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Future Of The NE Shuttle  
User currently offlinemidex461 From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 282 posts, RR: 1
Posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 6244 times:

With DL shifting their NE Shuttle to 100% Express, and US having long since moved their LGA-BOS ops onto 100 seat aircraft (E90s), I got to wondering what kind of future the shuttle operation has. Obviously, back in the 60s and 70s, this was the lifeblood of the airlines. They had separate fleets for this operation - guaranteeing every pax a seat on every flight, even if they had to pull out an extra plane. Now, the planes are part of the rest of the company's fleet - no differences. Technology's also improved - video conferencing can replace a good portion of in person meetings. There's also increased competition - B6, WN have moved in and started building up secondary airports like JFK, ISP; you also have the Acela Express on 2V - Amtrak can offer downtown to downtown service that the airlines can't - plus they do it without the security hassles.

What I'm wondering is will there come a day when you don't see any kind of shuttle operation in the Northeast?


Opinions and views expressed are MINE and do NOT represent the views of US Airways
37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16907 posts, RR: 51
Reply 1, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 6096 times:

Quoting midex461 (Thread starter):
Obviously, back in the 60s and 70s, this was the lifeblood of the airlines.

There was only one shuttle until Texas Air created the NY Air Shuttle in the '80s, later Texas Air sold it to Pan Am when they acquired Eastern. It's was never the lifeblood of any airline.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineslcdeltarumd11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3640 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 6041 times:

Acela and TSA security are the combination i think............they didnt exist during those times the shuttle thrived. Acela is really nice tons of room, you can get work done or have a meeting, downtown to downtown service with no traffic, no two hour delays to takeoff due to congestion and weather, and no annoying TSA security unwanted dates.

I think there is and will continue to be a market it just has more competition now at least on LGA-DCA. The legacies own the slots so an airline like WN cant go in there and replace them like they did on the so cal to nor cal market.


User currently offlinejfklganyc From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3628 posts, RR: 6
Reply 3, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5984 times:

TSA TSA TSA

This govt entity stinks and has made flying a nightmare. They also have not stopped one freakin thing since inception.

Like everything we do in this country, we overreacted "in the name of security" post 9/11. The results speak for themeselves: people avoid flying short segments because it is simply not worth it.

Add to that: high cost of fuel, a fare walk up fare (they do not gouge you on the shuttle), a competition from other sources, ATC delays, and airlines' shrinking mainline fleet and you see these shuttles going to regionals.

When the shuttle works, it is the best thing going and there is nothing quicker door to door. The train doesn't come close. However, when it does not work, it quickly becomes much quicker to get on the Fung Wa bus, take the train, or drive a car.


Ironically, for all of Delta's commitment to NYC, it is them, not US, that is the first to abandon a mainline shuttle.


User currently offlineHPRamper From United States of America, joined May 2005, 4152 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5903 times:

Only a matter of time until LGA-BOS fades away, imo. It's just too short and Acela is too compelling. LGA-DCA will survive in some form, I think.

User currently offlineSouthernDC9 From United States of America, joined Mar 2011, 456 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5863 times:

Yeah, I obviously love, love, love to fly but I would pretty much not even consider choosing either Shuttle over Acela... like my trip to NYC Monday, I got the 1PM train and was at my hotel by 4:30 or maybe a bit earlier. I checked the DCA-LGA flights that day (and I'm going from memory here), with the winds in DC and NYC there were major delays - had I taken the 1PM Shuttle flight I would have ended up at my hotel at about the same time, the 2PM flight was cancelled.

Downside to Amtrak: Have you ever tried to play Angry Birds or Draw Something on a train? With all the bumping and shaking it's dang near impossible. But still...



What does AA/US merger mean for CLT/JFK/PHX/North America/Southern Hemisphere/God's Plan for the Universe
User currently offlinemilesrich From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2012 posts, RR: 6
Reply 6, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5748 times:

Quoting SouthernDC9 (Reply 5):
Downside to Amtrak: Have you ever tried to play Angry Birds or Draw Something on a train? With all the bumping and shaking it's dang near impossible. But still...

