Look Out, Rockabus: There’s A Cheaper Bus That Does The Exact Same Thing

08/23/2012 9:30 AM |


  • Stefano Giovannini / Brooklyn Paper

The good people at the Rockabus may have capitalized on a glaring need — weekend transportation between Williamsburg and the Rockaways and Fort Tilden that doesn’t take 2 hours in each direction — but they’re not the first people to do it. They’re not even the cheapest!

No no, there’s another beach bus game in town, in the form of Alexis Van Lines, which has been making the trip since last year according to its operators.

This, of course, complicates the Rockabus’ claim as “the first shuttle bus to operate between Williamsburg and the Rockaways and Fort Tilden.”

“The Rockabus took away a lot of publicity from us,” griped Leroy Morrison, an Alexis operator. “People were looking for us and couldn’t find us and people thought they came up with the idea.”

This is likely all the more frustrating since the services are essentially the same, with similar departure points and a relaxed BYOB policy. For its part, the Rockabus has the advantage of online bookings (Alexis is by phone only), while Alexis is slightly cheaper ($6 one way instead of $10) and has room for bike storage on board.

Plus, Morrison says, “People deserve a better service than a school bus. I love transportation. I know I can do better.”

Oh, snap! Those are fighting words if ever there were. So who will win in this battle for our beach business — the native Brooklynites or the entrepreneurial transplants?

Everyone. Everyone will win. Everyone loves to go to the beach, demand is high, everything about this is completely win-win. Beach party for everybody!

6 Comment

  • Everyone, give this man your business. Alexis is amazing, for those who haven’t used his service before.

    Give him a call: 917-434-1614.

    He’ll tell you all about the politics of livery service in Brooklyn, the city’s frustrating bureaucracy, and then lull you into a beautiful calm with reggae documentaries for your ride there.

    Another notable benefit, I’ve seen him drop people off along his route if it’s to their convenience.

  • Actually, the author of this article has it wrong. Despite making the claim, Alexis Van Lines has provided no proof whatsoever that they began operating a weekend beach shuttle before Rockabus.

    Here is a flyer (http://cl.ly/Ix8Q) Rockabus distributed at Googa Mooga and the Brooklyn Flea back in May (notice it is dated June 2nd.) Now try and find one article, blog post, Facebook post, tweet or anything else that makes any mention of Alexis Van Lines going to Rockaway before June 2nd. You won’t find anything. You will find loads of articles about the Rockabus, though.

  • @Sam All I say in this post is that Alexis Van Lines makes that claim and that both services are good and fairly similar – I fail to really see the issue here, even if your service does, in fact pre-date theirs. You yourself say business is getting bigger every weekend (and customers are coming back), so I can only assume Alexis hasn’t been crippling your operation.

    Competition and imitation happen! Just ask the first guy who started a bar in Williamsburg.

    On a personal note, I’ve taken and liked the Rockabus! I think I’ll be taking Alexis from now on.

  • @Virginia, So in other words, you would rather patronize a service that relies on slander as its marketing strategy? If you really want to write an original piece of journalism, perhaps you should look into the legality of livery vehicles picking passengers up off the street.

  • @Sam
    Because that would be a boring story and I like being able to hail livery cars in a pinch. EVEN THOUGH IT’S ILLEGAL.

  • Was told that the first bus was leaving at 10. 1030 rolls around and am told it wouldn’t be leaving for another 15-30 minutes. They knew we were standing there waiting but they were giving out flyers to get more people. I understand wanting to fill the bus but their 2 existing customers decided to take the train instead and won’t be going back. Not sure if rockabus leaves on time but you should know that Alexis doesn’t.