July 1, 2014 | by Mark Lee
BestBus steers market
Asi Ohana, Richard Green, BestBus, gay news, Washington Blade

BestBus co-founders Asi Ohana and Richard Green are celebrating seven years of the successful business this month. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Less than a decade ago, the launch of independent bus services providing low-cost travel between D.C. and New York City was an evolving and unreliable transit option. Two local entrepreneurs set out to correct deficiencies plaguing prior start-ups.

Now named BestBus, co-founders Asi Ohana and Richard Green pioneered many of the protocols and amenities later adopted by others. Eliminating the practice of overbooking due to chronic no-shows with the introduction of guaranteed seats and advance ticketing, no longer would frenzied first-come curbside “cattle calls” leave passengers stranded. From a starting date that sold out three weeks in advance on the wildfire word-of-mouth promise of enhanced service, BestBus has continued to set the standard for customer satisfaction.

That distinction has fueled the long and strong marketplace popularity of BestBus as an industry leader and has allowed the enterprise to expand pick-up stops and travel destinations. Formerly known as “DC2NY” until a recent rebranding reflecting new service locations, an enduring commitment to customer service and traveler enjoyment has been as much a key to the company’s success as a full tank of diesel.

Offering convenient and affordable travel, BestBus is the discriminating rider’s choice. Often referred to as the “upscale bus,” the company counts among its clientele professionals from local corporations and trade associations to political staffers and luminaries toiling in the White House and on Capitol Hill. Bookings are available on weekdays and weekends, with variable low-cost competitive rates.

The company pioneered on-board WiFi service and at-seat electrical outlets, complementary bottled water, and passenger voting on whether to watch a movie and schedule a rest stop. Critical to this type of enterprise, a singular focus on maintaining immaculate interiors and well-stocked bathrooms earned patron acclaim. Utilizing charter coach buses, cooperatively trained accredited drivers and on-call relief operators for all routes ensures both customer comfort and a spotless safety record.

Celebrating its seventh anniversary this month, BestBus now serves six cities with 10 routes, including seasonal service to the Delaware beach towns of Rehoboth and Dewey from both Washington and Manhattan. Building on the five-year popularity of its two-way sun-and-sand transport from the District, last year BestBus inaugurated service from NYC.

“We always had requests for service from New York to the Delaware beaches,” says company president Ohana, “but were surprised how quickly it took off.” Ohana and his now-husband Green, company CEO, rode one of their buses in last weekend’s New York Pride Parade – as they did last month in D.C. The Logan Circle couple of more than eight years will celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary the same week they commemorate the annual inauguration date of the only gay-owned bus business.

This week, BestBus general manager Avi Cohen opens a new Dupont Circle operations office at 2029 P St., N.W., as BestBus prepares to expand service stops. Designated bus stops off Dupont Circle and at Union Station in Washington, Times Square in Manhattan, Vienna/Fairfax and Franconia/Springfield Metrorail stations in Virginia, and its seasonal dual beach destinations will soon include new service stops in Manassas, Silver Spring and Baltimore.

BestBus plans to add destination cities Philadelphia and Boston in coming months. Green, a recently retired 27-year veteran of global corporate hotel sales, notes that “planned, gradual growth and service expansion was always part of our vision.”

VIP and regular memberships offering high-value frequent-rider discounts and booking deals are available on the company’s website. Most BestBus riders purchase tickets online or on mobile devices.

Whether planning a last-minute trip or an affordable alternative to the hassle of driving or the expense of the train, BestBus distinguishes itself with each mile and every happy traveler.

Mark Lee is a long-time entrepreneur and community business advocate. Follow on Twitter @MarkLeeDC or reach him at OurBusinessMatters@gmail.com.

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