It’s no secret that many hotels have used the pandemic to cut corners wherever they can, but one item that got scrapped is especially annoying, namely complimentary shuttle buses.
Previously some hotels have operated shuttle buses between their locations in large metropolitan areas and the city center but that quickly stopped during Covid and then it simply never came back.
The reason why hotels offer shuttles to begin with are largely dependent on the location of the property, for example, airport hotels pretty much have to provide a shuttle to the terminal and there is hardly any way around it. Although some airport properties are getting brazen and simply tell their customers to take a taxi or Uber, not offering anything.
Then there are hotels that are a bit on the outskirts of the city center but still want to attract travelers so a shuttle bus is offered to maintain a transportation link as was the case previously with the Hilton Rome Airport.
The Hilton Rome Airport has also abandoned its city center shuttle as I was informed via email a few days prior to my stay. I then canceled my stay and decided for a hotel in the city instead.
This week I arrived in Tokyo and stayed at three hotels that previously used to operate shuttle buses between Shinjuku Station and the hotel locations around Nishi Shinjuku:
- Hilton Tokyo – Shuttle Bus Operation Suspended
- Hyatt Regency Tokyo – Shuttle Bus Operation Suspended
- Park Hyatt Tokyo – Shuttle only operates on weekends and holidays
The Park Hyatt has quite a lot of local customer traffic
All the while, the daily rate of these hotels climbed back to pre-Covid levels or even higher to make up for previously lost revenue.
Here is the notice on the website of the Hyatt Regency Tokyo:
The shuttle was always a very useful feature when staying at either the Hilton or the Hyatt Regency. I asked at both hotels if there was a plan to bring the buses back as Japan is opening its borders on Tuesday but the response was that at the moment, no definitive decision has been made.
Unfortunately many hotels have taken the red pen to their shuttle services and cut those in the name of Covid but even after the pandemic was long over the properties never put the shuttles back into operation. Pair that with all the other cutbacks and high prices despite all that it makes one question if all this is being done in good faith.
Especially the shuttles in Tokyo were always very useful and without them, it makes pretty much no sense to stay at an expensive international brand property. You can get a locally branded hotel for half or less. Maybe we’re lucky and the hotels will eventually put the transport shuttles back into operation but for now, it seems the demise of these buses is an unfortunate reality we have to deal with.