Northeast Corridor competition news

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Two developments along the Northeast Corridor:

1) A new bus service, called Jet, is introducing luxury bus service between Washington, DC and New York City. Just 14 seats and free booze!

2) American Airlines is discontinuing the following routes:
LaGuardia - Boston
LaGuardia - Philadelphia
Philadelphia - Baltimore

The American Airlines cuts caught me off guard. Presumably its a reflection of business travel taking longer to rebound - but giving up a traditional shuttle route (LGA-BOS) is a pretty big deal.
 

joelkfla

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1) A new bus service, called Jet, is introducing luxury bus service between Washington, DC and New York City. Just 14 seats and free booze!

"Beer and wine are complimentary, of course"

Yes, of course! Why would they not be? :D

"... the innovative design actually takes cues from Bose’s noise-canceling technology. Much like the tech titan’s headphones block out background sound, the active-suspension seats read and then cancel out 90 percent of all bumps and vibration from the road."

Could be a fun ride if there's a software glitch. 🙃
 
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1) A new bus service, called Jet, is introducing luxury bus service between Washington, DC and New York City. Just 14 seats and free booze!

Well, at least you'll be comfortable when stuck in the stop and go traffic on I-95. :)

One thing I hate about this kind of coverage: The article states that tickets "will start" at $99. That seems great, but with the bus only holding 15 people, I would suspect that most seats will cost a lot more than that. So what is the range of ticket prices that they're expecting to charge, and what would be the most common ticket price that passengers will pay?
 
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Well, at least you'll be comfortable when stuck in the stop and go traffic on I-95. :)

One thing I hate about this kind of coverage: The article states that tickets "will start" at $99. That seems great, but with the bus only holding 15 people, I would suspect that most seats will cost a lot more than that. So what is the range of ticket prices that they're expecting to charge, and what would be the most common ticket price that passengers will pay?
I checked a random trip from New York to Washington on December 5th. There are only eight seats left but a ticket can still be had for $99. Another trip I checked on November 19th has only four seats left, but is still $99. This may be during a honeymoon phase, however. It would definitely be nice to know the price range.

The single seats are considered premium and have an $8 upcharge - except for the single seat closest to the bathroom.
 
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The bus looks nice, but there have been other attempts at premium bus service like this out of NYC, and they usually fail pretty quickly.
It's the traffic. If the bus company built its own roads so the buses could go 80 mph without stopping, they might have a chance at attracting significant market share, but the additional costs would make the business non-viable. Also, from a public policy perspective, a 15-seat bus does not have a very good impact on emissions, so the jurisdictions the bus serves aren't going to be real thrilled about having such buses make up a major part of the market share for transportation, especially as they're trying to work up their state implementation plans for compliance with the Clean Air Act.
 

jebr

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The bus service is currently only running Friday - Sunday service, which seems to be aimed at weekend travelers instead of business traffic. I'm not sure that'll work well long-term for the market they're trying to capture, although with only 15 seats I suppose they don't need much market share to make things work, assuming they can charge enough and run frequently enough to pay off the bus with the retrofits. With only 4 buses, even if all are in service you're maybe able to offer service every three hours or so (figure a 5-6 hour block each way to account for traffic and rest periods with two buses running in each direction.)

The economics probably work at $99-$149/ticket; a lot of intercity buses on that corridor are in the $10-$30 range, so even with 30% of the capacity you can get similar margins at $99. Food, beverage, and additional staff definitely cut into that, but if they're able to sell out (something a lot of the bus companies don't do on most runs - and still can make a profit) there's likely enough margin to make it work. I'm just not sure if there's a ton of people that want what essentially seems to be a "party bus" experience between the two cities. Even if they try to seriously enter the business market, I'm not sure most people (or most businesses) will be wanting to use this instead of an Amtrak train that's faster, similarly priced most of the time, and has existed for decades now. Three weeks out Acela business class is $69 on some schedules, and even close-in most NERs are around $108. Sure, this looks a lot nicer than NER coach, but is it worth dealing with the unknowns, limited schedule, and longer trip time with potential traffic delays making it even longer?

EDIT: One thing I didn't realize: they're operating this bus as a curbside service. That's...not going to attract most business customers, or really any customers that are willing to pay a premium for travel and aren't just looking for the lowest fare. If I'm paying $99 for a ticket, I want a nicer waiting area than this:
1636987515045.png
 
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Concerning the BOS - LGA service. Seems to me that Delta owned that route for a long time, going back to the days of the Eastern Airlines shuttle which I remember from my college days. Been a while since I flew on it, around 2004 IIRC, so not sure what the situation is today.
 

west point

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Delta did not have BOS authority at that time. Delta got it when it acquired Northeast air. American competed but with BAC-111s. Airplane rode like teeter totter which passengers do noooooot like.
 
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Keep in mind that Delta operated the former PanAm shuttle for quite a while out of the Marine Air Terminal (until 2017) ....But when they took Northeast in 1972 the other prize was Florida authority. American sure tried hard to find a small mainline jet, they had the BAC-111 (dog) and also had Fokker-100 for a while.
 
