Shawn Baldwin, producer CNBC.com
Intercity bus travel in the United States has long been dominated by an iconic brand. With its fleet of 1,200 buses, Greyhound annually transports nearly 16 million passengers to approximately 2,400 North American destinations.
While the company caters to budget-conscious long-distance travelers, it also offers charter services for businesses, conventions, and schools. In addition, Greyhound Package Express provides same-day and next-day delivery service to thousands of destinations.
But competition from low-cost airlines and a combination of increased automobile access and lower fuel prices have led to growing headwinds for the bus operator.
The pandemic has also brought down passenger demand.
In its 2021 fiscal year, Greyhound averaged just 10,000 passenger trips per day, up from 40,000 in the previous period. The company reported an operating loss of $ 12 million in fiscal 2021 and a loss of $ 15 million the year before.
And it’s not just intercity bus lines like Greyhound that are suffering.
The coach industry, which includes charter, tourism and commuter services, has suffered unprecedented economic losses in the wake of the pandemic. A coach is generally defined as a long-distance passenger vehicle at least 30 feet in length with a capacity of more than 30 passengers.
Peter Pantuso, President and CEO, American Bus Association
The pandemic has hit the bus and coach industry much harder, I think, than almost any other segment.
Greyhound offers an affordable travel option for many people, including those who live in rural areas and others with limited economic resources. So what does the future of the bus operator look like and what happens to intercity bus service in America once the pandemic is over?