Intercity Bus Cuts Due to Pandemic

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Willbridge

OBS Chief
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The biggest problem intercity buses have is public perception, for better or for worse.
In the minds of many, still to this day, the bus is the lowest transport mode in the hierarchy of options - the option of last resort.
The "carrier of last resort" image is enhanced -- if that's the right word -- by people who use GL in emergencies during peak travel times and without any advance planning. And then they have a poor or bad experience.

Like Amtrak, GL has tried to eliminate middle-management jobs and those were the people who would straighten things out when needed. It's hard to imagine now, but when we did that 1975 Oregon study we were dealing with GL's regional manager in Portland (I think he had Oregon, Washington and Idaho). Today were we to do that study the regional manager would be in Denver. When I last worked on relations with them in Denver (for RTD) their very good regional manager was engaged in setting up BOLT, so everything took longer while we were doing the Denver Union Station project -- he was up in the Pacific Northwest.

BTW, after retiring from GL, he was hired by CDOT to continue development of the state's Bustang system. Oregon, of course, set up a statewide network after the collapse of the Trailways system, but it doesn't have a statewide image. As Canadians recently have demonstrated, the negative bus image is the perfect excuse for doing nothing -- until a crisis level is reached.
 

railiner

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As Canadians recently have demonstrated, the negative bus image is the perfect excuse for doing nothing -- until a crisis level is reached.
From what I have read on another forum, they're still doing basically nothing in Canada...just a few operator's trying to cherry-pick would-be lucrative routes here and there, and nothing like the national network that Canada once enjoyed....
 

jiml

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From what I have read on another forum, they're still doing basically nothing in Canada...just a few operator's trying to cherry-pick would-be lucrative routes here and there, and nothing like the national network that Canada once enjoyed....
I don't follow bus services too closely, but certainly aware of frequent news stories regarding reductions and discontinuations that started long before the pandemic. I believe cutbacks have been most severe in Western Canada - especially in smaller communities where bus was the only option. Here in Ontario, the previous government slashed the northern trains in favor of bus services, but then those networks were in turn substantially reduced. The current government promised to look at the situation, along came Covid19 and there's certainly been no progress. Down east things might be a bit better - when in Halifax at the end of last year, the combination train and bus station seemed to be well-served by the latter, although ironically many of those buses run in place of long-gone trains.
 

Willbridge

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Some update notes...

+ Amtrak Thruway service is to return to the Los Angeles <>Las Vegas route effective May 7th. Operating 2x daily it includes stops in San Bernardino, Victorville and Barstow. In the Pacific Surfliner website it says that the station in Las Vegas is the South Strip transit center (now home to Greyhound) and that customers should ride the strip transit bus to get to downtown. In the Amtrak computer the bus is stopping on the street downtown AND ending up at the South Strip station. So the Vegas roulette wheel station issue continues to spin.

+ Greyhound has restored a second run between Sacramento <> Seattle, extending a Los Angeles <> Sacramento turn. They are continuing to run the original pandemic trip Los Angeles <> Sacramento <> Portland, with the lone BOLT run connecting for Seattle.

+ Greyhound is experiencing the CDL shortage. In addition to on-line advertising they've run full-color ads in big city dailies.

+ Flix restored a single Eugene <> Portland <> Seattle <> Bellingham run. As of May 5th, it did not show in their computer past May 17th.

+ Flix has begun developing service via Binghamton into NYC from Niagara Falls/Buffalo and from Ithaca. This is all head-on against Greyhound and another curbside carrier.

+ Flix is setting up an uncharacteristic premium service between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
 
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NEPATrainTraveler

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Sep 12, 2018
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Martz Bus went through some changes during this pandemic. The Scranton to Philadelphia route that used to be 2x daily (3x daily on Fridays and Sundays) each way is now just once a day each way. Another change is that downtown Wilkes-Barre has become the starting point southbound and the last stop northbound instead of Scranton. Southbound the bus leaves W-B at 5:15 AM and arrives at 30th Street station at 9:20 AM and the Greyhound station at 9:30 AM. Northbound it leaves the Greyhound station at 5:30 PM and 30th Street station at 5:45 PM, arriving in W-B at 9:30 PM. A stop at the Wyoming Valley Mall was added to the Philadelphia route after the stop in Scranton southbound and before Scranton going northbound. Normally, only a handful of Martz’ New York City runs stopped there along with Martz’ Atlantic City run, which isn’t currently running at all during the pandemic.

Martz’ New York City runs have also seen reduced frequencies, but still more frequent than the Philadelphia run.
 

railiner

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Thanks for the bus updates.
I am seriously considering going back to work, but part time. Even at my age (73), I can easily find a multitude of commercial driving jobs. I am looking for one that will allow me to make myself available, when I want to, and take off when I want to.
 

Deni

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May 11, 2008
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Does anyone know the situation with Magabus in Indianapolis? When you go on their website and start typing "Indi..." in to the schedule search nothing comes up. They still have an Indianapolis page but you can't search any busses to/from there. Don't know if they have cancelled permanently or just a COVID suspension. My wife is taking a new job with a company based in Indy. She'll stay based here in Chicago but will need to travel to Indy frequently. The Cardinal will probably not be an option very often due to it's thrice-weekly schedule and bad Indianapolis times...
 