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Delta did not have BOS authority at that time. Delta got it when it acquired Northeast air. American competed but with BAC-111s. Airplane rode like teeter totter which passengers do noooooot like.
Interesting. I recall from the late 1960s Eastern had BOS - LGA and BOS - EWR and Northeast had BOS - PHL. There might have been other routes but those are the ones I used. Don't know what happened after as I started to use trains almost exclusively especially when Amtrak "made the trains worth traveling again".
 

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Just as a lark I decided to see what a typical large US carrier is doing on the NYC - BOS corridor.

Today (11/30/21) United has 11 daily nonstops between EWR and BOS, 9 using 737s or A3xx for fares between $77 and $131 RT one month out (Basic fare), $127-$157 Economy, $257 Fully Refundable Economy $427 First Class. Two days out the lowest RT fares are $157 to $427 in Economy (no availability of Basic) depending on the time of the flight. First Class is $342 to $622 RT. Oddly enough the highest fares are on the Embraers 175s.

It also has 6 to IAD , 5 of which are 737 or A3xx, one CRJ550.

Thankfully there are no nonstops between EWR and PHL any more.

So is United a serious competition on the NYC - BOS segment? Maybe and then again maybe not. Who knows? A quick seat map sampling on flights today shows that they are mostly running pretty darned full.
 

west point

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Remember Eastern also had LGA - Washington national (DCA) and EWR- DCA shuttles as well. EAL even had a thru fare DCA = <> BOS on shuttles as well. EAL really did in the PRR NEC portion as their fares were much lower especially weekends with a $12.xx fare. All fares collected on board. Most Flight attendants were long time biding on shuttle known as shuttle queens.
 

cirdan

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Frankly, this is like calling a glorified Van service a serious competition for anything ;)

If it satisfies some congress critter in their desire to prove that somebody can offer a better service than Amtrak and without a subsidy, then its purpose is fulfilled.

A lot of people remember the original message and ignore the debunkers.
 
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Remember Eastern also had LGA - Washington national (DCA) and EWR- DCA shuttles as well. EAL even had a thru fare DCA = <> BOS on shuttles as well. EAL really did in the PRR NEC portion as their fares were much lower especially weekends with a $12.xx fare. All fares collected on board. Most Flight attendants were long time biding on shuttle known as shuttle queens.
Back in the early1980s there was a low-cost carrier called PeopleExpress that ran flights from BWI to EWR for $19, which I believe was cheaper than Amtrak. I think this was also a time when Amtrak was doing a lot of track work on the NEC and travel times were much longer than today. I know that was a period I hardly ever took the train, as my first wife and I would mostly drive up to visit her folks in North Jersey. We once flew PeopleExpress to Newark it was some flight, 45 minutes gate to gate, we climbed to somewhere over Philadelphia, and then the plane pivoted, and we immediately started descending. They used the old 1930s or 1940s era terminal at the north end of the field.

They were eventually taken over by Frank Lorenzo's Continental Airlines, and after a while, it wasn't such a good deal.
 

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Remember Eastern also had LGA - Washington national (DCA) and EWR- DCA shuttles as well. EAL even had a thru fare DCA = <> BOS on shuttles as well. EAL really did in the PRR NEC portion as their fares were much lower especially weekends with a $12.xx fare. All fares collected on board. Most Flight attendants were long time biding on shuttle known as shuttle queens.
Before Trump took over the Shuttles ( and of course Bankrupted them)I frequently flew on them when trips on Amtrak weren't possible.( loved the Metroliners)

Was able to sell alot of the Coupons they handed out for Free Flights,and also enjoyed several nice Getaways/Vacations to the The Southeast and West Coast thanks to Frequent Flyer Miles!( the Government used to allow us to keep the Travel Perks we got)
 

west point

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Yes Peoples Express did do a number on Amtrak. PE could not get slot at DCA so used BAL ( Later changed to BWI to compete with Dulls international name). Flights flew from 9000 ft to 12,000 feet. Altitudes better known as Indian country (Navaho, Cherokee, Apache ). Remember that was the time of dying GG-1s and E-60 speed limits.

The EWR terminal was the original trans Atlantic terminal . When first new terminal built changed name to Marine terminal. Used by EAL shuttle. Not sure when PE used it.
 
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When it was BAL it was still Friendship. BWI came with Baltimore-Washington Int'l which you mentioned. But they also did start to get a fair amount of transatlantic service when the long range twins made secondary gateways practical.
 
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When it was BAL it was still Friendship. BWI came with Baltimore-Washington Int'l which you mentioned. But they also did start to get a fair amount of transatlantic service when the long range twins made secondary gateways practical.
They didn't need long-range twins for that. I flew to Heathrow from BWI in 1985 on a British Airways L1011. I also flew a number of domestic flights out of BWI on DC-10's. The airport can handle jumbos, it was just a question of whether the business was there to support them.
 
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