Motorcoach

Motorcoaches are an underused, but growing mode

Posted on January 11, 2012 by Frank Di Giacomo, Publisher

Not that many decades ago, there were two intercity motorcoach services that provided full schedules that served both small towns and major cities in the U.S. In some places there were even more services, with strong regional intercity carriers. Next came deregulation under President Reagan and most companies providing such services exited the market for the more profitable tour and charter business. Now intercity coach service is on a comeback, and it's a trend that has gotten some notice among some policy makers.

According to a recent study by the libertarian think tank Cato Institute, intercity coach ridership has grown twice as fast as Amtrak's in the past five years, even though Amtrak's demand is also growing at a pretty healthy pace. Part of this is the result of coming from a depressed demand; 2006 saw the lowest intercity scheduled coach ridership in 40 years. Some of it has also been the result of declining air service. Much of it, however, has also been the result of some innovative marketing, lean and flexible operations, and a focus on what customers value, according to several studies conducted by the Chaddick Institute at Chicago's DePaul University.

Old and new companies part of picture
Some of this new activity is by well-established companies, such as Greyhound and the U.K.-based Stagecoach's Megabus subsidiary. Other parts of the success story are from new companies, however, including immigrant entrepreneurs like the Chinatown service in Boston and New York. Many of these services offer express service between major cities, some with Wi-Fi Internet service and plush seats. The travel times are also competitive with train and air travel in many cases, especially when you consider downtown-to-downtown markets.

This is not to say that government policy should favor intercity coach service instead of intercity rail, as some conservatives and libertarians argue. In fact, policies should encourage both, because both make regional economies more efficient by providing efficient alternatives to driving alone or using airlines for short hops. Both motorcoach and intercity passenger rail also reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil and make the U.S. economy more competitive. The resurgence of intercity motorcoach service is also good for Amtrak, because the competition makes both better and service agreements can make for a more seamless travel experience.

Encourage the whole network
Like the increase in passenger demand for Amtrak and public transportation, the return of customers to scheduled motorcoach service is also good for domestic suppliers of transportation equipment and infrastructure. Public officials need to encourage these trends, not pit them against each other.

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

More News

Fung Wah may shutdown permanently

After being unable to secure a pickup and drop-off location in South Station after losing it because of regulatory action in March 2013, President Pei Lin Liang said not having Boston as a site for service likely would mean the end of the company’s operations.

Santa Barbara, Calif. coach co. takes off as airlines cut back flights

When American Eagle stopped serving the local airport, Goleta-based Santa Barbara Airbus 'saw a significant growth in volume,' according to founder and CEO Eric Onnen.

Students in Calif. coach accident were not given safety instructions

NTSB investigators questioned every student and were told that neither of the bus drivers on the trip told them about emergency exit windows or showed them a safety video, per the bus company’s policy.

House committee approves key legislation to stop fed insurance hike

The Appropriations Committee vote tells FMCSA to stop spending money to write a rule or do research; that would raise the federal insurance minimums above the current $5 million figure.

ABC delivers CX45s to Mich., Md.

The new coaches are equipped with Cummins ISX engines coupled to Allison B500G5 transmissions and offer Van Hool standard safety features, including back up camera, lane departure system, Kidde fire suppression and daytime running lights.

 

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