December 29, 2011

SUDDENLY?:

U.S. Bus Riders Surge as Free Wi-Fi Beats Driving (Jeff Plungis, Dec 21, 2011, Bloomberg)

Megabus.com and BoltBus led U.S. curbside bus companies that boosted trips by 32 percent this year as travelers opted to leave their cars behind and surf the Internet while traveling, DePaul University researchers 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, Joseph Schwieterman, director of DePaul's Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. Bus traffic including traditional service grew this year at the fastest pace since 2008, the institute said in a study released today.

Higher gasoline costs make driving a car more expensive at the same time as buses offer access to free Wi-Fi and cheaper fares than on planes and trains, Schwieterman said. Once viewed as a last resort in the U.S., bus travel is now attracting more affluent riders, students and women traveling alone, he said.

"Bus travel is suddenly cool," Schwieterman said. "There's a fatigue over driving combined with a revitalized image of the bus."

Posted by at December 29, 2011 7:57 AM
  

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