Penske acquires New York State truck leasing company

DeCarolis Truck Rental Inc. has been acquired by Penske Truck Leasing of Reading. PHOTO/SUBMITTED –

Penske Truck Leasing of Reading has acquired DeCarolis Truck Rental Inc. of Rochester, New York. 

The firm has been family owned and operated since it was founded by Louis DeCarolis Sr. In 1938. It has 175 employees. 

According to a press release, management at DeCarolis had been looking for a potential buyer with succession in mind. 

“I’ll be 81 in January and if anything happens to me, it would be a fire sale,” said Paul DeCarolis, the company’s chairman. “This way, I had a chance to pick who will take care of our employees and our customers.” 

The sale is scheduled to close on Dec. 17. Terms were not disclosed. 

DeCarolis operates eight locations across New York State, including three in Rochester and suburban leasing, rental and maintenance in Henrietta. The others are in Geneva, Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton and Elmira. 

The company has a fleet of 2,350 vehicles and provides full-service commercial leasing, short- and long-term commercial vehicle rental, heavy duty parts, and service, repair and maintenance.  

The DeCarolis name will be rebranded to Penske. 


Trans-Bridge adds more bus runs to New York

As business begins to return to normal, Trans-Bridge Lines of Bethlehem added two routes to its Allentown/Clinton to New York Schedule.

The new routes were in response to passenger surveys and the analysis of data on ridership.

Run 109 eastbound to New York will operate Monday through Thursday departing from the Wescosville Park and Ride at 7:25 a.m. and arriving at the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 9:20 a.m.

A second route westbound run 146 from New York will operate Monday through Friday departing the Port Authority Bus Terminal at 7 p.m.

“We have added these routes as a result of passenger feedback and trends in travel.” said Tom JeBran, Trans-Bridge Lines president, “Our team continuously gauges information from all sources during this post-pandemic period. We need to do that in order for our executive management team to make sensible business decisions, and give residents of our service area the transportation they require.”

Trans-Bridge Lines maintains gates at Port Authority Bus Terminal. All routes, with the exception of the company’s Wall Street runs, drop-off at the location at 8th Avenue & 41st Street. “Our passengers appreciate our use of the Port Authority as a location that is central, sheltered from the outside elements, and offers a place for them to grab a morning coffee, a meal, and all the other conveniences afforded there.” said Mark Ertel, director of operations.

Trans-Bridge Lines continues enforcing the federal mandate that face masks must be worn on its buses.

Motorcoach industry struggles, seeks $15B in federal aid

Trans-Bridge Lines has hired back most of its laid-off staff, but buses still aren’t running. PHOTO/SUBMITTED –


When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down most businesses in the region, Tom JeBran, owner of Trans-Bridge Lines of Bethlehem had to lay off 121 of his 165 employees because demand for bus service collapsed and keeping the busses running was no longer viable.

Now, thanks to the Paycheck Protection Program, LeBran has been able to hire back most of them. He  put them to work servicing and updating vehicles, cleaning and training to prepare for the day commuter and charter bus service can resume.

But PPP only helps for eight weeks, he said. What happens after that?

Unless something major changes, he’ll likely have to lay those people off again. The PPP just isn’t enough help.

Like the restaurant industry, the motorcoach industry is unlikely to get back to normal conditions anytime soon.

The American Bus Association estimates that nationally, the motor coach industry and, in particular charter buses, will likely only return to around 25% capacity by the end of the year.

Even if TransBridge can return to 50% capacity, which will likely be the limit set upon his industry by surrounding states, it isn’t viable, JeBran said. “You can’t survive very long on that,” he said. To even attempt to do so would mean doubling fares and he doubts many people would be willing or able to pay that.

Because of such circumstances, and because of the likelihood that many small- to medium-sized bus companies may fold, the motor coach industry is asking the federal government for more help.

