As the story goes, in 1942, George Krapf, Jr. was a businessman in a small rural community in Chester County. George was well respected and known for his ability to fix anything and his willingness to help his neighbors. So, when the local school officials approached George for a solution to transport students from the outlying areas to the high school in town, it was natural for George to find a way to “make it happen”.
Little did George Krapf know that the exceptional work ethics and family values he lived by would eventually become the very foundation for one of the largest privately-owned transportation companies in the United States, and that 75 years after he “helped out” the local school district, the third generation of his family would be running that company.
George Krapf was a very determined gentleman and a very hands-on, meticulous worker. It was “his way or the highway”. When the time came to establish a mission statement, a vision, and core values for the company, it was merely a matter of listing all the things George stood for and restating his beliefs for running a successful company. To this day, the Core Values remain an integral part of the day-to-day operations of the Krapf organization.
A Deviation from Yellow
By the late 1980’s, George’s eldest son, Dale, saw the need to expand the company’s transportation services beyond school bus. In 1984, Krapf was awarded a contract to provide paratransit service for Chester County and continues to operate that service today as Rover Community Transportation. Around that same time, Dale was also successful in coercing George into expanding into the motorcoach segment of transportation.
The first MCI was purchased and the fleet continued to grow, requiring Krapf’s to build a new facility in West Chester, PA in 1990.
Having just graduated from college, Dale’s son, Gary, entered the motorcoach arena and subsequently became President of Krapf Coaches. Under Gary’s direction, Krapf Transit was formed, following the purchase of the local privately-owned fixed-route transit service connecting major points in the area. This service has been in continuous operation since 1992.
In 1994, Krapf Coaches became the first private contractor to be awarded a contract with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) – a partnership which still exists today.
Along with a variety of corporate, college and commercial shuttles, Krapf Transit operates eight state-of-the-art midi’s for the Philadelphia Phlash, a hop on and off service with 22 stops at key Philadelphia destinations. Additionally, Krapf operates shuttle service for the Philadelphia Navy Yard with five full size transit buses looping across the 1,200 acre business campus and connecting to Center City.
Focus on Community
During the past fifty years, the family has provided substantial financial support to countless local organizations, and in particular to the schools and communities served by both the school bus division and the commercial division. While they have also supported numerous national charities, in 2016 the Board of Directors made a long-term commitment for the Krapf organization to partner with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. This partnership has resulted in a deeper sense of community involvement across the organization.
As one of the most successful, diversified ground transportation operators in the United States, Krapf seeks strategic opportunities and most recently acquired Birnie Bus Service, Inc. headquartered in Rome, New York. With this addition, Krapf now operates about 2,500 vehicles in five states and employs approximately 3,500. Like Krapf, Birnie Bus is a family-run company with strong family values and a commitment to safety and service excellence.
As the Krapf Group celebrates its 75th anniversary the company is undergoing a rebranding, along with a revamping of its website. However, behind the rebranding remains the same family company dedicated to its Core Values and the growing community it serves.