Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Can the bus beat the airplane to get to Montreal?

Today we thank the fleet-footed dog that gives meaning to speed. Greyhound is also the name of the inter-city bus service that operates a fleet of buses that provide 13,000 daily departures to 2,300 cities and transports over 25 million passengers each year. Greyhound announced last week that their buses will be upgraded to service that meets the needs of twenty first century passengers. New buses with Wi-Fi access, power outlets, three point seat belts, and extra legroom are now being used on the company’s New York to Montreal and New York to Toronto bus routes. Soon more routes will have the Greyhound Running Dog new Prevost X3-45 buses are similar to the buses that rock stars and entertainers use for touring the country.

The X3-45 seats fifty passengers and has a fuel economy of about seven miles per gallon of diesel fuel. If Greyhound manages to fill the buses, the effective fuel economy will be three hundred and fifty miles per gallon. Had all these passengers travelled instead in a Prius together with three other passengers, their effective miles per gallon will only equal approximately two hundred miles per gallon. This proves that buses are the greenest mode of transportation and it would be good public policy for the Feds to give Greyhound some of the bailout and stimulus money. The X3-45 is 45 feet long and has an empty mass of 36,000 pounds and has a diesel tank that holds 208 gallons. It is powered by a 14 liter Detroit Diesel engine that has a capability of delivering 445 horsepower. This is not your Grandmother’s Greyhound bus, it is one sleek and fast bus that will change our opinion of bus travel. The air conditioner is capable of nine tons of refrigeration so you can be rest assured the coach will be comfortable during an August trip from the Big Apple to Montreal.

Had the fifty passengers boarded an Embraer ERJ-145 jet for the trip from New York to Montreal, their carbon footprint would have been five to six times larger than taking a ride in the Greyhound. If the passenger lives in Manhattan and wishes to visit downtown Montreal it could also be argued that they would reach their destination in less time if they opted for the bus for the 331 mile trip. This is due to the fact that JFK is quite remote from Manhattan and so is PET (Pierre Eliot Trudeau) from downtown Montreal, as well as all the time it takes to clear security. The cost of the Greyhound ticket will also be much less than that the cost of the Air Canada ticket. Certainly the leg room in the Embraer ERJ-145 is miniscule and the flight can hardly be described as being luxurious. Greyhound just may have a winner in its new Prevost X3-45 and they may even hand out DVDs of Back To The Future for passengers to watch on their laptops. As most Greyhound terminals are rather dilapidated and as cities are clamoring for stimulus funds we may also see revamped downtown bus terminals. This may be a case where “going to the dogs” may actually be an improvement on what we have.


  1. Here's hoping that the gov't fixes up the Greyhound terminal in Hartford! -Lexi

  2. Hi Lexi

    If the Govt fixd the terminal up they will have to renme the city Heartford. You are a champ Dad

  3. Thank you for your work with the numbers. This article has been helpful in searching for the most economical and ecologically-minded method to travel home for the holidays. I will be going on Greyhound.

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