Neha Patil (Editor)

Megabus (North America)

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Covid-19
Founded  2006
Established  2006
Service area  United States Canada
Megabus (North America) httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons44
Slogan  Low cost daily express bus service...stay connected
Parent  Coach USA/Coach Canada (some buses are owned by DATTCO)
Headquarters  USA: 349 1 Street Elizabeth, NJ 07206 Canada: 791 Webber Ave Peterborough, ON K9J 8N3
Service type  Intercity coach service

Megabus, branded as megabus.com, is an intercity bus service of Coach USA/Coach Canada and DATTCO (a non Stagecoach company, under contract) providing discount travel services since 2006, operating throughout the eastern, southern, midwestern, and western United States and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Megabus is notable for using curbside bus stops instead of traditional stations, low fares starting at $1, and in recent years, operating a point-to-point network of routes with buses making few stops en route to their destination.

Contents

History

On April 10, 2006, Stagecoach introduced a no-frills service through its Coach USA subsidiary, using the Megabus brand that it had established in the United Kingdom. On March 22, 2006, Megabus started taking bookings for new routes in the United States (service began on April 10, 2006), with a network of services based in Chicago with daily routes to Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, St. Louis, Ann Arbor, Columbus, Louisville, Toledo, Detroit, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and State College, Pennsylvania.

On August 8, 2007, Megabus introduced service to the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Tempe, Arizona, using Coach America as a contractor. In its first foray into California, ridership was sluggish and Megabus started to discontinue services from the Los Angeles hub in early 2008. Service to the Phoenix area was discontinued in January 2008, followed by services in San Diego and San Ysidro in March 2008. In May 2008, Megabus made the decision to shut down its Los Angeles hub and discontinue all related services, stating that "(I)n this case, the ridership trends aren't growing fast enough." The final day for services from Los Angeles was June 22, 2008. Megabus re-entered the market in 2012 after reacquiring some of the assets of Coach America, which had been part of Coach USA prior to a major divestiture in 2003.

While Megabus withdrew from California, it expanded in the Northeast in late May 2008, when Megabus began service from a hub in New York City, with service to Albany, Atlantic City, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.. Further expansions included service to Syracuse, Rochester, Hartford, and Niagara Falls, Ontario (Niagara Falls and Hartford were later withdrawn although service to Hartford resumed in 2010). In Spring 2009, while Eastern Shuttle was under Coach USA ownership, runs were added to Megabus under the Eastern Shuttle name, after Coach USA purchased two Chinatown bus companies in late 2008 and early 2009, significantly increasing capacity. Later in 2009, the Megabus concept was expanded to Toronto and Montreal, and the Chinatown bus companies acquired by Coach USA were sold to independent interests. Megabus expanded deeper into Pennsylvania and the Southeast in 2009 and 2010.

Since 2010 Megabus has focused on transitioning from a traditional spoke-and-hub system, to a point-to-point network of routes with buses making few stops en route to their destination and operating only a few hubs.

Megabus returned to the West Coast on December 12, 2012 initially serving San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Reno, Riverside, and Los Angeles. On its west coast routes, Megabus operates almost exclusively from either commuter rail stations or transfer stations for local transit buses.

Service overview

A fraction of tickets (which must be purchased many weeks in advance) are priced at 1.00 USD or CAD, with an online booking fee of 2.00 USD or CAD per transaction (not per ticket). Megabus follows the yield management model, typically used by airlines, where the lowest fares are offered to those who book early (normally, only one or two seats are sold for 1.00 per schedule), so the less popular schedules tend to be less expensive. In order to keep costs down, Megabus has no waiting rooms and no bus terminals and picks up at curbside on public streets, or in parking lots. Stops may be outside railroad stations or transportation centers in major cities, or on college campuses or at shopping centers in other cities.

Tickets must be purchased in advance via the website or by telephone (in Canada, through the website only). Upon purchase, passengers are given a reservation number which they show the bus operator when they board. In the United States, tickets are not available from the bus operator. In Canada, owing to franchise regulations, tickets are sold at stops at a fixed price (generally higher than purchasing the ticket through the website).

Fleet

The Megabus fleet can be identified by the megabus.com name on the front and sides in yellow against a blue base, and the Megabus logo on the left side of the coach (facing forward) and rear of the bus. The DATTCO fleet used for Megabus service is also decaled with Megabus logos (but with a DATTCO logo instead of a Coach USA logo for Megabus buses owned and operated by DATTCO). Buses on the M25 Megabus route operate with regular Academy Bus livery.

Upon its introduction, Megabus service began with used MCI 102EL3 Renaissance coaches, often transferred from other Coach USA operations, with some services utilizing Chicago- and Milwaukee-based Coach USA buses. In 2007, Coach USA updated its Chicago-based Megabus fleet with new MCI J4500 single-deck and Van Hool TD925 double-deck motorcoaches.

