DePaul University of Chicago and the school’s Chaddick Institute have released their annual report showing the eighth consecutive year of growth for the scheduled service, point-to-point segment of the motorcoach industry. The report details why free onboard amenities including Wi-Fi and 110 volt electric plug-ins, along with upgraded luxury service, are expanding. Download the full report here. http://bit.ly/1LS7In8
2014 brought a flurry of initiatives to offer new amenities designed to attract new consumer groups to bus travel, particularly those who put a premium on comfort and convenience. Megabus.com now offers reserved seating that also gives buyers the opportunity for priority boarding. A new operator, Vonlane, launched a first-class ground travel alternative to flying between Austin and Dallas, Texas, and will soon expand to Houston. Greyhound Lines is moving aggressively to offer Wi-Fi and power outlets on not only its Greyhound Express routes but also on its entire fleet. Royal Sprinter began offering an intimate, luxury travel experience in the Northeast. Other carriers are making similar investments to upgrade their services.
Expanding discount city-to-city carriers and traditional bus lines means there is a 2.2% increase in the number of daily operations on the nation’s bus system. This rate of growth is far exceeding air and train service. The growth in passenger traffic appears to be even higher. This expansion featured the introduction of an extensive new Megabus network in Florida, new Greyhound Connect services in the West, and a variety of service additions by large and small carriers around the country.
Dramatic enhancements to travel booking aggregator websites, including Wanderu and BusBud, are significantly expanding the size of the bus travel market. Consumers are becoming empowered to make decisions with far more information about their choices than has been available in the past.