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Competing with Greyhound: My NYC/Chicago Bus Venture (zacharyburt.com)
14 points by zackattack 1388 days ago | comments


SwellJoe 1388 days ago | link

I think this would be more accurately titled "My NYC/Chicago Bus Thought Experiment". You haven't actually ventured anything other than a little time and a few bucks for market research.

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_delirium 1388 days ago | link

The conclusion also seems unsupported. Is it really the case that "running just one bus line could be profitable"? My guess is that it wouldn't be profitable, because it's fairly expensive to operate, and cheap flights (as noted in the post) put a cap on how much you can charge.

Maybe someone like Megabus could do it profitably, because they have some economies of scale and existing capital equipment, but I'd be really surprised if a small-time operation running a single Chicago<->NYC bus were profitable.

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zackattack 1388 days ago | link

I meant to indicate that it could possibly be profitable - not that it would be profitable. I'll refine my language in the future.

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zackattack 1388 days ago | link

Good point. I updated the blog post title.

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icefox 1388 days ago | link

I really hate when people tell me that flying between point A and B take X hours and then try to compare it to a train/car/bus/etc. I leave and arrive in the city on a train/bus/car. Can you buy the JetBlue ticket for $69 hours (or minutes, or ON THE PLANE?) before takeoff?

The most important question though is if I left my [place of residence] when would I arrive at [destination] and what would my total cost be? Is the airport an hour outside the city and a $50 cab ride? How many HOURS do you have to show up to get on the plane? Taking luggage? Add another half hour minimum to your trip. And not to mention the fun security theater of the airports.

I drive from Boston to Toronto and it is faster door to door than flying and is a much better experience. Chicago from NYC would be longer at 13 hours so flying would be faster. Busses need to compete on other things. Treating you like a human, having wifi and power jacks. perks like ipads on the bus, free books, or gut half the seats and setup poker tables, video games. A bus that is made up of half beds. Themed busses, something, anything to make it more then just a bus trip, something you could charge much more than planes and people would want to use it. Go after a different market then who is currently riding the bus. Charge $500 for a bus ticket and think what you could do provide for that overhead.

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zackattack 1388 days ago | link

Somebody suggested that it could be turned into an overnight hotel / bus combination.

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blahedo 1388 days ago | link

Stop in Cleveland as a halfway point and you add in at least a few more potential customers without losing the basic "express" nature of the bus.

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hotpockets 1388 days ago | link

look at the megabus route map: http://us.megabus.com/routemap.aspx

Their rapid expansion across the midwest and east coast makes me think Megabus will likely offer soon a way to get from Chi to NYC. Perhaps the trip would take as long as the greyhound trip, I don't know. But its worth keeping an eye on. They have seemed to add routes about every 3 months or so. Connecting the midwest to the east coast would seem a natural progression.

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jim-greer 1388 days ago | link

Looks like they already do cover the midwest pretty well - they just don't do 14+ hour routes. Probably since you have to switch out the drivers (and a lot of passengers would spring for the plane at that distance).

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eli 1388 days ago | link

Seems like if the route proved popular, a big company like MegaBus (Coach USA) would swoop in and undercut you.

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melling 1388 days ago | link

NYC to Chicago is about 720 miles. That's about 3.5hrs by train...sometime in our lifetime. Exactly when is just a matter of deciding to spend the money. The technology was invented 50 years ago.

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