Surface Transportation:

Federal and State Efforts to Support Declining Intercity Bus Service

T-RCED-93-16: Published: Mar 11, 1993. Publicly Released: Mar 11, 1993.

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GAO discussed the availability of intercity bus service, focusing on: (1) the effects of deregulation; (2) the impact of route elimination on rural communities; (3) state programs to support intercity bus service; and (4) factors that could limit the use of set-aside funds. GAO noted that: (1) deregulation allowed carriers to eliminate unprofitable transportation routes; (2) by January 1993, carriers served fewer than 50 percent of the locations served in 1982, leaving large rural sections of the country, particularly in midwestern and western states, without service; (3) the most affected riders were those who not afford or had limited access to alternative transportation; (4) many communities lacked or had limited access to public transportation; (5) 20 states provided funds to support intercity bus services; (6) states and private entities have encouraged local transit agencies to provide connecting services to intercity bus stops, which may be more cost effective since local transit agencies operate smaller vehicles; (7) more states are providing support to intercity bus service as the result of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act which authorized set-asides for such activities; (8) the Federal Transit Administration clarified states' use of set-aside funds for feeder services to intercity routes and data collection on intercity service needs; and (9) federal agencies will monitor the effects of federal labor protection requirements which could discourage states from using set-aside funds for intercity transportation.

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