[tabi] Re: Fw: [fcb-l] new bus service

  • From: "Allison and Chip Orange" <acorange@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2012 19:14:41 -0400

Thanks Robert for passing this on.
I'm just curious, does anyone know if we have Red Coach or this new


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Of Easy Talk
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2012 2:13 PM
To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [tabi] Fw: [fcb-l] new bus service

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From: Easy  <mailto:Easytalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> Talk 
To: fcb-l@xxxxxxx 
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2012 2:11 PM
Subject: [fcb-l] new bus service

BRUCE LIPSKY/The Times-Union
Arnold McDuffie waits to board a Megabus at the Skyway station near the
Prime Osborn
Convention Center. The bus was coming from Atlanta and headed to Orlando.
for the express bus trips has steadily grown to where Megabus officials say
80-seat coaches are 75 to 80 percent full.
Megabus and Greyhound serve the Jacksonville market.
Roger Bull
Dennis Loy's car was waiting back in Orlando, at the end of his bus ride.
He could have driven that car up to Jacksonville to visit his daughter at
the University
of North Florida. Instead, he took the bus.
And he was about to step on the double-decker Megabus to ride it back.
"My daughter's the one who told me about it," he said. "It cost me $24 for a
trip. It would have cost me $60 just in gas to drive."
Instead of driving, the 58-year-old pool designer does paperwork.
After decades of decline, intercity bus ridership is on the rise, in large
part to
people like Loy who simply choose to ride rather than drive or fly.
Intercity bus ridership grew 7 percent in 2011 and was the only major
passenger transportation that grew significantly, according to a study by
the Chaddick
Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University in Chicago.
The biggest factor is what are called the curbside buses - those that pick
up passengers
not at a bus station, but simply at a designated place in town. Ridership
for those
rose 30 percent last year.
which started sending two buses a day through Jacksonville last November
, is the major player in the new wave of buses that are faster and cheaper
than those
of a decade ago. But even Greyhound has gotten into it with its Greyhound
And, no, it's not just because of the price of gas.
"It began with a large number of young people without any particular
affinity for
the automobile," said Joe Schwieterman, who directed the DePaul report.
"They just
wanted to go from Point A to Point B."
He said his surveys have shown that up to a third of bus riders chose it
over flying.
What really started the turnaround was the Chinatown buses in the Northeast,
Fred Fravel, a bus specialist from the KFH Group, Maryland-based
transportation consultants.
Those buses went from a neighborhood, not a bus station, in one city
straight to
a neighborhood in another city.
"Those buses were discovered by the smarter students," Fravel said, "because
travel times were similar to a car. And at the same time, they were cheap."
The problem with buses in the past was that they stopped at each town along
the way,
making a bus ride last up to twice as long as driving, he said.
"Who's going to ride a bus in that circumstance except those who do not have
a car
available?" Fravel said.
But using the Chinatown buses' example, Megabus, Boltbus and others created
services. Jacksonville to Orlando is a little more than two hours. They
added free
wi-fi and outlets to plug laptops in.
Schwieterman said his surveys show half the people on Megabus are plugged
in, twice
the rate of airline passengers.
And then there's the cost. Jacksonville to Orlando may be $12 on Megabus,
but it
could also be less. There's a limited number of random $1 seats on each bus.
earlier you book, the better the chance of getting one.
"This never would have happened so fast were it not for the Internet,"
said. "Electronic ticketing, the schedules, word spreading on Facebook."
Still, buses have developed a stigma over the years. As more people got
cars, the
middle class which used to ride the bus abandoned it.
"The poorest group didn't use to travel at all," Schwieterman said. "But now
what Greyhound is.
"And they're still dogged by, I don't know how else to say it, but an
clientele," he said. "People have the image of a bus station as a guy
walking around
and smelling like wine.
"And that's reality as much as perception."
As Megabus, BoltBus and others moved into each market, they've generally
bus stations. In Jacksonville, Megabus uses the Skyway Express stop near the
Osborn Convention Center.
And as they expanded outside the major Northeastern cities, they focused on
"Four years ago," Schwieterman said, "Megabus looked like a college charter.
it's more diverse."
Even the traditional giant in the field has gotten into the act. Greyhound
expanded into Jacksonville in January. Greyhound has 22 routes a day out of
its station
in downtown Jacksonville; six of them are express.
It has the same $1 random seats.
Loy said when he first rode the Megabus up to Jacksonville, there were maybe
12 people
on it. Now the buses that roll in from Atlanta and Orlando each day are
that seat 80.
Bryony Chamberlain, the company president, said it's usually 75 to 80
percent full.
But everyone hasn't found success. Red Coach
came into Jacksonville last year
, with one bus running north and south between Tampa, Orlando, Daytona Beach
It only averaged about four riders a day and eight months later it was gone.
still in 12 other Florida cities and could come back to Jacksonville, a
said, but it would probably be for a longer trip, such as to Miami.
With all the growth in buses across the country, Fravel said there is one
major drawback
that few people are noticing.
When Megabus moves into a market, it takes a large chunk of the riders off
the buses
that stop in each town along the way. Then Greyhound adds express, and the
buses have even few riders.
So Greyhound is dropping those routes.
"Look at the Pittsburgh-to-D.C. route," he said. "First we had Megabus, then
Express and all of a sudden we have towns in Western Maryland that don't
have bus
"Two months ago, Hagerstown had five buses a day. Now the buses just go by
the interstate."
roger.bull@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, (904) 359-4296


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