Sunday, November 28, 2010

Intercity bus travel has long been a favourite of those of us who like to save money on our voyages. However, Megabus ( has taken savings to a new level, with fares as low as $1 for online booking.
Megabus operates in the eastern United States and eastern Canada, as well as in the United Kingdom, and uses double-decker buses. They have adopted the yield management system long popular with airlines.
Yield management is a system of variable pricing that often ensures that early booking means getting a lower price, and last minute booking is usually (but not always) penalized. It is common now for all types of travel, including hotels and railroads, so it is often hard to tell in advance what a trip will cost.
Megabus operates on many popular North American routes including New York to Washington and New York to Boston, as well as Toronto to Montreal. In the U.K. they serve a number of cities in England and Scotland.
I took a Megabus earlier in the year between Montreal and Toronto. A friend told me I could save a lot of money by booking online, but I chose to buy my ticket at the bus station. Big mistake. I sat across from a woman who paid $10 for a one-way fare, whereas I had paid five or six times that much. Next time I will know better.
Earlier this year one of the Megabuses was involved in a fatal accident in upstate New York when a driver mistakenly took a road where the clearance under bridges was not sufficient for a tall bus. For a time I wondered whether the company would weather this storm, but it seems to have done so, expanding and adding new routes in North America.
Many Torontonians like to travel to Buffalo airport to catch low-cost flights within the U.S. or abroad. Now Megabus offers service to the Buffalo airport from Toronto for as little as $1 plus a 50 cent booking fee.
Megabuses in the U.S. are all equipped with WiFi and power outlets.


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