In the past few years, Peoria Charter Coach’s James Wang has built a following for his YouTube channels devoted to motorcoach operator life, with more than 14,000 subscribers. His blogs range from answering questions about when drivers get a chance to eat to showing what’s it like take a college sports team to a big game.
Wang will be at UMA Motorcoach EXPO as a special guest of Bus & Motorcoach News. He’ll be part of the team reporting on what’s happening at the United Motorcoach Association’s four-day event in Long Beach, California, from Feb. 23-26, including giving Facebook Live reports.
Here are some things to know about Wang:
1. He loves buses. Wang, who moved with his family to the United States from China when he was 5 years old, remembers that he loved motorcoaches from the moment he first saw them at age 2. Motorcoaches seemed like luxury airlines on wheels. He began driving buses while earning his master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After getting a job in the tech sector and owning a computer store, he realized he wanted to continue driving buses. At Peoria Coach, he’s been able to drive while putting his MBA to work as a partner in the business.
2. Yes, he really drives buses. Wang is in management at Peoria Coach but he still makes time to take passengers out on trips. His tech skills are appreciated by owner Bill Winkler. Wang helped the company upgrade from chalkboards to TV screens that track bus schedules, similar to the screens at airports that show all of the flights. He’s grateful that Winkler lets him balance his management duties with driving buses. “The point of working for a bus company is I wanted to work with buses. I usually do a bus trip once a month.”
3. His motivation for starting a YouTube channel. Wang decided to launch his YouTube channel devoted to drivers to raise the position’s prestige to what it is in England and Germany. “I decided I want people to know what it’s like to be a bus driver,” said Wang, who began by using an old JVC camera that had been collecting dust.
4. His secret to success. Wang admits he almost quit before he got started on YouTube because he felt silly talking to the camera. Fortunately, he stuck with it. “I just kind of played around. I watched other vloggers (video bloggers) do their thing and learned from them,” said Wang, who thinks the industry needs more of a presence on YouTube and other social media platforms.
5. Safety first. Wang says he never lets his vlogging interfere with his passengers and their safety. “When I first started doing this, I felt myself really wanting to check to make sure the camera was on while I was driving because I wanted to make sure I capture some beautiful scenery. But I realized the last thing I want to do is be messing with my camera while I’m driving.”
6. International audience. His YouTube audience is global. Viewers send him gifts from England and Australia. “One knows I’m a foodie and I like spicy stuff, so he sends me a different random hot sauce every month. And I, of course, return the favor by sending him pictures of what I’m dipping in it and describing how it tastes.”
7. How do you say it? People usually mispronounce his last name. “Everybody says Wang but, in Chinese, it’s Wong. I usually tell people two Wongs don’t make a right,” he said.