Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Did you know?

In 1769, the very first self-propelled road vehicle was a military tractor invented by French engineer and mechanic, Nicolas Joseph Cugnot (1725 - 1804). Cugnot used a steam engine to power his vehicle, built under his instructions at the Paris Arsenal by mechanic Brezin. It was used by the French Army to haul artillery at a whopping speed of 2 1/2 mph on only three wheels. The vehicle had to stop every ten to fifteen minutes to build up steam power. The steam engine and boiler were separate from the rest of the vehicle and placed in the front (see engraving above). The following year (1770), Cugnot built a steam-powered tricycle that carried four passengers.

n 1771, Cugnot drove one of his road vehicles into a stone wall, making Cugnot the first person to get into a motor vehicle accident. This was the beginning of bad luck for the inventor. After one of Cugnot's patrons died and the other was exiled, the money for Cugnot's road vehicle experiments ended.

Steam engines powered cars by burning fuel that heated water in a boiler, creating steam that expanded and pushed pistons that turned the crankshaft, which then turned the wheels. During the early history of self-propelled vehicles - both road and railroad vehicles were being developed with steam engines. (Cugnot also designed two steam locomotives with engines that never worked well.) Steam engines added so much weight to a vehicle that they proved a poor design for road vehicles; however, steam engines were very successfully used in locomotives. Historians, who accept that early steam-powered road vehicles were automobiles, feel that Nicolas Cugnot was the inventor of the first automobile.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Additional Fleet Vehicle?

Is this the next fleet van?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Almost Done!

As the semester slowly comes to an end (or is going really fast if you are a senior) keep in mind that your off-campus services will come to and end soon too. The most common shuttles that will end next week are the Community Service & Mall/Big Y Shuttles.

The last days are-

The last day of Community Service is Tuesday 5/6/2008 for this semester.

The last Mall/Big Y Shuttle is Friday 5/9/2008 for this semester.

Good luck through finals!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Airport Shuttles During Finals

There will be shuttles to Bradley Airport during finals!

The shuttles will run from May 9th - May 13th

The shuttle will depart each day at 5:30am, 8am, 11am & 2pm

Cost is $12 per person
(This has to be paid in advance)

We except cash or checks made out to MHC for the ticket and ride

Seating is for first come, first served basis

To sign-up, call the Fleet Office at x2826 or email Amanda at

Spread the word!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bus Trip Updates

All three Red Sox games are sold out. The Sunday 8/17 game sold out in record time. The announcements went out on Monday morning by flyer, email & the gateway announcement web page. By 2pm on Monday, that game was sold out.

The other two games sold out this morning, around 10:30am. WOW!

The Red Sox ticket agency only allowed group coordinators to purchase up to three games. We maxed out on the amount of games we could purchase to maximize the employees chances of getting tickets. This is why we do not have more then three games.

For future games, if you would like to be contacted directly, please let me know. I have a growing list of people who would like to be notified by email rather then waiting for the flyers to arrive in their department.

The email notification would work for all bus trips, not just for the Red Sox games.

As for the NYC bus trip May 17th, there are still a few seats available. This may be the last time this trip will be for $20 round trip "ticket" to NYC. Since the ever growing fuel cost is effecting everything, included our fuel, we may increase the cost to cover the expenses. So, take advantage of the low fair before its too late.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Aloha Relays

The college's track team went away this past weekend to compete in the Aloha Relays at Bowdin College in ME. I heard they had a wonderful time, ate at a fun restaurant (that's how they got their hands on a sombrero) and enjoyed the Hawaiian themed races.

Here is MHC's lovely track team along with their coaches Tina & Jason.

Hey, who's that driving? Senor Doug!

Oh, there he is! Doug, the track team's #1 fan for the weekend!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fenway, here we come!

Red Sox Games are finally announced!

The games are-

Friday 7/11
Red Sox vs Baltimore at 7:05pm
Bleacher Seats (section 37), $50 per person

Saturday 8/2
Red Sox vs Oakland at 7:05pm
Bleacher Seats (section 43), $50 per person

Sunday 8/17
Red Sox vs Toronto at 1:35pm
Grandstand seats (section 11), $75 per person

The prices include the bus ride & ticket.

Departure is from Kendall Lot, times will be announced.

Checks only; made payable to MHC. Payment is due within one week of your reservation. Cost includes the bus ride and ticket. You may only purchase 4 tickets per game.

If you are interested in more then one game, you may sign up for one game and then be placed on a wait list for the other game(s).

To sign up or if you have any questions, call the Fleet Office at x2826 Monday-Friday 10am-3pm or email Amanda Florek.

PLEASE NOTE: There will be no alcoholic beverages allowed on the bus. There will be no children allowed on the bus trips that are under the age of 12 years old. On all college bus trips, a MHC employee will need to attend with his/her guests. There is a limit to 4 people per reservation, other may be placed on the wait list.

