Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Greyhound bus lines 100th anniversary: mobile museum tour

Greyhound Bus Terminal, Downtown, WashingtonThis year is Greyhound Lines' 100th anniversary ("Greyhound Bus centenary: 100 years of mythmaking," Telegraph) and they have a mobile tourism museum going around the country to celebrate.  Tomorrow it will be in Prince George's County and next week in Richmond, Virginia (and Cleveland).

-- Greyhound 100th Anniversary Tour website
-- Press Release

From the press release:
The tour is comprised of two mobile museum tours simultaneously moving across the United States, visiting nearly 40 cities over the next six months. The tour features two buses converted into mobile museums, featuring displays of memorabilia, such as signage, vintage driver uniforms and an entire wall of history where guests can see Greyhound’s transformation over the years, as well as view videos via interactive touchscreen displays. The tours also feature restored classic coaches, such as the 1914 Hupmobile, 1931 Mack, 1937 Yellow Coach, 1947 Silversides, 1948 ACF Brill I-41, 1954 Scenicruiser, 1968 Scenicruiser and the 1984 Americruiser 2. And to showcase the company’s recent improvements, several of Greyhound’s new, modern coaches featuring amenities such as free Wi-Fi, leather seats, power outlets and extra legroom, round out the tour.
During the "recreational auto era" people used cars for trips, but generally longer trips were still conducted by train or bus.

As the Interstate highway system was constructed and post-war economic growth skyrocketed, auto ownership became more widespread and people started driving longer trips, consigning inter-city bus service to serving people not owning cars, while railroad passenger service mostly was eliminated.

More recently, "Chinese" buses serving large cities from Boston to Richmond and then the more traditional corporate responses by companies such as Coach USA (creators of Megabus who also took the East Coast service model to the Midwest) and Greyhound's non-unionized Bolt Bus division have repositioned shorter distance inter-city bus trips as a low cost, high-enough-quality alternative to the train or driving.

As car usage became more widespread and before gasoline became treated as a commodity, gasoline station companies marketed their brands heavily and positioned their station networks as "ports in a storm," places to get tourist information and directions, service for your car, to find clean restrooms, etc., while traveling.

This is demonstrated by the imagery in gasoline station maps (which used to be free!) and slogans such as "Discover America: Best By Car."

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At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're Chinatown buses not Chinese buses. I wish I know about this sooner. I would love to see the '54 Scenicruiser. Those are awesome.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's sad Greyhound didn't put much info out to let people know about the tour with dates and locations!

At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aren't they taking the anniversary tour to Hibbing to their birthplace and host at the Greyhound Museum? What a slap in the face if that doesn't happen!


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