Family attitude and atmosphere rank high for best bus line

The Hammond family has been in the business of moving people throughout Muskoka and beyond for more than 65 years, ever since Orvil Hammond started up his first taxi. Now managed by his son, Greg, Hammond Transportation offers everything from highway coaches to limousines to get you where you want to go.

Voted the Readers’ Choice for best bus line for the 10th year in a row, Hammond Transportation continues to grow, purchasing a small bus operation in Parry Sound just this year.

Following a crazy year of bussing for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, the Ontario Winter Games in Muskoka, and the G8 Summit in Huntsville, Hammond Transportation has spent 2011 regrouping, refocusing and really looking at what they do and how they can improve upon it, said Greg Hammond.

“Some of what we have done is pretty simple, from a new website to other things involving a lot of training and development,” said Hammond.

Hammond’s safety team have worked hard this year to increase ongoing training and development opportunities for drivers and in the process, improve their Ministry of Transportation Commercial Vehicle Operators Registration score.

“We’ve worked really hard in the last two years and we’ve been able to cut our score in half this year, so we’re very proud of that,” said Hammond. “It’s a constant attitude and way of doing things and we continually train and reinforce that mentality of safety.”

As school bus provider for children throughout Muskoka-Parry Sound, safety is high on Hammond’s list of priorities, but they also transport plenty of adults through their tour and charter operations. Highway coaches, with high panoramic windows, very comfortable seating, climate control, onboard washroom and DVD players, and activity buses are available to seat from 16 to 32 passengers. Smaller town cars and limousines are also on hand.

“Our school bus service is probably what people recognize us most for, but our tour and charter business is pretty significant,” explained Hammond. “It serves local people and local needs and it also really serves the tourism industry, whether it’s bringing people up from Pearson Airport or picking them up from Muskoka Airport and bringing them to resorts or cottages.”

Muskoka Travel Service is a division of Hammond Transportation and includes day trips to shows in Toronto, multi-day tours throughout Ontario, Quebec and into the United States, and some overseas and off-shore tours, including Iceland, London, Paris, and the Tuscany region of Italy. Last year, a group was organized for a cruise of the Rhine River in Europe and the Danube is up for next year.

One of Hammond’s newer programs is Parkbus, a transportation service from Toronto to Algonquin Park. The pilot project began in 2010 but has taken off in 2011 to include 10 weekend trips to Algonquin, a trip to Grundy Lake and one to Kilarney Park.

“It’s really been neat working with people who typically wouldn’t be our regular customers,” said Hammond. “It’s good for the environment — people aren’t driving to Algonquin, they’re hopping on the bus… and the upshot is we brought over 300 people to the area, to Algonquin Park, who wouldn’t have been there last year.”

As a family operation, Hammond Transportation is focused on doing what it can to help the community it serves. From local soccer clubs, minor hockey, Special Olympics, to Rotary activity and events, Hammonds is there in sponsorship or to provide much-needed transportation services. Currently, they are working with Bracebridge Out of The Cold to provide transportation for people who otherwise couldn’t get to the dinners.

In addition to supporting community events, Hammond is striving to ensure Muskoka remains a pristine location to live. Donated advertisements are now on six of Hammond’s motor coaches to support the Muskoka Envirocredits program, which strengthens the health and sustainability of watersheds in the region to mitigate the impact of climate change.

It’s this community outreach and the family atmosphere that Hammond believes led to Hammond Transportation being voted Best Bus Line. Beginning with his father, right down to his own children, Hammond Transportation is a family business and that attitude carries over to the staff, said Hammond.

“Our employees are the key to our business; they’re the face of the business,” he said. “When you hop on a bus, you don’t see me… you’re going to see one of our 190-plus employees. We stress the family attitude of the business and they carry that forward and try to treat people the way they would like to be treated.”

A trusted name in the transportation industry since 1944, Hammond has been helping people reach their destinations, safely, comfortably and on schedule, whenever and wherever that may take them.

“It’s a round-the-clock operation and it takes a lot of people behind the scenes to make it happen — mechanics, bus cleaning staff, dispatchers, accounting people, drivers — everyone has to work as a team,” said Hammond. “It’s a real honour for us to be selected as the best bus line and we really appreciate that.”

Phone: 705-645-5431
Address: 450 Ecclestone Dr., BRACEBRIDGE


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