Friday, April 18, 2008

No More 15-Passenger Vans

A few years ago, the college decided that the 15-Passenger vans were no longer safe for our students and employees to use. As time went by and it was time to replace these vehicles, they were replaced with 12-passenger vans. You may see one here and there on campus as a facilities van for equipment, but not as a passenger van.

The reason the college does not want these vehicles as a passenger van any longer is "according to auto safety experts, is the design, the weight and balance of the van. On most models, the car manufacturers have used the same wheel base. But you can see on the 15-passenger model, the back end has been extended. That means when it's fully loaded, there's a seat with four passengers behind the rear axle. That tends to make the back end heavy, so that when there's a sudden swerve, the rear end swings out. The second, critical issue is that the van is top heavy."

If you want to read more about the danger of 15-passenger vans, check out the rest pf the article on

Also, this includes rental vehicles. Do not rent a 15-passenger van for college events. We want to make sure everyone is safe, no matter who the vehicle belongs too!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fleet Driver of the Month

The Fleet Office would like to start recognizing students and employees who love our vehicles and treat the program with respect. Oh, how we appreciate it and we want to show it!

For the month of April, we would like to introduce you to our first LyonShare vehicle program user and a well respected student in our department, Stephanie '08. She has been a member of the fleet program since the winter of 2004.

This past fall the college wanted to introduce a new program and boy was I nervous about having a new section of the fleet office (it was the first time we had a credit card machine in the office for the fees of the LS vehicle and boy was that intimidating at first). Stephanie was lucky enough to make the maiden voyage of this new program and she felt confident that this would be a great addition to the fleet program.

Stephanie helped us work out some kinks in the program, yeah with that darn credit card machine. She was patient and kind during the learning phase and we really appreciated it!

She now uses the LyonShare vehicle often and it has helped her with many tasks. She says "I'm so glad that MHC has decided to offer the Lyon's Share vehicle. I used it even before classes started this year. I used the Pack and Hold service at Bed and Bath, and I knew I would need some way to get my boxes back on campus to furnish my room. Amanda was such a help in getting me squared away to rent the car! Thanks Amanda!"

So, thanks Stephanie for your kind words and big smile that warms the office when you pick up your paperwork. Good luck after graduation!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

NYC in the Sunshine!

On Saturday 5/17/2008, the Fleet Office will be hosting a NYC Bus Trip.

The cost is $20 per person.
Checks are preferred; made payable to MHC. The payment is due within 2 weeks of your reservation. There are *NO* refunds. Seats are limited & available on a first come, first served basis.

Departure is from Kendall Lot at 6:30am *SHARP*.
The drop off will be at 53rd & Broadway in NYC.
The bus will leave NYC from the same location at 6:30pm *SHARP*.

If you would like to sign up or have any questions, call the fleet office at x2826, Monday-Friday 10am-3pm or email Amanda at

PLEASE NOTE: There will be no alcoholic beverages allowed on the bus. There will be no children allowed on the bus trips that are under the age of 12 years old. On all college bus trips, a MHC employee will need to attend with his/her guests. There is a limit to 4 people per reservation, other may be placed on the wait list.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Food Drive

This week is CAUSE Hunger Awareness Week.

The Student Organization is collecting nutritious non-perishable food items such as Soups, Peanut Butter, Cereal, Tuna and Pasta.

Drop off items at the Eliot House Lobby.

The donated items will be delivered to local food banks.

If each of our Faculty/Staff gave one item, they would collect 1,144 items to share with local hungry families!

This wonderful event is sponsored by the Eliot House. If you have any questions, please contact Sherry Tucker.
Go to fullsize image

Monday, April 14, 2008

Drum Role Please.....

So, you have waited long enough find out which vehicle belongs to the fleet program from Fridays quiz. The answer is..................

The Mail Truck

The fleet program is in charge for more then "fleet vehicles". The fleet office orders, handles administrative paperwork for new vehicles and register all campus owned/leased vehicles .

Also, equipment that can be driven across (by driving) town streets has to be registered, so the fleet office also handles this task. This includes the John Deere Gators, High-Lifts or any other type of equipment you can think of.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Can you guess right?

OK, so how well do you know the fleet program? Can you guess which one IS the fleet "vehicle" from the pictures below? If you thing you know, leave your answer in the comment section. Check back on Monday for the answer!

A. The Fed Ex Truck

B. The Mail Truck

C. Auxiliary Services Buggy

D. PS Segway

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Are Hybrid Vehicles Dangerous?

According to NPR and Yahoo (and may other sources), there have been reports that silent Hybrid vehicles could cause havoc on persons who are blind since they rely on their hearing for so much. So, please keep this in mind while you are using one of our fleet sedans and approach an intersection or other locations that pedestrians are present.

