The Texas Legislature, in the regular session which ended last week, passed and sent to Gov. Abbott one measure which is designed to expand travel options for Texans by allowing liquor to be served on inter city buses, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Alex Danza, who is the CEO of luxury bus start up Vonlane, says the law is just what he needs to become competitive in the inter city transportation business.
"We thought it was important that motor coach companies like ours which are giving the public a different way to travel, be on a level playing field with the airlines and the railroads," Danza said.
With air travel getting more restrictive, especially with a ban on all laptop computers in the works, and the TSA becoming more annoying, alternatives are starting up, and luxury bus service, with low costs and frequent service between the state's four major cities, is becoming more popular.
Vonlane is offering service between San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and Houston, although currently only Houston service is available from San Antonio. The Vonlane depot is in front of the Marriott Rivercenter Hotel on Commerce Street downtown.
For example, Danza's Vonlane and other luxury bus companies provide luxury leather seats, in rows of either single or double seating (no middle seats), as well as conference rooms, designated lap top spaces, WiFi, and other amenities. Passengers say they also appreciate the ease of parking at terminals, and no more need to arrive 'two hours before your flight' to get on board.
Danza says, unlike Amtrak, there are arrivals and departures at convenient times. Since long distance passenger trains have to make connections, they frequently arrive and depart at inconvenient times. The main Amtrak train from Dallas, for example, arrives in San Antonio about 10PM.
Danza says serving liquor on the bus is another step toward providing luxury amenities.
"It will be something that our passengers will pay for, once we go through the licensing process with TABC," he said. "It won't be much, and it is an amenity that our customers have been asking for for some time."
Under the law that is awaiting Abbott's signature, to serve liquor, all buses must be staffed by an attendant who is certified by the TABC.
IMAGE COURTESY: VONLANE