Peter Pantuso, president and CEO of the American Bus Association, said his organization has been joined by many regional bus associations, including the Greater New Jersey Motor Coach Association, of which Trans-Bridge is a member, in calling for federal aid. The industry is asking for $15 billion in aid, with $10 million in grants and $5 million in loans, to help bus companies survive the long-term damage of the COVID-19 crisis.

He noted that the federal government included $85 billion in the last stimulus package for airports, transit systems and trains.

“Motorcoach was the only transportation industry to not get funding,” Pantuso said. “We aren’t asking for more. We were left out.”

There are around 3,000 motorcoach companies with more than 36,000 vehicles on the road and 100,000 people employed in the industry, Pantuso said. Many other industries, including restaurants, theaters and sports venues also rely on revenue brought in by people taking bus trips, accounting for another 2 million jobs impacted by the motorcoach industry, he said.

To make their point, independent motorcoach companies will be converging on Washington, D.C., May 13 for “Motorcoaches Rolling for Awareness Day,” to promote the economic impact of their industry. Decorated buses from all 50 states will drive into D.C. to participate. Even Hawaii will be represented, Pantuso said.

The American Bus Association and other partners in the industry have been advocating for the funds with members of Congress and Pantuso says he’s gaining support as more legislators become aware of the situation.

Meanwhile, JeBran is hoping that the diversity of Trans-Bridge may help get his buses back on the road sooner than some. Since Trans-Bridge also has a significant commuter business to destinations such as New York City, he is hoping that once workers start commuting again there will be enough of an uptick in demand for buses that he can get some vehicles and drivers back in service. But he knows that the fate of his business lies in the hands of others and decisions have not been made.

Whether theaters reopen in New York, or whether the Eagles decide to have fans in the stands in Philadelphia for the upcoming football season, will impact the number of charters Trans-Bridge will offer. So he has to wait and see what the rest of 2020 will bring for his business.


Pa. mostly relying on citizens to ‘self-enforce’ pandemic restrictions

Pennsylvania State Police are giving written warnings to Pennsylvanians who don’t comply with Gov. Tom Wolf’s order to wear a mask, but state officials are mostly relying on Pennsylvanians to “self enforcing” the directive.

In addition, Wolf said there is no one-size-fits-all plan to reopen the state. The Governor set May 8 as a target date to relax some restrictions, but said that some counties will be ready to open before others.

While Pennsylvania has joined neighboring states on a shared data taskforce to help guide the reopening, Wolf said that Pennsylvania will have its own timeline.

“Data won’t be determined by what New York is doing or any other state,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take into account that we share borders with other states. The virus doesn’t recognize state borders.”

Mack demonstrates all-electric garbage truck

A day after announcing it would lay off more than 300 workers, Mack Trucks was able to show off what may be a vehicle of the future.

Unveiled in May, Mack held a demonstration on its Allentown customer care campus to show off the new Mack LR Electric, a fully electric version of the Mack LR refuse model.

The demonstration was for the Department of Sanitation of the City of New York, which will begin real-world testing the truck in the second quarter of this year.

Mack Trucks today demonstrated the Mack LR Electric, a fully electric version of the Mack LR refuse model, to officials from the New York City Department of Sanitation at its Allentown, Mack Customer Center. 

The truck was driven around a test course set up on Mack Truck’s test track to show the maneuverability it would have on city streets.

The demonstration model will be used at the city’s Brooklyn North 1 garage where it will be tested on a local collection route.

“As a Department, we are committed to finding ways to become even cleaner and greener, and we are excited to be able to test this all electric ‘first’ – for both Mack Trucks and for the City of New York,” said Kathryn Garcia, commissioner of the New York Sanitation Department.

The truck will be evaluated for such things as operating range, payload capacity, regenerative braking performance and the overall functionality.

“New York City has a goal to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by the year 2035. DSNY along with our more than 6,000 vehicles will play a major role as we push toward that goal,” said Rocky DiRico, deputy commissioner. “We’re looking at all kinds of technologies to help us achieve that reduction.”

DSNY is the world’s largest sanitation department, collecting more than 12,000 tons of refuse and recyclables daily.