In May 2008, Megabus expanded to the Northeast market, with a fleet of mostly brand-new MCI D4505 coaches, a number of new Van Hool TD925-double decker buses, and some buses purchased secondhand or transferred from the Chicago fleet. This expansion came as Megabus exited from the West Coast market. Further expansion in the Northeast came in the fall and winter of 2008-2009, when additional double-decker buses were delivered, resulting in much of the single-deck buses being transferred to sister operation Eastern Shuttle, pushing many of the EL3s to retirement. The fleet transferred to Eastern Shuttle was eventually returned to mainline Coach USA duty following divestiture a few months later.

All Megabus coaches branded as such in the United States are equipped with Wi-Fi and electrical outlets.

In accordance with ADA regulations, wheelchair-accessible service is available on all lines (although most service is operated with true-low-floor double-deck coaches). This can now be done online or by phone.

The Canadian Megabus fleet consists of 15 2009 TD925 buses and are operated by Trentway-Wagar. All of the Canada fleet is equipped with electrical outlets and Wi-Fi. The Canadian buses are pooled with the US fleet for NYC-Toronto or Philadelphia-Toronto runs, with drivers swapping at Buffalo to stay within their certified country. Note that on these runs the buses will typically only have WiFi service available in the home country for the bus being used; i.e. Canadian buses will turn off their WiFi at the US border and American buses will turn off WiFi upon entering Canada. This is to avoid incurring roaming charges from the cellular carriers that provide the internet service.

Hubs

Megabus service in the United States and Canada operates primarily as a hub-and-spoke model in the Midwest and as a network of point-to-point routes along the East and West Coasts. Northeastern service uses New York City and Washington, D.C. as hub cities. There are also hubs in Chicago and Atlanta, additional routes serving Florida and Texas, and a separate point-to-point network serving California and Nevada.

Atlanta hub

Megabus announced the creation of their first southeastern United States hub, in Atlanta, on October 25, 2011. In November 16, 2011, Megabus began operations out of its Atlanta hub, located at the Civic Center MARTA Station in Downtown Atlanta.

Initially, Megabus began service from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Nashville, Knoxville, Montgomery, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, Memphis, Birmingham, Charlotte, Durham, Mobile, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. Megabus now also serves Athens and New Orleans. In addition, passengers are able to link to northeastern US Megabus service through Knoxville and Charlotte, and link to Midwestern Megabus services through Memphis and Nashville.

Megabus also has a bus line linking Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville together, started on March 14, 2012

Chicago hub

Megabus in the U.S. began operations on April 10, 2006 with routes between Chicago and Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and St. Louis, from a hub on the curb next to Chicago Union Station. (Megabus passengers are prohibited from waiting in the station unless they are using other companies' services.) Services also began between Indianapolis and Cincinnati. A service that was initially offered between Indianapolis and Columbus was later withdrawn due to low ridership, but has since been reinstated and currently operates.

On September 11, 2006, a stop in Toledo was added on the route operating between Chicago and Cleveland. Additional services were added on April 2, 2007: a stop in Ann Arbor along the Chicago-Detroit route for travel to and from Chicago, new service between Minneapolis and Milwaukee, an extension of the Chicago-Toledo-Cleveland route into Pittsburgh (since withdrawn on the Midwest network, but later re-entered on the Northeast network), an extension of the Chicago-St. Louis route into Kansas City, reactivation of the Chicago-Indianapolis-Columbus route, new service between Cincinnati and Columbus, and new service between Chicago and Louisville via Indianapolis (since withdrawn).

On March 13, 2008 a stop was added in Madison, Wisconsin on the twice daily Chicago-Minneapolis route. The Chicago-Minneapolis route operating via Milwaukee service gained a second daily bus. Also, Columbia, Missouri was added with one stop daily in each direction on the Chicago-St. Louis-Kansas City route. On March 27, 2008, a new route was added, Chicago-Champaign-Memphis, offering 2 daily trips in each direction. In early 2010, Champaign/Memphis route was cut to one daily round-trip due to poor ridership, but the second round trip has since been restored.

Later in 2008, Megabus expanded service to Minneapolis to four daily departures, but also announced the cancellation of overnight schedules mid-week on routes to Ohio and Memphis. Early in 2009, these midweek overnight schedules were restored, only to be pulled again in summer 2009.

On May 4, 2010, a new route from Chicago to Des Moines via Iowa City began operating.

On August 17, 2011, Megabus started service to Omaha via Des Moines and Iowa City; twice-daily departures and arrivals from Omaha and an increase to four daily departures and arrivals from Des Moines and Iowa City.

On March 14, 2012, Megabus started service from Chicago to Nashville via Indianapolis and Louisville.Service was later extended to Atlanta via Chattanooga

In June 2012 Megabus announced service from Chicago to Detroit via Grand Rapids and East Lansing beginning July 12.

