In view of the rash of fatal bus accidents, a consumer should give serious thought as to safety.
Dirt cheap bus fares mean that buses and the drivers must work three times as hard to make a small profit. That means overworked buses and drivers.
Consider the following examples:
- Assume that Greyhound charges $40 for a one way ticket from New York to Philadelphia. With 30 passengers, Greyhound makes $1,200 per run. Greyhound can have the bus make one round trip a day with a revenue of $2,400 for the bus. Also, the driver can take an adequate rest and meal break. Generally, there will be a mid-trip rest break. Cleaners and mechanics check the bus at both the New York and Philadelphia terminals.
- Assume a discount bus line, Happy Go Lucky, charges $10 for its one way ticket. If there are 30 passengers, then the revenue per trip would be $300. The bus makes four round trips that day to achieve the same revenue of $2,400 that Greyhound earned. The driver works a straight sixteen hour day with few rest and meal breaks; the bus does not take a mid-trip rest stop in order to save time. There are no mechanics and cleaners checking the bus at the beginning and end of each trip.
In view of the cut-rate, unregulated nature of the discount bus business, it is a miracle that there have not been far more fatal accidents.
A future post will examine problems of recovering against discount bus companies.
Mark E. Seitelman, 6/7/11, www.seitelman.com.