, media, officials, spectators, VIPs, and sponsors; as well as developing methodologies for venue transportation operations and logistics, including parking, permitting and access control systems.” Alluding to some of the early challenges the Canadian operators had navigating a preliminary relationship with Gameday, Jamie Murray, owner of Parkinson Coach Lines and Ontario Motor Coach Association’s chairman of the board, speaks candidly. “Originally, it unfortunately appeared as though the Canadian companies weren’t going to get a sniff at this business. The collective perception was we were dealing with a large corporation that had expectations we would do things their way for the dollars they proposed and essentially we could like it or lump it.” Murray, along with another Ontario Group member, Greg Hammond, credits the considerable efforts of Brian Crow for ensuring Canadian carriers were not overlooked. Crow, in his capacity as president of Motor Coach Canada, consistently laid out the issue of The Road Explorer 12 Summer 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Road Explorer - Summer 2010

The Road Explorer - Summer 2010
Industry Voice
Issues Update
The Road to Gold
Vancouver: The City that Reviews Itself
The Road to Wonder - Niagra Falls
Seaside Rendezvous
Jonview Canada Takes You There
List of Advertisers

The Road Explorer - Summer 2010