Starting today, the Lehigh Valley will have a new option for weekend trips to Washington, D.C.
A New York City-based transportation tech company, OurBus, is launching a service between Allentown and the nation’s capital after research showed a demand for the route.
Axel Hellman, co-founder of OurBus, said his company researched metro areas that were around four hours apart, which he said studies have shown is the ideal travel time for bus travel versus traveling by car or plane.
He said he saw that Allentown and Washington, D.C. fit in that range and were underserved by the current transportation options.
OurBus doesn’t own a bus company; it operates in partnership with Chariots for Hire, a Washington, D.C.-based transportation company that it charters the buses through.
The route runs between the two cities on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations are made online for transit both to and from the two destinations. On certain routes the bus continues northward to make additional stops in Binghamton and Ithaca, New York.
“It’s really the same as any other bus service. Buy a ticket, show up and go,” Hellman said.
He said the difference with his service is the way it utilizes technology in e. For example there is live tracking of the bus and the service offers accurate predictions for arrivals.
Hellman said the company actually started as a transportation crowdsourcing initiative, which sought to bring a bus route between Allentown and New York City based on requests from commuters.
He said, however, it was a newer company at the time and that system didn’t work and the demand eventually wasn’t enough to keep the route going.
OurBus recently launched service in State College and Newark, Delaware, and is expanding to more than two dozen college towns across the United States this year.
Hellman said the business model is focusing on the long-distance travel needs for students in college towns, but they are not the exclusive target and other travelers make up a significant portion of their ridership as well.
The Allentown bus stop is located at the Allentown Service Plaza, 5052 Cetronia Rd., off the Route 476 bus parking zone.
The bus drops off and picks up at Union Station in Washington, D.C.
For more information go to the website www.ourbus.com.