“High floor. Long-distance ride. High-back seats. Room to move around. Comfortable ride. Long distances between trips. What the commuter coach brings is something very analogous to a commuter rail line,” Melaniphy says.
According to Melaniphy over time MCI’s market has evolved from big agencies to smaller agencies in suburbs bringing suburbanites into cities.
“Look, we’re never going to be a huge volume player in transit,” Melaniphy admits. “We’re always going to be a niche part of anybody’s fleet. Once you get past NY/NJ, we’re always going to be 5 to 15 percent of somebody’s fleet, but for that portion we hit a sweet spot and it’s something we’re very good at.”
MCI hit a bump in the road last year when it filed for bankruptcy, but as of April it had emerged stronger than ever.
“Now we’re out of bankruptcy. We’re solvent,” Melaniphy says. “We have great ownership in Franklin Mutual Advisors. They’re investing in our business.
“We didn’t lose market share. We didn’t lose key suppliers. And we didn’t lose staff to the bankruptcy. Our customers rooted for us. We didn’t lose market share, we actually picked up market share during the bankruptcy. How often does that happen? Our customers were rooting for us. We did what we said we were going to do and we did it on time.”
I asked Melaniphy if there was anything he has learned in his time in transit that he would want to pass on as advice to others and he said, “Take care of the customer first.”
Melaniphy says it’s also important to give back to the business. “We’re very big on giving back because it’s so important to this industry. If you’re not giving back shame on you because it’s important to all of us.”
In the end he says your reputation comes down to your word and your performance. “Do what you say you’re going to do and perform. That’s why people come back to MCI. Our stuff works. It’s reliable. I’m really proud to be part of this company and part of this future.”