The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Business

February 22, 2014

Classy rides

Party vehicles for every occasion

JOHNSTOWN — Limousines and other specialty vehicles bring special attention to your arrival at joyful occasions such as weddings and are gaining in popularity, said area transportation companies.

Also becoming more popular are the party buses that whisk folks around for a night on the town.

The limousine van at McIlwain Charters and Tours, 1551 Ferndale Ave., Johnstown, is a new kid on the block.

The Sprinter, as is it called, was placed into service in the fall and is perfect for wedding parties, said Timothy McIlwain, vice president of the transportation company.

The Sprinter, which includes a driver, also has been booked by local businesses for corporate events and small groups of people traveling to casinos. Other popular uses for the Sprinter include families picking up loved ones at the airport or a group of friends going out on the town.

The Sprinter, which seats 10 people, differs from other limousines because it provides 6 feet 3 inches of standing headroom.

There is free WiFi, and 110-volt and 12-volt outlets for charging laptops and cellphones.

The limousine is equipped with two flat-screen TVs with digital satellite service.

The van also offers satellite radio, window shades for privacy and other amenities.

“The Sprinter has been popular since we first introduced it in Cambria and Somerset counties,” McIlwain said. “Once you experience this new level of executive style of transportation, you won’t want to travel any other way.”

All the drivers are experienced professionals.

The Sprinter, available seven days a week, serves mainly Cambria and Somerset counties, but has been booked in Bedford and Westmoreland counties, McIlwain said.

McIlwain also has a party bus, driven by professional drivers, that has been in operation since 2010.

The bus is popular throughout the year and has been rented for weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, Pittsburgh Steelers games, corporate events, birthdays, holidays and weekend outings.

“It seats 23 guests and is all perimeter seating,” McIlwain said. “It has air conditioning, tinted windows, overhead handrails and a booming sound system.”

The party bus has made trips throughout Cambria, Somerset, Bedford and Westmoreland counties.

At Mlaker Charter and Tours, 1976 Valley View Drive, Davidsville, a vintage trolley is used by customers for occasions such as weddings and birthdays, said Matt Mlaker, vice president of the company.

“It gives you the wow that people look for in weddings, birthdays, anniversaries or any occasion.”

The trolley has been in service for eight months and seats 28 people.

The trolley has that classic trolley look, he said. There is heat and air conditioning, AM-FM radio and an Ipod connection.

The Davidsville company also can transport people in style to weddings, bachelor and bachelorette parties and other special occasions in its 28-passenger coach bus and school bus.

The service area encompasses Johns-town, Ebensburg, Somerset, Indiana and Altoona.

Mlaker said they hire only the best drivers.

“All our drivers met our stringent requirements and are highly monitored and trained,” he said.

Vogue Limousines, Jeannette, has been building its fleet of specialty vehicles for many years.

The company now boosts seven limousine buses, two trolleys, four sport utility vehicle stretch limousines, five exotic stretch limousines, four standard stretch limousines and four sedans, said Terry J. Kovach, owner. All the vehicles have color TV, DVD players, fully-stocked bars and other amenities.

The limousine buses can seat up to 28 people each with the SUV stretch limousines seating up to 18. The trolleys can fit 26 people and the other vehicles can seat between six and 12 people, he said.

“Most of our clientele use the vehicles for weddings, parties, proms, anniversaries, birthdays and sporting events such as going to see the Steelers, Penguins or Pirates,” he said. “We do a little bit of everything.”

He said they have the necessary licenses to drive anywhere in the continental United States.

“We’ve grown every year,” Kovach said. “I started with one vehicle. Now, 25 years later, I have 25.”

Frank Sojak is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/FrankNews10.

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