I have never ridden the Acela, but the NE corridor trains between NYC and DCA don't shake. I think the speeds are higher than the old New Haven and its curves to Boston,


User currently offlinewashingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5706 times:

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 3):
When the shuttle works, it is the best thing going and there is nothing quicker door to door. The train doesn't come close. However, when it does not work, it quickly becomes much quicker to get on the Fung Wa bus, take the train, or drive a car.

So very true.

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 4):
. It's just too short and Acela is too compelling. LGA-DCA will survive in some form, I think.

I actually think the opposite is true. NYC-WAS on Acela is much faster than NYC-BOS. Business travellers between NYC and BOS still rely on the Shuttle more than Acela--hence why Delta has A-319s on LGA-BOS. The same is not true for NYC-WAS, which is a much faster train ride. Until we get high-speed rail in quite a few years, this is unlikely to change for NYC-BOS.

I think what we will see happen is the following: Delta will remain a player on LGA-BOS and maintain LGA-DCA because of their new LGA buildup. US will maintain LGA-DCA, but get rid of LGA-BOS sooner or later. jetBlue will continue to grab slots whenever it can and eventually operate a pretty solid DCA-BOS Shuttle. I don't see much changing otherwise though. It's a real shame--I badly miss the MD-80s on LGA-DCA.

Having Express birds operate LGA-DCA is just symbolic of the dysfunction of the entire industry and the shell games airlines play with cost structures.


User currently offlinedfambro From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 346 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5686 times:

BOS-LGA (a route I know oh so well) needs the shuttle despite the Acela. I can do an early morning meeting in Manhattan if I shuttle in, but I can't with the Acela, it doesn't arrive early enough. But if I am going down the night before, then I always take Acela

TSA line usually moves very fast at the US terminal in BOS and LGA. Not sure what all the complaining is about. I wait longer (outside!) for a cab at Penn station than I do in the TSA line. It's just not a major time factor in the Acela vs shuttle choice.

What is a factor is the ground wait for takeoff at LGA back to Boston. That can be ridiculous. But what's time critical for me is usually the BOS-LGA leg, and the shuttle can be an hour or more faster than Acela door to door (and I'm 3 blocks from Back Bay station - best case scenario for Acela!)


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2858 posts, RR: 48
Reply 9, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5576 times:

Quoting slcdeltarumd11 (Reply 2):
Acela and TSA security are the combination i think............they didnt exist during those times the shuttle thrived.

That seems to be the consensus, and I agree with you.

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 3):
This govt entity stinks and has made flying a nightmare.

I don't find security at the MAT at LGA or BOS particularly onerous, but in general I agree with your perception that the TSA has failed on several levels, not the least of which is public trust and customer service. This is another excellent example of needing less government intervention rather than more.

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 3):
They also have not stopped one freakin thing since inception.

You don't know that. There is no way to know that.

Quoting washingtonian (Reply 7):
Having Express birds operate LGA-DCA is just symbolic of the dysfunction of the entire industry and the shell games airlines play with cost structures.

What? How is it a shell game to put a smaller aircraft on a route that has very low load factors and is allegedly unprofitable? It's a smart business decision. The longer term alternative would be to discontinue the route.

Quoting dfambro (Reply 8):
BOS-LGA (a route I know oh so well) needs the shuttle despite the Acela. I can do an early morning meeting in Manhattan if I shuttle in, but I can't with the Acela, it doesn't arrive early enough. But if I am going down the night before, then I always take Acela

This is a very good point, and really addresses the need for certain segments of service at certain times of day.


User currently offlinewashingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5533 times:

I also think the airlines should be more creative about upgauging at certain times. Sunday night, Monday morning, Thursday and Friday evenings on LGA-DCA could probably use something larger than an E-175.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 9):

What? How is it a shell game to put a smaller aircraft on a route that has very low load factors and is allegedly unprofitable? It's a smart business decision. The longer term alternative would be to discontinue the route.

The airlines can't keep outsourcing more and more flying to their subsidiaries forever. I'd be fine with Delta mainline operating E-jets on the Shuttle (just as US does), but I personally think it's a joke how many routes that were once mainline are now operate by regional affiliates.

I literally laugh when I read how unions prevent airlines from operating the right-sized planes on certain routes for whatever reason. As I said, it's a joke.


