Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How intercity bus competition can strengthen Inland Empire transit

The Transit Coalition ran across a Sacramento Bee article which tells the story of a rider who traveled along an intercity corridor served by two competing private bus carriers: Greyhound and Megabus.

When the blue Megabus coaches came into California, Greyhound knew that it no longer had monopoly power of intercity services and therefore needed to upgrade its services and lower fares in order to compete. Of course when that happens, riders benefit with better bus service.

Like the bus connections between northern California and LA, Stagecoach Group PLC has also recently brought the Megabus to operate between the Riverside Downtown Metrolink Station and Las Vegas. Transportes Intercalifornias also provides intercity service to/from Mexico. And to this day, numerous casino buses are offered to ferry passengers from all over Southern California to the Inland Empire's gaming resorts. If this pattern continues, we may be able to get around Southern California one day by bus during any time of the day at reasonable fares.

We're looking for additional carriers to come into the Inland Empire so that locals can get around the Southland and points beyond quickly by bus with increased services and lower fares. Greyhound Bus Lines should not be in a position to monopolize the Inland Empire intercity bus market. Public officials should continue to work with intercity bus service providers to improve marketplace competition among intercity lines. We're not looking at direct taxpayer subsidies as we don't need a repeat of the Solyndra failure, but incentives to lure existing and start up companies to existing corridors and transit hubs.

On top of the growing limited stop express options, we're also looking for additional local intercity services for the SR-91, I-15, I-215, and I-10 intercity corridors with competitive fares offered by the private sector. Riders would be able to board and alight at any stop. This would provide additional express bus services at times when public commuter express services are not available.  What can be done to entice an existing or start-up carrier to offer express services with stops in the Inland Empire? 

Limited Stop Intercity Service Corridor Concepts:
Offering quick and speedy connections between dense areas of the Inland Empire

OC - Inland Empire - Las Vegas Limited:
Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center
Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center
Riverside Downtown Metrolink Station
San Bernardino Transit Center
Baker (Meal Break)
LV South Strip Transfer Terminal
LV Downtown Bonneville Transit Center

San Diego - Las Vegas Limited:
San Diego Santa Fe Depot
Riverside Downtown Metrolink Station
San Bernardino Transit Center
Baker (Meal Break)
LV South Strip Transfer Terminal
LV Downtown Bonneville Transit Center

Tijuana - San Diego - Los Angeles via Inland Empire Limited:
San Ysidro Transit Center
San Diego Santa Fe Depot
Temecula/Murrieta Twin Cities Transit Center
Montclair Transcenter
Los Angeles Union Station

Los Angeles to Phoenix Limited:
Los Angeles Union Station
San Bernardino Transit Center
Thousand Palms
Blythe Kmart Transfer Center (Meal Break)
Phoenix Central Station
 

Local Intercity Service Corridor Concepts:
With the additional stops, these routes would offer intercity connections to/from transit hubs in the suburbs.

OC - Inland Empire - Las Vegas Local:
Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center
Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center
Corona Transit Center
Riverside Downtown Metrolink Station
San Bernardino Transit Center
Victor Valley Transit Center
Barstow Amtrak Station
Baker (Meal Break)
Primm
LV South Strip Transfer Terminal
LV Downtown Bonneville Transit Center

San Diego - Las Vegas Local:

San Diego Santa Fe Depot
Escondido Transit Center
Temecula/Murrieta Twin Cities Transit Center
Perris Station Transit Center
Riverside Downtown Metrolink Station
San Bernardino Transit Center
Victor Valley Transit Center
Barstow Amtrak Station
Baker (Meal Break)
Primm
LV South Strip Transfer Terminal
LV Downtown Bonneville Transit Center

Tijuana - San Diego - Los Angeles via Inland Empire Local:
San Ysidro Transit Center
San Diego Santa Fe Depot
Escondido Transit Center
Temecula/Murrieta Twin Cities Transit Center
Downtown Lake Elsinore
Corona Transit Center
Montclair Transcenter
El Monte Bus Station
Los Angeles Union Station

Los Angeles to Phoenix Local:

Los Angeles Union Station
El Monte Bus Station
Montclair Transcenter
Riverside Downtown Metrolink Station
San Bernardino Transit Center
Beaumont Wal-Mart
Downtown Palm Springs
Thousand Palms
Indio Transportation Center
Desert Center (pending future growth/revitalization)
Blythe Kmart Transfer Center (Meal Break)
Quartzsite
Tonopah (pending future growth/revitalization)
Phoenix Desert Sky Mall
Phoenix Central Station


Got some routing ideas of your own? Post them in the comments.

2 comments:

  1. Don't forget that Amtrak also provides intercity bus service in SoCal, serving Coachella-Riverside-Fullerton for LA and SD connections and all-over-the-place-to-Bakersfield for connections to the Central Valley and Bay Area.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip. The Amtrak coaches serve as rail feeders and the state mandates that the buses operate on closed-door service--drop off only from the station, pick up only to the station--so that the state-funded service do not directly compete against the intercity bus providers, even though the travel option of taking a Amtrak train or even a peak hour CommuterLink bus can be interpreted as competition.

      The point was that market travel demands within the Inland Empire are growing to the point where intercity bus transit can turn a profit with the local stops. Therefore, the marketplace can improve bus transit services quickly.

      We'll do a story on the Amtrak station feeder service soon.

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