Eric S

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The last time I had taken a look at Megabus schedules, it looked like their Midwest service had shrunk to just a Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison-Twin Cities line. No idea how much of their pre-pandemic service will return, or when it might. It looks like the options right now are Greyhound or airlines.
 

jebr

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The last time I had taken a look at Megabus schedules, it looked like their Midwest service had shrunk to just a Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison-Twin Cities line. No idea how much of their pre-pandemic service will return, or when it might. It looks like the options right now are Greyhound or airlines.
And that line is only running once a day, based out of Coach USA/Wisconsin Coach Lines (I think Janesville, WI is where the garage is at.) They've done that for a couple years pre-pandemic as well (though having 4x/day frequencies then) but I don't see that changing anytime soon.

I think the Indianapolis schedule actually feeds from Atlanta, so it might be dependent on when that grows. The Chicago maintenance base for Megabus is no more, so all the buses have to feed from their other bases currently.
 

Willbridge

OBS Chief
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Mar 30, 2019
Messages
879
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Denver
Some update notes...

+ Amtrak Thruway service is to return to the Los Angeles <>Las Vegas route effective May 7th. Operating 2x daily it includes stops in San Bernardino, Victorville and Barstow. In the Pacific Surfliner website it says that the station in Las Vegas is the South Strip transit center (now home to Greyhound) and that customers should ride the strip transit bus to get to downtown. In the Amtrak computer the bus is stopping on the street downtown AND ending up at the South Strip station. So the Vegas roulette wheel station issue continues to spin.

+ Greyhound has restored a second run between Sacramento <> Seattle, extending a Los Angeles <> Sacramento turn. They are continuing to run the original pandemic trip Los Angeles <> Sacramento <> Portland, with the lone BOLT run connecting for Seattle.

+ Greyhound is experiencing the CDL shortage. In addition to on-line advertising they've run full-color ads in big city dailies.

+ Flix restored a single Eugene <> Portland <> Seattle <> Bellingham run. As of May 5th, it did not show in their computer past May 17th.

+ Flix has begun developing service via Binghamton into NYC from Niagara Falls/Buffalo and from Ithaca. This is all head-on against Greyhound and another curbside carrier.

+ Flix is setting up an uncharacteristic premium service between Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
Flix had a sort of lurch in their Pacific Northwest schedules and now have schedules posted into June, stepped up from once a day to two and then three PDX <> SEA trips. At three a day they have more trips than Amtrak or Greyhound.
 

Willbridge

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Messages
879
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Thanks for the bus updates.
I am seriously considering going back to work, but part time. Even at my age (73), I can easily find a multitude of commercial driving jobs. I am looking for one that will allow me to make myself available, when I want to, and take off when I want to.
Your best bet might be with a Gray Line member or a university town charter operator. When I was dispatcher for Gray Line of Portland (no, I was not the cause of its bankruptcy) I had access to a dozen or so part-timers for days with big conventions or football games (with every seat sold in the stadium). I'd go through the list without having to call by seniority. Soon I learned which guys liked which sort of run. The full-timers and I were bound by the contract to be called -- and work -- by seniority.

Several of the part-timers were experienced retirees and I liked not having to explain a lot to them.
 

railiner

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Your best bet might be with a Gray Line member or a university town charter operator. When I was dispatcher for Gray Line of Portland (no, I was not the cause of its bankruptcy) I had access to a dozen or so part-timers for days with big conventions or football games (with every seat sold in the stadium). I'd go through the list without having to call by seniority. Soon I learned which guys liked which sort of run. The full-timers and I were bound by the contract to be called -- and work -- by seniority.

Several of the part-timers were experienced retirees and I liked not having to explain a lot to them.
Good suggestion. I am currently in the hiring process (take my DOT physical on Monday), with a local charter line. I'll let you know how that works out...:)
 

Mailliw

Lead Service Attendant
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Jun 14, 2020
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382
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Scranton, PA
Martz Bus went through some changes during this pandemic. The Scranton to Philadelphia route that used to be 2x daily (3x daily on Fridays and Sundays) each way is now just once a day each way. Another change is that downtown Wilkes-Barre has become the starting point southbound and the last stop northbound instead of Scranton. Southbound the bus leaves W-B at 5:15 AM and arrives at 30th Street station at 9:20 AM and the Greyhound station at 9:30 AM. Northbound it leaves the Greyhound station at 5:30 PM and 30th Street station at 5:45 PM, arriving in W-B at 9:30 PM. A stop at the Wyoming Valley Mall was added to the Philadelphia route after the stop in Scranton southbound and before Scranton going northbound. Normally, only a handful of Martz’ New York City runs stopped there along with Martz’ Atlantic City run, which isn’t currently running at all during the pandemic.

Martz’ New York City runs have also seen reduced frequencies, but still more frequent than the Philadelphia run.
Not pleased with Martz; last time I went to Philly on Amtrak Truway they canceled return trip. Amtrak rebooked me on the Acela so I could get to NYC, but then I still had to buy a Martz ticket on my own. Scranton has terrible transport options. 😤
 

railiner

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Not pleased with Martz; last time I went to Philly on Amtrak Truway they canceled return trip. Amtrak rebooked me on the Acela so I could get to NYC, but then I still had to buy a Martz ticket on my own. Scranton has terrible transport options. 😤
Agreed. At one time, Scranton was a fairly busy bus hub, served by Eastern Greyhound on 6 different routes, as well as Capitol Trailways, Martz Trailways, and Short Line. Not to mention the Lackawanna and several other railroads, as well as several airlines. Not much choices, today...
 

Palmetto

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Miami
And let's not forget the Phoebe Snow, among other trains, called there! Never had the change to ride them.
 
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