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BEST Community Comeback sTOURies - Last Charter Bus Service in Central New York Puts Pandemic in its Rearview Mirror

In the blink of an eye after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Hale Transportation in Clinton, New York, the last charter bus service in Central New York, lost most of its bookings.
 
Demand for travel for sports teams, colleges, weddings, summer camps, casinos and traveling Broadway shows just disappeared. That’s when President Stephen Hale got creative, working with Berkshire Bank to figure out how to save his business.
 
How did Hale Transportation do more than survive but thrive?  Hale demonstrated innovation and nimbleness by turning his buses into mobile billboards, taking seats out and adding tables to make mobile COVID testing and vaccine units for the county, and even driving local college students for COVID testing.
 
Although the transportation sector is still facing challenges with higher gas prices and supply chain issues, Hale Transportation has not only stayed the course, but come out bigger and stronger than before. Founded in 2006, it currently has a fleet of 35 vehicles, including mini-buses, motorcoaches and shuttles and employs more than 65 drivers and a staff of 10 office workers and mechanics.
 
Berkshire Bank leaders visited Hale Transportation to celebrate its inspiring comeback story as part of the bank’s BEST Community Comeback Tour, which shared stories of resilience made possible through its BEST Community Comeback, a multibillion-dollar commitment to invest and lend in its communities.

In In this photo, from the left: Matt Nicholl, Vice President, Business Banking at Berkshire Bank; Sean Gray, President and Chief Operating Officer at Berkshire Bank; Stephen Hale; Khrystyna Volytska, Business Banking Portfolio Manager at Berkshire Bank; Jamie Flora, Senior Vice President, Business Banking at Berkshire Bank; and Scott Houghtaling, Senior Vice President, Business Banking at Berkshire Bank.