In July 1946, Robert T. Shafer Sr., read an advertisement in a local newspaper requesting bids to operate a school bus route for the Union-Endicott Central School District. At that time Mr. Shafer was operating a trucking service, delivering sand, gravel, and coal in the local area. He was awarded the contract and started operating the route in September 1947, with a used school bus he had purchased.
In the years that followed, Mr. Shafer continued bidding on routes offered by the Union-Endicott, Johnson City, and Binghamton City School Districts. During this time Mr. Shafer’s fleet of school buses grew to twenty-one.
In the mid-1950’s when New York State started regulating passenger carriers, Mr. Shafer was granted intrastate authority to operate from Broome County to any point in New York State. After the authority was granted, Robert T. Shafer & Sons, Inc., purchased it’s first inter-city charter bus.
In 1960, Endicott-West Endicott Bus Lines was purchased. This purchase included operating authority in the Village of Endicott, along with four transit buses. Shortly after the purchase, Mr. Shafer petitioned New York State for Authority to operate connecting service between Vestal, Vestal Center, and Endicott.
In the late 1960’s, with the school bus business operating twenty-eight buses, Robert T. Shafer & Sons, Inc., purchased six more inter-city charter buses.
In 1970, Mr. Shafer purchased Southern Tier Stages, Inc. This purchase provided interstate authority and added line service from Binghamton to Owego, and Ithaca, New York, Binghamton, New York to Montrose, Pennsylvania, and special operating authority between Binghamton and Pocono Downs racetrack in Wilkes Barre, PA. Six additional inter-city buses were also acquired as part of this purchase.
In 1977, all operating authorities were transferred from Robert T. Shafer’s & Sons, Inc., and Endicott-West Endicott, Inc., to Southern Tier Stages, Inc.
In 1978, Robert T. Shafer, Sr. retired and sold Southern Tier Stages, Inc. to his sons, Robert T. Shafer Jr., and Larry A. Shafer Sr.
In 2007, Shafer’s Tour & Charter moved their operation from a cramped garage in Johnson City, NY to a custom-built, state-of-the-art facility that was the dream and brainchild of Larry Shafer Sr. (click here for a photo tour).
Our 500 North Street building began as a dream of Larry’s; a place to park all of the buses indoors, with bright and welcoming offices, and facilities to allow our tour customers to park their cars securely, wait inside a heated building with rest rooms and to not have to brave the weather while boarding the bus.
In November of 2012, we lost our friend, our mentor and one of our leaders, Larry Shafer Sr.
This building and this business are Larry’s legacy, and as long we can continue to meet the traveling needs of our hometown area, and continue to move forward with clean, comfortable motorcoaches, skilled and courteous drivers, and a commitment to safety, Larry will always be with us, and with you, as you ride a Shafer motorcoach.