Are Chinatown Bus Companies Being Unfairly Targeted?

Letter to the Editor published in the Washington Post

A Better Way to Regulate Buses
Wednesday, March 22, 2006; Page A20

Regarding Bill Brubaker’s March 2 Business story “Bus Lines Cited in Federal Probe; 11 Firms Accused of Violating ADA”:

I attended the March 2 House subcommittee hearing on regulation of “curbside” (read: Chinatown) bus operators. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) representative testifying at the hearing, the bus carriers in question are registered with the necessary federal and state authorities and are beholden to the same regulatory processes as other carriers. The article quoted the FMCSA’s enforcement and compliance director as saying the curbside carriers performed “no worse or better” than other bus companies in recent inspections.

Yet a special task force has stepped up inspections of the curbside operators since 2004. During that time these carriers have had only three accidents, none fatal. On the other hand, last year two charter bus companies had fatal accidents in Louisiana and Texas, and a Greyhound bus also had a fatal crash. If a congressional hearing was necessary, why is it not directed toward the bus operators that have had fatal accidents?

The Northeast corridor is one of the busiest in the transportation industry. Consumers benefit greatly from competition on these routes. On routes where curbside carriers offer service, traditional carriers offer lower fares.

I am not suggesting that the industry does not need regulation or that buses shouldn’t be accessible to the disabled. However, if the concern is with bus safety, regulations should be applied fairly to all bus carriers — traditional, charter, tour and “curbside.” Otherwise, I must ask if this call to action stems from a true concern for safety or is a result of lobbying by powerful companies.

LILA KAHN

Jamaica Plain, Mass.

The writer is a marketing manager for GotoBus.com, an online bus ticketing company.

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GOTOBUS.COM ADDS LINE RUN BUS SERVICE BETWEEN MIDTOWN MANHATTAN AND PHILADELPHIA

New bus line offers true alternative to Greyhound bus service.

CAMBRIDGE, MA, January 25, 2006— Beginning February 1st GotoBus.com will offer direct bus service between midtown Manhattan and Center City Philadelphia. Through its partnership with the bus line P2P Circulator, GotoBus will add 20 daily scheduled departures on this popular route. The non-stopped bus service will have pickup and drop off locations on 31st St near Penn Station in midtown Manhattan and on 11th Street in Center City Philadelphia.

While several operators run low cost bus service to Philadelphia from Chinatown, this is the only discount option available in midtown Manhattan. Pricing between Philadelphia and New York is $15 one way and $25 roundtrip. At $6-15 less than Greyhound’s standard fare, the new service offers a true alternative to Greyhound and Amtrak. Despite the low fares, the new service is not run by a newcomer to the bus industry. P2P Circulator’s parent company is an established charter bus company with a reputation for reliability. The company’s fleet of premium coaches will be maintained at its full service maintenance facility.

Tickets for the New York to Philadelphia bus service can be purchased online at: http://www.gotobus.com/p2pcirculator/

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Daily bus service to San Diego Casinos

In mid-October, GotoBus began selling tickets for bus service to two San Diego area Casinos . Service to both Sycuan and Viejas Casinos departs twice daily from downtown San Diego. The bus even offers pickup from downtown hotels.

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GotoBus.com has added Allentown and Bethlehem PA to the list of destinations it serves. The website now offers tickets for twice daily service between Allentown/Bethlehem and New York City. The morning and afternoon service will drop off in both downtown and midtown Manhattan and offer travelers a convenient, low cost option when traveling between Eastern Pennsylvania and New York.

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Bus from NY to DC–the choices abound

No other route on the east coast has more options for low-price bus travel than New York-Wasington DC. The number of independent (or “chinatown”) bus lines that operate in the mid-Atlantic corridor is unmatched. The sheer competition has forced different carriers to find ways to be more competitive. Fortunately for consumers, this has not been limited to short-term price wars. The various carriers differentiate themselves from each other by offering different pick-up and drop-off locations and more convenient schedules. you can easily view all your options at GotoBus.com

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