Listed below is one of the many articles I found while researching this concern. It was found on


Nearly Silent Hybrid Cars May Endanger the Blind

Hybrid vehicles may pose a deadly threat to people who rely on their hearing to navigate streets and crosswalks. The National Federation of the Blind is calling for hybrid manufacturers to make their cars sound like traditional car engines, so that blind people can hear them coming.

Robert Siegel talks to Dr. Fredric Schroeder, first vice president of the National Federation of the Blind.

We confirmed the comparative noise levels of hybrid and gas-powered cars, using a Toyota Prius — one of the more popular models. Toyota officials say they are studying the issue; they also note that on the opposite side of the issue are advocates of reduced noise pollution.

The Toyota officials say that the quieter cars has led them to advise drivers and pedestrians to exercise increased caution.

Toyota Prius 1 Hybrid

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Did you know?

Did you know that you can hitch a ride for your community service duties? We provide shuttles to Holyoke & South Hadely, Monday - Friday so you can fulfill your community service obligations.

The shuttle is to help ease the burden of trying to find a ride to the locations in Holyoke and South Hadley, since they are not on the PVTA bus loop. Please take advantage of this shuttle! The drivers are wonderful and appreciate the business.

The van leaves from the Blanchard PVTA bus stop and will take you to your destination. Please have the location name and address if you are going for the first time since your location may be a new destination for the shuttle.

The schedule is-
Depart Blanchard

Depart Holyoke/South Hadley

Monday, April 7, 2008

Spring Has Sprung!

Oh how delightful it was to see these flowers blooming outside of our office. It means spring is definitely somewhere in the valley! There is still a chill in the air, but not enough to deter the blooming flowers.

Try and enjoy the little things while you are studying hard!

Friday, April 4, 2008

What is the LyonShare?

The LyonShare project is a new addition to the fleet program this academic year. It is modeled around the popular Zip Car rental program.

The college purchased a new 2008 Honda Civic Hybrid in addition to the normal fleet vehicles.

The LyonShare is to be used almost like a rental car. But keep in mind that the rules & regulations are formatted from the fleet program, for instance, you may only travel up to 500 miles away from campus and if there is damage to the vehicle, you must report it immediately. The things that make the new program different is the vehicle can be used for personal use, individual use and for a fee.

So, if you want to go to the mall and complete your sister's birthday shopping....go ahead.
If you need to get to a doctor's appointment and your car is in the shop....go ahead.
If you want to pick up a friend at the airport and you don't have a car on campus....go ahead.

What is needed to be able to participate in the LyonShare program is:
Become a fleet certified driver
A credit card/debit card (Visa or MasterCard)
Fill out the application for the program
Pay for application fee ($25.00)
Pay for the annual fee ($50.00)

After the criteria is met, you are all set to make your reservation!

The fee's to use the vehicle are:
Hourly Rate $7.00
Daily Rate $55.00

So go ahead, give us a call (or email) for use of our new LyonShare vehicle! We look forward to hearing from you!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

How Doug Became a MHC Bus Driver

Doug’s Philosophy of Driving for Mount Holyoke College

“I did a calculation once while I was in the tour bus industry and it indicated that if a driver were to drive a tour bus for 30 years, then that driver would come in contact with a quarter of a million (250,000) people. When you think about that, well, what an opportunity to touch that many people in a positive way and how many people in this world have that kind of opportunity?”

“I drive primarily for the athletic teams on campus and of course my primary responsibility is to provide safe travel for our teams and coaches. To me, however, there is more than just driving the teams to and from colleges. I treat all of the athletes as if they were my own daughters. They are very precious people and I treat them that way. I am interested in their competitions, their aspirations, their studies, and their outlook on life. I greet them with a smile and kind words and offer a lot of encouragement. They inspire me with their strong work ethic and sacrifice and their desire to represent Mount Holyoke College and the Athletic Program in a very positive way. I look forward everyday to my next opportunity to be with them and their excellent coaches and staff. It’s as if I am part of the team and I enjoy that immensely.”

“The teams I have had the opportunity to drive for and have come to know in this way are the following: Crew, Cross Country, Track & Field, Swimming, Soccer, Riding, Tennis, and Volleyball.”

“Other groups I have proudly driven for are: Admissions, Eliot House, Alumnae, Class Reunion members, Summer Math for Teachers, Summer Math for Students, Public Safety, and Student Programs.”

“Thanks to all of you for making my childhood dream come true.”

The Impressions of a Young Boy

Doug has always wanted to drive a “Greyhound” type bus since he was 10 years old. He can remember riding on a 1955 Scenicruiser Greyhound bus that had 2 floors on it (see picture below). He would travel with his mother and father and his younger brother from Boston, MA to Scranton, Pennsylvania to see his grandmother and grandfather Cunningham. His grandfather was a coal miner in that area for 50 years and Doug and his family lived in Medford, MA so whenever they could, they would travel to Scranton by bus and later on in a car to see them.

