[tabi] Re: Want a problem-free trip? Try the bus

  • From: Governor staten <govsta@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2015 22:36:21 -0500

I was once a long time resident there, and do get good info off of this list. I'll be on here for a while longer.

On 1/13/2015 8:07 PM, Chip and Allie Orange wrote:

This is a Tallahassee-specific  list though …


*From:*tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] *On Behalf Of *Governor staten
*Sent:* Tuesday, January 13, 2015 6:19 PM
*To:* tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
*Subject:* [tabi] Re: Want a problem-free trip? Try the bus

They do. Don't think they are here in Tennessee though.

On 1/13/2015 6:16 PM, Denyece Roberts MSW wrote:

    Try the red coach it has plenty of leg room.

    [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] *On Behalf Of *Governor staten
    *Sent:* Tuesday, January 13, 2015 5:11 PM
    *To:* tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
    *Subject:* [tabi] Re: Want a problem-free trip? Try the bus

    I have another issue, and that is legroom. I"m a tall guy. Sitting
    on a bus for hours on end in small seats isn't fun.

    On 1/13/2015 2:52 PM, William Benjamin wrote:

        I don’t have a problem with busses:  in fact, for the most
        part I like the new aminities that busses are offering.  What
        I have a problem with is the bathrooms.  They are the worse,
        even with a 60 miles per hour wind going by that could be
        designed to help the smell.  Even tho there is no wind in the
        stations, they should be tended to better and that is not a
        difacult thing to over come.


        *From:* tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
        [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] *On Behalf Of *Chip Orange
        *Sent:* Tuesday, January 13, 2015 8:26 AM
        *To:* tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
        *Subject:* [tabi] Want a problem-free trip? Try the bus

          from yesterday's USA Today:

          Want a problem-free trip? Try the bus

        Christopher Elliott , Special for USA TODAY 6:02 p.m. EST
        January 11, 2015

        Despite less federal oversight, bus lines generate far fewer
        consumer complaints than airlines.(Photo: Frank Espich,
        Indianapolis Star)

        It's difficult to understate the rarity of Shannon Lee's
        complaint. It's almost as unusual as the topic of this story:
        bus travel.

        Lee, an accountant from Pasadena, Md., was part of a group
        traveling to New York for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
        Her friends, Dan and Jacqueline Childs, who had each paid
        Megabus $89 for their round-trip bus fare, were turned away
        when they tried to board the motorcoach because there wasn't
        enough room.

        "They've sent numerous e-mails and made phone calls asking
        Megabus for a refund," Lee says. "But so far, nothing."

        Bus complaints are almost non-existent, at least compared with
        airlines. That doesn't make sense, since when it comes to
        customer service, buses are lightly regulated by the federal
        government. The real reason behind this absence of passenger
        discontent may hold the key to making other parts of the
        travel industry better and more complaint-free.

        I receive only a handful of gripes about bus service every
        year. They're almost always resolved lightning-fast. So when I
        contacted Megabus about Lee's friends, I wasn't surprised to
        hear back from company spokesman Sean Hughes almost immediately.

        "We're calling them and offering them a full refund and giving
        them an apology," he told me.

        The more interesting question is why?

        How did the decidedly unglamorous bus industry get so attuned
        to its customers? Transporting about 80 million passengers a
        year while keeping them happy is no small achievement. It may
        explain the unprecedented expansion of city-to-city express
        carriers. They grew 2.1% in 2014, while the number of flights
        dropped 3% during the same period, according to new research.

        Part of the secret to the industry's success is the "laid
        back" culture of bus travel, says Joe Schwieterman, director
        of DePaul University's Chaddick Institute, which will release
        its study

        "People can see clearly why delays occur, like traffic or bad
        weather, so there is more understanding when things go wrong,"
        he says. Bus travel is cheaper than other modes of
        transportation, which affects passenger expectations. You get
        exactly what you paid for: scheduled bus carriers have on-time
        ratings that exceed 90%, Schwieterman says.

        Another thing: If you run a bus company, you can't run away
        from your customers. "You know that you have to offer a good
        product at a fair price," says Dan Ronan, a spokesman for the
        American Bus Association, a trade association. If you're a
        passenger on a medium-size bus line, such as C&J, which offers
        service between New Hampshire, Boston and New York, it's not
        uncommon to see the company's president, Jim Jalbert, in the
        parking lot.

        "If you have a service problem, he's right there, and you can
        tell him about it," Ronan says.

        Surprisingly, the government isn't forcing buses to do the
        right thing. The U.S. Department of Transportation's (DOT)
        Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which oversees
        the motorcoach industry, is primarily focused on safety
        issues. In 2013, it conducted almost 40,000 bus inspections
        and shut down more than 100 unsafe bus companies. The
        department issued rules that required lap and shoulder seat
        belts for each passenger and driver seat on new motorcoaches
        and other large buses. It ordered improvements on the
        structural design of large buses, so passengers are better
        protected in the event of a rollover crash.

        For interstate bus carriers, federal law is largely silent on
        service questions, addressing disability access, compensation
        for lost luggage and ticket sales. That's a dramatic contrast
        to the commercial aviation industry, which is practically
        stalked by the DOT with rules and regulations. Apart from the
        marked differences in service culture between the motorcoach
        and airline industries, it's a function of the mode of
        transportation, experts say.

        "It's a bus," says Gabe Klein, a former commissioner for
        Chicago's Department of Transportation and an expert on bus
        travel. "There are less opportunities for things to go wrong."

        Still, a bus, like a plane, transports you from point A to
        point B. Why do buses not need the heavy hand of government to
        tell them what to do? Simple, industry watchers says. "There's
        more competition," says Robert Turner, a bus industry
        consultant in San Diego. There are hundreds of bus operators
        in the USA, compared with three monopolistic airlines, so a
        bus line can't afford to offer bad service.

        As airlines embrace bizarre five-class configurations that
        promise to make air travel even more unbearable for all but a
        privileged few, many passengers refer to planes as "buses with
        wings." That's meant as an insult to airlines, but it actually
        offends the bus industry. The newest motorcoaches don't just
        have government-mandated seat belts. They also come with
        bigger seats, onboard entertainment, wireless Internet
        connections and galley kitchens where you can microwave your
        dinner on the way home.

        Buses can offer better customer service than airlines in
        almost every way. Competition made them do it. Maybe we need
        more of that.

        *How to get better bus service*

        *Complain directly to the company.*Most customer-service
        problems can be resolved quickly and in real time. Lost
        baggage is usually found quickly, and ticket refunds are
        processed fast. Larger bus lines have websites where they
        accept complaints, but it rarely gets to that point.

        *Reference federal law.*Regulations are brief. For example,
        the DOT guidelines on ticketing are covered in five short
        bullet points on one webpage

        *Switch to a competitor. *Motorcoach operators are flourishing
        in the USA, so there are many competing bus lines that would
        be happy to have your business. Don't waste your time with a
        bus company that doesn't appreciate your patronage — if you
        can even find one.

        *READ MORE: *AMTRAK, bus lines more comfortable than airlines

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