Quantcast

RNO PDX Bus

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
585
I used to live in Reno and I've never heard of them. Given that their branding is very generic, I am a bit put off by them. It also seems more Portland centric than Reno centric.
 

Swadian Hardcore

Conductor
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
7,363
Location
On The Road
I tried to get a job or partner with them but they didn't have anything for me yet. They're a brand new sole proprietorship. Inactive with no passengers due to coronavirus.
 
Last edited:

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
585
Not filing as an LLC is also a strike against my confidence in this company. It only costs $225 for an initial filing in Nevada and maybe $150 in legal fees. If you can get the funds to start a bus company, I find it strange that you can't scrounge up $400 to file as an LLC.
 

Swadian Hardcore

Conductor
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
7,363
Location
On The Road
They aren't a LLC because they're not operating and have no passengers or employees. Whether it's a strike of confidence for you doesn't matter, since you're not involved. Spending money on "prestige" isn't a sound business practice.
 

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
585
They aren't a LLC because they're not operating and have no passengers or employees. Whether it's a strike of confidence for you doesn't matter, since you're not involved. Spending money on "prestige" isn't a sound business practice.
Paying to incorporate as an LLC isn't a form of "prestige" like paying for a Better Business Bureau rating or paying people on Fiver to write good Google and Yelp reviews. Its a normal way or organizing a business to shield yourself against liability should something go wrong. Meaning, if things go south as a sole proprietorship, the bank, the creditors or people suing you for lets say a crashed bus, can sue you personally into bankruptcy. As an LLC, they wouldn't be able to do it, except in a few rare circumstances. So, as a customer, the business owners not taking the time to plan things out that far doesn't give me any confidence that this company will last that long.
 

Swadian Hardcore

Conductor
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
7,363
Location
On The Road
You're absolutely correct that it's a "normal way...to shield yourself from liability should something go wrong". Yet this only applies if there's banks, creditors, or potential lawsuits involved. There's no banks or creditors, and the insurance company is liable for BIPD in the event of an accident. If the insurance company can't meet demands, then the owner is often liable for the balance anyway.

As a sole proprietor myself, I can assure you that I did consult an attorney before joining RNO PDX as an independent owner-operator. We came to a conclusion that we shouldn't form an LLC unless I have employees, creditors, or investors. Which I do not.

If I do get involved with employees, creditors, or investors, then I'd form a LLC. However, our very purpose was to obtain self-employment with no credit nor any employees at all.
 
Last edited:

sttom

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
585
Its still not a good idea, there is still more potential for financial ruin should things go wrong. Its fine if you don't own more than a car, but if you or anyone involved owns a house, an IRA or really anything you aren't willing to lose, I would reconsider. There also the difference between you as an independent contractor and the business itself as a separate entity. If they (assuming some degree of separation) are not an LLC, they I am even more concerned. And if there is no separation, then all of you should reconsider filing as an LLC if anyone owns a home or IRA or just anything they aren't willing to lose should something bad happen. I don't need to know the details, but I would strongly recommend getting a second opinion from an accountant or someone you know that has formed an LLC for business reasons, if you know any.
 

Swadian Hardcore

Conductor
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
7,363
Location
On The Road
Again, you're absolutely correct, but I don't own a home or IRA. And again, I believe we use the same attorney and if he advised against it, then I wouldn't do it except for "prestige".

It's also possible or even likely that we'd form an LLC once we figure out how to find passengers. Without passengers, there's no business and even less reason to form an LLC.

As for an accountant, I have a close relative who's a CPA. She advised (even more strongly than the attorney) against forming an LLC. I can't speak for the others and am not privy to more details, but I did get that second opinion. And it's with this information that I made my decision. :)
 

rickycourtney

Conductor
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Messages
1,819
Location
Fresno, CA
Reno to Portland seems like an oddly specific market pair with a very niche market.

I mean, that's roughly 10 hours on a bus for $60 -- for only $10 more you can get a ticket on Alaska (Horizon) and be there in less than two hours. Eight hours of my life is worth way more than $10.
 

Swadian Hardcore

Conductor
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
7,363
Location
On The Road
It might be. But we have nothing better with California on one side, $29 flights to Las Vegas, and no connections out of SLC. Although the difference is less than 8 hours when including check-in & TSA (unless you have Global Entry). There's inevitably "more" social distancing and sightseeing from the bus too.

It has to be specific because none of us can afford to hire employees. That means that we can only corner a tiny market.

When the last-minute flights go to $239 we might do better. Or we may need to team-drive to Seattle or lower the price down to $40 or something.
 

jebr

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
3,979
Location
"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN
Most of the links on the website lead to an error saying that "Your access to the site has been limited" with a 503 error, at least for me. Even the Terms and Conditions error out - not good to buy a ticket without being able to see the terms and conditions!

