MTR Western

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MTR Western
MTR Western Logo.png
Slogan "Driven by Passion"
Founded 2003
Headquarters Seattle, Washington
Locale USA
Service area Western United States
Service type contract service, charter service
Hubs Seattle (main office), Portland, Eugene, Spokane
Fleet Federal Mini Coach,
Krystal Mini Coach,
Prevost H3-45, X3-45,
Setra S417,
TEMSA Safari,
Van Hool Double Decker
Chief executive Marka Waechter
Website MTR Western

MTR Western is an American motorcoach operator active in the western United States and Canada.


MTR Western provides group charters, sightseeing tours, driver-narrated tour programs,[1] and on-call emergency transportation.[2]

Charter clients include corporate customers such as Microsoft, Nike, Intel, Google, and Yahoo, in addition to touring entertainers, campaigning political candidates,[3] and college and professional sports teams. They carry essentially all of the NFL and Major League Baseball teams that visit Seattle.[4]

Tour clients include Tauck World Discovery, American West Steamboat Company, Caravan Tours, Contiki Tours, and Trafalgar Tours.


MTR Western was founded in Seattle, Washington in 2003 by Darren Berg with four Prevost H3-45 motorcoaches. By 2007, they were one of the largest premium motorcoach companies in North America, with facilities in Seattle, Portland, Spokane, Eugene, The Dalles, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Vancouver, and Calgary, and winner of the BUSRide 2006 Motorcoach Industry Achievement Award.[4]

MTR Western's three-year growth of 1,214.9% earned it national recognition in Inc. Magazine's "Inc. 500", a list of America's fastest growing private companies in 2007. The list ranks MTR Western as number 166 in America, number 9 in Washington, and number 3 in the Transportation category.[5]

In 2008 they debuted in Metro Magazine's "Motorcoach Top 50" at number 17.[6] MTR Western is known for their award-winning "compelling and creative" bus wrap designs.[7]

  • December 1, 2010 - According to the Seattle Times,[8] Darren Berg was denied bail as result of potential flight risk in association with Federal charges alleging he orchestrated a ponzi scheme of approximately $100 million in losses for investors into his Meridian group of companies. MTR Western is in the process of being sold by a bankruptcy trustee.
  • January 14, 2011 - MTR issued a press release announcing the sale of MTR Western and OC&W Coachways to GTO LLC.[9]
  • January 15, 2011 - According to the Seattle Times,[10] "Financial scandals have trailed Frederick Darren Berg across the Northwest for more than 25 years — each linked to his unusual lifelong fixation on tour buses."
  • March 25, 2011 - According to the Seattle Times,[11] "Berg diverted as much as $85 million to his personal use, including $45 million channeled into the luxury bus company he established, MTR Western."
  • February 8, 2012 - According to the Seattle Times, "Darren Berg Sentenced to 18 years in Washington States Largest Ponzi Scheme."
  • February 8, 2012 - According to, "Mercer Island Man sentenced to 18 years." (Including rare video footage of Darren Berg in a video made for the (last) MTR Western Company wide Christmas party held in Huntington Beach CA. December, 2008)

Gregoire License Plate Controversy[edit]

On April 10, 2008 MTR Western became involved in a controversy between the Washington State Republican Party and Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire. In a press release,[12] State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser said, "Gov. Gregoire has been making it harder and harder for businesses to survive here in our state for three years, so it's no surprise that her campaign hired a bus with Oregon license plates to save money. The symbolism of Gov. Gregoire's bus tour couldn't be plainer."

Washington-based MTR Western responded the next day with a press release[3] citing Federal law: "Our Oregon license plates are issued pursuant to the International Registration Plan (IRP), which was created by wise federal legislation put into place to simplify the registration of commercial vehicles that travel in interstate commerce," said MTR Western CEO and founder Darren Berg. "It's disheartening to be associated with misleading statements that support an opinion that business opportunities are grim in the state of Washington."

One columnist from traditionally Republican Eastern Washington wrote of the controversy, "On Thursday the state Republican Party issued a press release titled "Gregoire Driving An Oregon Bus on Re-Election Tour" that screamed of scandal... Long story short, there’s no story here, much less a full blown scandal."[13]

Environmental Initiatives[edit]

MTR Western is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. In 2008, they offset more carbon dioxide emissions than they created, achieving a net negative carbon footprint.[14] The company has six major environmental initiatives:[15]

In 2008, MTR Western was awarded the UMA inaugural "Green Highway" award, honoring a corporation for its dedication to improving the environment.[18][19]

Associated Companies[edit]

OC&W Coachways[edit]

