A colleague recently told me about a bus service between Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, about 180 miles apart.
On the Calgary – Edmonton run, the service costs $134 R/T and takes 3 hours, downtown to downtown. Their slick web site says that if you’re at the departure location 15 minutes before departure, you’ll make the bus. The leather / plush seats have power connections and offer 30% longer pitch, but the bus does not appear to offer wireless. However cell is available and so it is probably possible to connect somehow.
What about air? Air Canada is showing $194 R/T for their cheapest fare in mid-December. Flight time is 50 minutes, gate to gate. If you don’t live at the gate or don’t work there, add some extra time. And don’t forget to add something extra if you need to check a bag.
Point is that airline service has become so expensive, and the experience — not all the airlines’ fault, of course — is so bad, that they are creating their own competition. For trips up to around 300 miles, business-oriented bus is just the most obvious and requires the least capital to get off the ground.
The trick is going to be implementing a service-oriented culture within the organization so that the experience will appeal to the business or upscale leisure clientele. In other words, you’d want to be UPS and not the USPS. Might start with a long hard look at Southwest Airlines.