I'd agree that it also seems to be a fairly niche market, and with the service alert I saw (Reno to Portland on Friday, and Portland to Reno on Sunday) the timing seems to be oriented towards a weekend in Portland, versus trying to grab the market of people traveling to Reno for a weekend of gambling. I'd think the market would be a lot bigger for "weekend gambling in Reno from Portland" than "weekend trip to Portland from Reno."
 

rickycourtney

Conductor
Joined
Dec 21, 2012
Messages
1,819
Location
Fresno, CA
Swad- I noticed this quickly went from you reaching out about “job or partner” to knowing the business pretty well.

I know there’s hurdles to the California market... but Amtrak has proven that there’s a strong market of upscale leisure travelers between the Bay Area and Reno. I’m surprised nobody has attempted a Vonlane style luxury bus between the two cities.

That said... any form of “public” transportation (trains, planes, or buses) are gonna be a tough sell until there’s a vaccine. Many people won’t want to risk being around others unnecessarily and will skip traveling... or ride in a personal automobile.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
8,404
Location
Palm Beach County
A "Vonlane" type operation may indeed be successful in this market, but it doesn't sound like the principal's of this company have the resources necessary to do so...
 

caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,827
Location
Nottingham, England.
Whatever happens, I for one wish you the best of luck with your venture. Better to try something than be too timid to go outside your comfort zone!
Social media seems to be the way to attract customers these days. It is important to have a working website asap. If you are not quite open for business yet due to the Corona virus, maybe put a "placeholder" website up to inform visitors and potential future customers of the current situation.
Good Luck!
 

the_traveler

Conductor
Joined
Nov 14, 2007
Messages
26,008
Location
Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
I also noticed the “Weekend in Portland” days of operation. My opinion is that more people from Portland might want to go to Reno for the weekend than those in Reno would want Portland for the weekend. How many Las Vegas residents would want to go to Yuma, AZ or St George, UT for the weekend vs how many from Yuma or St George would want to spend a weekend in Las Vegas?

In the 1980’s, I worked for a small commuter airline. We primarily flew our many routes Monday-Saturday. The only flight we flew on Sunday was 1 evening flight from Albany to Newark. This was done for positioning the plane to be available for a 6 am flight on Monday morning from EWR-ALB. There were hardly any passengers on the Sunday flights.

Perhaps, you may want to schedule a bus from Reno to Portland the day before and Portland to Reno the day after, to allow for positioning to allow for a PDX-RNO weekend trip!
 

anumberone

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2015
Messages
2,015
Location
Los Angeles
Sounds all too much like a gamblers special, subsidized by the casinos in Reno. Why they would target Portland is a good question. Maybe Reno attracts a lot of folk from Portland.
Reminds me of the Gamblers Special that used to fly nightly from Burbank Ca. to a small casino in Hawthorne Nv. It cost $5.00 and they gave you a free steak dinner. I hope this all goes well and is successful.
 
Last edited:

Swadian Hardcore

Conductor
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
7,363
Location
On The Road
Swad- I noticed this quickly went from you reaching out about “job or partner” to knowing the business pretty well.
Yes Ricky, you know that I've been trying to do something like this for quite some time. Mike is another unemployed driver with similar goals, so we've gotten to know each other very well. That said, there's not a single passenger yet so I remain unemployed.

As for the Bay Area, it's already covered by Amtrak, Greyhound, and Flixbus. This is more of an idea for idle drivers to try something that no one else is doing, and see if it works.

Most of the links on the website lead to an error saying that "Your access to the site has been limited" with a 503 error, at least for me. Even the Terms and Conditions error out - not good to buy a ticket without being able to see the terms and conditions!
...
Let me ask Mike (the owner & webmaster) about this. We're in Reno so it's much easier for us to do a "weekend in Portland" instead of the other way around. Since we have no employees, the primary cost is fuel, and positioning both ways would double our expenses.
 
Last edited:

Alice

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 6, 2007
Messages
992
Location
California
I know Reno residents who come west for a weekend in SF or fishing here in Oroville. I think Portland would be a nice destination, far enough that you want someone else to drive but close enough to get there in a day. It has different weather, good transit so you can get around without a car, and more diverse food choices. Passengers could rent a car on arrival and head to some pretty stunning coast views (or the Oregon Coast Scenic Railway, Astoria streetcar, and the air museum and Blue Heron Creamery in Tillamook). An inviting website would highlight some of Portland's features. One issue I'd see is unexpected road closures in winter that can last until the roads warm up in the morning but that is true of all mountain travel.

Right now we are baking in the Sacramento Valley and planning for it to be worse next week, so I looked up Reno and Portland. Reno is 10 degrees or so cooler than here, and Portland is 15 degrees cooler than Reno. Putting side-by-side weather predictions for Reno and Portland on your website could sure attract some people. Winter would be similar since freezing happens a lot more often in Reno than Portland.
 