MTR Western purchased Eugene, Oregon-based Oregon Coachways in 2006 from owners Donald Moorehead and John Mikulvich. The company, now named OC&W Coachways, provides no-frills charter bus service in Oregon, California, and Washington.[20][21]


GeoGenius was a company based in Seattle, Washington that produced travel-related audio and video content for GPS-enabled devices.[22]

GeoGenius, LLC
Privately held company
Industry Tourism
Founded 2007
Founder Darren Berg
Headquarters Seattle, Washington
Products GPS-triggered travel guides
Website GeoGenius

GeoGenius was founded by CEO Darren Berg in 2007. The company's first client was the parent company, which contracted them to develop GPS-triggered audio and video content for use by their motorcoach tour customers.[23]

The GeoGenius proof of concept, a multiple channel, multiple interest, GPS-triggered 7-day tour from San Francisco to Seattle, commenced operation in May, 2007.[1] Another video tour was scheduled to be installed MTR Western's "hop on, hop off" city sightseeing tour of Vancouver, B.C. in April 2008.[24] Historical and travel-related content is featured on other tours of Vancouver operated by MTR Western subsidiary Sightline Tours.[25]

The company was developing content for personal download to multiple platforms, allowing tourists to construct their own tours.[26]

GeoGenius development is overseen by Lorayne Deceour (Larayne Decoeur).[27]


  1. ^ a b "The Online Home of MTR Western". MTR Western company website. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  2. ^ "Unhappy Campers". MTR Western company website. Archived from the original on November 14, 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  3. ^ a b "MTR Western Responds to Misleading Statements about Gregoire's Motorcoach". Business Wire. Reuters. April 11, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  4. ^ a b Hubbard, David (February 2007). "MTR Western "delivers the mail"". BUSRide. pp. 20–22. 
  5. ^ "Inc. 500 number 166: MTR Western". Inc. Magazine. 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  6. ^ Starcic, Janna (January 2008). "Coach America Grabs the Reins in Motorcoach Top 50". Metro Magazine. pp. 22–23. .
  7. ^ "2007 BUSRide/Avery Dennison Graphics MotorVision Competition winners". BUSRide. November 2007. pp. 18–19. 
  8. ^ "Darren Berg loses attempt to be free while awaiting trial". The Seattle Times. December 1, 2010. 
  9. ^ "MTR Western & OC&W Coachways Acquired" (Press release). Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  10. ^ Grunbaum, Rami (January 15, 2011). "Financial empire, luxurious lifestyle were built on a mirage". The Seattle Times. 
  11. ^ Grunbaum, Rami (March 25, 2011). "Berg creditors may recoup 15-25 percent, says bankruptcy plan". The Seattle Times. 
  12. ^ "Gregoire Driving An Oregon Bus on Re-Election Tour" (Press release). Washington State Republican Party. April 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  13. ^ Mulick, Chris (April 11, 2008). "That Gregoire license plate scandal? Never mind.". TriCity Herald. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  14. ^ a b c d e "MTR Western environmental responsibility website". Archived from the original on April 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  15. ^ Wimberly, Rachel (2008-01-28). "Seattle Rolls Green Carpet Out for PCMA". Tradeshow Week. Reed Business Information. Retrieved 2006-06-19. 
  16. ^ "Ontario Ministry of Environment Ban on Burning Used Oil in Space Heaters". 
  17. ^ "MTR Western Motorcoach Fleet Goes Carbon Neutral with Van Eck Emissions Reductions". The Pacific Forest Trust. Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  18. ^ Roman, Alex (February–March 2008). "UMA Expo Brings 'Green' Message to San Francisco". Metro Magazine. pp. 32–34. 
  19. ^ "Sightline Tours home page". Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  20. ^ "Meridian Transportation Resources, LLC Signs Agreement to Acquire Oregon Coachways and Announces Plans To Introduce New "Price Driven" Charter Motorcoach Brand" (PDF) (Press release). MTR Western. September 19, 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-20. 
  21. ^ "OC&W Coachways home page". Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  22. ^ "MTR Western announces formation of GeoGenius" (PDF) (Press release). MTR Western. September 25, 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-18. 
  23. ^ "MTR Western Launches New Service To Provide Content Using GPS Technology" (PDF). ABA Insider. American Bus Association. 1 (7): 7. October 15, 2007. 
  24. ^ "MTR Western Expands Vancouver Operations" (PDF). ABA Insider. American Bus Association. 1 (13): 7. January 7, 2008. 
  25. ^ "Double decks take Sightline Tours to new level". BUSRide. 45 (1): 16–17. January 2009. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. 
  26. ^ "GeoGenius website". Retrieved June 26, 2008. 
  27. ^ "Double decks take Sightline Tours to new level". BUSRide. 45 (1): 17. January 2009. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. 

External links[edit]