Reports to Congress

Amtrak Thruway Bus Service and the Private Bus Industry

  • 01
  • Jul
  • 1994
KEYWORDS: Private Sector, Bus Industry, Funding, California
ABSTRACT: This report reviews the nature and extent of Amtrak's thruway feeder bus service and its effect On non- subsidized, private bus service. The "effect" on private bus service is defined as the number of potential passengers and their associated revenues that are "lost" by the private bus industry due to Amtrak's feeder bus operations. Since incorporation in 1971, Amtrak has used feeder buses to provide access to its nationwide train network, thereby increasing ridership and lowering its need for Federal subsidies. In FY 1992, feeder buses carried 760,980 passengers to or from Amtrak trains in 23 states. While Amtrak uses feeder bus services across the Nation, the feeder bus operation in California is by far the largest and most concentrated. It is also the only Amtrak feeder bus service operated at the request of and paid for with state funds. Service in California accounted for 41 percent of all feeder bus passengers in FY 1992. Outside.of California, the effect of the feeder bus service on the private bus industry is insignificant. The study estimated that of the 416,027 Amtrak passengers using feeder buses outside the California-supported bus network, only between 45,000 to 70,000 passengers would have used private bus service if Amtrak service were not available and, as such, can be considered "lost" by the private bus industry due to Amtrak's feeder bus service. This represented less than three-tenths of 1 percent of the estimated 30 million private,bus passengers in that non- California market in 1992. In California, the effect of the state-supported feeder bus service is mixed. An estimated 60,000 to 100,000 passengers or (1.2 to 2.5 percent of the estimated 4 to 5 million bus passengers in California) should be considered "lost" by the private bus companies because of the feeder service. By contrast, it is estimated that 300,000 to 400,000 automobile passenger trips per year have been diverted from California's congested highways by the feeder bus service.