Peter Pan Marks 80 Years of Rolling Together with Firestone Tires
In 1939, just six years after Peter C. Picknelly started Peter Pan Bus Lines in Springfield, he reached an agreement with the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company to lease Firestone tires for a period of one year.
That was the beginning of a partnership that kept the two companies rolling together for the next 80 years.
That lease was signed on August 11, and six decades to the day later, Bridgestone America’s Inc. marked the occasion by presenting the Picknelly family with the original tire lease contract. Twenty years later, another anniversary, the 80th was marked, and there was much to celebrate.
“When my grandfather Peter C. Picknelly sealed this important partnership with Harvey Firestone in 1939, they could only imagine how many miles these two companies would travel together,” said Peter A. Picknelly, chairman & CEO of Peter Pan. “Our agreement with Firestone was groundbreaking in the industry. It was the first agreement in the U.S. for a bus company to actually lease tires from Firestone as opposed to buying tires, and we’re the longest bus-company partnership Firestone has ever had.
“Now, 80 years later, we are still proud to share the road with a longtime leader in the tire industry,” he went on. “Together, over the 80 years, Peter Pan and Firestone have carried passengers more than 600 million miles on Firestone tires. That’s 2,514 trips to the moon and 24,094 times around the Earth. Safety is Peter Pan’s number one priority and Firestone Tires have delivered that promise with precision and consistency.”
In the original contract signed by Peter C. Picknelly and Harvey Firestone, Firestone agreed to supply enough tires to equip 10-passenger Chevrolet buses and five 19-passenger Beck buses on a cost-per-mile basis. As the buses became larger and heavier, Firestone tires evolved to meet Peter Pan’s needs.
“Passengers can take comfort in knowing they are riding on the most modern fleet with the safest tires on the road today — this is a huge safety factor,” said Picknelly. “And the reason we lease is that as soon as the tires show any signs of wear, we replace them with eight new tires; our competitors who own their tires will run them until they show considerable wear and are far less safe.”
Today, Peter Pan Bus Lines carries more than 4 million passengers throughout the northeastern United States with hubs in Springfield, Cape Cod, Boston, Hartford, Providence, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and beyond.
Looking down the road, as they say in this business, beyond logging millions of additional miles on Firestone tires, Peter Pan is expanding its fleet, adding new routes, hiring more drivers, and utilizing technology, including a new app, to serve more customers and improve service to all riders.
The new routes are on Cape Cod and between New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., said Picknelly.
As for technology, a revamped website and the new app make it easier to buy tickets online, said Picknelly, adding that the app logs previous purchases, recognize trends, and enables the consumer to rebook a schedule with one click.
“We’re the fastest-growing bus line in America,” said Picknelly, adding that this was said about the company back when it first started putting Firestone tires on its buses, and it’s still true today.