“One Of The Best Transport Innovations Of Our Time”

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by Maisie Allison

Aaron Renn defends resurgent intercity bus travel against its urbanist critics, who are concerned that it undermines the case for high speed rail:

What Megabus & Co. are proving is that there is a viable market for intercity transit-style travel at the right price. Thus they are helping to get people used to the idea of traveling that way and in a sense priming the pump for high speed rail at a later date as demand increases. The bus operators are doing the hard work of creating and proving out the market for this. Also, Megabus will hopefully force the backers of many of these HSR proposals to rethink their concept around 110MPH peak speeds in favor of true high speed rail…Conceivably if and when HSR investments are made, these bus operators will service a different, lower end market and/or evolve into more of a rail complement.

Stephen Rees adds:

[W]hile new, innovative bus services on some routes in the United States are winning new customers to long distance buses, they will pose little threat once there are true high speed railway services to compete with. They will probably be price competitive, but speed and service quality of the kind now enjoyed in France, Germany, Japan – and even across the English Channel will secure a much larger chunk of what is now airline travel. 

Previous discussion on the successes and safety hazards of intercity bus travel here

(Photo: A BoltBus leaves Manhattan for Washington DC. Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)