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FlixBus In the Southern U.S

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NativeSon5859

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FlixBus has recently started service connecting San Antonio, Houston, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Biloxi.

Next month, they are adding a direct San Antonio - Austin - Dallas route as well as an overnight Fort Worth - Biloxi route via Shreveport, Alexandria, New Orleans, etc.

I’d expect them to eventually add service east of Biloxi... could we see another coast-to-Coast bus service in the U.S?

I’m trying them out next week and will post a few pics.
 

trainman74

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Had to check to see if they were named "Flixbus" because they showed movies on board, or because their fleet consisted of old Flxible buses. (Apparently the answer is neither one.)
 

Bob Dylan

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As one who Actually rode the Long Dog across the US back in the day,( San Diego to New York City), I ask Why would someone want to do that now when Amtrak can get you there!

No contest IMO!!!;)
 

railiner

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Why would they? Could be for a number of reasons, but on the same token, why would anyone take Amtrak, either, when they can fly, faster, cheaper, more often, and more reliably?:)
 

NativeSon5859

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Take NOL-HOS. Amtrak does it 3X weekly, and it takes 9 hours if on time, for $45 one way. You now have FlixBus, up to 3X daily starting in June, with 5h30m trip times and prices starting at $5.

I think we’ll see further eroding Amtrak market share between these cties.

The same can probably be said of San Antonio-Dallas. 8 hours, $29 on Amtrak. FlixBus is 5 hours for $5.

The train will be a tough sell for most in markets like this unless you just can’t stand bus travel.

If we see more regional adds by FlixBus in areas that only see long-distance Amtrak service, I think that will be a problem for Amtrak.
 

jis

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As one who Actually rode the Long Dog across the US back in the day,( San Diego to New York City), I ask Why would someone want to do that now when Amtrak can get you there!

No contest IMO!!!;)
I think the reason that I did a Greyhound Ameripass in my student days rather than Amtrak hasn't changed. It was cheaper and was the only thing I could afford traveling on the ground to see the country.
 

Bob Dylan

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I did mine while in the Navy, travel pay and per diem weren't enough for the Train or to fly!

Arrived into NYC as a Zombie, but did get to see every Greasy Spoon on the Route and lots of Small towns wasting away!

I miss the Unlimited Rail Pass that was good on VIA and Amtrak, but those days along with Greyhounds "Go anywhere" are long gone!

Mega Bus is really good for Short and Medium Length trips, Amtrak cant compete!
 
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railiner

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Amtrak, outside the various corridor's, really only appeals to a small 'niche' market, who ride the train mainly for the experience itself, and are not deterred by the unreliable timekeeping. As a viable 'transportation' alternative, the long distance train is otherwise a hard sell...
 
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jis

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Amtrak, outside the various corridor's, really only appeals to a small 'niche' market, who ride the train mainly for the experience itself, and are not deterred by the unreliable timekeeping. As a viable 'transportation' alternative, the long distance train is otherwise a hard sell...
And yet many thousands of people use it all the time as transportation. Could it be better? Of course. But it is a false argument, if one were making such, that the LD trains are irrelevant as transportation. Note that I am not necessarily suggesting that such an argument is being made by all regarding LD trains. But those that are making it are plain wrong. - IMNSHO of course.
 

railiner

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Agreed...certainly not 'irrelevant', but those 'thousands' that use it as transportation only, represent a miniscule fraction of the total number of traveler's using air and road...
 

jis

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Agreed...certainly not 'irrelevant', but those 'thousands' that use it as transportation only, represent a miniscule fraction of the total number of traveler's using air and road...
Those that use NEC Amtrak trains are also a very small fraction of those that use air+road+commuter rail on the corridor. So what? Discontinue the Amtrak trains, and let MARC, SEPTA, MNRR, SLE and MBTA do the honors?
 

Eric S

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Amtrak's market share in these markets can't be much more than a rounding error. And Megabus already operates in some of these markets.

It may well be that Flixbus ends up taking a bit from Greyhound and Megabus but increasing the overall intercity bus ridership in these areas.
 

jis

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But hasn't bus service pretty much collapsed in the deep flyover country? The bus lines are basically present just in cherry-picked areas that are convenient to them and has little to do with transportation needs overall of the general public. And that is to be expected if the government simply avoids any social responsibility for providing services in the area of transportation to taxpayers.

