New Austin charter bus service offers productivity to students

Justin Atkinson

For a $100 one-way ticket, a new bus service between Austin and Dallas is hoping to create a radically different travelling experience than that offered by Megabus or Greyhound, according to Vonlane founder Alex Danza. 

Vonlane, a new company based out of Dallas, will begin offering a charter bus service in May that aims to recreate the experience of traveling in a corporate jet. With 16 seats per bus, customers take a three-hour trip from Austin to Dallas with complementary food, drinks, Internet service and shoe shining.

Danza, who is also a McCombs School of Business alum, hopes the service will reduce the hassle of long trips and increase productivity.

“It’s designed for travelers who are looking to get productivity back,” Danza said. “Right now, your options are basically driving or flying, and neither afford you the opportunity to open your laptop and hunker down and feel productive. We’re giving easy departure and arrival points that don’t involve things like the TSA, and, hopefully, it facilitates a great work environment.”

Although the service is primarily marketed toward business travelers, Danza said the charter buses can be an option for students looking to make the most of their time spent traveling.

“It has the possibility to be a great alternative for students who need three hours of time to study, write a paper or read a book,” Danza said. “It’s kind of that feeling where you go to Starbucks, and three hours have gone by, and you realize how much work you’ve gotten done. We want to give students that feeling.”

Despite the many amenities, accounting sophomore Vong Truong said he does not see the service pulling in a significant number of UT students as customers.

“I don’t really see it fitting student needs — at least the majority of students,” Truong said. “We don’t need our shoes shined. It’s not like there aren’t any students that are going to use this, though. I’m sure some will have the money to spend to try it out.”

Psychology sophomore Gustavo Molinar said the new charter bus service might be able to attract students with an interactive marketing campaign, but, ultimately, cost is what matters most to students.

“A student’s perspective is to save money,” Molinar said. “[To attract students,] the company would have to showcase what they have available: Show off the bus, maybe give samples of their food. It all comes down to the socioeconomic status of students.”