Boxcar's Commuting Plans
Boxcar started our luxury commuter bus service in July 2017. Our buses had Wi-Fi, reserved seating, power outlets at every seat and, most importantly, drop off locations all throughout Midtown Manhattan so our customers could skip Penn Station, subways, and (for many of them) the cost of driving.
Since then, we built our transit ridership from one motor coach that was half occupied to 6 that were nearly sold out every day. We were feeling pretty good.
Then the pandemic hit and our ridership cratered. (See our weekly rides below.)
Boxcar restarted our commuter service in September, but the numbers remain significantly depressed from where they were pre-COVID. We make cruise ships look good. 😂😂😂
We’re back to one bus in the morning and one in the evening, serving only Madison and Chatham. For the last few weeks we’ve had less than 10% occupancy on these buses, so we lose money on each one. But we’ve made the decision to keep running them so that when things do start picking up again, we are here for our customers.
As I look ahead, here are a few thoughts on what the next months hold:
- Expanded stops along our current route: We’re thinking about starting our current Madison/Chatham bus in Convent Station, allowing more people access to Boxcar’s transit service. We’re going to get an application in to them shortly for use of their train station parking lot for morning pickups.
- More frequent service along our existing route: A transit network’s value is proportional to the square of the number of routes it offers. So if our transit network’s current value is X with 1 bus each way, it will be 4X the value with 2 buses each way, and 9x with 3. I’d expect that as we get more people commuting we’ll be quick to add service, which increases the value to the people who use it. If reopening continues, Morris Township, Madison and Chatham riders could eventually expect am service at 5:30, 6:30, 7:30 am and return service 4:45, 5:30, and 6:30 pm.
- New service areas - We’re moving very cautiously right now, but there’s a chance that the private commuting service Boxcar pioneered in 2017 just happens to be a perfect fit for a post-COVID world. Even if commuting is down significantly, a large portion of those commuters may not want to drive or take the subway. We’re not going to try and serve every town in NJ, but regional hubs accessible to dense population centers might make sense.
If you want Boxcar’s service in your area, sign up here. We generally need around 30 people committed to a new route in order to begin running it.
As always, we’re open to suggestions about how we can improve our service, I’m available at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great day and thanks to all who have supported us during this difficult time for our company!