Why Intercity Bus Travel is Growing

Intercity bus travel is the fastest growing mode of travel for the third year in a row. This piece from New Geography looks at why.

New bus services have cropped up in recent years, offering cheap service between major city hubs, often operating as "curbside" services that sidestep bus terminals.

"The comeback of the intercity bus is noteworthy for the fact that it is taking place without government subsidies or as a result of efforts by planning agencies to promote energy efficient forms of transportation. Instead, it is a market-driven phenomenon that is gradually winning back demographic groups that would have scarcely contemplated setting foot on an intercity bus only a few years ago. Our DePaul University study estimates that curbside operators like Megabus expanded the number of daily departures by 23.9% last year. In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, service grew at an even faster rate.

As recently as a decade ago, traditional bus services were all but written off as a "mode of last resort." A painful and unrelenting decline had pushed intercity buses into the margins of travel. The opening interstate highways, increased automobile ownership, and the deterioration of downtown business districts in major cities had weakened demand for intercity bus services starting in the 1960s. Continued retrenchment took place throughout the 1980s and 1990s-a downturn that pushed Greyhound into bankruptcy and continued even after the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001, which dramatically affected the demand for air travel."

Full Story: Here Comes the Bus: America’s Fastest Growing Form of Intercity Travel


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