Going anywhere this spring? According to the Boston Globe, a growing number of tourists, business travelers, students and daily commuters are finding the “coolest” way to get around is. By bus! Last year, total bus departures in North America rose by 13%! That’s an amazing statistic when you consider the bussing industry has been in steady decline since the 1960s – as more people were able to buy cars.
With gas prices now at an all time high, people are finding their way back on the bus. Joseph P. Schwieterman is a travel industry expert at DePaul University and while he agrees fuel costs are the #1 reason for this turnaround, he says people are also frustrated with the hassles of driving in traffic jams, or waiting in airport security lines. So to help lure back commuters, several bus companies now offer free wireless internet access during your ride. For weary travelers who don’t want to deal with airport lines, some busses offer door-to-door curbside drop-offs at your preferred destination. Also, companies like Greyhound, Megabus, Peter Pan and Vamoose have moved a majority of their booking services to the web.
That’s helped cut down on overhead costs and it’s the main reason why Greyhound’s “BoltBus” service can offer $1 fares between major cities – like New York and Boston – if you buy your ticket online. Dale Moser is the COO of Megabus, which is based in Chicago and he points out that his company used to cater to people who couldn’t afford airfare. Now, he’s getting an entirely different demographic – from students looking for a cheap ride back and forth to school, to ecoconscious travelers who’ve decided to leave their gas-guzzling SUV at home!
Passengers say price is the main factor in deciding to ride the bus again, but it’s not the only one. Another factor is that you don’t have to plan weeks ahead to buy a bus ticket. Because depending on where you go, you can just show up at the bus station, and catch a new bus every hour or so.