Government Issues

Intercity bus services should be part of national policy

Posted on January 14, 2014 by Frank Di Giacomo, Publisher

Once an industry sector on the verge of extinction, regularly scheduled intercity bus service has made a huge comeback in recent years. That fact seems to be lost on national policymakers, and that situation has to change.

Chicago-based DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development tracked this comeback through its annual survey of intercity bus service. The most recent report, covering the year 2012, shows an annual service growth of 7.5%, as measured in daily service departures,
the second-highest rate in the survey’s 15-year history. In addition, ridership is also on an impressive upward trajectory and annual boardings now exceed the number served by airlines.

Innovative service offerings
It’s also a vibrant industry, with many innovative curb-side services offered by BoltBus, Megabus, the so-called “Chinatown” services in the Northeast and other recent start-up carriers, a segment that grew in the most recent annual survey by more than 30%. Part of this growth is represented by new services from traditional companies, such as Greyhound Express and Peter Pan Express, which are both responses to the new demand.

Some of the forces that are driving the intercity bus growth are the same driving other modes, such as less automobile use, the aging of the population and the desire of many in the millennial generation to have more transportation options than those that come with owning a car.

These are trends that seem to be more than what can be explained by the recent recession, because they started before it and have continued after the recovery began. What is also driving this mode’s growth is what drives Amtrak’s growth: the greater freedom offered, including fewer boarding hassles and the ability of passengers to use new personal technology in ways that airlines have been unable to provide in recent years.

Very little done for industry
Although many in the U.S. Department of Transportation and Congress are beginning to take notice of these trends, very little was done in either of the major transportation bills that were passed since the recession, the Recovery Act and the two-year surface transportation authorization.

To its credit, the feds have begun to address safety concerns in this industry, but only after a spate of high-profile accidents and traffic-related issues that have been created by operators in some cities.

This year, Congress and the president have another chance to more fully integrate intercity bus services into a national transportation policy as the current authorizing legislation expires at the end of September. The focus should not simply be in greater safety enforcement; a larger vision of better mobility choices, including intercity bus services, must be part of the next bill.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

Pres. Obama nominates former MBTA GM Scott to member of NTSB

In addition to leading the MBTA, Scott was Massachusetts Department of Transportation Rail & Transit Administrator, roles she held from 2012 to April 2015. 

Senate passes long-term transportation bill

The $350 billion long-term bill would make changes to highway, transit, railroad and auto safety programs, but will only pay for the first three years of the six-year bill.

Civic action, leadership key to transportation innovation, reform, study says

The report studied recent innovations in transportation practice in New York City, Portland, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Charlotte and found that local advocacy and civic engagement were a necessary prerequisite for revitalizing urban transportation.

Lynx CEO to leave post Aug. 31 to helm CATS

The Lynx board, which estimated finding a replacement could take 90 days, said it has no interest in bringing in a private manager to run the system -- a suggestion by local lawmakers.

Senate votes to advance transportation bill debate

The 62-36 vote came just a day after a majority of senators balked at approving a motion to proceed to debate on the bipartisan bill, which was negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK).

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The resource for managers of class 1-7 truck Fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close