The motorcoach industry is the number one commercial people mover in the U.S., accounting for 751 million passenger trips in 2007, up nearly 20 percent from the previous figure of 631 million passenger trips in 2005, according to a newly updated industry census released today by the American Bus Association (ABA).
The December 2008 study, “The Economic Impacts and Social Benefits of the U.S. Motorcoach Industry: Binding the Nation Together by Providing Diverse and Affordable Services to Everyone,” was produced by research firm Nathan Associates Inc., and updates previous census reports issued in 2005 and 2006.
“The motorcoach industry is the number one [commercial] people mover,” the study reports. “In 2007, the industry provided 751 million passenger trips. The industry provided nearly 9 percent more passenger trips than commercial airlines (excluding foreign-flag air carriers) and 67 percent more than Amtrak and commuter rail combined.”
Scheduled intercity bus service was provided at 3,046 locations in 2006, compared to air service at 604 airports and intercity rail at 525 stations, the study found. The majority (55 percent) of long-distance passenger trips by bus are taken by females. And buses continue to be the safest and greenest mode of transportation, the researchers found.
“The surging bus ridership figures revealed in this updated industry census confirm that motorcoaches are enticing more new customers each day,” said ABA President & CEO Peter J. Pantuso. “We’re moving more people, serving more locations, and offering travelers a customer-service oriented, hassle-free and affordable travel alternative.”
Perhaps most compelling in the study’s findings is that independent motorcoach operators offer such comprehensive service with virtually no federal subsidy. Motorcoaches account for a mere 6 cents in federal subsidies per passenger trip, while public transits cost 77 cents per passenger trip, commercial air carriers cost $4.32 per passenger trip, and Amtrak costs $46.06 in taxpayer subsidies per passenger trip.
Other key findings of the new report focused on how motorcoach tourism and travel generates visitor spending and supports jobs in destinations across the country, infusing local economies with tourism spending on local hotels, restaurants, attractions and retail goods.