User currently offlineAS739BSI From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5501 times:

Once true HSR comes to the NEC, I am thinking that LGA-PHL will become extinct, LGA-DCA will see reductions to connecting pax levels, LGA-BOS will probably still try to hold on, given that it is a two hour segment but I think only one carrier would survive.

User currently onlinemax999 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1086 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5480 times:

I think the air shuttles will stick around in a reduced form until we get true high-speed rail in the Northeast. The Acela's average overall speed is only slightly faster than the trains that were running in the 1930's.

And true high speed rail won't happen until we move proposed high speed rail investment dollars to places where it will have the most impact...like the crowded Northeast corridor.



All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening.
User currently offlinetoltommy From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3308 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5460 times:

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 3):
This govt entity stinks and has made flying a nightmare.

I'll be honest, I think it has to do with passengers who still think it's 1999. I get tired of watching people get to the belt, and having to take off thigh high boots, $5 of changes, 18 bracelets, not taking their liquids out, not taking off their coat, etc.

I travel weekly, and am prepared for the "experience". I know where everything is, and how to make it go quickly. I do admit that I get to use the priority lane, but I rarely spend any more than 5-10 minutes to get thru security. Be prepared, people.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 9):
I agree with your perception that the TSA has failed on several levels, not the least of which is public trust and customer service.

That being said above, I think there are better ways to do what TSA does. But the easiest way to get thru security is to be prepared for it.


User currently offlineIADLHR From Italy, joined Apr 2005, 735 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5400 times:

Compared to years ago, it has been dying a slow death. I think it will continue to wilt away in bits and pieces. I dont think it will totally go away but, over time, flights will be cut. What remains, at that point, will be but a shell of what it is even now.

User currently offlinewashingtonian From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 5361 times:

I also think the airlines are awfully stupid at pricing on the Shuttle, all these years later. They should obviously preserve the one-way walkup fares that are probably the bread & butter of the route, but with low factors on off-peak times, I don't see why they don't fill some of the seats up with lower fares in advance. They probably have more-or-less concrete data as to how many walk-up fares they will sell on a given day and time.

Ditto for Saturday flights, which is by far the absolute best time to take the Shuttle. They are never anywhere near full, and they could easily be filled if the airlines were creative with pricing and marketing.


User currently offlinemidex461 From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 282 posts, RR: 1
Reply 16, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5122 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
There was only one shuttle until Texas Air created the NY Air Shuttle in the '80s, later Texas Air sold it to Pan Am when they acquired Eastern. It's was never the lifeblood of any airline.

I stand corrected



Opinions and views expressed are MINE and do NOT represent the views of US Airways
User currently offlineKingFriday013 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1304 posts, RR: 10
Reply 17, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4330 times:

Say what you will, but I do not think the shuttle is going away any time soon. In most cases the shuttle is still the fastest way between any of the three cities. While the Acela is fast, it's still much more than the 30 minute flight takeoff to touchdown. Security is expedited for the Delta Shuttle at least, with the Marine Air Terminal. You can show up at the airport 15 minutes before the flight and still make it on the plane with time to spare. And while it is expensive, remember most of the time the people who fly aren't paying for their ticket -- their clients are the ones paying.

Video conferencing has really become popular as a good way to reduce travel costs. However in some industries there's no way to get around traveling. I work in the accounting department of an engineering firm, and some of our employees have no choice but to physically go to Boston on one day's notice to go survey a site (which cannot be done without being there in person).

And to be honest there is no competition to the shuttle. The people who take B6 and WN are paying for tickets themselves because they're cheaper. If you're ticket is paid for by your client or company, you want the easiest, fastest, and most convenient way to get from A to B and that would be the shuttle. You don't want to go from midtown to JFK or EWR, LGA is the closest by a long shot.

Now I understand this doesn't apply to most people. But there still is and will continue to be a shuttle market, even if it's simply an hourly E170 or even a CRJ of some sort. There will be those people who will fork over the money (or rather someone else's money) to get a flight when they need it. If you need to be in downtown DC or BOS in 2-3 hours for a million dollar job, are you going to take the train and hope it's on time, or are you going to take the shuttle which gets priority ATC clearance? And don't forget your client will pay for travel either way.

