MegaBus Asks Feds To Break Up BoltBus

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 27 2011 3:20 PM

MegaBus Asks Feds To Break Up BoltBus

Speaking of intercity curbside buses, MegaBus is asking the Surface Transportation Board to rule that BoltBuses status as a joint project of Greyhound and Peter Pan constitutes an anti-competitive strategy that should be curtailed by forcing BoltBus to break up into separate firms.

Obviously it would be convenient for MegaBus to see a competitor weakened, but the only way to give any logic to their concern would be to pretend to believe that there's such a thing as an "intercity bus market" that's somehow completely segmented from other ways of getting from Point A to Point B. I think basic logic says that even if there were only one intercity bus operator in the country it would still be facing competition from private automobiles, airplanes, passenger rail, and the fact that the barriers to entry in this industry are low. At a minimum, I'm confident that a DOJ antitrust regulator would see it that way. The Surface Transportation Board operates under a different statutory mandate and may have some other rationale for acting against BoltBus, but I'm pretty sure they shouldn't.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.