According to a study released by DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, curb-side bus amenities like Wi-Fi, 110-volt outlets and cheaper tickets are luring customers from Amtrak trains and airplanes. Responses to questions came from more than one thousand intercity bus travelers in Washington, D.C. and five other Eastern cities. About half were aged 18 to 25, and more than 83 percent surveyed were traveling for personal reasons and for pleasure.
According to the report, more than one-third of East Coast bus passengers would have opted for Amtrak if motorcoach service was not available. The study found that more than 91 percent plan to use electronic devices while traveling.
A December 2010 study conducted by the Institute showed intercity bus service was the fastest growing mode of intercity transportation for the third year in a row, outpacing air and rail transportation.
In a statement sent to BUSRide on Tuesday, Amtrak spokesperson Vernae Graham did not mention the Chaddick Institute study, but noted that Amtrak is on a long-term ridership trend, up 36 percent from FY 2000 to FY 2010 and will set another new ridership record for the current fiscal year, ending Sept. 30. Graham also noted that Amtrak has experienced 20 consecutive months of year-over-year ridership growth stretching back to November 2009.
Curb-side bus companies like Megabus offer fares from $1 and have served 10 million passengers across North America since 2006. Some tickets can be up to 80 percent cheaper than an Amtrak ticket for a similar route.
“Megabus.com revolutionized the bus industry when we launched our U.S. service in 2006, and we’ve continued to grow as travelers continue to look for safe, convenient, affordable transportation alternatives,” said Dale Moser, president and COO of megabus.com.
Megabus now serves 60 cities from hubs in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Washington, D.C.
— Glenn Swain