Posts Tagged ‘intercity bus service’

New York-Boston Luxury Bus Service Shuts Down

January 4, 2020

A luxury bus operator in the New York-Boston market abruptly closed on New Year’s Eve after 17 years in business.

The president of LimoLiner cited financial pressures and competition that led the company into bankruptcy proceedings.

Mark Richardson said those pressures included rising expenses for insurance, mantenance and labor.

Efforts to sell the operation fell thought. “It was our last resort,” he said of the shutdown. “Coming into the new year with our slow season, we just felt we were no longer able to continue operating.”

LimoLiner, which had begun operations in 2003, was known for offering onboard movies, spacious leather seats, and fresh meals served by an attendants.

Its fleet of eight buses and 25 employees operated multiple daily trips to Midtown Manhattan from the Back Bay and Framingham for fares of less than $100.

Richard said LimoLiner was also hurt by other bus companies entering the market and lower airline and Amtrak fares.

Some of LimoLiner’s loyal customers told the Boston Globe that they considered it to be an affordable and comfortable alternative to Amtrak.

“It felt like this extravagant way to travel, but it really wasn’t so expensive compared to taking a train,” said Susan Rubin of Stoneham.

Greyhound Ceding Nevada Route to Amtrak

February 15, 2018

Citing low ridership, Greyhound is pulling out of five rural Nevada communities and suggesting that displaced passengers ride Amtrak instead.

The bus carrier said it will cease service on Feb. 21 to Elko, Winnemucca, Lovelock, Battle Mountain and Wendover. It also is ending service to Salt Lake City on a route that also serves Reno.

The bus cuts come on the heels of Megabus ending service to Reno on Jan. 9.

At the time that it ended service to Reno, Megabus cited aggressive pricing by airlines serving Reno-Tahoe International Airport.

Greyhound will continue to offer service from Reno to such western cities as Sacramento, San Francisco and Phoenix.

It said it has reached an partnership with Amtrak to allow those booked on Greyhound to take the train.

Amtrak’s California Zephyr between Chicago and the San Francisco Bay region offers service to Reno, Elko, Winnemucca and Salt Lake City on a similar schedule to what Greyhound operates.

Travelers to Battle Mountain, Lovelock and Wendover, however, will not receive similar accommodations.

German Bus Company to Enter U.S. Market

November 16, 2017

A German long-distance bus company says it plans to begin service in the United States in competition with Greyhound, Megabus and Amtrak.

FlixBus said it will be based in Los Angeles.

“There is a significant shift in the American transport market at the moment. Public transportation and sustainable travel is becoming more important,” FlixBus founder and manager Andre Schwaemmlein said in a statement.

FlixBus has been a major player in European long-distance bus service since 2013 and has survived a fierce price war among new market entrants to boost its market share in Germany.

A Reuters news service story said FlixBus has more than 90 percent market share and its bright green motor coaches are a common sight on German motorways.

FlixBus does not own any of its buses but instead works with local and regional partners.

That is similar to how Megabus operates in the United States. Owned by Britain’s Stagecoach Group, Megabus began U.S. service in 2006.

One of its chief competitors, Greyhound, is owned by a British company, FirstGroup PLC. Greyhound carries 18 million passengers a year with a fleet of 1,700 vehicles.

By contrast, Amtrak carried 31.3 million in fiscal year 2016. Figures are not yet available systemwide for FY 2017.

FlixBus did not say when it would begin service or what routes it would serve.

Columbus Named Transportation ‘Pocket of Pain’

August 25, 2017

Columbus has been identified in a study as one of the nation’s most prominent “pockets of pain” when it comes to intercity public ground transportation.

The capital of Ohio made the list because of its lack of Amtrak service and express bus service.

It was joined up there by another state capital, Phoenix, which also lacks Amtrak service. Also on the list was Akron and Dayton.

Amtrak’s New York-Kansas City National Limited halted in Columbus and Dayton for the last time on Oct. 1, 1979. Megabus pulled out of Columbus this past Janauary.

The study was released by Chicago-based DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development.

It focused on large cities that lack rail and express bus connections to other major cities. Cities outside Ohio that also made the list were Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Fort Myers, Florida.

“Columbus has been cursed in terms of ground transportation, largely because of geography,” said Joseph Schwieterman, co-author of the study and director of the Chaddick Institute. “It’s a little far from cities such as Chicago and Washington to make bus service a good success.”

Among the study’s findings:

  • Cleveland-to-Columbus is the fourth-busiest route (ones with the most point-to-point travel) in the country that lacks both intercity express bus service and rail service.
  • Chicago-to-Columbus is the seventh-busiest such route.

