BOLT hands off to Mother Greyhound

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Willbridge

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BOLT (aka Greyhound) "indefinitely" ends Cascades service:

BoltBus, the Affordable Bus Service That Would Ferry Portlanders as Far North as Vancouver, B.C., Has Shut Down Indefinitely

BoltBus

The Greyhound booking website for July 5th shows that they have added a second GL trip to SEA<>PDX. The GL website also has a page assuring BOLT customers that their accumulated points will be carried into Greyhound’s program – but not immediately. This and the absence of a service change bulletin for Table 600 showing radical changes in one of the two Sacramento<>Seattle trips suggest a hurried decision. On July 4th the NABT timetables in the extranet were mixed up (see Table 601).

NABT Guide

One thing that’s a tradition with Greyhound is setting up a specialized operation with some attractive feature and then gradually withdrawing it and folding it into their routine. In the March 1, 1974 timetables there were 4 northbound and 6 southbound “V.I.P. Executive Coach” trips between Portland and Seattle. Overall, there were 8 northbound and 7 southbound non-stop PDX<>SEA trips scheduled to make the run in 3½ hours. As locals were dropped, the bigger intermediate stops were added to the expresses and the “V.I.P. Executive Coach” tag faded out. The same thing happened to the hourly non-stop Edmonton <> Calgary buses.

BOLT buses imitated curbside operators by loading on a street near Portland Union Station but in December 2015 laid over in the modern Greyhound station. Now the Greyhound station is closed, for sale, and Greyhound is loading on a street near Portland Union Station, adjacent to newer entrant Flix.

P1040056 (2).JPG
 
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Yes...just a matter of time. Still no buyer's in sight. Up in Canada, where they've been shut down entirely, other carrier's have already filled some of the vacuum. But the days of nationwide network bus service in the USA is surely numbered....☹
 

Willbridge

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Yes...just a matter of time. Still no buyer's in sight. Up in Canada, where they've been shut down entirely, other carrier's have already filled some of the vacuum. But the days of nationwide network bus service in the USA is surely numbered....☹
I didn't mention that the Eastern BOLT has also been "indefinitely" shut down.

The regionalization of intercity bus service in the U.S. and Canada has good and bad aspects. The good point is better scheduling for the shorter trips that are inefficient by air and long enough to be tiring by auto. The bad point is that there are cracks in the network where two regional systems don't mesh. Greyhound and Trailways used to have enough traffic to do both functions.
 
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Greyhound and Trailways used to have enough traffic to do both functions.
Say what you will, but I think the decline was mainly due to deregulation, where franchises guaranteed protection from cut-throat competition, still provided reasonable fares based on mileage, not market, and "cross-subsidized" weaker branch line routes. Oh, and provided a decent wage and pension for employees.
 

TheVig

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I haven't been on a long haul Greyhound in many years. I've been on a few short runs between Philly and NYC, but those are mostly commuter type runs IME.

Unlike the RPA for Amtrak, I don't think there is any meaningful passenger lobbying arm for the bus industry. Not sure the average Greyhound rider, could afford reasonable yearly dues anyways. LOL. At this point, I'm not sure it's possible for Greyhound to shake off all the negative stereotypes. Too many years of being a mode of transportation, for the lowest common denominators amongst us have taken it's toll on the business and brand as a whole.
 

cirdan

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I haven't been on a long haul Greyhound in many years. I've been on a few short runs between Philly and NYC, but those are mostly commuter type runs IME.

Unlike the RPA for Amtrak, I don't think there is any meaningful passenger lobbying arm for the bus industry. Not sure the average Greyhound rider, could afford reasonable yearly dues anyways. LOL. At this point, I'm not sure it's possible for Greyhound to shake off all the negative stereotypes. Too many years of being a mode of transportation, for the lowest common denominators amongst us have taken it's toll on the business and brand as a whole.
I'm afraid you're probably right.

Though I would like to think there must be innumerable communities whose Greyhound service, however unglamorous, is their only connection to the outside world for those who don't drive. I would hope that politically there must be at least some minimal recognition of that. Especially in the present days in which infrastructure is such an important word.
 

flitcraft

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I'm sort of surprised that bus service isn't more prized by the urban carless young folks who Uber their way rather than own cars. Owning a car has always been awkward if not totally impractical in cities--if you don't have off street parking you have to deal with parking space roulette, auto insurance is high in cities, upkeep on a car isn't negligible, public transit, taxis, and ride services are ubiquitous, etc. I almost always see a couple of ubers or lyft vehicles outside the grocery store I frequent, so even those kinds of errands don't require cars. I suppose they fly or rent cars when they want to go out of town. But I remember riding the Dog as a grad student and when I got my first job. Long time ago, and the service has degraded a lot since then, I suppose. My last Greyhound adventure was taking the 99 dollar Ameripass all over the States on my way to relocate from Boston to Seattle, with stops in Jacksonville Florida, New Orleans, Amarillo Texas, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco along the way. 4000 miles of Greyhound fun!
 

jis

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I'm afraid you're probably right.

