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

  • From: Governor staten <govsta@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2015 18:19:06 -0500

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.

*From:*tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:tabi-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] *On Behalf Of *Governor staten
*Sent:* Tuesday, January 13, 2015 5:11 PM
*To:* 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

    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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