“The study validates what we already knew: The central Ohio region does have gaps in ground transportation options for passengers connecting to other regions,” said William Murdock, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. “That is why we are working hard with our community partners across four states, including Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania.

“These efforts include a Columbus-to-Chicago passenger rail connection and the Midwest Connect Hyperloop Corridor (Pittsburgh to Chicago via Columbus), as well as (other) regional efforts.”

Last year Columbus won the national Smart City Challenge and was awarded $40 million by the U.S. Department of Transportation and $10 million by Vulcan Inc. Another $90 million has been pledged by a Columbus public-private partnership, bringing the total to $140 million.

That funding was not intended to go toward development of conventional rail or bus intercity service.

However, Schwieterman said the Smart City projects can only help.

“Innovation in urban areas could morph into providing true intercity service,” Schwieterman said. “It’s only a matter of time before services like Uber and Lyft start offering van service between cities, for example.”

He also believes the federal government should track ridership of private express bus services the way it does with airline passengers, to better understand the demand on various routes.

Schwieterman would like to see local governments encourage bus service by helping companies establish convenient curbside stops and providing incentives to renovate bus stations.

“Some people will consider an express bus, but are resistant to taking Greyhound,” Schwieterman said. “It’s a culture change.”

To see the study, go to http://bit.ly/2xd2LEb

The Double Edge Sword of Higher Gas Prices

August 25, 2017

Lower gasoline prices present a dilemma for public transportation agencies.

On the upside, that means lower operating expenses for their buses. On the downside it means that more people are likely to drive than take public transportation.

It is not just local public transit that is suffering. Amtrak and intercity bus services have seen their ridership tumble due to lower gas prices.

A DePaul University study released this week found that eight of the 50 most heavily-traveled routes between cities 120 to 400 miles apart in America have lost express bus or Amtrak service since 2014.

Nine metropolitan areas in the United States with populations above 700,000 have no Amtrak passenger rail service or express bus service at all.

The decline of ridership on Amtrak and bus services such as Megabus and BoltBus has declined since 2015 in rough tandem with a decline in U.S. gasoline prices, the DePaul study found.

It concluded that so long as gasoline remains cheap, public transportation is bound to suffer.

When gas prices rose past $4 per gallon a few years ago, many transportation companies added a fuel surcharge to their normal pricing to cover their increased costs.

Ridership of public transportation and public intercity transportation typically rises when gas prices increase.

But gasoline prices this week across the United States averaged $2.34 per gallon, the American Automobile Association reported.

The DePaul study said the low cost of gasoline made driving cars an inexpensive transportation option, which led to the loss of intercity bus service in particular.

Joseph Schwieterman, co-author of the study and director of the Chaddick Institute at DePaul said there is wide agreement that gasoline taxes eventually will have to go up to help fund aging road infrastructure.

Although more expensive gasoline could lead more people to consider taking the bus, he said it could be a “double whammy” for bus operators because ridership gains could be offset by higher fuel costs to operate their fleets.

The DePaul study found that travelers tend to favor airplanes for trips of more than 400 miles. They favor their own automobile for trips of less than 100 miles.

New Michigan Thruway Route Started

February 24, 2017

Amtrak and Indian Trails bus lines are instituting a Thruway bus connecting service between Amtrak’s Wolverine Service trains and point in central Michigan, including Mt. Pleasant and Gaylord.

michiganPassengers on Train No. 350 will connect in Battle Creek, Michigan, with the bus heading to Michigan points, while passengers originating at those points will connect with Train No. 355 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The new bus route will travel to various communities along U.S. Route 127 and Interstate 75.

Mt. Pleasant is the home of Central Michigan University.

Indian Trails motorcoaches provide free Wi-Fi, 110V electrical outlets and are wheelchair-accessible.

Amtrak said that the new route expands the  Indian Trails’ network of connections with Amtrak to reach 270,000 people in more than 100 towns throughout Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, as well as Duluth, Minnesota; Chicago and Milwaukee.

Megabus to Resume Chicago-Nebraska Route

February 21, 2017

Amtrak just go another travel competitor in the Chicago-Nebraska travel market.

megabusMegabus has announced that it will restore service between Chicago and Lincoln, Nebraska, on March 1.

The single roundtrip a day will make intermediate stops in Omaha, Nebraska; the Iowa cities of Des Moines and Iowa City; and Moline, Illinois.

Additional trips may be added on weekends and holidays. The service is being operated as a partnership with Windstar Lines of Carroll, Iowa.

Megabus ended the route last month, citing declining ridership due to low gasoline prices.