How Curbside Carriers Changed America's Mind About Buses

Intercity bus travel is no longer the exclusive domain of the down-and-out. The likes of BoltBus and Megabus have, over the past few years, brought a new level of service to the open roads.
April 13, 2014, 7am PDT | Josh Stephens
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"Upstarts Megabus and BoltBus began service in the U.S. in 2006 and 2007, respectively, just in time to serve the iPhone generation. Megabus began in the Chicago area while BoltBus first developed service in the Northeast Corridor between Boston and Washington, D.C. Essentially copycats of each other, Megabus and BoltBus rolled out brand new coaches, appealing liveries, easily navigable websites, relatively low prices, and, not insignificantly, curbside pick-up and drop-off. They endeavored to be everything that the conventional bus companies, such as Greyhound, Trailways and Peter Pan, were not (though BoltBus is actually a subsidiary of Greyhound/Peter Pan)."

"Since 2008, DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development has carved out a singular niche by conducting an annual survey of intercity bus service. The most recent findings, covering the year 2012, revealed an industry on the rise. In 2012 alone, intercity bus service increased 7.5 percent, the second-highest rate on record, after 2008. But this year’s numbers represent a significant increase in gross activities, with 3,879 daily operations at the beginning of 2013, up from 3,608 at the beginning of 2012."

“I think it’s great,” said Cato [Institute's] Randall O’Toole. “Since about 1964, transportation in America has been increasingly…bureaucratized, subsidized, regulated and so on. They’re figuring out ways to rely on shared infrastructure—highways are used by cars, trucks, buses and so forth—and not have a lot of their own infrastructure.” 

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Published on Saturday, November 1, 2014 in InTransition Magazine
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