Bus community mourns passing of industry leader Vickie Cole

The bus and motorcoach industry is remembering Vickie Cole, co-owner of American Stage Tours of Concord, California, and President of the California Motorcoach Association, who passed away unexpectedly while attending the ABA Marketplace in Nashville last week. She was 64.

A  respected industry leader full of entrepreneurial get-go, Cole had been part of the leadership team at American Stage Tours (AST) since 1991.

Vickie Cole
Vickie Cole with her bus industry family.

“It’s a great loss,” said Charles Williams, her business partner. “Vickie’s contributions established AST as the tour and charter company to turn to for charters, senior trips, and travel throughout the Western U.S. and Canada. Our successful history is due to her intelligence, experience, and passion to please our customers.”

Lessons from behind the wheel

 In addition to creating sell-out premium tours and trips for Bay Area seniors, Cole often served as the driver. She credited her driving experience with helping her business offer the type of tours where travelers could relax and enjoy the leisure travel experience. 

Vickie Cole
Vickie Cole

Cole started her motorcoach career as operations manager for Tri-Star Charters in Concord in the early 1980s. When she started her own business, she knew the type of experience she wanted to create for her customers.

“I have driven motorcoach for over 30 years and have seen personally what works and does not work in the travel industry,” she wrote on her LinkedIn page. “As a driver, I would see companies take what should be a seven-day trip and make it four or five days. This was not leisure travel to the passengers on my coach. Now when I create a tour, it is relaxing. The passenger does not need a vacation when they come back.”

Cole also donated her time and talents to the California Bus Association (CBA). She was named CBA President in 2019. As a CBA board member for many years, Cole contributed to membership communication throughout COVID and fought for national relief for members statewide. She helped implement a membership drive welcoming operators from neighboring states into the CBA. 

 The CBA Vice President, Michael Giddens of Pacific Coachways, will take over as President of CBA.  

“She’ll be sorely missed in so many circles in the bus industry,” said Connie Giddens, of Pacific Coachways. The two colleagues have been friends for decades. “We called our company the southern division and they were our northern division because we help each other out so much. She was just quiet behind the scenes, but she got done what she needed to get done.”

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