Though I would like to think there must be innumerable communities whose Greyhound service, however unglamorous, is their only connection to the outside world for those who don't drive. I would hope that politically there must be at least some minimal recognition of that. Especially in the present days in which infrastructure is such an important word.
In general something like RPA would not exist if there were not plenty of rich railfans and PV owners who are willing to fund such a thing with contributions and endowments, because they see significant personal gains, or at least satisfaction of urges. Among Bus riders I am sure that such is not the case since one does not depend on an equivalent of Amtrak running to tow ones favorite PV around the country or ride in comfort costing thousands of dollars. You just hop in your car or hire a limo and hit the road. Doesn't matter whether Greyhound or any other bus line exists or not.

It is not like the proverbial urban car-less young folks adequately fund RPA either, so why would they do so for buses?
 
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SanDiegan

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I haven't been on a long haul Greyhound in many years. I've been on a few short runs between Philly and NYC, but those are mostly commuter type runs IME.

Unlike the RPA for Amtrak, I don't think there is any meaningful passenger lobbying arm for the bus industry. Not sure the average Greyhound rider, could afford reasonable yearly dues anyways. LOL. At this point, I'm not sure it's possible for Greyhound to shake off all the negative stereotypes. Too many years of being a mode of transportation, for the lowest common denominators amongst us have taken it's toll on the business and brand as a whole.
Now Amtrak is assuming the LCD role with their extremely low coach fares.
 

SanDiegan

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I'm afraid you're probably right.

Though I would like to think there must be innumerable communities whose Greyhound service, however unglamorous, is their only connection to the outside world for those who don't drive. I would hope that politically there must be at least some minimal recognition of that. Especially in the present days in which infrastructure is such an important word.
Infrastructure is airports and trains, daycare and social programs. Not trains LOL
 

SanDiegan

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I'm sort of surprised that bus service isn't more prized by the urban carless young folks who Uber their way rather than own cars. Owning a car has always been awkward if not totally impractical in cities--if you don't have off street parking you have to deal with parking space roulette, auto insurance is high in cities, upkeep on a car isn't negligible, public transit, taxis, and ride services are ubiquitous, etc. I almost always see a couple of ubers or lyft vehicles outside the grocery store I frequent, so even those kinds of errands don't require cars. I suppose they fly or rent cars when they want to go out of town. But I remember riding the Dog as a grad student and when I got my first job. Long time ago, and the service has degraded a lot since then, I suppose. My last Greyhound adventure was taking the 99 dollar Ameripass all over the States on my way to relocate from Boston to Seattle, with stops in Jacksonville Florida, New Orleans, Amarillo Texas, Salt Lake City, and San Francisco along the way. 4000 miles of Greyhound fun!
Thy did use Bolt and Megbus until the Greyhound crowd drove them away. They would never admit it though.
 

TheVig

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Thy did use Bolt and Megbus until the Greyhound crowd drove them away. They would never admit it though.
I've seen Megabus picking up and dropping off passengers before the pandemic here in Charlotte. The quality of passenger has gone from young to to sketchy. Other cities, I've seen better results.
 

Willbridge

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Say what you will, but I think the decline was mainly due to deregulation, where franchises guaranteed protection from cut-throat competition, still provided reasonable fares based on mileage, not market, and "cross-subsidized" weaker branch line routes. Oh, and provided a decent wage and pension for employees.
Deregulation sped up what was already happening way back when we did the 1975 Oregon Intercity Bus study. (Oregon was ahead of many other states in finishing its share of 92% federally-funded Interstates, so in hindsight a lot of the bad effects happened sooner than elsewhere.)

Interstates made city to city passengers demand express service, dividing up traffic in corridors that were not heavy enough to support locals, limiteds, expresses, etc. And they made it easier to drive one's own car or for a friend or family member to drive, even if they had to deadhead to do it. When I set out for college in 1964 most kids from out of town were arriving on their own on public transport. Now, at the same school it's "traditional" that parents drive their students to the campus.

There's an added feature of shareholder interest. You can make more money -- for a while -- by cutting service ahead of the demand instead of waiting for smaller and smaller profits. A colleague at ODOT was threatened by a vice-president of Pacific Trailways for raising that issue. I had already left for Canada by then so missed that.
 
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When I set out for college in 1964 most kids from out of town were arriving on their own on public transport. Now, at the same school it's "traditional" that parents drive their students to the campus.
Seems the culture of then and now has changed into so-called "helicopter parent's", that 'hover' over all aspects of their children's lives until they start their own families...
 
