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Vonlane Opening Houston Service


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#1 RichardK

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Posted 12 March 2015 - 04:29 PM

Vonlane is starting Dallas/Houston service on April 20th. I have been watching with much interest the progress of this luxury bus service since they started last May between Dallas and Austin.

 

The terminal in Houston is the Sheraton hotel on the north side, near the Bush Airport. At first glance, it seems to me this is way too far from downtown. However, on second thought, it might make sense. This is slightly over a 3 hour trip, similar to Austin. The car rental locations are directly across the street. The full trip into downtown Houston would take at best 4 to 4 1/2 hours or even more to Hobby Airport on the south side. They are competing with Southwest Airlines and/or American. A trip of more than 3 hours would not be competitive.

 

They claim the demand for this service has been huge. We'll see what happens.


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#2 RichardK

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Posted 24 April 2015 - 03:51 PM

Houston service started last Monday and got off to a good start. This Sunday both trips are completely sold out, except for the conference room. Normally, all 6 seats are a single booking. However, Vonlane posted on their Facebook page to call in for a single seat reservation.


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#3 rickycourtney

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Posted 25 April 2015 - 10:24 PM

That's great news. I wish Vonlane the best of luck. It's really a very interesting business model, I'd love to see a luxury bus line like Vonlane come to the Pacific Northwest.

#4 RichardK

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 05:15 PM

The CEO, Alex Danza, was being interviewed on KRLD 1080 radio last week. He announced that 2 more motor coaches are on order to increase frequency and open Austin/Houston service. San Antonio will come later. He also said, in response to a question, they meet all federal motor carrier requirements, which would allow them to create interstate services out of Texas.


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#5 saxman

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 11:27 AM

Looks like it's only $69 between Houston and Dallas. I'd have to try this out. They should serve downtown Houston though.
Amtrak Miles: 203,395 (as of 9/21/16)

#6 RichardK

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 07:09 AM

If this service is successful, I still do not understand why Amtrak cannot run a train between Dallas and Houston, offering similar amenities. These are two major metropolitan areas with well over 10 million combined population.

 

 

http://www.khou.com/...il-20/27292347/


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#7 rickycourtney

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 10:47 AM

They should serve downtown Houston though.

I really support Vonlane's model of using nice hotels as stations, but I agree the location in Houston is just too far from the downtown core of the cities. One of the biggest benefits to bus (and train) travel is that you go downtown to downtown.

Now that being said, I think the customers that Vonlane is trying to appeal to would like to have ample inexpensive parking at their origin station and have the onboard attendant book them a town car at their destination. But you could partner with a downtown hotel that would still provide all of that (although likely with more expensive parking fees) and get your passengers closer to their likely destinations. The only trick is finding a spot on the busy city streets for a bus to load and unload.

#8 rickycourtney

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Posted 20 May 2015 - 10:51 AM

If this service is successful, I still do not understand why Amtrak cannot run a train between Dallas and Houston, offering similar amenities. These are two major metropolitan areas with well over 10 million combined population.
 
 
http://www.khou.com/...il-20/27292347/

Long answer short… There is a lot more capital expense required to get a passenger route started than a bus route started. Also because of the new funding rules, Texas would have to provide all the subsidies to run the route.

#9 RichardK

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Posted 23 June 2015 - 10:22 AM

Here is more local publicity.

 

http://issuu.com/pcp...664849/13636478


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#10 RichardK

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Posted 29 July 2015 - 05:40 PM

Vonlane announced recently they will be running coaches from Dallas to Texas A&M games in College Station and Houston. You can't say they are not creative.


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#11 MARC Rider

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Posted 30 July 2015 - 04:30 PM

They should serve downtown Houston though.

