Thursday, February 10, 2011

NY Politicians Seek to Tame Lawless Bus Industry

A thriving business has developed over the last few years that delivers super low-cost express bus transportation between cities like Washington D.C. and New York City, for as low as $1 (see picture above), but with fares typically running more like $26 round-trip on Megabus, $55 round-trip on DC 2 NY, and $35 round-trip on Chinatown Bus for travel in February.

So what's the problem? The buses are clean, convenient, affordable, on time, and offer free wireless service, and the intense competition between many rival companies keeps it that way.   Well, there really is no problem; that is, unless you're a politician and can't fathom the idea that a market can exist without some kind of government regulation and oversight, i.e. no appreciation at all of "spontaneous order."

Worried that there is a "chaotic lack of rules" that could put travelers "at risk," New York lawmakers have introduced legislation to tame a "lawless bus industry that has left Chinatown like the 'Wild West'." Read more here

HT: Michael Kelly

24 Comments:

At 2/10/2011 12:50 PM, Blogger Tom said...

Can't be allowed to compete with Amtrak.

 
At 2/10/2011 12:59 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

tom-

or the proposed $50-100bn in high speed rail that the current administration is such a big fan of...

 
At 2/10/2011 1:01 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Can't be allowed to compete with Amtrak."

Amtrak doesn't need to compete. Subsidies ensure its continued operation, unaffected by market forces.

 
At 2/10/2011 1:23 PM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

"(They) have been blamed for greatly increasing congestion and have been accused of causing accidents."

Oh, well, they've been "blamed." My goodness, they must be stopped. I mean, "blamed" is really, really serious. Anytime there's blaming going on, we need regulation. Otherwise, they'll be "implicated" if we don't get the politicians to squeeze several thousand dollars out of them.

 
At 2/10/2011 1:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Worried that there is a "chaotic lack of rules" that could put travelers "at risk,"

Translation:

Worried that there is a "chaotic lack of rules" that could put New York lawmakers at risk of being seen as irrelevant...

 
At 2/10/2011 1:34 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

ron-

Reagan on government's view of the economy:

"if it moves, tax it. if it keeps moving, regulate it. if it stops moving, subsidize it."

i'd love to say that things have changed since then, but the evidence to the contrary is pretty overwhelming.

 
At 2/10/2011 1:35 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 2/10/2011 1:39 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Worried that there is a "chaotic lack of rules" that could put travelers "at risk,"

Alternate translation:

This quote is similar to a frequent complaint by the landed gentry in England in the early 19th century, that the advent of the railroads caused poor city dwellers to "needlessly travel about the countryside".

 
At 2/10/2011 2:24 PM, Blogger randian said...

the advent of the railroads caused poor city dwellers to "needlessly travel about the countryside"

That's eerily reminiscent of anti-auto rhetoric coming from the left.

 
At 2/10/2011 2:31 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich,

"i'd love to say that things have changed since then, but the evidence to the contrary is pretty overwhelming."

I think it's much worse. No one would have spoken of something like this with a straight face in the '80s.

 
At 2/10/2011 2:36 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"That's eerily reminiscent of anti-auto rhetoric coming from the left."

Yes, it is, except that now they PREFER that the riff-raff travel on the trains, and at high speed.

 
At 2/10/2011 2:46 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Ron H,

You obviously aren't interested in "winning the future" with 19th century techology.

I'd love to see just how the Obama admin plans on accomplishing their stated goal of giving 80% of the public quick access to choo choo trains.
They obviously haven't spent much time in Texas...

 
At 2/10/2011 3:11 PM, Blogger geowash01 said...

Two things. First Amtrak may not compete but they'd sure like the rider numbers to go up. Second, I'm not sure NY can do anything much. I mean most of those trips seemed to cross state lines. I think the Feds get to regulate there. (See Obamacare for the latest on Interstate Commerce.)

 
At 2/10/2011 3:49 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Paul,

"You obviously aren't interested in "winning the future" with 19th century techology."

What do you mean? I frequently write to my representative suggesting federal tax credits to encourage increased use of horses, so we can "end our addiction to foreign oil". One of the specifics I've suggested is the establishment of "horsepooling" lanes for those who share rides to work.

"I'd love to see just how the Obama admin plans on accomplishing their stated goal of giving 80% of the public quick access to choo choo trains.
They obviously haven't spent much time in Texas...
"

Hmmm. Texas may be a problem, alright. Wyoming may be even worse. I'm sure, however, that our clever leaders in Washington can overcome any obstacle, as long as the only constraint is money.

Actually, I have pretty good access to commuter trains already, but they don't seem to go anywhere I want to go. I should probably ride more often, so I could say I'm getting something for my tax money.

 
At 2/10/2011 3:55 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Second, I'm not sure NY can do anything much. I mean most of those trips seemed to cross state lines. I think the Feds get to regulate there.

I think you're right about that. However, you may be underestimating the ability of local and state politicians to screw things up so badly at the NY end, that it would be impossible for the bus companies to do business there.

 
At 2/10/2011 5:45 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Oh, well, they've been "blamed." My goodness, they must be stopped. I mean, "blamed" is really, really serious. Anytime there's blaming going on, we need regulation"...

ROFLMAO!

Oh my but that was most excellent Michael Hoff!

You nailed sir!

 
At 2/10/2011 5:56 PM, Blogger Mortgage Banker said...

Well said, Mark. I've been traveling with Bolt, Vamoose Bus and Megabus several times over the last year at a fraction of the cost I would've been paying with Amtrak.

All these government bureaucrats fear is a well functioning free market, and a thriving high quality & affordable intercity bus industry is a huge threat to that philosophy.

A clean bus + WiFi + Power outlets + customer service at $15-$30:

:-) to me...

:-( to the bureaucrat...

 
At 2/10/2011 5:59 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Damn! Ron H that was just indescribably bizzare that deal about the EPA and milk...

Thanks for that link...

 
At 2/10/2011 9:47 PM, Blogger Bill said...

So an established bus operation favors the introduction if regulation? What a surprise!! Nothing like a little "regulation to protect the public" to keep competition at bay.

 
At 2/10/2011 9:48 PM, Blogger Bill said...

ooops - "... of regulation ..."

 
At 2/10/2011 11:44 PM, Blogger David Gallion said...

Finally the US Dollar buys something and our political overseers immediately act to ruin it. They're either deflating our money or our liberty, or both.

 
At 2/11/2011 1:28 AM, Blogger wjleitold said...

Unions,Unions and Unions: Most of the established companies are burdened by the high cost of wages and especially benefits.

 
At 2/11/2011 9:59 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Nothing like idiot politicians pretending that they know enough to improve consumer behaviour through regulation.

 
At 2/11/2011 11:56 AM, Blogger Bill said...

Having used a Chinatown bus from Norfolk, VA to NYC the words "Clean" and "on-time" are being used very loosely. You are paying for a cheap point-to-point transport. When you consider the cost of airfare, time now required to get through TSA screening, travel to the airport and then into the city, it's not that much longer of a trip.

 

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