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While the use of long-haul buses declined somewhat from their peak during WWII, it was a combination of the easy to drive interstate highways, and of course the introduction of low cost air carrier's that accelerated it. But deregulation really changed the industry. Had it not been for that, they might be in much better shape today...
 

cirdan

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While the use of long-haul buses declined somewhat from their peak during WWII, it was a combination of the easy to drive interstate highways, and of course the introduction of low cost air carrier's that accelerated it. But deregulation really changed the industry. Had it not been for that, they might be in much better shape today...
It is logical that the massive growth of car ownership and driving of the 1950s to the 1970s hurt trains and buses and led to a massive retrenchment of services.

But that growth has reached its limits a long time ago, simply because everybody who could afford a car already had one and a lot of people began to realize driving wasn't as fun as they had made it out to be, especially in cities. The catastrophic decline of train ridership came to a halt some time ago with everything pointing to a recovery in places, or at least a healthy stabilization in the places where there isn't a recovery. I haven't been following buses because they are not my prime interest, although I do ride on them here and there and thus value them, but I would expect that something similar has happened there for the same reasons.

A massive disinvestment happening today to services that managed to survive all the difficult and lean years thus seems somewhat counterintuitive to me.

In my view the new threat is to some degree from services like Uber which threaten to gnaw at the edges of public transit and abstract ridership from services that are already borderline justifiable. Right now the fact that Uber needs a driver and that driver needs to be making enough money to make the effort worthwhile limits the overall damage the service can cause. But i sometimes wonder what the next step will be when Uber sends fleets of self-driving cars onto the roads. Maybe not in congested inner cities where transit has a clear natural advantage, but more in belt areas and maybe even for intercity travel. Many business people for example value trains because they can work at their computer. If a self driving uber offers that too, and furthermore takes you from door to door, probably for less than the price of a business class train ticket plus transfers at both ends, what does that mean for trains?
 
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It is logical that the massive growth of car ownership and driving of the 1950s to the 1970s hurt trains and buses and led to a massive retrenchment of services.

But that growth has reached its limits a long time ago, simply because everybody who could afford a car already had one and a lot of people began to realize driving wasn't as fun as they had made it out to be, especially in cities. The catastrophic decline of train ridership came to a halt some time ago with everything pointing to a recovery in places, or at least a healthy stabilization in the places where there isn't a recovery. I haven't been following buses because they are not my prime interest, although I do ride on them here and there and thus value them, but I would expect that something similar has happened there for the same reasons.

A massive disinvestment happening today to services that managed to survive all the difficult and lean years thus seems somewhat counterintuitive to me.

In my view the new threat is to some degree from services like Uber which threaten to gnaw at the edges of public transit and abstract ridership from services that are already borderline justifiable. Right now the fact that Uber needs a driver and that driver needs to be making enough money to make the effort worthwhile limits the overall damage the service can cause. But i sometimes wonder what the next step will be when Uber sends fleets of self-driving cars onto the roads. Maybe not in congested inner cities where transit has a clear natural advantage, but more in belt areas and maybe even for intercity travel. Many business people for example value trains because they can work at their computer. If a self driving uber offers that too, and furthermore takes you from door to door, probably for less than the price of a business class train ticket plus transfers at both ends, what does that mean for trains?
As I predicted in another thread, that is the not so distant future. Eventually personal cars except in rural areas will be replaced by membership of various autonomous vehicle co-ops, with different size vehicles for different purposes.
 

PVD

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Areas like much of nYC where parking is both difficult and expensive make car ownership a challenge....Lots of weekend car rentals and companies like "Zip Car" thriving...Of course homes with parking, or developments or buildings with free or readily available parking also exist. My garage (same coop where Railiner lived) is $46, considering the extra storage space I get with it, totally worth it...
 

jis

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Of course homes with parking, or developments or buildings with free or readily available parking also exist. My garage (same coop where Railiner lived) is $46, considering the extra storage space I get with it, totally worth it...
That is exactly the reason I rented a garage at the apartment complex that I lived in in Short Hills NJ. In addition it removed the need for digging my car out after a snow storm too.

Here in Florida where I live in a single family home in the suburbs of Melbourne and exurbs of Orlando, I have a two car garage which I use marginally for storage and the usual HVAC and Water Heater, and mostly for the car, unlike many here who seem to use theirs mostly for storage and park their car in the their driveway. The HOA does not allow overnight parking on the streets as it is viewed as an emergency vehicle access related fire code violation.
 