I really support Vonlane's model of using nice hotels as stations, but I agree the location in Houston UN inis just too far from the downtown core of the cities. One of the biggest benefits to bus (and train) travel is that you go downtown to downtown.
Now that being said, I think the customers that Vonlane is trying to appeal to would like to have ample inexpensive parking at their origin station and have the onboard attendant book them a town car at their destination. But you could partner with a downtown hotel that would still provide all of that (although likely with more expensive parking fees) and get your passengers closer to their likely destinations. The only trick is finding a spot on the busy city streets for a bus to load and unload.

If they're really successful, they could end up like the Van Galder coaches in Chicago, which serve both airports and downtown, too.

There's also the Concord coach in Boston which serves both south station and Logan Airport. But they're practically next door to each other.

#12 RichardK

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Posted 07 August 2015 - 09:14 AM

Good review with pictures.

 

http://www.mommyupgr...-travel-review/


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#13 railiner

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 05:26 AM

Nice article, thanks for the link.   

Looks like Vonlane is off and running.  Their success may result in more routes soon, by them, or other's, perhaps.


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#14 rickycourtney

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Posted 08 August 2015 - 12:33 PM

I really think that it's a fascinating business model and one that could succeed on a lot of city pairs across the country.

#15 RichardK

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Posted 01 December 2015 - 04:15 PM

Vonlane announced today on Facebook, they are starting Houston-Austin service in January. Also, there will be a terminal in downtown Houston starting in January. It is not clear if they are abandoning the Bush Airport location.


Edited by RichardK, 03 December 2015 - 11:09 AM.

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#16 RichardK

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Posted 13 December 2015 - 10:53 AM

Apparently, they have eliminated the conference room. Some of the seating arrangements now reflect the galley and restrooms at the back. There is still a table in front of the galley with two seats facing backward. These seats can be booked individually. The conference room is still shown on some trips, However, the seats can also be booked individually now. It appears the new configuration could be on the new coaches that were ordered for Houston/Austin service.


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#17 rickycourtney

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Posted 13 December 2015 - 03:13 PM

I wondered how successful that conference room concept would be. It sounds nice a nice amenity on paper. Problem is, I imagine it wouldn't sell on a number of trips, leaving Vonlane with 6 unsold seats.

I think opening it up to individual sales is the way to go. On my Amtrak trips, I've seen that family groups loved those table seats. Plus under this system, if businesses need the space, they can still reserve it.

The one concern I'd have... Vonlane should restrict those seats to a group of 3 or more. It doesn't really make since to sell a single seat at the table and in fact, sharing the table might drive some passengers away.

#18 rickycourtney

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Posted 13 December 2015 - 03:23 PM

Also, the new coach is a X3-45. The rest of the fleet are H3-45 coaches.

https://m.facebook.c...2901759/?type=3

Also interesting... look at the comments on that picture... Vonlane says it plans on adding a route between San Antonio and Houston in late 2016.

#19 railiner

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Posted 13 December 2015 - 08:29 PM

Very nice...glad to see they are successful.   The X3 should be very popular....superb ride, great handling, and more than enough baggage space for that limited seating plan.

Plus easier to step in and out of...


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#20 cirdan

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Posted 14 December 2015 - 11:43 AM

They should serve downtown Houston though.

I really support Vonlane's model of using nice hotels as stations, but I agree the location in Houston is just too far from the downtown core of the cities. One of the biggest benefits to bus (and train) travel is that you go downtown to downtown.

Now that being said, I think the customers that Vonlane is trying to appeal to would like to have ample inexpensive parking at their origin station and have the onboard attendant book them a town car at their destination. But you could partner with a downtown hotel that would still provide all of that (although likely with more expensive parking fees) and get your passengers closer to their likely destinations. The only trick is finding a spot on the busy city streets for a bus to load and unload.


Maybe they could partner with the owners of one of the sports venues such as the Houston astros or the BBVA Arena (or whatever its called). Outside of venues, there's a lot of prime real estate lying unused and plenty of space for a bus to wait plus space for people to drop off and pick up passengers.




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