Jason Wu/Sun Senior Editor

Travelers wait to board an OurBus bus outside of the W Green St. Starbucks, Downtown Ithaca.

September 6, 2023

OurBus Routes Expand, Increasing Accessibility for Students

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OurBus announced on Aug. 30 that it has expanded routes and frequency for buses to and from Ithaca beginning this fall, including additional routes to New York City and Buffalo. 

A popular transportation service among Cornellians, OurBus is a bus company providing a multitude of intercity routes out of and into Ithaca, which students often use to travel home during breaks or to visit destinations outside of Ithaca. 

OurBus will now offer both an express and a regular option for trips to New York City, and the buses will run up to seven times a day on Fridays and Sundays. The express trip skips Binghamton, making it a direct trip. The pricing is dynamic and varies from $25 to $59 per passenger, depending on the level of demand. There will also be additional routes during holidays and weekends, when there is a higher level of demand for buses.

In an interview with The Sun, OurBus founder Axel Hellman attributed the ability to add extra routes to New York City to the purchase of a second bus by Motor Coach Tours, a small affiliate company that had previously only operated one bus.

OurBus will also offer special rides to Buffalo Bills home games — Rally, OurBus’s sister company, now offers a motorcoach going from Ithaca to Highmark Stadium and back.

Emily Jones ’25, a Buffalonian and Bills fan, said she had never driven from Ithaca to Orchard Park, the town where Bills games are held, because of logistical faults. Now that Rally is offering an $80 roundtrip, Jones is considering attending an upcoming game. She also noted that the change allows for more students, who may not have a car, to attend the games. 

“Cornell is so diverse, and a lot of people may not have ever even gone to an NFL game,” Jones said. “This is a really good opportunity because those games are super fun and now more people can go.”

OurBus also began implementing winery tour trips in partnership with the Fitzgerald Brothers bus company. The tours will be six hours long and will take customers to wineries in the Finger Lakes area. 

Webster said he saw a need for a service like this in the market, as hiring private vehicles or drivers can come with a hefty price tag.  

“It’s pretty expensive to hire a private vehicle for your group, but that’s just the nature of wine tourism because you need somebody to be the driver,” Hellman said. “The idea is that 10 people hiring one bus would be cheaper than four people hiring one van.”

Passengers can book their ticket for $85 online, and they will be joined by several other groups of people on the bus taking the same tour. The tours will only happen if enough people buy tickets.

Hellman concluded by expressing that the motive behind his company and these expansions is increased accessibility.

“We want people to be able to get places without a car,” Hellman said. “We really do.”

Correction, Sept. 6, 9:32 a.m.: A previous version of this article misspelled OurBus founder Axel Hellman’s last name. The article has been corrected, and The Sun regrets this error.