On September 15, 2015, Megabus discontinued service in Columbia, Missouri and Kansas City.

On February 2, 2015, Megabus discontinued service from Columbus, Ohio to Cleveland.

Dallas hub

On May 31, 2012, Megabus announced new service to be effective June 19, 2012, entering into a new hub in Grand Prairie, Texas to serve the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex. From Dallas, passengers had options to travel to Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Little Rock, Memphis, Norman, Oklahoma City, Springfield, and St. Louis. Passengers also have the option to connect to other Megabus routes in Memphis, from Dallas; and to New Orleans, from Houston. On November 18, 2012, it was announced that customers would also be able to be served in Dallas downtown area as well as the Grand Prairie location. They received the necessary permissions in order to start on the following Monday. On April 4, 2013, service was discontinued for the Oklahoma state and Missouri state stops via Dallas. Dallas-to-St. Louis is now only accessible via routing through Memphis.

New York hub

On May 30, 2008 Megabus began East Coast operations with service to and from Atlantic City (operated by Academy Bus), Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, and Buffalo and Toronto. Service to Baltimore was added after negotiations over the usage of the White Marsh Park & Ride were concluded. On June 6, a once-daily service was added to Binghamton for travel to and from Buffalo and Toronto.

On all routes except for the Atlantic City route, Megabus competes directly with various discount bus operators, including Greyhound and Peter Pan's BoltBus service, Washington Deluxe, Vamoose Bus, other Chinatown bus lines, and the NeOn service offered by Greyhound Canada and Adirondack Trailways.

During fall 2008, the New York City-Washington, DC line was expanded to 14 northbound and 13 southbound trips, with all service now stopping in Baltimore. Additional departures were also added on Fridays and Sundays to and from Boston.

In December 2008, service to Binghamton, which had been operating only to Buffalo and Toronto, was dropped in favor of service to Syracuse, Rochester, and Niagara Falls (Ontario). A new route also began service to and from Albany. Both revised services offer four trips daily (up from two on the Toronto line), with a fifth Buffalo-Toronto express overnight trip also offered. All services were moved from the Royal York Hotel to the Toronto Coach terminal. Hartford was also added on the M22 route in December 2008, with service to Boston or New York available.

In spring 2009, following the purchase of two Chinatown bus operators (Eastern Shuttle and Today's Bus) in late 2008 and early 2009 and subsequent merger of their operations (with the Eastern brand retained), the M21 route expanded to hourly (or less) departures during the day, with the M23 route expanding to over 20 departures in each direction on weekdays, and over 15 departures in each direction on weekends. As a result, Megabus would briefly enter the Chinatown bus market in the Northeast, a market that it would exit in August 2009.

For summer 2009, the Philadelphia schedule was streamlined to provide 18 daily trips in each direction (evenly split between Megabus and Eastern, but eventually transferred to Megabus when Eastern was sold), and the M24 route saw its two AM departures from either end of the route combined into a single departure. In addition, service to Rochester was reduced to once daily in each direction. Layover time at Syracuse was increased from 20 minutes to 30 minutes to account for the rest stop that used to occur between Syracuse and Rochester.

For winter 2009, service to and from Hartford and to Niagara Falls, Ontario were dropped due to low ridership.

On May 4, 2010, a new route from New York to Pittsburgh via State College began operating; Pittsburgh had previously been served by a route to and from Chicago earlier.

In Spring 2010, Philadelphia was established as a second hub with originating buses to several additional destinations. In summer 2010, Providence to New York was added as an additional destination. On September 8, 2010, Service was stopped between Philadelphia and Atlantic City due to low ridership.

On December 15, 2010, Service was added to Hartford and Amherst due to public outcry in Greater Hartford.

Beginning August 1, 2012, the New York stop moved to 34th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues, across the street from the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and the 34th Street – Hudson Yards subway station.

Toronto hub

Similar to the Megabus model in the United States, in June 2008, Coach Canada began offering tickets from C$1 on their route between Toronto and Montreal, using the same yield management model. As of summer 2009, this route has been converted to a Megabus route as marketed on the Coach Canada website, with double-deckers branded for Megabus replacing single-deck Coach Canada buses on the route, except for over-booked trips in which case the Toronto-to-Kingston leg of the trip reverts to a single-deck Coach Canada bus and the Megabus does not stop in Kingston en route to Montreal. Like services in the United States, Wi-Fi is available on the Toronto-Montreal service. Unlike services in the USA, however, all service is normally accessible for those with mobility impairments; a 48-hour reservation in advance is still required because the number of seats per trip is affected.

