Boost for Bus Industry: Higher Comfort Means More Customers

Boost for Bus Industry: Higher Comfort Means More CustomersMany people still associate bus trips with run-down motorcoaches and endless hours spent on America’s highways. However, the industry has seen an immense boost over the last few years which is not only due to cheap tickets but can also be ascribed to a higher level of on-board comfort. For the holiday travel period between December 23 and January 3, the Chaddick Institute of Metropolitan Development at DePaul University in Chicago expects about 2.6 million bus passengers. This would constitute a plus of roughly one to two percent compared to last year. The bus company Greyhound alone expects to welcome more than one million customers for this year’s festive season.

Joe Schwieterman, director at the Chaddick Institute, states that the positive redevelopment of the city-to-city bus can be dated back to 2006 and the launch of megabus US, a subsidiary of Coach USA. The bus company, which had successfully been operating in Europe for many years, has brought a new level of comfort to the US bus industry. Other companies could not help but to follow the example of megabus. Power outlets, free WiFi and innovative live bus tracking options were the result.

Schwieterman adds that about 60 percent of the travelers on a bus use personal devices such as smartphones, tablets or laptops during their journey. He reckons that people are willing to spend more time on a journey in order to stay connected – something that is not a given when taking the plane or car, for instance. Maria Burns, director of the University of Houston’s Center for Logistics and Transportation Policy, adds that the revival of the bus industry needs to be seen in a positive light: Passengers, who decide to test the bus during the holiday season, might stick with it and resort to public transport options in the future. This would have a positive impact on the environment and could reduce urban traffic.

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