Motorcoach

Report: Intercity motorcoach usage continues to rise

Posted on January 15, 2015

DePaul University of Chicago and its Chaddick Institute released its annual report, entitled "Adding on Amenities, Broadening the Base/2014 Year-in-Review: Intercity Bus Service in the United States," showing the eighth consecutive year of growth for the scheduled services, point-to-point segment of the motorcoach industry, such as Megabus, at the American Bus Association’s Marketplace in St. Louis on Tuesday.

"More and more, Americans are turning to city-to-city express bus for travel," said Joseph P. Schwieterman, professor, School of Public Service, and director of Chaddick Institute. "2014 was a really good year for megabus.com, which is showcased in the report due to its new services and Reserved Seating offering. Also, travelers are looking to save money and avoid the stress of flying and driving."

Last year brought a flurry of initiatives to offer new amenities designed to attract new consumer groups to bus travel, particularly those who put a premium on comfort and convenience. Megabus.com now offers reserved seating that also gives buyers the opportunity for priority boarding. A new operator, Vonlane, launched a first-class ground travel alternative to flying between Austin, Texas and Dallas, and will soon expand to Houston. Greyhound Lines is moving aggressively to offer Wi-Fi and power outlets on not only its Greyhound Express routes but also on its entire fleet. Royal Sprinter began offering an intimate, luxury travel experience in the Northeast. Other carriers are making similar investments to upgrade their services.

Expanding discount city-to-city carriers and traditional bus lines means there is a 2.2% increase in the number of daily operations on the nation’s bus system. This rate of growth is far exceeding air and train service. The growth in passenger traffic appears to be even higher. The expansion featured the introduction of an extensive new Megabus network in Florida, new Greyhound Connect services in the West, and a variety of service additions by large and small carriers around the country.

Dramatic enhancements to travel booking aggregator websites, including Wanderu and BusBud, are significantly expanding the size of the bus travel market. Consumers are becoming empowered to make decisions with far more information about their choices than has been available in the past.

2014 brought a flurry of initiatives to offer new amenities designed to attract new consumer groups to bus travel, particularly those who put a premium on comfort and convenience. Megabus.com now offers reserved seating that also gives buyers the opportunity for priority boarding. A new operator, Vonlane, launched a first-class ground travel alternative to flying between Austin and Dallas, Texas, and will soon expand to Houston. Greyhound Lines is moving aggressively to offer Wi-Fi and power outlets on not only its Greyhound Express routes but also on its entire fleet. Royal Sprinter began offering an intimate, luxury travel experience in the Northeast. Other carriers are making similar investments to upgrade their services.

Expanding discount city-to-city carriers and traditional bus lines means there is a 2.2% increase in the number of daily operations on the nation’s bus system. This rate of growth is far exceeding air and train service. The growth in passenger traffic appears to be even higher. This expansion featured the introduction of an extensive new Megabus network in Florida, new Greyhound Connect services in the West, and a variety of service additions by large and small carriers around the country.

Dramatic enhancements to travel booking aggregator websites, including Wanderu and BusBud, are significantly expanding the size of the bus travel market. Consumers are becoming empowered to make decisions with far more information about their choices than has been available in the past.

- See more at: http://www.buses.org/News-Publications/Press-Releases/2015-Press-Releases/2015-01/2015-01-13-DePaul-Study#sthash.We3RpYDC.dpuf

Highlights of the study include:

  • During 2014, city-to-city express bus service providers added more than 100 new daily services across the Unites States, resulting in a 2.1% increase in daily scheduled operations. While bus service grew, Amtrak train miles held constant, and the number of airline flights diminished by 3.5%.
  • In the midst of another wave of expansion, intercity bus retains its status as America's fastest growing intercity travel mode. Megabus.com grew from 594 to 616 daily operations (departures) during 2014.
  • Megabus.com reported, in October 2014, a 13.5% increase in ridership over the previous year.
  • Megabus.com introduced Reserved Seating during 2014, and the study noted that Reserved Seating at a table gives work-oriented passengers traveling in groups the opportunity to conduct business meetings during the trip. Ten seats — of the total 81 seats on each double-decker bus — are available for Reserved Seating.
  • City-to-city express bus service providers are attracting an ever-widening range of passengers through the introduction of sought-after amenities and services. Megabus.com is the first company in North American to offer customers state-of-the-art, green-certified double-decker buses with free Wi-Fi, electric outlets, restrooms and are wheelchair-accessible. As a result, bus travel is gaining loyalty among passengers who place a premium on comfort and convenience.
  • Increasingly, business travelers who have tended to shy away from bus service in the past are now climbing onboard.

 To view the full report, click here.

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