Report: Motorcoach travel more cost effective, efficient than Amtrak

Posted on August 1, 2013

A new study by M.J. Bradley and Associates prepared for the American Bus Association Foundation, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and the Reason Foundation reveals lower consumer and taxpayer costs and reduced emissions associated with motorcoach travel as compared with Amtrak’s rail system. Comparing a number of key areas, the study will be used to seek reforms in the transportation planning process.

The report establishes that motorcoach companies provide passenger service that is either more effective or on par with Amtrak, but at a fraction of the cost and with little to no public subsidy. The analysis compares consumer (fare, travel time) and societal costs (government subsidies, air emissions) associated with 20 trips between select U.S. city pairs on both Amtrak and scheduled intercity motorcoaches. These trips are representative of the Amtrak system covering a range of geographies, both urban and rural, and include the Northeast Corridor, including Acela; short-corridor trains; and long-distance trains.

Comparisons concluded these key findings:

  • On a fully allocated cost basis (capital and operating) motorcoaches average on cost per passenger less than 25% of the cost to provide comparable Amtrak Service
  • Only two Amtrak lines generate enough revenue to cover operating and capital costs.
  • On average, per-passenger carbon emissions from motorcoaches are 45% — 65% less than comparable Amtrak trips
  • Motorcoaches generally offer more schedules per trip than comparable Amtrak trips
  • Motorcoaches serve 2,766 cities and towns in the lower 48 states, while Amtrak serves more than 500 cities and towns in 46 of the 48 states.
  • Generally total trip time by motorcoach is comparable with Amtrak.

“This report once again shows that the transportation planning process should require careful consideration of all modes of transportation to help determine which are the best value for taxpayers, both in terms of short-term costs and long-term liabilities,” said Ryan Alexander, President of Taxpayers for Common Sense.

“Based on the report findings, motorcoaches clearly offer opportunities to reduce carbon emissions, save taxpayers and travelers time and money, while providing broader schedules to more destinations”, said Peter Pantuso, president of the ABA Foundation. “And, yet the transportation planning system reflects gaping inequities in modal choices, funneling tax dollars into projects that may not make environmental or fiscal sense.”

"As we strive to improve mobility and our infrastructure in this time of debt and deficits, we need to spend our transportation funding more wisely than ever. Congress shouldn't automatically keep pouring money into existing systems. Before spending taxpayers' money, Congress needs to closely examine the benefits and cost-effectiveness of alternatives, just as this report has done with buses and Amtrak," said Shirley Ybarra, senior transportation policy analyst at Reason Foundation and formerly Virginia's secretary of transportation.

The study’s sponsors hope to use the findings regarding cost effectiveness and environmental efficiency to evolve and transform the transportation planning process into a more inclusive system — to help save tax dollars and reduce carbon emissions.

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

More News

Seattle bridge bus crash kills four students, injures dozens

The Ride the Ducks tour vehicle, heading northbound on the bridge, collided with one of the student buses, which was carrying about 45 students and employees in the college’s international program. The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of 17 officials to Seattle to investigate on Friday.

MCI to provide service, host hospitality tent for Philadelphia Papal visit

Drivers are invited to stop by the MCI hospitality tent for complimentary coffee and donuts, with opportunities to learn about MCI pre-owned coach inventory, parts specials, training on engine regeneration and wheelchair lifts, and more.

Thrasher adds Setra S 417s for Mercedes Benz contract

The purchase from MCI follows the operators' 2013 win on a four-year contract to provide transportation services to the Daimler division’s Brand Immersion Experience, a program that will bring some 26,000 Mercedes employees to the plant in Vance, Ala., and other Birmingham-area locations by 2017.

San Francisco's Leap Transit files for bankruptcy

In May, California regulators issued a cease-and-desist order to the company for running without permits. The company immediately said in an announcement it would be “offline” for the week, however, the service never returned.

2 die, 4 injured when car plows into tour bus

The crash occurred when an allegedly drunken driver in a speeding BMW slammed into the tour bus. The driver was injured and taken to a hospital. Las Vegas police said the BMW driver's friend called 911 to report the driver just left a bar and was drunk when he got into his car.

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 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