Explain how some companies can charge $15 for a bus ride that other companies charge $40+ for.
Catching up on old papers a bit tonight. Somehow I missed this little story,
about a certain Chinatown bus that caught on fire.
The Chinatown buses are one of the great gambles one can take while living in
Boston. They go from Boston to New York City, for $15. By comparison, a
Greyhound/Peter Pan bus is around $40 usually, for the same trip.
A rational consumer is left to wonder, How the hell is that possible? There
are some small differences---the non-Chinatown buses are a bit cleaner and
less crowded. But, most of those small differences exist between the Peter Pan
and the Greyhound buses, and those buses cost the same (you don't even know
which one you're getting till it rolls up to the station). Peter Pan buses even
show movies. So, these small details do not account for the price difference.
Safety seems to be one area where costs can be cut. At least that's the
fear. To be fair, I haven't heard of many incidents. But it's always a nagging
fear every time I contemplate a Chinatown bus. I've gone with Greyhound in the
past mostly for crowd reasons. If you're going to go to NYC at a popular time
to go to NYC, you better show up real early and wait in line if you want a seat
on the $15 bus.
So, on March 18 a Chinatown bus caught on fire on the Mass. Pike. The driver
realized it was going to catch on fire---he pulled over and got everyone off
the bus before it burst into flames. No one was hurt. Probably, though, some of
their shit got burnt. The Globe article also recapped the 2001 crash in Canada
of a Chinatown company bus that did kill 4 middle school students.
I've heard some other horror stories, about drivers backing down the expressway
after missing the exit, etc. I guess "that bus that caught on fire" will just
get filed under the "How the fsck are these buses so cheap?" area of my memory.