Comments on: Did wifi cause a rise in bus ridership? http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/12/26/did-wifi-cause-a-rise-in-bus-ridership/ A slice of lime in the soda Sun, 26 Oct 2014 19:05:02 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.5 By: colburn http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/12/26/did-wifi-cause-a-rise-in-bus-ridership/comment-page-1/#comment-34543 Thu, 29 Dec 2011 01:48:13 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=11648#comment-34543 Your title is misleading: it’s not the wifi, it’s the new fish jumping into the chinatown bus pond. 10 years ago, Chinatown buses were awesome deals compared to greyhound, but lots of people either didn’t know about them or were culturally uncomfortable with buses that seemed to be for a particular demographic (chinese people or poor people). Now greyhound’s fares are much reduced and the new buses offer cultural acceptability. Wifi is window dressing.

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By: conductorchris http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/12/26/did-wifi-cause-a-rise-in-bus-ridership/comment-page-1/#comment-34518 Wed, 28 Dec 2011 17:38:18 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=11648#comment-34518 Layers and layers of misinformation here . . .

First, the DePaul study didn’t measure ridership at all! It only looked at the number of buses scheduled and assumed a correlation with ridership – a connection that is tenuous. Not only because the Chinatown operators were excluded (but no, just because they sell tickets on gotobus.com does NOT mean they are a Chinatown operator) but because the buses might be empty and because it ignores the practice of running multiple sections of a singled scheduled run. (ie, one scheduled departure but multiple buses operating that schedule — a normal occurring in peak times for Greyhound and now apparently for Megabus too).

In fact bus ridership is increasing, as judged by other, better studies.

The “Estimated Growth in Passenger Ridership” chart is deceptive. 95% of intercity travel is by car, so a 1% drop in car usage is easily enough to account for all new trips by bus, train and plane combined and still represent a decline in total travel. If bus travel doubled it would represent only a 1-2% decline in auto travel.

Wi-Fi does make a difference? A bigger difference for bus operators than for trains — because it sends the message that the service is for technologically aware people rather than the choiceless. It was necessary for the intercity bus industry to break out of the position of being last resort. So even if nobody uses it, it makes a difference because it helps attract a different demographic.

Amtrak estimated that installing wi-fi would increase ridership by 2%. Thus it would bring more revenue than it would cost.

Amtrak charges more in the northeast because the service is better and thus it has more pricing power since it’s more competitive (that is, it charges more because it can). Speed is typically 110mph (more for Acela) and frequency hourly. Not so in the rest of the country.

For me personally wi-fi makes a huge difference. If my travel time is “billable hours” as they say, it doesn’t matter longer it takes (within reason) since I’m being as productive as at the office (or getting as much rest or fun as I would at home).

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By: maynardGkeynes http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/12/26/did-wifi-cause-a-rise-in-bus-ridership/comment-page-1/#comment-34509 Wed, 28 Dec 2011 03:49:10 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=11648#comment-34509 Agree with the comments. (1) Cost – NE Amtrak is absurdly overpriced to subsidize rail travel in already useless and over-subsidized fly-over states; (2) Flying is an indignity nowadays; (3) Comfort – buses are more comfortable than airplanes, and easier to get to than trains.

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By: Sambrose http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/12/26/did-wifi-cause-a-rise-in-bus-ridership/comment-page-1/#comment-34504 Wed, 28 Dec 2011 01:29:58 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=11648#comment-34504 Hey, did you know that Greyhound charges an $18 gift ticket fee for 3rd party transactions? Greyhound says that this fee is to combat credit card fraud and handling charges, but when examined, these explanations do not stand up to scrutiny.

Join over 8,000 who have signed an online petition to end this fee at:

http://www.change.org/petitions/greyhoun d-eliminate-the-18-gift-ticket-fee

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By: MacCruiskeen http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/12/26/did-wifi-cause-a-rise-in-bus-ridership/comment-page-1/#comment-34500 Tue, 27 Dec 2011 19:01:28 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=11648#comment-34500 It’s true: taking a plane or train in the northeast corridor has become such a costly PITA that buses are a more attractive alternative. And in addition to bolt, etc., competing with the Chinatown buses, Greyound has had to reduce its rates on these routes.

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By: BarryKelly http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/12/26/did-wifi-cause-a-rise-in-bus-ridership/comment-page-1/#comment-34491 Tue, 27 Dec 2011 09:26:42 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=11648#comment-34491 Re your hotel: your problem was staying in a high-end hotel. In my experience, there is an inverse correlation between internet services and hotel price level. The more expensive the hotel, the less likely it will have free internet, and the more likely it will be perceived to be some business-only, corporate-expensed facility for schlubs forced to take their work with them. Similarly, the actual internet provisions will be at a level that’s miserly for a house with more than 4 internet-using occupants; typically a residential ADSL line of at most 20Mbits is shared across all guests.

I remember once paying about 20 USD for one night’s access to “premium” internet at a hotel in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, there were about 10 other technologists with my group in the hotel – we were speakers at a conference. The maximum download rate didn’t exceed 60kbit/sec. I’d have had a better internet connection on my phone.

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By: spectre855 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/12/26/did-wifi-cause-a-rise-in-bus-ridership/comment-page-1/#comment-34481 Mon, 26 Dec 2011 21:51:06 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=11648#comment-34481 I have to pile on and agree that this sounds like it has a lot to do with cost savings. I heard about MegaBus just a few months ago for the first time. I had driven to Chicago and met someone from my hometown of Cleveland. She told my wife and I that the next time we trek out to Chicago we should try MegaBus because tickets cost about $8. That was roughly half of what we had paid in tolls, let alone the cost of gas. The fact that these buses apparently also have wifi never entered into our conversation.

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By: Maryam_Sabbagh http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/12/26/did-wifi-cause-a-rise-in-bus-ridership/comment-page-1/#comment-34480 Mon, 26 Dec 2011 21:20:32 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=11648#comment-34480 Good article but I think people are using it as an alternative to cost + hassle of flying or cost of tolls + gas. I’ve used Bolt/Mega buses 14+ times and each time, less than 1/2 of people are using the Wifi.

These buses offer last-minute deal fares for $1 (when it isn’t full). I think it really comes down to cost + convenience of traveling (Wifi being just one of the added conveniences)

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By: KenG_CA http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2011/12/26/did-wifi-cause-a-rise-in-bus-ridership/comment-page-1/#comment-34479 Mon, 26 Dec 2011 17:38:24 +0000 http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/?p=11648#comment-34479 So you don’t think the weak economy/rising cost and wasted time of air travel has any impact on how people get from city to city?

As someone who would love to give networks and the internet credit for wonderful things, I’m skeptical about attributing the increase in bus ridership to wi-fi. People are probably happy wi-fi is available, but buses are not as convenient as cars or comfortable as trains, but they are less expensive and less complicated.

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