CHICAGO — A long holiday weekend, budget fares and the convenience of a new GPS tracking system will draw more than 1.3 million passengers to intercity bus travel during the July Fourth holiday, according to the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University. Researchers forecast a 6 percent increase in ridership compared to this time last year.
“Summer is already a busy time for bus travel, but this holiday may bring record-setting volumes,” said Joseph Schwieterman, director of the Chaddick Institute. “Buses are the mode of choice for many travelers on short trips, particularly on routes of five hours or less.”
The Chaddick Institute presents this data to offer comparisons with air and automobile travel during major holidays. Highlights from the report include:
- Ridership at a decade high for the holiday: An estimated 1,312,905 passengers will make trips of 50 miles or more by bus, surpassing all previous Fourth of July holidays over the past ten years. July 2, a Thursday, is expected to be the busiest day for bus travel.
- Greyhound customers can track bus arrival using GPS: This is the first holiday when travelers on Greyhound, the largest provider of intercity bus transportation, can use BusTracker, a GPS tracking system that allows customers to see where their bus is and when it will arrive at their destination.
- Budget options attract passengers: Less than a week before the holiday, peak-hour departures were available between New York City and Washington, D.C., for $37 each way, while Chicago to Detroit fares and Portland to Seattle one-way fares were $38 and $28, respectively.
- Daily bus operations are up: The number of daily scheduled operations by intercity conventional and discount city-to-city bus lines together grew by 2.1 percent during normal travel periods between 2014 and 2015.
The Chaddick Institute reached these estimates using its own Intercity Bus Data Set and bookings data from Wanderu.com, a company that aggregates bus ticket sales online. The full report and methodology are available at http://bit.ly/chaddickresearch.
Kristin Claes Mathews