Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Transport Azumah to inaugurate New Haven-Boston service with unboxed bikes

Last month I discussed strategic problems with New Haven transit advocates' campaign to convince Greyhound to run BoltBus service to New York, and the possibility that Transport Azumah might enter the market. I also described how the infrastructure built by the New York City and State governments favors private driving over bus service.

In the comments for the SeeClickFix issue regarding BoltBus service between New York and New Haven, some argued that service to Boston was a higher priority, since there is no Metro-North service and the Greyhound/Peter Pan consortium has a monopoly on bus service. Transport Azumah apparently concurs: Joel Azumah writes that he will be starting weekend service between Boston and New Haven beginning on Thanksgiving. A tentative schedule is posted on his website.

Many New Haven residents said that they wanted BoltBus because of specific features that they couldn't get on Greyhound, like dynamic online ticket pricing, leather seats, and onboard wifi and power outlets. The dynamic ticket pricing is in place. Azumah tells me that wifi and outlets won't be available right away, but he hopes to be able to offer them soon. No word on leather seats.

The other key feature that many potential riders wanted is a convenient bicycle policy. This is a big deal because it allows true multimodal travel. Amtrak requires all bicycles on Northeast Corridor trains to be partially disassembled, boxed and checked as baggage; Greyhound has a similar policy. Peter Pan allows bicycles "in an empty cargo bin," but if all the bins have at least one bag in them, the cyclist is SOL. In contrast, BoltBus says, "We do allow them and consider them to be oversize items as long as space is available in the baggage area."

TransportAzumah's policy will be similar to Bolt's. Azumah writes, "We will be able to take unboxed bicycles as long as they are tagged with the owner's name and contact phone." That is a huge improvement over the current options for travel in this area.

Here's wishing Azumah success in this venture. He's listened to what people want, and is trying to provide it at an affordable price. Let's hope that by this time next year he's able to provide daily service between these two cities.

Does anyone know of competing road projects along these possible routes that could draw riders away and sabotage Azumah's chances of success?


Unknown said...

I checked Greyhound's policy and didn't see anything in there covering folding bikes. I take mine on Metro North a couple of days of week for my commute and it takes up very little space. MN is totally cool with them, I've never been given a moment's hassle. Are folding bikes somehow exempt from Greyhound's bike policy, or is Greyhound so regressive on this that the intent of the policy is such that folders are categorized along with all other bikes, and have to be boxed up? My guess would be the latter.

Moderator said...

Thanks for highlighting this! I linked to your post here.