MCI announces Peoria Charter as winner of UMA Environmental Leadership Award

Motor Coach Industries (MCI) today announced that Peoria Charter Coach received the United Motorcoach Association’s Environmental Leadership Award during the UMA EXPO 2023, taking place Jan. 11-14 in Orlando, Florida.

The UMA Environmental Leadership Award, sponsored by MCI, the leading manufacturer of intercity motorcoaches, was introduced in 2008 to honor operators that demonstrate the greatest commitment to environmental sustainability in their business practices.

“Peoria Charters is a leading industry example of green stewardship,” said Brent Maitland, Vice President of Private Sector Sales and Marketing at MCI. “They are forward thinkers in their fuel conservation policies, and we applaud their efforts in promoting the environmental benefits of travel by motorcoaches powered by clean diesel technology.”

Environmental award
(Left to right) UMA President & CEO Scott Michael, Brent Maitland, VP of Private Sector Sales and Marketing at MCI; James Wang of Peoria Charters and Pat Ziska, VP of New Coach Sales. (Jill Kelly)

Peoria Charter Coach, a leading Midwestern charter coach and scheduled service provider, operates across three locations in Illinois, including its newest site in Chicago, runs a fleet of newer-model coaches and uses biodiesel to power its coaches.

Best transportation choice

Bill Winkler, President of Peoria Charters, a third-generation family member to run the company, advocates that taking a motorcoach powered by clean diesel is the best environmental transportation choice a traveler can make. “We are as close to zero emissions as we can be,” said Winkler, in a statement. “The exhaust on today’s motorcoaches is cleaner than the air coming in. Protecting the environment is a value we uphold and consistently promote to our ridership. We are delighted to receive this award.”

Winkler couldn’t attend EXPO, so James Wang, a partner in the company and its Director of Operations, received the award on behalf of the company. 

Each of the company’s 40 coaches proudly displays a “Powered By Clean-Diesel Technology” badge at the entryway for passengers to notice.

Diesel power systems continue to achieve dramatic reductions in emissions, and the company’s use of biodiesel reduces emissions even further. According to Wang, additional fuel-saving initiatives include Peoria’s proprietary software system that lets staff match passenger pick-up points and drop-off destinations. This allows routes to be planned more efficiently to minimize trip miles and fuel usage. Additionally, a stringent idling policy and driver merit program earn drivers star emblems for their uniforms for excellent safety and fuel-efficient driving.

Sustainable from the start

From its very start, sustainability and productivity have been driving forces behind this busy charter operator’s business. Peoria Charters’ founder traded in the family car and received a loan from his sister to buy his first bus. He began the business by shuttling workers to a nearby engine plant in 1941 at a time when gas was being rationed during World War II.

Today, the company is both a charter and scheduled service company serving private and public universities and sports teams, with daily routes 365 days a year, as well as shuttles to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The company transports 500,000 passengers each year.

Peoria Charters explains why riding with this charter operator makes every day Earth Day, noting that a single motorcoach can remove as many as 60 cars from the road at any one time and is the most cost-efficient and efficient means to energy conservation in the transportation sector. A single person can reduce their carbon footprint by 77% for every 16 miles traveling by motorcoach rather than by car.


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