Anyway, the Scenicruiser had 10 seats on the lower level and an additional 33 seats on the second floor. You can see in the picture below that there is a windshield on the second floor which allows the passengers in the first row of seats to see over the blue roof below allowing for a beautiful view of the bus going down the highway and pulling into the bus slots between other buses at the Greyhound stations. Doug would not sit down but instead would stand up and enjoy the view all the way from Boston to Scranton. This excited Doug so much that he wanted to grow up to be a Greyhound bus driver. It didn’t happen right away, however, in fact it took 44 years before his dream came true.

The Responsibilities of a Young Man

After graduating from high school he joined the U.S. Air Force because he was influenced by President Kennedy’s famous quote which was “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country!” During his first few weeks of Air Force basic training, the Gulf of Tonkin incident took place in Vietnam which started a huge buildup of troops in Vietnam. After serving his 4 years, and the war still going on, he re-enlisted for another 4 years serving 8 years total from 1964 to 1972. Although he never went to Vietnam, he felt strongly that he should remain in the Air Force during that period of time.

The Beginning of His Career and the Path Towards Mount Holyoke College

After his discharge from the Air Force Doug started his career as a Logistics Administrative manager at Honeywell in Lexington, MA and then continued on with his career taking advantage of opportunities at Raytheon, Federal Express (now called FedX,), 3 computer companies (Cambex, Intertel, and IPL Systems, all along the 128 corridor in the Waltham/Burlington/Lexington area of Massachusetts). He attended night school for 5 years at Massachusetts Bay Community College in Wellesley, MA studying Business Administration while maintaining his employment.

Since layoffs were common in high tech companies in the 70’s and 80’s, he saw that people were getting their pink slips and eventually Doug got one. Being a family man with a wife and 3 children Doug decided to take the opportunity to get his tractor trailer commercial driver’s license to put food on the table between jobs in the computer industry. He realized that if he had his Commercial Driver’s License that he could find work just about anywhere.

After graduating from Allied Tractor Trailer School in Walpole, MA he decided this type of work would be a pleasant change from the corporate world he was used to so he applied for a tractor trailer job at a big construction firm in Andover, MA. When the owner of the company read his resume he was convinced that Doug would be more beneficial to his company if he would become his Office Manager and run the day to day operations instead of driving one of his dump trailers. Doug did drive a dump trailer for about a month as well as getting experience in all aspects of the business. The owner wanted Doug to learn the business and also gain the respect of the workers before he took over the office job. Doug spent 10 years there and the only reason he left was because of a change in management and the death of his wife Janet.

Eventually, by chance, he met a woman named Joanne from Hadley who lost her husband and was left with 3 children, 7, 12, and 16. Eventually he sold his house in Billerica, MA and moved out here to find work and also to marry Joanne.

One day he took a tour bus from Hadley to Worcester to watch the Hadley basketball team compete for the Division III State Title. Doug had not been on a tour bus since he was 10 years old and it brought back pleasant memories for him being with his Mom and Dad traveling to Scranton, PA in that Scenicruiser. Doug was very much impressed with the tour bus and the driver. Since Doug and his wife sat up front near the driver, a conversation with the driver led Doug on his new path in life.

Finally The Opportunity to Drive A Tour Bus

“In 1999, Doug decided to enroll in Motor Coach Driving School at Peter Pan Bus Lines in Springfield, MA. Upon graduation he had an opportunity to drive a tour bus for Morgan Coach Lines in South Deerfield, MA. After driving for a year or so he was offered a job within the company as the Charter Sales Manager. He continued to drive when he could but his main responsibility was now with his new administrative job in the office. The company went out of business in 2005 and Doug found himself out of work along with a lot of other people.

There was a part time driver for Morgan Coach Lines named Tom who also worked as a Public Safety Officer and motor coach driver for Mount Holyoke College. Tom became aware of Doug’s situation and he thought that Doug would be a good candidate for driving the buses here at Mount Holyoke College as well as becoming a Public Safety Dispatcher. The college was looking to hire such a person in 2005 and Doug was eventually hired in February of 2006.”

Doug is very appreciative to Officer Tom for giving him the opportunity to achieve his long time dream to drive a “Greyhound-type” bus for a wonderful community of people here at Mount Holyoke College.

Doug is also a dispatcher for Public Safety when he is not driving our buses.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fleet Driver of the Month

Do you know someone who should be nominated as fleet driver of the month? This should be someone who loves to use the fleet vehicles and respects the program in which it is intended to be used.

If you would like to nominate someone, please send an email to Amanda at or leave a comment. Also, please give a brief description why they should be nominated.

Thanks for your help!

Check back soon to see who will be mentioned!