- United Kingdom-based Megabus, which last month began service across the Midwest, is hoping to shake up intercity bus travel with a discount-airline approach.
From Chicago, the company runs daily express service to Indianapolis, Cleveland, Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Indianapolis is a minihub, linked to Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.
Fares are outlandishly cheap: as high as about $28 for a one-way ticket from Indianapolis to Chicago, for example, and as low as $1 if you book enough in advance. Fares on traditional bus carriers such as Greyhound Lines are higher â€“ usually $30 to $35 one way from Indianapolis to Chicago â€“ and the routes sometimes include intermediate stops.
How does Megabus keep fares so low?
- Megabus uses online booking and sidewalk stops, not bus stations. And because tickets are sold on the Web, passengers board with nothing more than a reservation number checked by the driver.
In addition, it offers only direct service between major cities, sidestepping time-consuming routes with multiple stops.
The company hopes to find a market in the era of $3 per gallon gas and the Midwest, where most major cities are spaced several hours apart, would seem to be a good fit for bus travel.