The Megabus Question

Is it worth it?

By Maggie Berardo September 29, 2015

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Image: Shutterstock

And so, preparing for the holidays begins. Trying to coordinate who’s going where for Thanksgiving and Christmas, then trying to find affordable tickets, is an annual hassle. But there could be a new solution to this regular struggle. With pick-up stations across the Midwest, the East Coast, and the South, Megabus offers prices so good that most are skeptical. Is it really possible to take a dollar bus far from Dallas to Chicago?

It’s true: Megabus does offer fares as low as $1 per ticket. From Houston, trips to San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, Baton Rouge and New Orleans are offered almost daily, and once you hit Dallas or Louisiana, the options open up even further. It’s possible to get from Houston to New York City for Thanksgiving for under $100. When you compare that to train and plane tickets, it’s an offer many can’t refuse. Each Megabus offers free wi-fi, comfortable seats, space for a suitcase and a carry-on, and bathrooms.

Issues can crop up in the fine print, however. While it’s a bragging point for MB that they offer dollar fares, those prices are harder to come by than advertised. The Megabus method offers only the first few seats at $1, and after that, prices begin to climb. Prices go to $5, $12, even $100 for a one-way trip, if you happen to be booking some of the last seats. The advertised “one suitcase, one carry-on” policy is also something to consider, as a purse and a laptop bag, for example, count as two separate carry on items, with an extra fee applied.

Complaints for riders center around occasionally spotty wi-fi and less than desirable pick-up stations. Houston’s Megabus stations are in Midtown and right outside the Katy Mills Mall—not bad. But other cities aren’t so lucky, and you might find yourself being dropped off in a part of town where it’s hard to get a taxi or rental cars.

With the pros and cons in hand, this begs the question: Is Megabus worth it? I think so, particularly when it comes to getting cheap tickets for short distances.

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