I actually wonder sometimes how the Brits have managed to maintain a relatively dense bus network even in sparsely populated areas. Of course Scotland is a special case of government taking responsibility for providing energy efficient public transport services. Witness the recent rapid electrification of the railways and conversion of buses to hybrid/alternative fuel.
 

NativeSon5859

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Tried out FlixBus from NOL to HOS this morning. $4.99. Clean, comfortable, wi/fi was fast, outlets worked. Brand new bus. Pretty good experience overall. The driver just scans the barcode and you board and go. The only en route stop was Baton Rouge. Overall trip time including a bit of traffic was 5h40m. The stops are just parking lots in the downtown areas but the signage is good. I caught an Uber from my house. Still a new service so not very crowded, but the driver said it’s catching on quickly.

Having trouble with uploading photos but if I get it to work I’ll post some pics.
 

railiner

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So your considered position is exactly what? That the LD network should be discontinued? Just trying to figure out what is the bottom line. :)
No one said that...
The long distance network, as it presently exists, does provide a transportation alternative for a few, myself included, but it's really just a token accommodation. Unless the market and/or public opinion demand that government pay for it's expansion into a truly viable alternative, it will just languish on for the foreseeable future... JMHO
 
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railiner

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But hasn't bus service pretty much collapsed in the deep flyover country? The bus lines are basically present just in cherry-picked areas that are convenient to them and has little to do with transportation needs overall of the general public. And that is to be expected if the government simply avoids any social responsibility for providing services in the area of transportation to taxpayers.

I actually wonder sometimes how the Brits have managed to maintain a relatively dense bus network even in sparsely populated areas. Of course Scotland is a special case of government taking responsibility for providing energy efficient public transport services. Witness the recent rapid electrification of the railways and conversion of buses to hybrid/alternative fuel.
Your assessment of the current state of intercity bus in North America, is spot on. The carrier's do "cherry pick" only the viable markets.
And they compete fiercely for a share of those markets. That is one of the unfortunate results of bus deregulation. In the past, the ICC granted interstate franchises that protected carrier's from such competition, and in return, those carrier's were forced to operate money losing branch lines that were 'cross-subsidized' by the more lucrative routes. In a few cases, the ICC did allow more than one carrier to operate a major route, if they thought it was warranted. The carrier's were also regulated in the fares they charged, to protect the public from being 'gouged'. The fares were 'fair'...based on mileage, rather than on supply and demand as they are now. And the carrier's were able to pay their employee's a decent wage, and maintain decent terminals...
 

jis

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What is interesting is that politicians from all sides swear by the idyllic rural hinterland (a fantasy) and then work diligently on economic policies that hasten the exodus to the cities, hastening the destruction of said idyllic fantasyland. This is reflected in transportation policies, and will be more so as money runs short for maintaining the overbuilt highway system too. Already started to happen in places like Texas and Oklahoma.
 

railiner

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Thanks, NativeSon for those nice photo's...did you ride? How about a brief trip report?
I am curious about the seats that can be "adjusted toward the aisle"...how does that work, I've never heard of anything like that...wouldn't that restrict movement in the aisle?

Also of interest...the note promoting tipping the driver. I have never heard of such a suggestion by a bus line before.
 

NativeSon5859

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I’ve ridden it twice now. The round trip to Houston that I mentioned earlier, and then two weeks ago, I did Biloxi-San Antonio-Austin.

The buses are new and comfortable. None had the sliding seats as mentioned on that info sheet. The tipping thing is interesting, but the drivers didn’t announce it. Maybe it’s more common in Europe?

One nice thing compared to Greyhound is that there are no hour long stops at 2am where they kick everyone off the bus. It just rolls the whole time, and the stops are brief. On the Biloxi-SAT run, you could technically get off for a few minutes in NOL and HOS but that’s it. The BTR stop is just for a couple of minutes.

On the SAT-AUS portion it was day #1 of service so I was the only rider! Had a whole coach to myself. Interesting experience.

The stops are basically all in parking lots near the downtown areas or on a curbside near transit centers. That’s good and bad, I guess. I do like the idea of stations, but there must be a lot of cost associated with that.

I’m taking them again on Wednesday - doing Houston to Fort Worth to New Orleans - all of that for $10 with the promotional pricing.
 
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