Looking for a quick and inexpensive way to make a short day trip to New York, I came across a couple of new bus services from Boston – Megabus and BoltBus – both offering free internet connectivity on the ride down. Always a sucker for technology, I chose to take the Megabus to NYC. The ride was surprisingly pleasant, on-time with clean new buses and continuous Wifi enabled internet access throughout as advertised.
Curious, I decided to find out more about the company and the technology. Looks like the buses are most likely equipped with Moovera Mobile broadband gateways. They connect to a 3G network on one side and provide Wifi coverage in the bus on the other side. An additional benefit is the availability of real time GPS tracking of the vehicle, plus Ethernet based connectivity for on board instrumentation and telematic applications. It all sounded very cool and hi tech for a bus company. I think the new Wifi bus services between Boston and NYC are attracting a younger hipper traveler as evidenced by my co-passengers on the trip.
Digging further I found that Megabus is a subsidiary of a UK based corporation, the Stagecoach Group. The company seems to be an innovator in the area bringing inexpensive modes of mass transportation to market, encouraging more commuters to take their buses, trains and hovercraft and reducing carbon as a result.
In addition the company has also introduced a number of innovative environmental initiatives. In the past they have been one of the first companies in UK to introduce biofuel buses. An interesting program that they have implemented gives passengers a discount in exchange for their used cooking oil. Argent Energy, which operates the UK’s first large-scale biodiesel plant, is supplying all the biodiesel. In April they introduced a carbon neutral bus service in Scotland where they are looking to offset their emissions in partnership with a Scottish charity Global Trees
One hopes they will try to replicate their biofuel model in the US.