Monday, January 19, 2009

How many charter buses will be D.C.-bound today?

At right is SolidPlanIt's Neal Kellman handing out fliers in Park Slope for his Inaugural charter bus trip to D.C. When I spoke with him at the beginning of the month for this story, he was worried about filling his then half-full bus. But his trip has since experienced a surge in demand. "Not full yet, but I'm down to 2 rooms and a bunch of inquiries," Kellman wrote in an e-mail.

[UPDATE (10:40 a.m.): Kellman just e-mailed me to say, "I'm sold out and I was able to snag an extra room at the hotel and sell it. So if we're looking at what I considered max capacity, I'm at about 105%. I have 21 rooms, 46 people.")

The bus company from which Kellman rented his bus says he's one lucky tour operator. Brooklyn-based Best Trails & Travel experienced strong demand for bus rentals right after the election, but it dropped off a few weeks later. The company originally rented out 25 of its half-million dollar, luxury buses for trips from New York to D.C., but over the last three weeks, 12 of those buses were canceled.

Best Trails & Travel's Rosie says that other bus company affiliates are having the same problems. "I don't know of one who sold out their buses," she said.

While D.C. originally expected 10,000 charter buses to roll into town, the Washington Post reports that just 3,000 have registered for parking spots so far. And WDBJ7 claims it's even less, writing that just 2,700 buses were registered as of Friday.

More proof that there are far fewer people coming to D.C. this Tuesday than originally predicted? Or are there a whole lot of unregistered buses en route to D.C.? We'll find out soon enough. The Big Day is almost upon us.

Charter Bus Watch: 3,000 Registered So Far [Washington Post]

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