Megabus enters northeastern corridor

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?

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

1 comment

  1. It’s not just transportation by bus that has begun to get “sexy”. Ridership on Amtrak has gone way up on the regional lines connecting Milwaukee, Quincy, and St. Louis to Chicago. I’ve also seen recent press releases that the state of Ohio has asked Amtrak to look into re-opening service to connect Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati; and that the state of Kansas has asked for a study on Amtrak opening a regional connector between Topeka and Oklahoma City.

    My brother tells me that fuel is only about 10% of the cost of opperating passenger trains. So they aren’t as sensitive to fuel prices as airplanes of cars. As gasoline continues to go up, I see a renewal of inter-city bus and train usage (especially around large regional cities). Economics is going to dictate it.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.