As printed in Bus & Motorcoach News — http://www.busandmotorcoachnews.com
BOHEMIA, N.Y. — Classic Coach, the charter-and-tour company owned by one of the industry’s most colorful operators, Bill Schoolman, has purchased Hampton Luxury Liner.
The transaction, which was completed last month, potentially presages one of the most interesting competitions in the motorcoach industry: Hampton Luxury Liner, operated by Schoolman, versus Hampton Jitney, the Southampton, N. Y.-based operator that has been providing Long Island bus services for the past 35 years.
“This one is gonna be fun to watch,” said one long-time coach industry executive. For most of the past decade, Hampton Luxury Liner and Hampton Jitney have gone head-to-head in what is believed to be the only competing luxury-commuter-coach operations in the U.S.
The two companies operate high-end coaches between Manhattan and the upscale communities at the eastern end of Long Island, a region known as the Hamptons. Both Classic Coach/Hampton Luxury Liner and Hampton Jitney are downplaying the rivalry, however. Bill Schoolman said he has “enormous respect” for Hampton Jitney and his only interest is to “offer something different.”A spokeswoman for Hampton Jitney told a Long Island newspaper it was business a usual.“We will continue to do what we do,” Jennifer Friebely was quoted as saying, “and that’s to offer service from the East End of Long Island 18 hours a day. We’ve been offering the best prices and service for 35 years, and we will continue to do that.”
Michael Schoolman, vice president of sales and marketing for Classic Coach and son of Bill Schoolman, called Classic’s purchase of Hampton Luxury Liner a “multimillion-dollar investment in the Hamptons’ travel market.” The Schoolmans bought Hampton Luxury Liner from Doug and Greg Slayton. In addition to purchasing the business, the Schoolmans set up a joint venture with the Slaytons to provide marketing, advertising and promotional services for Hampton Luxury Liner.
Not included in the purchase were the coaches the Slaytons used for Hampton Luxury Liner. Classic is buying six 44-seat Prevost X3-45 coaches that are being put into service this month for the daily Manhattan-to-Hamptons runs. “Prevost has done a fabulous job of reconfiguring the coaches” for the 44-passenger seating arrangement, said Bill Schoolman.
The new coaches will operate under the Hampton Luxury Liner name, and will be outfitted with plush leather seats that recline further than ordinary coach seats, and entertainment centers that include DirecTV, free wireless Internet, seat-side charging stations, and multichannel stereo with headsets. Each coach also will have a galley with snacks, drinks, magazines and newspapers.
Classic Coach, which has been around for more than 30 years, provides a wide variety of transportation services, ranging from bus charters between Long Island and Atlantic City, to airport shuttles, college and football express services, wedding charters, commuter service, and corporate outings. It operates coaches, midsize buses, trolleys, vans, limousines and sedans. Adding the Hamptons runs gives the company a broader customer base, said Michael Schoolman. Hampton Luxury Liner, which has been running since 2000, previously operated out of facilities in Bridgehampton. The company has been moved to Classic Coach’s quarters in Bohemia.
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