The number of people traveling to Atlantic City on the iconic casino buses has dropped by half in just two years.
The head of the Atlantic City Alliance says the trend is part of bigger changes taking place in Atlantic City’s tourism market.
The numbers, originally reported in the Press of Atlantic City, confirm the loss of travelers to a city that has recently lost its monopoly on the East Coast casino market.
Traditionally, so-called “day trippers”–who rode the buses to Atlantic City–provided an important revenue stream to the gaming mecca.
Liza Cartmell, the President of the Alliance says they were lured with free buffets and gaming credits.
“You basically had a ton, a ton of people. When I was in Philadelphia, I used to see them lining up for the bus.”
She argues the decline is partly the result of more sophisticated marketing targeting higher rollers.
“The bus marketplace is probably the best example of where that economic rigor has led to decisions about what kind of offers that make sense and what kind of offers don’t.
“A lot of bus traffic really has declined because the offers don’t currently literally give away the shop.”
That said, casinos in Atlantic City have struggled to the point of finally dropping behind Pennsylvania gaming revenues. The city itself is trying to offer more attractions outside the casinos.
Cartmell supports pending New Jersey legislation that would lower costs for bus operators.