Bailey Coach: A tradition of transportation

Bailey Coach’s “Explore York” bus showcases the landmarks and attractions that make York County unique. As the bus travels the country this year, it will point potential visitors toward Bailey’s hometown. (Our York Media)

You won’t find many businesses that can trace their roots back to a simple knock on the door, but that’s how it all began for Bailey Coach. “I always come in early,” says John Bailey, owner and co-founder of the company. “About a quarter after 6 one morning, a gentleman knocked on the door of our agency, Bailey Travel, and said, ‘Have you ever thought about opening up a bus company?’  I said, ‘No, why’?”

The stranger, Rodney Sechrist, explained that he had once worked for a bus company, felt there was a lot of opportunity there, and suggested the two of them make a go of it.

Not long after that morning encounter, the two formed a partnership. In April of 1998, they purchased two used busses, and Bailey Coach was up and rolling.

Now, nearly 20 years later, Bailey Coach serves South Central Pennsylvania with more than 50 employees and 26 vehicles – a collection of motor coaches, vans, and sedans that run about 400 trips per month.

John Bailey, owner and co-founder of Bailey Coach, credits his Uncle Glenn for convincing John’s father to start Bailey Travel in 1949. “For 80 years,” John says, “Bailey has been a name that South Central Pennsylvania can count on to serve their travel needs.” (Our York Media)

The changes of 9/11

Shortly after the company bought its third bus, 9/11 hit.

“We probably lost 50 percent of our motor coach business over night,” John says. “Parents weren’t about to put their children on a bus for a school trip to D.C. or New York City.”

As that anxious year drug on, John and his team went about building a more “recession-proof” business. They found it on campus.

“We have contracts with three local colleges now,” he says. “Athletic team schedules are set. We know when they’re going and where they’re going. Logistically, it’s very nice.”

“God’s been good to me,” John says. “So, I always try to give back when I can.”

Bailey Coach also transports diverted passengers for the airlines and Amtrak, does work for the military, and is an active FEMA contractor.

“Over the years,” John says, “we’ve sent many busses to the coasts for hurricane relief.”

Most recently, they sent busses to areas hit by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

“Sometimes, it’s transporting people who have lost their homes or moving FEMA personnel into the affected areas,” he says. “You just never know until you get there.”

Vans and sedans

Another part of Bailey Coach’s post-9/11 business model has become helping to keep the wheels of corporate business moving – and on time.

“Vans and sedans,” says Ashley Bailey, Office Manager and John’s daughter-in-law. “Our drivers transport a lot of corporate business clients from the region’s airports to hotels and back again.”

Since starting as a travel agency receptionist as an 18-year-old, Ashley has held almost every position in the motor coach company, from reservationist to dispatching to sales.

“It’s more than getting people from point A to point B,” she says of what she’s learned over the years. “There are a lot of regulations, rules, licensing issues, certification requirements — a lot more detail than you would think.”

Those regulations play a big part in how a trip is booked.

“Drivers are only allowed to drive for 10 hours in a 24-hour period and can only be on duty 15 hours at a time,” she says.

What goes on behind the scenes of Bailey Coach is “more than getting people from point A to point B,” says Ashley Bailey, Office Manager. (Our York Media)

A tradition of team effort

Kim Smith, a sales representative and 30-year member of the company, does the scheduling, but that’s just the start.

“We could have five different buses headed to one school, so there’s the dispatcher, the drivers, the mechanics, the wash bay; it’s a lot of teamwork,” she says.

John credits his staff for enabling the business to grow.

“Customers know they always having someone reliable and courteous to talk to,” he says, “someone who will take them where they’re going and return them safely back home.”

That spirit of customer satisfaction flows through John’s blood.

“I owe all of this to my Uncle Glenn,” he says. “He was a school teacher at York High in the 30s and 40s, and he organized his first trip, a train trip to the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933.”

Bailey’s uncle convinced John’s father to start the business. Bailey Travel opened in 1949.

“So, for 80 years,” he says, “Bailey has been a name that South Central Pennsylvania can count on to serve their travel needs.”

Bailey Coach is known for providing a great customer experience – from the moment a trip is booked until guests climb onto a motor coach. That spirit of customer satisfaction flows through John Bailey’s blood and has contributed to the company’s success. (Our York Media)

Giving back

Thanks to the company’s business success over the years, John believes it’s his responsibility to give back to the community.

“God’s been good to me,” he says. “So, I always try to give back when I can.”

For example, Bailey Coach had partnered with the Susan Byrnes Health & Education Center for a program that teaches elementary school students about topics like drug and alcohol abuse.

“We transported over 10,000 students – free of charge – over a two-year period,” John says.

Bailey Coach also hosts an annual Veterans Tour, donating all of its vehicles for the day to take veterans to Washington, D.C. It’s a way he can give thanks to veterans like his parents, who both served in World War II.

“Whatever John does, he does with a big heart,” Kim says. “He believes in the community.”

Story presented by Bailey Coach

 Call: 866-599-1658

 Address: 55 S. Fayette Street York, PA 17404

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