Peoria Charter Coach Company

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Peoria Charter Coach Company
Peoria Charter Coach Company logo.jpg
Peoria Charter Coach.jpg
Founded1941 (1941), by Walter Winkler
Commenced operation1941
HeadquartersPeoria, Illinois
Service areaIllinois
Service typeCharter bus services, custom group tours, transportation from several universities in Illinois to Chicago suburbs and airports
DestinationsVarious locations in Illinois, mainland United States, international
Annual ridership470,000[1]
ManagerWilliam Winkler, President

Peoria Charter Coach Company is a family-owned bus company based in Peoria, Illinois, which provides charter bus services, custom group tours, and transportation from several universities in Illinois to Chicago suburbs and airports. It is a contract charter bus service provider for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Peoria Charter Coach Company's first bus in 1941

Peoria Charter Coach Company was founded in 1941 by Walter Winkler, who traded in the family car and received a loan from his sister to buy a bus to shuttle Caterpillar workers between Spring Bay and a new factory in Peoria, when gas was rationed during World War II. In 1979, Winkler stepped down and his sons Roger and Stanley took over the business. In 1990, Roger bought Stanley's share of the business when the latter retired. In 1999, Roger's son William and his wife Cindy took over the business, buying it from Roger.[2][3]

In 2010, Peoria Charter opened a new terminal in Urbana.[4] In 2013, the company moved its pick up location in Joliet from the Joliet Mall parking lot to the Union Station parking lot, in order to meet customers' demand for overnight parking.[5]

The company introduced online ticketing in 2010.[6]

On July 15, 2020, Peoria Charter Coach announced that it had laid off all but eight of its 140 employees in response to declining revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On social media, co-owner Jingning (James) Wang stated that Peoria Charter's monthly overhead was $300,000 versus only $25,000 in revenue. [7]


A Peoria Charter bus on Wright Street on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Peoria Charter serves five universities - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois State University, Western Illinois University, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bradley University. It provides transportation from these universities to Chicago suburbs, and to Chicago O'Hare and Midway airports. It also provides inter-city transportation to people in Chicago suburbs, Peoria, Urbana, Champaign, Bloomington, Normal, and Joliet. It organizes group tours to various locations in Illinois and mainland United States, and to international destinations.[8][9]

Peoria Charter is one of the two approved contract charter bus service providers for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the other being Monticello Bus Company.[10]

Awards and distinctions[edit]

In 1995, Peoria Charter won the Mississippi Valley Family Business of the Year award.[11] In 2003, it received an honorable mention distinction for Better Business Bureau's International Torch Award for marketplace ethics, a competition in which there were 1,500 contestants.[12] In 2012, it received a Department of Defense safety certification from Trailways.[13]

Fatal Accidents[edit]

On Friday, January 27, 1995, a Peoria Charter bus collided with a church van on foggy Monticello Road in Savoy, IL. The van burst into flames and seven children perished. [14] A subsequent investigation found that the bus was being driven by a driver who was close to being in violation of DOT hours of service regulations. "The bus was transporting stranded air travellers whose flights were cancelled in St. Louis." according to the Gazette.[15]


  1. ^ a b "Peoria Charter moving to Joliet for daily airport trips". Bolingbrook Bugle. Bolingbrook, Illinois: Bugle Newspapers. August 27, 2013. Archived from the original on May 27, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  2. ^ Browning, Sara (September 2010). "Experience a Family Legacy: Peoria Charter Coach". Peoria Magazines. Peoria. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  3. ^ Sorensen, Karen (August 22, 2013). "Peoria Charter Moves Its Service to Downtown Joliet". Joliet Patch. Joliet, Illinois: Patch Media. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  4. ^ Pressey, Debra (March 26, 2006). "Peoria Charter Coach opens building". News Gazette. Champaign, Illinois: May 26, 2014.
  5. ^ Cain, Cindy (August 25, 2013). "Airport shuttle lot moves to downtown Joliet". SouthtownStar. Chicago, Illinois: Sun-Times Media.
  6. ^ Tarter, Steve (December 21, 2010). "Peoria Charter Coach ticket sales go online". Journal Star. Peoria, Illinois. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  7. ^ Pressey, Deb (July 15, 2020). "Peoria Charter forced to lay off 95 percent of remaining staff". News-Gazette. Champaign, Illinois. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  8. ^ "Website of Peoria Charter Coach Company". Peoria Charter Coach Company. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  9. ^ "Peoria Charter Travel". WCIA. Champaign, IL. May 6, 2014. Retrieved June 17, 2014.
  10. ^ "Making Charter Bus Arrangements". University of Illinois. May 16, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  11. ^ Gordon, Paul (August 8, 2000). "Family businesses being sought". Journal Star. Peoria, Illinois.
  12. ^ "Peoria Charter lauded". Journal Star. Peoria, Illinois. November 4, 2003.
  13. ^ "Approved Department of Defense bus, van, and limo carriers" (PDF). Trailways. July 18, 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 28, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2014.
  14. ^ Pressey, Debra (January 29, 1995). "7 Killed in Church Van Crash". News Gazette. Champaign, Illinois: January 29, 1995.
  15. ^ Bauer, Steve (February 2, 1995). "We Know They Were Hurting Along With us". News Gazette. Champaign, Illinois: February 2, 1995.

External links[edit]