The Beginning (1981-1986)

In 1981, Hal Fowke, Emery Kirk, Shannon Kirk and Buddy Young purchased two white activity school buses and started Capitol Bus Lines (Capitol Tours). The four gentlemen made the decision to purchase the buses because of phone calls they received from several groups, including Mt. Hebron United Methodist Church, looking for someone who could provide transportation for their groups.

Growth (1987-1993)

In 1987, Capitol Tours purchased Colonial Coach in Charleston. By 1988 the owners decided to expand into the paddlewheel boat business with the creation of Great American Riverboat Cruises in Charleston. 1989 brought excitement with the acquisition of the first brand new motorcoach and the moving of the paddlewheel boats from Charleston to Myrtle Beach. 1990 brought change when Shanon and Debbie Kirk moved to Myrtle Beach to run Great American Riverboat Cruises. In the same year, Buddy Young was deployed with the SC Air National Guard to Desert Storm. His wife, Mary Young, began working in the business while Buddy was deployed and continued working in the business upon Buddy’s returned in 1991. This began the transition into the family business it is today.

Divide and Conquer (1994-2000)

In an effort to specialize in their respective industries, the owners divided the paddlewheel boat company from the bus company. In 1994, Shannon and Debbie Kirk took control of Great American Riverboat Cruises and Buddy and Mary Young took control of Capitol Tours. The bus company continued to grow and Capitol Tours expanded to North Charleston in 1995 with the purchase of Sea Island Stages. During ’95, Capitol Tours joined the American Bus Association (ABA) and in 1998 was one of the founding members of the Motorcoach Association of South Carolina (MCASC). Buddy was the first president of MCASC from 1998-2001 and continues to serve on the Board of Directors today.

Perseverance (2001-Present)

The events of September 11, 2001 brought change, not only to the company, but to the tourism industry as a whole. Capitol Tours began downsizing their fleet of 20 buses. In 2002, Buddy began his tenure as a member of the Board of Directors for the ABA and still serves today. 2003 began an annual tradition of attending the American Bus Association Marketplace, the travel and tourism industry’s premier business event. In 2005, Capitol Tours continued our national involvement as four drivers, Carlos Anderson, Charlie Derrick, CB Simmons and Ricky Younginer, assisted in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. Their names are now listed in The Museum of Bus Transportation in Hershey, PA. Capitol Tours was voted by the members of the Motorcoach Association of South Carolina as the Operator of the year four years in a row from 2007-2010.  Mary was appointed to serve on ABA's Top 100 Committee in 2010. This committee selects  annual top 100 "must see" events in the United States and Canada to assist professional tour planners and the general public. 2013 started with a bang as Buddy served as the Chairman of the ABA’s annual Marketplace in January. We also purchased two new buses and now operate 10 motorcoaches. Buddy was elected President of the Motorcoach Association of South Carolina at the annual meeting and Capitol Tours was named Business of the Year by the Pineview Ruritan Club. 2013 ended with the retirement of Glenda Tate, a tour consultant who planned and escorted countless memorable tours during her 16+ years with us. In January 2014, Mary was awarded ABA Media's first-ever Women in Buses award at the annual Marketplace. She has served on the Women in Buses committee for three years. At ABA's 2015 annual Marketplace, Mary was named the chair of the Women in Buses committee.

Future

We are proud to be a part of the tourism industry and are excited to provide you the opportunity to see America. Whether your group is large or small, you need transportation only or need a complete tour package, we look forward to serving you.

Capitol Tours

2926 Leaphart Road

West Columbia, SC 29169

803.794.9661

800.777.9766

Sea Island Stages

North Charleston, SC

843.767.4310

800.968.8037

American Bus Association Logo Motorcoach Association of SC Logo United Motorcoach Association Logo