Peoria Charter’s April Fools’ prank is more than a joke

The shortage of bus drivers right now is not at all funny. But on April Fools’ Day, we made it a laughing matter. And at the same time, we wanted to bring awareness to this issue while pulling a fun prank on our passengers waiting for their bus.

As University of Illinois students heading to the Chicago area gathered to await their Peoria Charter bus, we surprised them with a substantially smaller bus initially arriving for them.

I warned students over a megaphone a few minutes prior that they would have to pack into a smaller bus due to a shortage of drivers, who must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). 

“We don’t have enough CDL-qualified drivers, so we’re going to have to take a smaller bus today,” I told them. “It’s going to be a little tight, but I think we can fit everyone on board.”

All aboard!

Several minutes later, a Peoria Charter go-kart, which we primarily use for parades, pulled up as staff pretended to take the passengers’ tickets.

The world’s full of bad news and scary stuff, so we just wanted to have fun in the spirit of April Fools’ Day.

We put together the prank to bring awareness to the huge shortage of CDL drivers. I told the students that anyone over the age of 23 is welcome to apply to become a driver and that I actually started driving for Peoria Charter when I was in college.

Student Evan Rudolph was one of the students who waited in line for a bus ride home.

“At first, I thought we were going to load into the mini-van,” he told WICA, one of the news outlets that covered the event. “But, then I realized that it’s April Fools’ Day. It was a good joke, though.”

And we got the last laugh! We’ve gotten so many local applicants after people saw the news reports and many passengers shared the experience on social media.

Positive response

Here’s what some of you had had to say after watching the video:

joni mendes: Very clever, professional and fun April Fools’ joke, well done!

BJ Blue Shadow Transit: I’m sorry, but this needs to be a meme! It’s too hilarious! 

Wawonas: That’s a good prank. I laughed so hard! Good job, guys.  

Bus & Motorcoach News contributor James Wang is co-owner of Peoria Charters and a bus geek who shares his passion for the motorcoach industry on his two YouTube channels, J Wang and Motorcoach World

Read more James Wang’s columns here.

Share this post