Quoting milesrich (Reply 6):
I have never ridden the Acela, but the NE corridor trains between NYC and DCA don't shake. I think the speeds are higher than the old New Haven and its curves to Boston,

It's the other way around, the Acela can only hit 150 between New Haven and Boston (where Metro North, NJ Transit, et al. aren't there to get in the way). The rest of the route I believe the limit is 80 to 125. Might as well take the Northeast Regional or Greyhound. (FWIW last time I took the Acela it was running over an hour behind due to snow... i.e. we accumulated a delay since we were going below nominal speed.)

-J.

[Edited 2012-04-12 22:23:12]


Tho' I've belted you an' flayed you, By the livin' Gawd that made you, You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!
User currently offlineDeltaL1011man From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 9700 posts, RR: 15
Reply 18, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4046 times:

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 3):

Ironically, for all of Delta's commitment to NYC, it is them, not US, that is the first to abandon a mainline shuttle.

lol, you mean the Shuttle America DBA Delta Air Lines commitment to NYC.

Quoting midex461 (Thread starter):

You have one that gets government funds and on that doesn't. You have one that has to deal with TSA and one that doesn't. not hard to figure out which one wins and which one doesn't.

*note, right or wrong, like it or not, this is the truth. Not trying to get into politics and i WILL NOT respond to any post that goes that way. Just a messenger here*



yep.
User currently offlineslcdeltarumd11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3640 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3995 times:

The tracks between NYC and Boston are much slower unfortunitiely but still a great product and very nice. IF you draw a straight line from NYC to BOS and DCA.......BOS is significantly closer to NYC at 184 miles versus 214 in miles to DCA. Both have pretty equal water to get around but the tracks to DC are a much straighter line and there are too many commuter trains thru to new haven they are not able to have much higher speeds. Its still a very competative product though and i almost always take the acela over flying even the regional trains are pretty nice compared to flying IMHO. Acela has some weaknesses of course but i think overall its city center to city center, much easier/less stress, more comfortable, and nicer onboard than flying these days. When i take the train i get alot of work done or relax and feel pretty fresh when i get there on the north east corridor when i fly i often dont feel that way anymore.

User currently offlineapodino From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 4317 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3767 times:

The big problem with Acela at the moment is the trackage between New Rochelle and New Haven. The trains are only limited to 75 MPH in this stretch (Save for a short 90 mph stretch in Westchester county). If they could get the speed up even to 100 in this stretch, then that would make a huge difference, especially since New Haven to Boston is much higher, and has two 150 MPH stretches in it. The problem is this section is controlled by Metro-North, which is 2/3 funded on this line by the state of CT. The problem is the MTA pays the other 1/3, and the MTA's budget is tied up with other projects at the moment.

User currently offlinePSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7771 posts, RR: 27
Reply 21, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 3562 times:

DL is still flying A319s on BOS-LGA, DCA-LGA is an E75.

Let's be realistic, its not like the Shuttle is going to grow in popularity, the only real growth would be related to economic growth.

That being said for now its reach equilbrium. Until rail becomes significantly faster, its not going to steal much more than it already has in these markets.

The same can be said for tele / video conferencing. These are feasible and more productive for a lot of training, status updates, and general meetings. However anything involving client service, sales, M&A, operations usually requires more face-to-face interaction.


User currently offlineTermbewr From United States of America, joined Oct 2011, 57 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3328 times:

I always opt for the LGA - BOS shuttle rather than the train. I took the US shutlle this week....I woke up at 0600, was in a cab by 0645, at LGA at 0700, caught the 0800 shuttle and was in a cab at BOS by 0900.

If the weather is very bad and flights are delayed greater than 90 minutes, than the Acela is a good option.


User currently offlinejetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1665 posts, RR: 10
Reply 23, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 3221 times:
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Quoting apodino (Reply 20):
The big problem with Acela at the moment is the trackage between New Rochelle and New Haven. The trains are only limited to 75 MPH in this stretch (Save for a short 90 mph stretch in Westchester county). If they could get the speed up even to 100 in this stretch, then that would make a huge difference, especially since New Haven to Boston is much higher, and has two 150 MPH stretches in it. The problem is this section is controlled by Metro-North, which is 2/3 funded on this line by the state of CT. The problem is the MTA pays the other 1/3, and the MTA's budget is tied up with other projects at the moment.

