Motor coaches have a well-known facility for providing transportation throughout the United States. Given this, it’s not surprising that a study conducted by the American Bus Association found that it is the fastest growing form of travel in this country.
A Brief Overview of the Motor Coach Industry
If you’re not familiar with the motor coach industry, you may be interested to know that it currently consists of 3,400 small businesses that operate roughly 33,400 vehicles. In addition to providing charter services for sightseeing and other types of tours, motor coaches are used for airport shuttles, commuting, and other scheduled services.
Every year, roughly 751 million passenger tips are taken via motor coaches. In some years, these vehicles transport more travelers than commercial airlines.
A Brief Overview of Motor Coach Demographics
There are over 14 million residents that live in rural areas within the United States. For many of these individuals, motor coaches are the only available means of inter-city transportation. This is because there aren’t any airports, railways, or public bus lines available. As a result of being able to access motor coaches at a local facility, rural Americans are able to travel to-and-from school, work, and other important destinations.
In 2012, for example, just over half, or 50.2% of motor couch trips were taken by seniors and students. Young and older adults took the remaining 49.9% of motor couch passenger trips. Women tend to take most, or 55% of long-distance trips, while men account for 45% of long-distance trips.
The Motor Coach Industry Contributes to Local and National Economies
Recent figures show that on an annual basis, over $55 billion in economic transactions are generated as a result of the demand for motor coach travel. Furthermore, this industry provides employment for approximately 792,700 individuals, which is a direct result of the continued demand for goods and services, motor coach sales, and industry equipment purchases. While many of these individuals may be employed by a local motor coach facility, others assist passengers during their travels.
When just $1 is invested in a new motor coach, for example, it can generate $1.65 in additional spending through multiple sectors. On an annual basis, this accounts for over $1.2 billion being spent on travel and tourism.
It is interesting to note that when just 1 motor coach spends just the night at a destination, it can generate nearly $12,000 for that local economy. This is due to travelers spending money on lodging, meals, and other necessities. Furthermore, many travelers will also spend additional funds on gifts, souvenirs, and entertainment.
Federal subsidies are also less for motor coaches, and consist of just $.06 for every passenger trip. The subsidies for other types of transportation are as follows:
- Public transit: $.77 per passenger trip
- Commercial air carriers: $4.32 per passenger trip
- Amtrak: $46.06 per passenger trip
The Motor Coach Industry Makes a Positive Environmental Impact
When a motor coach is at full capacity, it potentially removes 55 cars from America’s roads and highways. In addition to reducing traffic, this also makes an impact on reducing energy usage and emissions.
When compared with other forms of transportation, motor coaches have been proven to emit the least amount of carbon dioxide per passenger mile. More specifically, they are 3 times more efficient than commuter rails, and 6 times more efficient than transit buses in reducing CO2 output.
Motor coaches are also more fuel-efficient and provide 206.6 passenger miles per gallon. Consider these comparisons with other forms of transportation:
- Single-passenger vehicles: 27.2 passenger miles per gallon
- Commuter rail: 92.4 passenger miles per gallon
- Domestic airplanes: 44.0 passenger miles per gallon
- Hybrid cars: 46.0 passenger miles per gallon
- Transit buses: 31.4 passenger miles per gallon
When Americans charter a bus at a local facility rather than taking their own vehicle or another form of transportation, they are making a significant contribution to the environment and the nation’s economy. Furthermore, they can also travel more comfortably on a motor coach given the increased amount of leg room, reclining seats, and other amenities, such as free WiFi.