Back in 2006, I first wrote about the UK-based Megabus entering the US market, and giving riders an option between the hard-worn Greyhound and the under-regulated (“is that antifreeze?”) “Chinatown” buses. (Link, to give you an idea of schedules and fares.) They’ve since moved to locations in California and Nevada, and have now announced a New York hub with service as far a-field as Washington, Boston and Toronto. Could the bus be getting sexy? Or at least a viable option for those with choices? Intercity bus ridership is up, even on “the Dog”, and a fuel crisis and recession will probably encourage this trend.
To show it isn’t a fluke, Bolt Bus, a cousin of Greyhound (both are owned by UK-based FirstGroup; does that make them “Scotstown buses”?) has begun selling tickets between Washington and New York, and plans service between New York and Boston. Not to be forgotten, I’ve known people to ride and like the “post-Chinatown” carriers like DC2NY.
Wifi, refreshments and reserved seats are some of the amenities you might get in this new generation of intercity bus, rather than sketchy ticketing and questions about what’s being carried in that first luggage bay. But this advance seems to bring variable pricing, too (not on DC2NY) meaning those $1 come-on fares really mean the worst of airline pricing has come to ground transport.
Lastly, what about the South? Surely there’s an opportunity in the Triangle-Charlotte-Atlanta corridor?