Willbridge

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
576
Location
Denver
PDX>RNO is the outer edge of what one driver can legally run. During the 55 mph limit years, you could prove on paper that it was impossible, although because logs don't show if you are breaking the speed limit some companies still tried it, at one point including my employer.

What did work was Hamman Stage Lines of Salem, which used a second driver to deadhead to Wilsonville (the south end of Portland metro), pick up the passengers at an I-5 cafe and return to Salem, where the "real" driver would take over for the dash to Reno. The return was the reverse of this.

Now, with the higher speed limits, Portland or perhaps Oregon City or Tualatin is reachable, but you still have to deal with storms on Willamette Pass and the normal contingencies. If you are using a second-hand bus, contingencies have a way of intruding.

If your group was more stable and if Amtrak would run a train every day, why not consider a Thruway connection KFS<>RNO or even extended to LSV? You might even get Willamette Valley connections to and from Trains 5/6 for the East with an enjoyable stopover in RNO versus the current connection in SAC.
 

Swadian Hardcore

Conductor
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
7,363
Location
On The Road
Connections aren't feasible to either 11/14 or 5/6. The 11 leaves KFS at 8:17 AM which means we'd have to drive overnight from RNO to KFS. Same goes for the southbound with the 14 getting to KFS at 9:50 PM.

A connection from the 5 might work, but the 6 wouldn't. It leaves RNO at 4:06 PM which would bump PDX departure too early into the morning to meet 501 from SEA.

Not sure how LSV applies. That's in New Mexico but if you means Las Vegas (NV), then the $29 flights from RNO have kiboshed that option.

With a 65 mph speed limit, these 533 miles (from Google Maps) are feasible and perhaps the only good option.
 

Willbridge

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
576
Location
Denver
Connections aren't feasible to either 11/14 or 5/6. The 11 leaves KFS at 8:17 AM which means we'd have to drive overnight from RNO to KFS. Same goes for the southbound with the 14 getting to KFS at 9:50 PM.

A connection from the 5 might work, but the 6 wouldn't. It leaves RNO at 4:06 PM which would bump PDX departure too early into the morning to meet 501 from SEA.

Not sure how LSV applies. That's in New Mexico but if you means Las Vegas (NV), then the $29 flights from RNO have kiboshed that option.

With a 65 mph speed limit, these 533 miles (from Google Maps) are feasible and perhaps the only good option.
I was trying not to go into detail, but was referring to overnight KFS<>RNO. Casino bus riders have proven to be able to travel at some pretty odd times. That's why I mentioned selling a midday stay in RNO. The main connection would be in KFS:

Train 11 to bus to RNO stopover to Train 6.
and
Train 5 to RNO stopover to bus to Train 14.

Sorry about the NM city code in the previous posting. Here in Denver it's part of our economic hinterlands, so I'm used to typing it out by habit.

Whatever you may choose to do, good luck!
 

Devil's Advocate

Sarcastic Misanthrope
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,729
Location
Texas
Perhaps the concept of starting a new bus service could work as social media series. Maybe the best way to start a bus route from scratch is to televise the process on Youtube. Even if it goes poorly you could continue the channel filming the next business plan and so on. There are lots of travel related channels but I cannot remember ever seeing one about starting a new bus service.
 
Last edited:

dogbert617

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 19, 2016
Messages
839
Location
Chicago, IL
Most of the links on the website lead to an error saying that "Your access to the site has been limited" with a 503 error, at least for me. Even the Terms and Conditions error out - not good to buy a ticket without being able to see the terms and conditions!

I'd agree that it also seems to be a fairly niche market, and with the service alert I saw (Reno to Portland on Friday, and Portland to Reno on Sunday) the timing seems to be oriented towards a weekend in Portland, versus trying to grab the market of people traveling to Reno for a weekend of gambling. I'd think the market would be a lot bigger for "weekend gambling in Reno from Portland" than "weekend trip to Portland from Reno."
Heh if you're getting errors with a lot of links you're clicking on that site, don't think I'd trust buying a ticket off of this site either! And also getting an error message when you try to see terms and conditions, really? Nope, doubt I'd trust a site like that myself.

I'm sure some riders would use a bus service between Reno and Portland. But I suspect it'd more be gamblers in Portland trying to head down to Reno to gamble in those casinos, vs. those in Reno wanting to go north to PDX to spend time in that city. And of course, such a bus service would avoid having to travel overnight through north California/southern Oregon on the Coast Starlight, and having to require a transfer between trains in (likely) Sacramento. Wouldn't be surprised if bus drivers had to be changed out at least once somewhere along the way, for such RNO to PDX(or back) bus trips?

If they are a legitimate business, I hope they do improve the functionality of their website, to prevent errors from showing up on this site. And that hopefully they succeed, since I suspect the PDX to RNO bus market(and back) probably is underserved.
 
Top