Surface Transportation: Availability of Intercity Bus Service Continues to Decline - GAO Report
|Date:||June 22, 1992|
|Download PDF Now|
Except for regional companies, Greyhound remains the sole nationwide provider of regular bus service between cities, and it filed for bankruptcy protection in June 1990. The decline of the U.S. bus industry continued despite regulatory relief granted by Congress in the early 1980s. The Bus Regulatory Reform Act of 1982 did not, however, address the underlying causes for the industry's collapse: shrinking rural populations, intense competition from air and rail transportation, and growing car ownership. As a result, the industry continued to contract, serving fewer than 6,000 locations by 1991--nearly a 50-percent drop over nine years. The riders who have been losing service seem to be those least able to afford and least likely to have access to alternative modes of transportation. GAO found that 20 states have attempted to sustain regular intercity bus service, mainly by giving bus firms operating support for routes that might otherwise be abandoned and subsidies for new vehicles. By requiring states to use some federal funding for intercity bus transportation, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 may make more money available for existing state programs. It may also spur other states to start programs to strengthen intercity bus service. Some states, however, could face problems in spending the funds because the Department of Transportation has not decided what activities will be eligible to receive funding and because of federal labor protection requirements.