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Intercity Bus Service



The Private Motorcoach and Bus Industry 

A Presentation by: Clyde Hart, Senior Vice President

American Bus Association



American Bus Association 

  • Trade association for the private intercity bus and charter and tour industry.
  • Approx. 1000 private bus operators. 
  • 40,000 motorcoaches (i.e., at least 35�� vehicle with an elevated passenger deck located over a baggage compartment*). 
  • Provide: intercity, charter and tour, commuter, airport shuttle services nationwide. 
  • The motorcoach industry provides 762 million passenger trips annually, which is more  service in two weeks than Amtrak provides in the same year. 

* Section 3038 Public Law 105-178, 49 USC 5310 note.




Private Bus industry works without significant subsidy 

  • Private bus operators pay a reduced federal fuel tax (7.3 cents a gallon of a 24.4 cents a gallon tax).
  • Publicly funded transit agencies and Amtrak pay no federal fuel tax.
  • Industry competes for $10 million annually in security grants.
  • Industry competes for $7 million annually to put wheelchair lifts on motorcoaches.


Summary Statistics for the Motorcoach Industry in the U.S. and Canada, 2007-2008 

  • Key Statistics                            2007                   2008                  %Change
  • Passenger Trips                751,000,000           762,000,000                   1.5 
  • Passenger Miles              65,496,000,000        65,088,000,000             -0.6 
  • Service Miles                     1,798,000,000         1,827,000,000               1.6 
  • Number of MCs                        33,536                      35,217                   5.0 
  • Source: Nathan Associates, Inc. 


Economic Impact of Private Motorcoach Industry  

  • United States
    • The motorcoach industry supports 1,056,800 jobs in the country and creates $112,667,533,000 in economic activity
  • Florida
    • The motorcoach industry supports 23,400 in the state and creates $2,602,094,900 in economic activity
  • Florida��s 8th Congressional District  
    • The motorcoach industry supports 1,230 in FL-8 and creates $136,995,690 in economic activity




Environmental Benefits 

  • According to The Union Of Concerned Scientists, motorcoaches produce less global warming pollution than planes, trains or automobiles.
  • Coaches also fight congestion, as each coach has the capacity to take up to 55 cars off of the road at one time.




Passenger Miles per Gallon of Fuel by Mode of Transportation



Intercity Service 

  • Numerous carriers provide intercity bus service nationwide.
  • Legacy carriers (e.g. Greyhound; Peter Pan; Jefferson Lines; Rimrock Stages; Northwest Stages).
  • New Model carriers (e.g. Megabus, Bolt Bus, Vamoose Bus, Jefferson Rocket Express, Fung Wah).
  • Megabus alone moves over 4 million passengers a year serving 40 major cities.
  • BoltBus has served over 3 million passengers, expected to reach 4 million by end of year
  • The Southwest Airlines model for the 2010s?


Today��s Intercity Bus Service



New Intercity Service Trends 

  • Internet based reservations system.
  • Express service between city pairs.
  • Pick up and discharge in major urban centers, connecting to other modes of transportation.
  • Electronic amenities: Wi-Fi, satellite radio, movies, ��plug-ins��.
  • Luxury seating,  food service, extra leg room, ��classes of service��.


The Megabus Network




  • Cities view intercity bus service as a ��cash cow��.
  • Proposals to tax service for picking up on city streets or forcing buses into terminals.
  • Bus terminals typically not close to other modes of transportation.
  • Overzealous environmental regulations
  • Increasing federal mandates
  • Lack of federal parity




Charter Bus Regulation 

  • 1970s FTA rule prevents federally funded transit agencies from performing charter work when there is a willing and able private operator available.
  • In D.C. alone WMATA admitted to doing $2 million in charter work in 2007.
  • In 2008 Congress mandated an FTA negotiated rulemaking procedure to reform the charter bus rule.
  • The rulemaking involved 21 representatives of private and public transportation stakeholders over 8 months.


The Resultant Rulemaking 

  • Centered the complaint process in FTA��s Chief Counsel��s Office.
  • Rationalized definition of ��Charter��.
  • Provided for penalties for repeated violations of the rule.

    Established an Appeals Process.

  • Exemption process for unique events.
  • Web site for private carriers to register to provide service.
  • Web site for non profit social service entities to obtain service at reduced rates.


Public Law 111-117  

  • Section 172 of the FY 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act: ��None of the funds provided or limited under this act may be used to enforce regulations related to charter bus service under part 604 of title 49 Code of Federal Regulations, for any transit agency who during FY 2008 was both initially granted a 60-day period to come into compliance with part 604 and then was subsequently granted an exception from said part��.
  • The provision (known as the ��Murray Amendment��) permits King County Metro (and no other agency) to provide their federally funded transit buses for service to Seattle Mariners�� and Seattle Seahawks�� games and other special events outside of their regular public transportation routes at the expense of private, tax paying motorcoach companies and against whom the FTA may not act. 


ABA v. Rogoff 

  • ABA and UMA sued FTA Administrator Rogoff alleging that Section 172 violated the First  (right to petition Congress for redress of grievances) and Fifth (rights to procedural due process and to equal protection) Amendments of the Constitution and the Separation of Powers.
  • On June 9, 2010 Judge Ellen Huvelle (U.S. District Court) found Section 172 to be unconstitutional in that it targeted a single group (King County charter bus operators), while other similarly situated entities are free to exercise their full right to challenge local public competitors under the Charter Rule. 
  • The Department of Justice appealed that ruling and oral argument on the appeal was held before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on September 23, 2010.  




FY 2011 Transportation  
Appropriations Bill  

  • Contains the same exemption as the FY 2010 Appropriations law
  • Language sponsored by Transportation Appropriations Committee Chairman Patty Murray
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