Free WiFi More Frequent On Motorcoaches

Tim Crowley
Posted on September 18, 2013

Having returned from BusCon last week, one of the things that struck me was a fact given during one of the opening education sessions. Dr. Joseph Schweiderman, who is the head of DePaul University’s School of Public Service and has a Masters of Science in Transportation, said that his team has noted that operators are focusing on the “disutility” of travel. In the sense of, what can the passengers do during their time of transport?


This factor is a crucial one for any type of transportation provider because it helps define the overall experience of the passenger. If someone has to be cooped up in a motorcoach or airplane, having the ability to either work on projects or find entertainment helps the time pass quicker and easier.


Schweiderman said motorcoach riders were reporting lower levels of displeasure for the time occurring on the bus relative to cars or airplanes. And he said a lot of this has to do with motorcoach operators offering free WiFi and power outlets for mobile tech devices.


And an article in Travel Weekly has just come out saying that many operators who have begun to add such tech amenities are seeing positive responses.


Globus, which has tours in Europe and North America, rolled out WiFi this year, and has reported that 87% of travelers feel it is a useful tool. And Steve Born, senior vice president of marketing at Globus, expects some customer-driven social media marketing to come out of the move in the form of travelers sharing their experiences, photos, and videos with friends and family online while they travel.


“It gives them that instant marketing ability,” Born said. “They’re equipped to … help spread the word about their experience.”


Some sightseeing tour operators, however, opt not to offer such tech amenities and prefer passengers be attentive to the appointed tour guide.


So for motorcoach operators, the choice of offering tech creature comforts to passengers has to be weighed with the type of travel and whether this will motivate more riders to choose your bus. But if the growing trend toward free WiFi on motorcoaches prompts more people to ride the bus, it could pay off.


I know it’s always reassuring during captive travel time (whether by air, sea, or land), to be able to dial in and stay connected when you want.


— Tim Crowley, LCT senior editor

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