Lewis Stages founder Orson Lewis stands with his fleet of motor coaches in front of the Utah State Capitol between what his grandson Steve Lewis estimates
Lewis Stages founder Orson Lewis stands with his fleet of motor coaches in front of the Utah State Capitol between what his grandson Steve Lewis estimates to be 1928-1932. Photo courtesy of Lewis Stages.
One hundred years ago, Orson Lewis had saved up enough money from shoveling salt at the Great Salt Lake to buy a Ford Model-T. He began transporting Utahns in his Ford, starting the Lewis Stages Company, according to a press release. Now, Lewis Stages is using a different and larger mode of transportation to help Utahns travel throughout the West.

Lewis Stages is a Park City-based motor coach company that offers Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Park City bus tours as well as charter bus and shuttle bus services.

"We are a very loyal Park City company," said Lewis Stages co-owner Richard Bizzaro. "We are happy this is our home."

To celebrate 100 years of service, Lewis Stages recently purchased two motor coaches that rang in at a little over $500,000 apiece. Bizzaro said the state-of-the-art buses have several features that make them completely unique in the state of Utah.

While there is still no government regulation on safety belts in buses, Bizzaro said they wanted to install three-point safety belts in the extremely rare case of emergency on one of their motor coaches.

"Motor coaches are the safest way to travel in the country," he said. "You hear about accidents, but they are few and far between. They are very safe to begin with but even safer now with our new safety belts."

According to Nate Di Palma, public relations specialist for the company, Lewis Stages' new motor coaches are the only ones in the state with the three-point safety belts.

Another safety feature in the new buses is the driver's seat.


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There are cameras on the sides of the buses that monitor whether or not the bus is staying in its lane of traffic. If the driver veers into another lane without using the blinker, the driver's seat will vibrate to warn him or her.

"Our first concern is safety," Bizarro said. "The second is respecting the environment."

The two new buses also feature new diesel engines whose emission levels are comparable to a small-to-medium vehicle.

"We have been at the forefront of designing new motors that are much friendlier to the environment," Bizarro said.

Lewis Stages coach driver William Safford welcomes riders on board the company’s new 100th Anniversary motor coach. Nan Chalat Noaker/Park Record.
Lewis Stages coach driver William Safford welcomes riders on board the company's new 100th Anniversary motor coach. Nan Chalat Noaker/Park Record.
"The air that goes into those engines is dirtier than the air that comes out. The days of a bus going down the streets with pollution following it are over."

The buses also feature foot rests, cup holders, 120-watt electric outlets and television screens. Bizarro said the regular design of their buses is nice, but he hopes to make the centennial motor coach the new design standard for the fleet they renew every year.

Lewis Stages began with Orson Lewis, grew and became Lewis Brothers when his grandson Steve -- now on the Board of Directors -- took over the company. Eight years ago, on Feb. 1, 2006, Bizarro and business partner Gordo Cummins bought the company.

"They have reinvigorated the company with a new vision and resources that have given the company a new life," Lewis said.

While Bizarro and Cummins are not family, Bizarro said they are proud of the company's heritage and hope to represent the Lewis family well.

"We consider ourselves stewards of the Lewis name," he said. "We are responsible for it, and we treat it very carefully."