One hot summer day, while driving one of the conservation trucks, he was passed on the highway by a shiny new Trailways bus. As he glanced over at the driver and passengers through the sweat rolling down his face, he noticed they all looked so cool and comfortable, so completely at ease on this miserably hot day. The very next day he went and applied for a driving position with Trailways. Shortly thereafter, he was hired as a driver and assigned a daily route. He drove buses all over the Virginia back roads and highways and became well respected among his fellow drivers and his superiors.
After several years of driving he applied for a coveted management position within Trailways and was given the opportunity to take over the Assistant Station Manager position in Lynchburg, Virginia. The job suited him well and he was able to learn the other side of the bus business, drive occasionally and make the contacts he would need to realize a dream of starting his own bus company one day. Over the next several years George moved up the chain from assistant to manager, followed by manager-of-drivers and finally regional manager for Trailways.With this experience, George had learned what he needed to go out on his own. So in the latter part of 1957 he began looking for a used bus to buy. He found an older Trailways bus that had been sold out of their fleet. It was a 1942 GMC PD2903 with many miles, but a very familiar piece of equipment and one that would be a good start. The only problem was getting together enough money to buy it. With the confidence that had propelled him this far, he approached his Trailways boss, Claude Jessup with his dream. Even though it meant leaving the Trailways family, Mr. Jessup loaned George the money he needed to go into business for himself.
A Dream RealizedWinn Bus Lines, Inc.entered the business world in March 1958, when George Minor Winn signed the company’s articles of incorporation. With the money in hand loaned to him by his former Trailways boss, George was now the proud owner of one of Richmond’s most recognized and beloved companies. Few companies would be as closely identified with Richmond, Virginia as Winn Bus Lines.
As with most great enterprises, Winn Bus Lines beginnings were modest. The company had anxious moments in its infancy. The earliest record of a charter was a "line run" from Richmond to Charlottesville in 1958. With the company’s first route came hope—a young Winn Bus Lines had taken its first steps.
Acquisition of Virginia’s oldest bus companyPerhaps the most notable accomplishment was the purchase of Virginia’s oldest bus company, Virginia Stage Lines in 1966. Virginia Stage Lines was incorporated in 1925 and joined the Trailways family in 1938. Oddly enough, the man who had loaned George Winn the money to start Winn Bus Lines (Claude Jessup) was the president of Virginia Stage Lines. With the acquisition of Virginia Stage Lines, Winn Bus Lines became the oldest continually operated bus company in the Commonwealth of Virginia and holds that distinction to this day.
Becoming a National CompanyIn the 50’s came air-conditioning and restrooms aboard buses. This was followed by radios and entertainment systems in the 1980’s. The advancement to computer controlled engines and a movement toward new engine applications has taken the industry to a whole new level.
Upon George’s retirement in 1983, his son-in-law Robert "Bob" Pounders bought the company and took the business to new levels. Coining the term "motorcoach", equipping the motorcoaches with curtains, wall-to-wall carpeting and uniformed drivers to mimic the airline industry were just a few of the changes made in the 1980’s.George Winn’s two grandsons Mark and David joined the business in 1991 and 1993 respectively and now guide the operation as COO and CFO of a multi-million dollar motorcoach operation.
Winn Bus Lines started in the last century with a single man envisioning transportation that would meet the needs of people in a small part of Virginia. Today, Winn Bus Lines is still a Christian family owned and operated business consisting of motorcoaches, minicoaches, vans, shuttles, transit buses, limousines, executive sedans, trolleys and a tour division. The company remains just small enough to still give that personal touch to every client. It begins its next half century in a solid tradition of family values with modes of transportation that serve the varying and ever-changing needs of people in Virginia and across the country.