PMCL Corporate History Continued...

The company’s business plan consisted of pouring profits back into the business, enabling it to purchase future vehicles and equipment. Applications to the Ontario Highway Transport Board (OHTB) were made for authorities to operate between Penetang and Midland and surrounding municipalities of Simcoe County and Metro Toronto. Diversification was PMCL’s key to success, for in 1967, PMCL’s only breadwinners were charter coaches and school buses. By submitting successful tenders to provide additional services to School Boards, Municipal Transits, and Federal Government Transportation Contracts, PMCL could see the effects of this diversification plan.

Irene Dubeau suddenly died in 1964 leaving her three sons, Laval, Bernard and Murray, to run the business. Laval assumed the position of President with Bernard filling the post of Senior Vice-President.

At this time, Laval’s personal reputation and integrity were at risk in keeping the business which had been in his family for over 80 years alive and flourishing. His professional reputation, not only to his family but to those communities that were relying upon him for their transportation needs, would also have been tremendously affected if he had folded up his operations and called it quits.  In 1967, with a fleet of 16 buses, Laval Dubeau decided to employ the 4th generation; sons Brian, Michael, James and Terry. At this point, expansion of services came about quickly and Laval finally had to go to the financial institutions for help. Demand loans were set up for future capital purchases of which these institutions contributed 80% of the purchase price for the vehicles. Thus, for the first 100 years of the company’s existence, the operations were funded solely from corporate profits.

[PMCL BUS #50]Since the late 1960’s to the present, PMCL really came of age. The year 1967 saw PMCL become involved in the package tour and travel business when it scheduled charter trips leaving Midland and Barrie for Expo ’67 in Montreal. In 1968, the family extended bus service from Midland to Perkinsfield, Elmvale, Wasaga Beach and Collingwood. Their next license in 1969 allowed them to extend service from Midland, Collingwood, Barrie and Wasaga Beach to and from Pearson International Airport.

The year 1973 saw PMCL receive authority to operate charter buses from the city of Barrie and to operate over routes for and on behalf of Gray Coach and Voyageur Colonial Ltd. In 1974, the company extended service to include all of Simcoe County for the movement of passengers together with their baggage and express freight between points in Simcoe County to and from Pearson International Airport. As well, PMCL received authority to operate charters extra-provincially to other Canadian Provinces.  In 1975, PMCL gained further authority from the OHTB to operate charters to and from Simcoe County and Pearson International Airport. The same year, PMCL won a contract to extend Midland’s new transit system which called for the company to operate and maintain three municipally owned vehicles and to supply back up buses when necessary.

A period of intense activity overtook much of 1976. PMCL was awarded a contract to operate the transit system for the City of Orillia and in the later part of the year, opposed and OHTB ruling which quite possibly would have restricted the efficiency and competitiveness to do charters by PMCL and other small bus companies in the Province of Ontario. The appeal saw a victory for the company as well as Ontario’s traveling public.  PMCL continued to grow and expand as it once again extended its services between Barrie and Hillsdale in 1978. In 1979, PMCL cracked the Toronto market when it was granted operating authority between Collingwood, Alliston and Metropolitan Toronto. It was at this time the major Toronto competitors (Gray Coach, Greyhound, Charterways, Travelways and Voyageur Colonial) opposed the Collingwood-Toronto route application. They felt PMCL should not receive permission from the OHTB to operate these routes and compete with them for charters in Metropolitan Toronto.  In 1980, PMCL added another feather to its cap as the City of Barrie awarded its contract to PMCL to operate their transit system within the City for a period of three years. One major provision within the contract was that eleven transit vehicles had to be stored inside a facility. As a result, PMCL constructed a new terminal encompassing approximately two acres of land and at a cost of over one million dollars.

1983 saw PMCL apply and be accepted under the Canadian Ontario Employment Development Program. Under this work share program, thirty-six local residents were hired with a working commitment of one year. These people were either unemployed, on welfare or has exhausted their Unemployment Insurance benefits at the time of hiring. Seven projects in total were completed within the year including the upgrading and additions to four company terminals, re-upholstering 1200 seats and the upgrading of Highway Coach interiors.  By upgrading terminal facilities and operations, PMCL was now able to rebuild and refurbish their own equipment to high quality standards which the public demands, as opposed to going out into the market and purchasing these products and/or services at a much higher cost. This cost-cutting measure enabled PMCL to pour these savings back into the company in order to purchase more vehicles, thereby increasing their service as well as their fleet size.PMCL, seeing the market demand, was also the first bus operator in Ontario to retrofit every one of their Highway Coaches with televisions and VCRs for the pleasure of the traveling public. No other company has taken their entire fleet and made such a move for the benefit of their customers. Having a qualified technician on staff and the facilities to perform such a make-over, proved to be another cost-saving project.

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