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Old 05-02-2013, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I think you're wrong that public transit in general has a racial stigma. Buses have a racial/class stigma in many cities however. In cities with well-developed subway/rail systems people of all races take the subways. But in most, white people will avoid taking the bus unless they absolutely have to. This prejudice against buses is so widely held (or perceived to be so widely held) it's part of why many cities today are considering replacing some of their buses with much-more expensive streetcar lines.
I wonder how many white people took buses between different cities on the East Coast before the introduction of the Bolt Bus. When I was in college, the only options were Greyhound, Peter Pan and the Chinatown bus. The Chinatown bus was the only one that had whites on it on a regular basis. And the whites on the Chinatown bus were normally students and young professionals trying to get down to NYC on the cheap. The Greyhound and Peter Pan buses were invariably full of lower class Blacks, Hispanics and a smattering of whites and the fact that they're destination was NYC Port Authority didn't help their reputations.

Fast forward a few years later and then Bolt hits the scene. Instead of departing from the Greyhound Station in the middle of the hardcore DC ghetto, you boarded in a parking lot surrounded by office buildings in the middle of Downtown (and the bus can even drop you off at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue instead of the ridiculously vile and nasty Port Authority!). Instead of having to get a ticket print out in a physical location, you could just flash your iPhone to the driver and board. And the buses were equipped with Wi-Fi and looked more upscale than Peter Pan buses. If you take the Bolt between New York and DC today, you'll see families (white families to be exact), young professionals typing up assignments on their laptops, college students, etc. You would never see demographics like that on a Greyhound bus.

And according to Wikipedia, Bolt now runs in chic cities like Vancouver, Seattle and, wait for it....Portland!

Although inter-city bus service is not the same as intracity bus service, I think Bolt still serves as a valuable lesson about how buses can be destigmatized. Large numbers of whites riding the Chinatown buses showed that people would use any mode of transit so long as it was effective, and Bolt (which is owned by Greyhound anyway) took it to the next level by providing a shinier, "smarter" bus for "Creatives" to ride.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:34 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I wonder how many white people took buses between different cities on the East Coast before the introduction of the Bolt Bus. When I was in college, the only options were Greyhound, Peter Pan and the Chinatown bus. The Chinatown bus was the only one that had whites on it on a regular basis. And the whites on the Chinatown bus were normally students and young professionals trying to get down to NYC on the cheap. The Greyhound and Peter Pan buses were invariably full of lower class Blacks, Hispanics and a smattering of whites and the fact that they're destination was NYC Port Authority didn't help their reputations.
Peter Pan always seems to have a sizeable fraction of whites the times I took it. I never noticed much of a long-distance bus stigma for Peter Pan. Also, Peter Pan has wifi now, though sometimes it's spotty.

Long distance buses in Maine vs Florida:

Pelosi on Shiftless Black People | The American Conservative
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
Peter Pan always seems to have a sizeable fraction of whites the times I took it. I never noticed much of a long-distance bus stigma for Peter Pan. Also, Peter Pan has wifi now, though sometimes it's spotty.

Long distance buses in Maine vs Florida:

Pelosi on Shiftless Black People | The American Conservative
I think it's changed now. I'm really talking about a change I've noticed since around 1998. I haven't been on a Peter Pan bus in nearly a decade so the ridership may be drastically different today than what it was then. But in the late 90s and early 2000s, Peter Pan and Greyhound buses were viewed as "icky" and as transportation for poor people. I can't recall seeing any sizeable number of middle to upper middle class whites on inter-city buses except for the Chinatown bus. And I think it was the Chinatown bus, which was ridden mostly by students, hipsters and recent college grads, that sort of paved the way for Bolt, imo.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
I think it's changed now. I'm really talking about a change I've noticed since around 1998. I haven't been on a Peter Pan bus in nearly a decade so the ridership may be drastically different today than what it was then. But in the late 90s and early 2000s, Peter Pan and Greyhound buses were viewed as "icky" and as transportation for poor people. I can't recall seeing any sizeable number of middle to upper middle class whites on inter-city buses except for the Chinatown bus. And I think it was the Chinatown bus, which was ridden mostly by students, hipsters and recent college grads, that sort of paved the way for Bolt, imo.
Peter Pan was definitely used by white college students in Massachusetts in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Although they abandoned it for the Chinatown bus pretty quickly.

I think Bolt is more about competing with Megabus than anything.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:09 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
If you take the Bolt between New York and DC today, you'll see families (white families to be exact), young professionals typing up assignments on their laptops, college students, etc. You would never see demographics like that on a Greyhound bus.