MARC Rider

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When I set out for college in 1964 most kids from out of town were arriving on their own on public transport. Now, at the same school it's "traditional" that parents drive their students to the campus.
At my daughter's college, the only public transportation was (is) the once-a-day Pennsylvanian. No buses, not even taxi service in town. She took the train from Baltimore a couple of times, but it's a 6-7 hour trip with a connection in Philadelphia vs. a 3 hour drive. Sometimes, she'd take the Pennsylvanian to Harrisburg where we picked her up. At least it was a 1.5 hour drive for us instead of a 3 hour drive. But a lot of times we'd drive her. But she was definitely not interested in getting a car and driving herself. I was completely different, as I had to not only fly and change to the Dog for a 2 hour ride to school, but I had to mess around with the CTA to get from O'Hare to the Greyhound station. At least now, she drives herself to work. Unfortunately, they don't pay her enough for her to afford to buy her own car, so I have to keep an old beater I'd like to get rid of for her to drive.
 

MARC Rider

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It is logical that the massive growth of car ownership and driving of the 1950s to the 1970s hurt trains and buses and led to a massive retrenchment of services.

But that growth has reached its limits a long time ago, simply because everybody who could afford a car already had one and a lot of people began to realize driving wasn't as fun as they had made it out to be, especially in cities. The catastrophic decline of train ridership came to a halt some time ago with everything pointing to a recovery in places, or at least a healthy stabilization in the places where there isn't a recovery. I haven't been following buses because they are not my prime interest, although I do ride on them here and there and thus value them, but I would expect that something similar has happened there for the same reasons.

A massive disinvestment happening today to services that managed to survive all the difficult and lean years thus seems somewhat counterintuitive to me.

In my view the new threat is to some degree from services like Uber which threaten to gnaw at the edges of public transit and abstract ridership from services that are already borderline justifiable. Right now the fact that Uber needs a driver and that driver needs to be making enough money to make the effort worthwhile limits the overall damage the service can cause. But i sometimes wonder what the next step will be when Uber sends fleets of self-driving cars onto the roads. Maybe not in congested inner cities where transit has a clear natural advantage, but more in belt areas and maybe even for intercity travel. Many business people for example value trains because they can work at their computer. If a self driving uber offers that too, and furthermore takes you from door to door, probably for less than the price of a business class train ticket plus transfers at both ends, what does that mean for trains?
First, I think that true self-driving cars in mixed traffic is a pipe dream. I don't care what the tech professionals say. I use their other products, and I know they're not reliable. (I'll refrain from telling you about the "smart"phone alarm that never seems to go off when you want it to, and does go off when you didn't program it to do so. :) Almost missed some appointments and Amtrak trains because of that.)

Another issue with autonomous vehicles is that to even have a ghost of a chance to operate safely, they'll have to drive "gently," like Grandpa driving to church on Sunday. They'll also be programmed to observe traffic laws, such as red lights, stop signs, and speed limits, and also be programmed to yield the right of way of there's any ambiguity. Given my decades long observation of behavior on the roads of this great land, the American driver isn't going to stand for such behavior, and thus, will either avoid using self-driving cars or will try to do unauthorized reprogramming to make the self-driving cars drive they way they do, thus negating any possible safety advantage of self-driving cars.

Another thing to consider is that riding in a car is actually sort of uncomfortable, compared to a bus or train. You have to contort yourself to get into your seat, and once you're buckled in, you really can't move around without stopping the car and getting out. A lot of back seats don't have very much legroom, either.

In fact, I think the only real practical advantage of traveling by car is that you can make your own schedule. Oh, yes, and you don't have to share your space with a stranger.

For these reasons, I think that autonomous vehicles will probably be mostly deployed for fixed route exclusive traffic stuff like airport shuttles as a sort of cheap-ass people mover. I don't really think the mass public is going to go for them, at least not for a long, long, while.
 
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Exvalley

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Sitting next to a stranger can be pretty miserable on a bus. It would be nice to see some more 1-2 seating. But then again, the experiment of a limo-bus between Boston and New York did not work out.
 

MARC Rider

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Sitting next to a stranger can be pretty miserable on a bus. It would be nice to see some more 1-2 seating. But then again, the experiment of a limo-bus between Boston and New York did not work out.
Oh, yes, that's the other advantage of a car. You don't have to share space with a stranger.
 

Deni

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Seems the culture of then and now has changed into so-called "helicopter parent's", that 'hover' over all aspects of their children's lives until they start their own families...
Boy that is true. I have a 12-year-old and she is the ptretty rare kid at her school that takes the L or bikes to school (depends on her mood or the weather). I know parents that live half as far as we do from the school and drive their kids. She got in to a test-in public school for 7th grade next year and will now go farther to school on the south side (cue scary music) and the upper-middle class white parents at her current school all kept asking me how she was going to get there (or asked how long the drive is) and when I told many of them she would still take transit the look on their face was like I said she got a job in an asbestos factory. I got the same look from so many of them when she started riding the L to/from school on her own when she was around 9 or 10. Two stops on the Red Line in the safest area of Chicago and I swear there are parents who think I am guilty of child endangerment.
 
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