Sunday, July 26, 2009

Greyhound for the Next Generation

In recent months, I've introduced you to BoltBus and NeON, both of which revolutionized bus travel with innovations like onboard wireless Internet, much roomier seats, and power outlets, and fares in the $20-30 range connecting New York to destinations like Washington, D.C., Boston, Toronto, and Montreal.

In both cases, I pointed out that BoltBus and NeON were operated by Greyhound, America's largest bus network which in recent years has lost market share to curbside discounters commonly known as Chinatown buses.

Certainly, Greyhound used these new ventures to compete with the Chinatown companies (most of which were charter-based operations of questionable reliability). It also avoided waving around its role in the companies to avoid turning off potential travelers who have come to associate Greyhound with cramped, uncomfortable travel.

But the real intent behind these efforts was to fend off a far more serious challenger: MegaBus, which is operated by one of Greyhound's few real domestic competitors (Coach USA) and also offers free onboard WiFi and other goodies.

BoltBus and NeON were used to proof a concept, and now Greyhound has revealed its next step: a new-generation service that incorporates everything we loved about those services (the Internet, the roomy seats, the power outlets) under the Greyhound name. Greyhound is calling "the future of bus travel."

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