And according to Wikipedia, Bolt now runs in chic cities like Vancouver, Seattle and, wait for it....Portland!

Although inter-city bus service is not the same as intracity bus service, I think Bolt still serves as a valuable lesson about how buses can be destigmatized. Large numbers of whites riding the Chinatown buses showed that people would use any mode of transit so long as it was effective, and Bolt (which is owned by Greyhound anyway) took it to the next level by providing a shinier, "smarter" bus for "Creatives" to ride.

1. yes, some of it was moving the bus stops out of decrepit terminals

2. Im not sure about the chinatown buses, but at one point you could only pay for bolt bus, etc with a credit card, and only conveniently over the net. That impacted demographics, and stigma

3. Pre-9/11 , when amtrak had a hard time competing with air for business travelers, their non-metroliner (ie non Acela for you youngsters) service was quite competitively priced for college students, etc. When Amtrak was able to pursuse a different business model with higher prices, that created a niche for the new bus services on the northeast corridor (clearly thats not the only change, as those services now exist off the corridor as well)
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:28 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Maine7090 View Post
After Rosa Parks white people dumped public transit to ride in safe secure private pods where they don't have to sit next to dark people, poor people or other undesirables.. Even today its a huge factor, people just don't talk it.
What city are you living in where this is the reason white people don't want to take a bus there??? Here in Chicago I ride the buses every day going around the north side or back and forth to downtown and a majority of the people on the buses are white business people going to their jobs downtown. The buses I'm on go through fairly white neighborhoods and dump into downtown.

Here at least most people try to ride the trains cause they're faster, and that's a reason all races will avoid the bus if they can take a train. I've never in 12 years heard anyway say they don't want to take the bus because there might be a poor or black person on the bus. There are people of every single race on the buses at all times, most of the time together and no one ever cares.

This whole "only poor people ride buses" is either a really outdated view on many of the major cities around the country with good public transit, or it comes from more sprawled out places where the public transit sucks so bad and car ownership is so high that only people who can't afford cars are on the buses because for whatever reason they have no other choice. That's certainly not the case in places like NYC, San Fran, Chicago, DC, Boston, Philly, Seattle, etc. where many many white and upper class people ride public transit because its easier than trying to drive.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Peter Pan was definitely used by white college students in Massachusetts in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Although they abandoned it for the Chinatown bus pretty quickly.
The white faces I saw on Peter Pan buses leaving from South Station were few and far between. My observations have obviously not been subjected to scientific rigor, but my experience was that the Chinatown bus was always whiter than Peter Pan. And you certainly didn't see people who looked like they had good jobs on a Peter Pan bus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I think Bolt is more about competing with Megabus than anything.
I think Bolt is competing against both Megabus and Chinatown. It's clear what type of ridership Bolt is intended for. Bolt is more akin to an Internet cafe on wheels. If Bolt were a hotel, it would be the W. Megabus is more of a cheesy, discount bus that also siphons away business from the Chinatown buses. If it were a hotel, I'd liken in to a Holiday Inn Express. The Chinatown Bus would be somewhere between the Red Roof Inn at best and the Bates Motel at worst.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
The white faces I saw on Peter Pan buses leaving from South Station were few and far between. My observations have obviously not been subjected to scientific rigor, but my experience was that the Chinatown bus was always whiter than Peter Pan. And you certainly didn't see people who looked like they had good jobs on a Peter Pan bus.



I think Bolt is competing against both Megabus and Chinatown. It's clear what type of ridership Bolt is intended for. Bolt is more akin to an Internet cafe on wheels. If Bolt were a hotel, it would be the W. Megabus is more of a cheesy, discount bus that also siphons away business from the Chinatown buses. If it were a hotel, I'd liken in to a Holiday Inn Express. The Chinatown Bus would be somewhere between the Red Roof Inn at best and the Bates Motel at worst.
Didn't Chinatown get shut down?
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:06 AM
 
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Personally, I don't like public transit because the transit I utilized was loaded with all manner of smelly, ill-mannered and often mentally ill people.
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:19 AM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
The white faces I saw on Peter Pan buses leaving from South Station were few and far between. My observations have obviously not been subjected to scientific rigor, but my experience was that the Chinatown bus was always whiter than Peter Pan. And you certainly didn't see people who looked like they had good jobs on a Peter Pan bus.
Again, I didn't use PeterPan buses in the 90s, but in my experience Peter Pan buses definitely had many white people, maybe 50% on average, perhaps a bit less. Varied a lot. Perhaps most weren't professional-class types, not not many were "underclass" types either. Plenty of college-age students or 20 somethings though. I've taken Peter Pan out of Boston South Station a number of times (usually to/from Springfield).
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