GO Riteway celebrates 60 years in business
Company started with just four buses, now has more than 1,000 vehicles


July 12, 2017

Head Mechanic for motor coaches Romey DeRuyter is seen through the reflections of clouds on the windshield as he pulls a motor coach into a service bay Tuesday afternoon at Riteway Bus Services offices in Richfield. The company is celebrating 60 years.
John Ehlke/Daily News

For any company to stay in business for 50 years, it's an achievement, but Go Riteway Transportation Group has exceeded that benchmark.

This year, the company is observing its 60th birthday.

GO Riteway was born in 1957 when Rollie and Pearl Bast started Riteway Bus Service with four school buses to serve the newly formed Germantown School District. Today, their children — Ron and Rochelle — are the owners and operators of the business. The company is in its third generation of family management with Ron’s children — Wendy and RJ — in key management positions. Today, the company offers a variety of transportation services, but still provides bus service for 27 school districts including Erin, Richfield, Friess Lake and Slinger. It recently was awarded the transportation contract for the Elmbrook School District.

Besides school buses, the company offers transportation via airport shuttles, executive sedans, executive SUVs, executive vans, limo coaches, mini coaches, motor coaches and executive coaches. The company has more than 1,350 employees and 1,090 vehicles operating out of 18 Wisconsin locations. The commercial services division operates 38 airport shuttles, 31 motor-coaches, 30 executive sedans and 21 mini coaches.

A line of Riteway school buses lined up is seen Tuesday afternoon at
Riteway Bus Services offices in Richfield.
John Ehlke/Daily News

“Thanks to the efforts of our employees, GO Riteway has been fortunate to experience significant growth,” said Ron Bast, chairman of the board of GO Riteway’s family ownership group. “Our organization has grown in both size and complexity due to people, honesty and hard work. We hire good people and let them do what they do best.”

Those involved say the company's success has been a team effort.

“We work hard to honor and recognize those who are the face of GO Riteway – our drivers, shop and support staff. They make it happen every day,” said Rochelle Bast, co-owner and vice-chair.

“Our strong growth is because of key people who have been with us a long time,” said RJ Bast, co-owner and vice-chair and who's responsible for oversight of the commercial services division.

“And employee safety programs are paramount,” Rochelle Bast said. “We all believe in the legacy of Mom and Dad (Rollie and Pearl). We always try to figure out how we can be better.”

Ron Bast said everyone is proud of the company they've helped build.

“We’ve tried to do the right things and thank all of our past, present and future employees,” he said. “We will continue with good smart growth for the sustainable future and want employees to be proud of saying they work for GO Riteway.”

The company plans to have a celebration at the Washington County Fair from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. July 30. Employees, vendors and many other people have been invited to attend and take part in the celebration.

The family has recognized the need for professional management to help the company continue to grow as they move into the next chapter of the company, said Wendy Bast. Recently, the company announced the appointment of Bob Zanotti as its new president. Zanotti will be the first non-family leader since Rollie and Pearl founded the company.

“We have found someone who is not only a highly qualified manager, but a strong leader who closely aligns with the values of our family and how we want our company run,” said Wendy Bast.

Zanotti credits his early management career experiences at Federal Express Corporation with his leadership approach.

“Focusing on treating employees with consideration and respect is the best way to deliver outstanding service to customers,” Zanotti said. “GO Riteway has a rich history of providing exceptional customer service and we all expect that to continue as we grow.”

Zanotti has been president of two privately held local companies in southeast Wisconsin and is an Army veteran.

The company re-branded in 2011 from Riteway Bus Service, Inc. to GO Riteway Transportation Group when it acquired an airport shuttle service.

GO Riteway is constructing a new 3,300-square-foot facility and bus parking lot for Mequon-Thiensville school bus operations that will be completed later this summer and preparing leased building space for the new Elmbrook School District bus terminal.