Pittsburgh hub

On March 29, 2011, Megabus announced the Pittsburgh hub, operating service out of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center underpass. Megabus routes from Pittsburgh included Pittsburgh-State College-NYC, Pittsburgh-Washington, Pittsburgh-Harrisburg-Philadelphia-Camden, Pittsburgh-Erie-Buffalo-Toronto, Pittsburgh-Columbus-Cincinnati, Pittsburgh-Akron-Cleveland (a restoration of an earlier cut), and Pittsburgh-Toledo-Detroit. Megabus had also announced a route between Pittsburgh and Ann Arbor later, starting March 14, 2012.

On March 13, 2012, Megabus removed under-performing services from Pittsburgh, including Pittsburgh-Erie-Buffalo-Toronto and Pittsburgh-Columbus-Cincinnati and Pittsburgh-Akron, leaving Pittsburgh-State College-NYC, Pittsburgh-Washington, Pittsburgh-Harrisburg-Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh-Cleveland -Toledo-Detroit-Ann Arbor as their remaining services. On May 6, 2014, Megabus also ended the Pittsburgh-Ann Arbor route due to poor ridership, leaving Pittsburgh customers with no direct connection to points west of the city.

Philadelphia hub

Starting July 21, 2010, Megabus began operating service out of a hub near 30th Street Station in Philadelphia. Service operates to the Pennsylvania cities of Harrisburg, State College and Pittsburgh, as well as to Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Toronto, and Washington, D.C..

In 2013 Megabus added service to and from Newark, Delaware from Philadelphia en route to Washington, D.C.

Washington D.C. hub

Originally a destination from either New York or the Philadelphia hubs, Megabus began operating south of Washington D.C., using Washington as a new hub, on December 15, 2010. In November 2011, Megabus began operating from the bus deck above the top level of the Amtrak station at Washington's Union Station.

California/Nevada network

Megabus re-entered California on December 12, 2012, serving San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Reno, Riverside, and Los Angeles. Service runs on four routes (LA-San Jose-SF, LA-Oakland-SF, SF-Sacramento-Reno and LA-Riverside-Las Vegas). Unlike the East coast and Midwest networks, Megabus does not operate any hubs on the west coast with all buses operating on point-to-point routes. Megabus also operates almost exclusively from either commuter rail stations or transfer stations for local transit buses. In Los Angeles, the buses utilize Union Station's Patsaouras Transit Plaza. In San Jose, Megabus stops at the Diridon Station, which is served also by Caltrain, Amtrak and competing bus services, such as Greyhound, Greyhound-owned BoltBus and California Shuttle Bus. In Las Vegas, buses utilize RTC's South Strip Transfer Terminal. Since the service began, the Megabus routes between San Francisco and Southern California have been extended to serve more destinations. A stop in Burbank (serving Northern LA County) was added on August 15, 2013, and the route was extended down to Anaheim (serving Orange County) on December 6, 2014.

Incidents and accidents

Below is a list of notable incidents and accidents involving Megabus vehicles (not counting Megabus vehicles operated by DATTCO or Concord Coach Lines on services to and from Boston, and services on the M25, which are operated separately).

  • On September 1, 2008, a Detroit-bound M1 coach was pulled over by Michigan State police after officers noticed the bus swaying and speeding outside Benton Township, Michigan. The bus's driver was arrested when he was found to have a blood alcohol level of .07, well above the .04 limit for commercial bus operators. It was the first drunk driving incident in Coach USA history. A replacement driver was brought in to bring the 30 passengers to their final destination.
  • On September 11, 2010, around 2:30 a.m., a Toronto-bound M34 double-decker coach missed an exit to the William F. Walsh Regional Transportation Center in Syracuse, NY, and hit a railway overpass carrying the St. Lawrence Subdivision along NY Route 370 2 miles (3.2 km) farther away. Four passengers were killed, all in the front of the upper deck, which was crushed into the lower deck in the crash, and 17 others were injured.
  • On August 2, 2012, a St. Louis-bound M5 service Megabus coach with 64 passengers slammed into a concrete bridge pillar on Interstate 55 near Litchfield, Illinois. At least one passenger was killed.
  • According to federal records, since August 2007, Chicago hub drivers have been cited 54 times by police: 21 times for not maintaining driver logs, 20 times for speeding, three times for following too closely, 2 times for improper lane changes, and 2 for windshield violations. There were 6 other violations of local laws. Also, New York hub drivers have been cited 29 times by police: 14 times for speeding, five times for not maintaining driver logs, two times for failing to obey a traffic control device, two times for defects (windshield cracked and other), and 1 time for falsifying a log book. There were 5 other violations of local laws. There have been four other accidents involving Megabus vehicles.

    The safety of curbside bus services came under scrutiny after a 2011 crash in New York of a chartered bus caused 14 fatalities. The National Transportation Safety Board conducted a six-month study and found that while bus travel was considerably safer than by car, curbside buses had seven times the fatality rates of traditional bus lines.

    References

    Megabus (North America) Wikipedia


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