Riding Curbside Buses as an Amtrak Alternative

The Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University recently released a study that highlighted an emerging trend in commuter travel. Many had noticed that  Curbside buses, some of which are called BoltBus, and Megabus – have been successful to satisfy customers in ways that Greyhound never has.  However this study went a step further when it found that more than one third of curbside bus passengers would have taken Amtrak if the bus services were not available.

Curbside buses are certainly unique, and they are well aligned with the interests of the teenagers and young adults who ride them.  These buses are named curbside
because they don’t pick up passengers in a terminal instead they pick up passengers on the side of a street.  The buses are equipped with free wifi and electrical outlets for every seat, ensuring passengers that they can stay connected to the web for the entire trip.   The buses travel to and from popular east coast destinations and their popularity has grown beyond most people’s expectations.

Of course another reason for the popularity of the curbside bus is the price.  A curbside bus is usually 50% – 80% cheaper than the cost of an Amtrak ticket for a similar route.  And the travel time is very comparable – making the curbside bus a very enticing offer for many. Before this report,  many thought that most curbside bus customers were riding in replace of a Greyhound bus or automobile.  However, this report suggests that the bus is making a pretty solid comeback and at the expense of Amtrak.

Amtrak of course is always going to have its importance for customers along the Northeast Corridor.  It offers the most efficient, reliable, and dependable mode of travel for business and personal travelers alike.  Plus, major east coast cities such as New York and Philadelphia are is known to have serious traffic congestion issues making train travel a much easier way to predict an arrival time.  Still, the curbside buses are hot, and Amtrak has taken notice, expect to see increased student discounts or promotions coming out of Amtrak targeted at the in demand 18 – 24 year old market.


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