Management & Operations

Pittsburgh bus to help fill commuter service gap

Posted on January 8, 2009 by Thi Dao, Assistant Editor

Travelers to and from Pennsylvania were given a new transportation option for a route that had been mainly dominated by automobiles. In late November, the Steel City Flyer, a business-class bus service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, was launched.

Henry Posner III, chairman of Railroad Development Corp. (RDC), which focuses on international rail investments, along with Robert Pietandrea, president, founded the service with Robert DeBolt of bus travel company DeBolt Unlimited.

The Steel City Flyer will serve two separate markets: trips to Harrisburg as an actual destination and connections to Amtrak at the Harrisburg Transportation Center.

Amtrak has started running faster and more frequent service to destinations east of Harrisburg, and the Flyer will supplement the less-serviced route to and from Pittsburgh.

A frequent traveler himself, Posner has had to coordinate his own intermodal transportation routes due to flight cancellations. US Airways cut the only direct flights between the two cities in September, leaving travelers with the options of several Greyhound buses and a once-daily Amtrak train. Most travelers opt to drive between the cities through the Pennsylvania Turnpike. “A light bulb finally went off that this might be worth doing in the Pittsburgh market,” he said.

The first routes will run on two 50-passenger Daimler Buses North America Setra S417 buses, leased until permanent buses are custom-ordered. The service offers amenities similar to those in airplanes, such as attendant service, reading lights, reclining seats, pillows and movies. Marketed toward businesspeople with limited time, it also offers Wi-Fi and laptop desks, enabling travelers to work while on the bus.

The bus service’s inaugural run in November was deemed a success. After “the start-up phase,” the trio plans to expand the business, with hopes to integrate their service into the Amtrak Website. “The objective is…when you go to the Website, you will see us as one of the Amtrak options out of
Pittsburgh,” said Posner. “There would be coordinated schedules and true pricing, and we would become part of the Amtrak network.”

Currently, tickets cost $69 each way in comparison to a $70 round-trip ticket with Greyhound and a $36 one-way train ticket with Amtrak.

However, Posner figures the Flyer isn’t competing with either of these — it’s going after a different market. He estimates the competition to be air travel and the personal automobile, but since direct flights have been canceled between the two cities, travelers find themselves with fewer choices. The Flyer hopes to offer travelers another alternative.

“Most travelers are not interested or able to put the pieces [of intermodal transport] together. We’re creating value by putting the pieces together for them. More importantly, we’re coming up with the biggest missing piece, which is the scheduled bus service built around the Amtrak schedule,” said Posner. “It should be an attractive alternative.”

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

More News

Valley Metro's Banta announces resignation

Has been with the agency since 2010 and oversaw its transition from a construction agency to an operating agency. He plans to work with the board to find his replacement.

Public transit users save $9,286, annually

The savings are based on the cost of commuting by public transportation compared to the cost of owning and driving a vehicle, which includes the Nov. 23 average national gas price and the national unreserved monthly parking rate numbers.

After criticism, MBTA delays schedule changes

The schedules, which would have operated two fewer trains out of North Station per day, were criticized by some as cuts. The MBTA had said the changes would improve service and decrease delays.

Amazon pulls controversial ads from NYC subways

The ads were for its new series, “The Man in the High Castle,” and featured wrapped New York subway seats with iconography from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.

Chicago agencies release new Ventra mobile payment app

The app is the first of its kind to allow customers to pay for rides on all three transit systems — CTA, Metra and Pace — from their mobile devices, transforming the way people across Chicago take transit each day.

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


Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational 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