Dartmouth Coach begins N.Y. trips
By Jen Buchholz
Published on Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Dartmouth Coach will begin offering direct service to New York City on March 2. The new route comes after direct flights from Lebanon Municipal Airport to New York's LaGuardia Airport were discontinued this fall, according to David Fox, Dartmouth Coach's general manager.
One-way tickets from Hanover to New York City cost will cost $80, and round-trip tickets will cost $149.
Direct flights from Lebanon Municipal Airport to New York's LaGuardia ended when Cape Air replaced U.S. Airways as the airline flying into Lebanon in early November.
The decision to change airlines was based on studies conducted in 2007 that demonstrated a greater need for flights from Lebanon to areas served by Cape Air, according to interim Lebanon airport manager David Gobin.
The bus will leave Hanover at 6 a.m. and arrive at the Yale Club of New York at approximately 11 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
It will also stop in Stamford, Conn.
The return trip will leave New York City at 2 p.m and arrive in Hanover at 7 p.m., according to the company's web site.
Reservations may only be made online.
"We feel that there is a call for this service being that back in November the air service from Lebanon was eliminated, and we have had phone calls and inquiries about going to New York," Fox said.
The Coach must leave Hanover at 6 a.m. to comply with Department of Transportation regulations, Fox said.
The bus for the New York route features enhanced accommodations, including a kitchen and conference area, according to the company's web site.
"In typical Dartmouth Coach fashion, we will try to do it better than people before us, which is why we bought the special bus that we have," Fox said. "Those who utilize it will be very comfortable."
The coach has video screens, satellite radio, a conference area, wireless Internet service and electrical outlets, according to the company's web site.
Gobin said he did not think the bus trips to New York will be popular in the long term, despite potential initial enthusiasm.
He added that people will expect a five-hour trip on the bus and forget to consider potential traffic delays.
A flight from Lebanon Airport to New York City connecting through Boston takes about three hours, allowing people to make a round trip in one day, and costs approximately $200.
Fox said he was optimistic about the addition of service to New York, despite the economic crisis.
People are still traveling to Dartmouth every day, he said, and the number of phone requests the company has received suggests a great demand for the service.
"I'm sure the popularity will be there," he said.
If students are satisfied with the Coach service to New York, Student Assembly will no longer have to organize bus trips to the city during Thanksgiving and winter breaks, Uthman Olagoke '11, vice president of the Student Life committee, said.
The Assembly has lost money on its bus trips because not all seats were filled, but the Assembly believed the service was important enough to make "going negative" acceptable, Olagoke said.
Several students said they were excited about the Dartmouth Coach's new route.
"I think it is good considering what happened to the flight [from Lebanon Airport] and the unreliability of the train," Eric Tanner '11 said. "New York is pretty important to Dartmouth; the biggest alumni base is there, and a lot of students are from New York."
Emily Hirshey '11 said she believes the new route will make traveling to New York City more convenient for students, explaining that the current route through Boston is "a pain."
The new service will also positively affect Hanover residents, according to Henny Philips, who lives in the area.
"It will be an extremely important condition to the flexibility of the area," Philips said. "I think it is fabulous."
Rachel Sarnoff contributed to the reporting for this article.