Affordability and free Wi-Fi lifts US bus passenger numbers
20 January 2012 - User-friendly onboard Internet service, low fares and high fuel costs get car users increasingly on buses, reversing a 46-year decline of the bus industry, once viewed as a last resort.
Megabus.com and BoltBus led U.S. curbside bus companies that boosted trips by 32% this year as travelers are increasingly opting to leave their cars behind and surf the Internet while traveling, the annual report into bus use in the USA said.
The popularity of U.S. intercity buses picking up passengers at the curb rather than in a terminal has been growing since the industry reversed a 46-year decline in 2006. Bus traffic, including traditional services, grew in 2011 at the fastest rate since 2008.
Higher fuel costs also make driving a car more expensive, while buses offer access to free Wi-Fi and cheaper fares than on planes and trains. Once viewed as a last resort in the U.S., bus travel is now attracting more affluent riders, students and women traveling alone.
Daily intercity curbside bus departures increased to 778 from 589 a year ago, a 31% jump, according to the DePaul study. Scheduled departures for the total bus industry, which includes Greyhound Lines, increased 7.1 percent to 2,693. That compares with a gain of 1.5 percent for airline seat miles and 1.2 percent for rail seat miles, according to the study.