Despite a Year of High-Profile Crashes, Inter City Bus Use Soars

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After a nasty crash in the Bronx that killed 15, long-distance buses came under scrutiny this year. There was much hand-wringing, a few crackdowns, and many stories about the shape-shifting nature of bus companies that are closed down, then pop up again with the same staff, buses, and drivers.

Even so, ridership on curbside carriers like Bolt and Megabus spiked 30 percent, according to a new study by DePaul University in Chicago. The study found that air and rail travel also grew, but more slowly than intercity bus travel.

DePaul credits the spike to higher gas prices and more expensive airline tickets, as well as a faltering economy. But researches also found that the availability of consistent wireless internet service was also a big boost.

Even Greyhound, that old saw, is drawing more affluent business travelers, the study said.

Amtrak also had a record year in 2011.