I believe one of the reasons for the 75 mph speed limit between New Rochelle and New Haven is the overhead wires.

Metro North is in the process of changing all the overhead wires, this is being done in sections to reduce delays because one of the 4 tracks has to be taken out of service for a long period of time. Most of the overhead wires and the supports for them are around 75 years old and have had many problems, especially during hot weather when the wires sag or very cold weather when they get brittle.

Every so often a wire breaks when the overhead pantograph on a train comes in contact with the wire and results in the wires being torn off of the support brackets taking that track out of service for a period of time until repairs are done.

The Amtrak owned section between New Haven and Boston was electrified only about 10 years ago, before that the electric locomotives were uncoupled from the train in New Haven and diesel engines were used for the New Haven to Boston leg. These wires are the latest technology and are certified for 150 mph.

Another reason for the slower times between NY and Boston as opposed to NY and DC is the NY to DC tracks are relatively straight, they were the old Pennsylvania RR tracks where the NY to BOS tracks, the old New Haven RR tracks follow the coastline and there are many more curves along these tracks, I have read that on this line the train makes an equivalent of seven 360 degree turns from New Haven to Boston, which is the reason for the slower speeds.

Will we ever see high speed rail between NY and Boston, not in our lifetime because of the population density along this corridor. Between the lawsuits from the NIMBY’s and environmental factions and the cost of obtaining new right of way for the high speed line will doom this project right from the start.

JetStar


User currently offlinezrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3222 posts, RR: 9
Reply 24, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 3172 times:

Quoting midex461 (Reply 16):

Quoting STT757 (Reply 1):
There was only one shuttle until Texas Air created the NY Air Shuttle in the '80s, later Texas Air sold it to Pan Am when they acquired Eastern. It's was never the lifeblood of any airline.

True, sort of..... Going back further, AA had a shuttle service in the northeast corridor. It wasn't quite the same as the Eastern Shuttle, but it was marketed as a shuttle nonetheless. Here's an interesting article:

http://atwonline.com/article/shuttles-and-lessons-learned



14 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2013
25 B727FA : Why not? They are building a new "hub" in LGA with RJ's. (sarcasm abounds) TSA at the MAT isn't as bad as at the Main; they're pretty harmless there-
26 Post contains images washingtonian : This is not true. Do you ever take the Shuttle? Or Acela? Try it sometime--you'll be shocked how many lawyers/consultants/government officials CHOOSE
27 B727FA : A friend of mine who's based in BOS told me they just got the email confirming it. Apparently it's due to kick in for June. However, I'm not certain o
28 AS739BSI : The Shuttle on the LGA-BOS and LGA-ORD legs has a much easier time beating the train due to slow downs. If the Acela could do NYC-BOS in 3 hours flat
29 HVNandrew : It seems simple to structure it out like that, but it really depends on the day. I used to take the DL Shuttle back and forth between LGA and BOS eve
30 DeltaL1011man : not for long. It is going to E75. I'm fairly sure someone posted the memo from DeltaNet on here already.
31 Post contains images zippyjet : What is a Fung Wa Bus? In Baltimore I see Bolt Buss es, Mega Buss es with the pudgy driver logo and of course short buses . Even with the Internet as
32 OB1504 : "Take the train and hope it's on time"? Are you forgetting that the northeast can be particularly delay prone for air traffic as well? Also, I don't
33 HVNandrew : I don't know if it is actually true or just an urban legend, but I have heard that statement both on anet and out in real life. I know the for the DL
34 milesrich : Northeast operated hourly service to BOS from LGA and offered reservations or no reservations, but unlike Eastern did not guarantee you a seat. Ameri
35 Post contains images stasisLAX : and I used to take Amtrak twice a month from 30th Street PHL to Washington to attend meetings with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Flying to DCA
36 American 767 : US still flies the A319 on the hourly LGA-DCA flight. It looks like DL is going all E-Jets on the hourly Shuttle flights out of LGA to BOS, DCA and (
37 B727FA : Used to be MDW--but has been ORD for a number of years now.
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