Dragon Bus fires up the Northeast Corridor

A new Coach USA service morphs out of Eastern Travel and Today’s Bus

The Coach USA Chinatown Dragon as it will appear on runs in the Northeast Corridor.

Based on the success and growing popularity of Megabus, and the obvious demand for low fare express coach service in cities throughout the Northeast Corridor, Coach USA, Paramus, NJ, presents Dragon Bus as its newest iteration on intercity service.

“We will start Dragon Bus using single deck coaches to originate from and travel to the Chinese areas of U.S. cities,” says Brian Souter, co-founder and chief executive officer of the Stagecoach Group, Perth, Scotland. “All these vehicles will be fully equipped with WiFi. This will be a more economy product than Megabus.com, but we will do some selected cross-selling.”

Souter says this has worked very successfully in Scotland with Megabus.com and Scottish Citylink, noting the capability to cross sell enables Coach USA to offer customers more frequent services at the times they want to travel.

Last September with little fanfare or publicity Coach USA moved to purchase Eastern Travel and finalized its agreement in February to purchase Today’s Bus, once a rival of Eastern Travel.

Eastern Travel routes run between New York City and Washington D.C., while Today’s Bus reached into Philadelphia and northern Virginia. This month the two entities will launch as Dragon Bus, a significantly upgraded curbside express service, says Dale Moser, Coach USA president and COO.

Coach USA says the acquisitions did not include any of the companies’ rolling stock, and that Dragon Bus is gradually replacing the fleet with a number of new D model MCIs in time for the spring launch.

“The objective here is to greatly enhance the service and safety levels in this type of bus operation,” says Moser. “We will replace the equipment and integrate many of the same services offered by Megabus.com, and provide base offerings with greater frequencies in more locations.”

Moser agrees that the one tremendous advantage Coach USA will be able to extend to both Megabus and Dragon Bus patrons is the capability to cross-sell both brands over the Internet.

The Coach USA Chinatown Dragon as it will appear on runs in the Northeast Corridor.

“The demographic for this type of bus service is growing tremendously,” says Moser. “Dragon Bus represents the next big step for this company as we continue to move toward a more complete customer-oriented express service.”

Coach USA sees this type of regional intercity transport not only becoming more popular but even more necessary, particularly in light of today’s economic forecast. As much as it plans to enhance the basic product, Moser says the average fare of $25 is still a substantial bargain with greater efficiency than the $100 to $200 spent to travel the same distances by train or plane. BR