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Megabus is coming to Houston

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Thanks for posting. I'm not familiar with this. Are these point-to-point buses to-and-from each city's downtown (or similar)? Are they larger than normal, or is that just a marketing tactic?

Edit: It would help if I actually showed a greater than 3rd grade reading comprehension. You've answered some of my questions in your OP. But, are they still basically express buses - and are they larger than normal?

Edited by Simbha

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With that pick-up at the Eastwood TC I am damn tempted to try them for our August trip to NOLA. The stop there is basically at Canal St and the mall, we could walk to our hotel. For $2 fare for 2 people and about an hour more road time than driving. Hmmm. There's an extra couple of hundred on drinks or food or blackjack at Harrah's.

I've paid more than $2 to ride on much shittier buses, for a lot longer. Hmmm.

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Sounds like you may want to use your own wifi instead of theirs, but otherwise, it sounds pretty good for bus service.

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I've used Megabus a few times. It's remarkably good. Just two weeks ago I took it between Chicago and Indianapolis. I paid $10 for CHI → IND, and $1 for IND → CHI, plus a 50¢ booking fee, for a total of $11.50 round trip. The same trip on an airplane would have been $326, and $46 via Amtrak.

The bus was super-duper clean, and not at all crowded, which was good because the seats are really very narrow. Worse than an airplane seat. But at least there's plenty of legroom. The drivers are always very nice, and best of all -- the bus is ALWAYS on time. Even when I've been stuck in traffic on a Megabus, it's always on time. I guess over time, they figure out how much congestion time to build into their schedules.

All of the buses I've been on have wifi, but I haven't used it because I've either been asleep or packing my own Clearwire connection. The passengers for the most part have been college students, small businesspeople, and people going on job interviews (you can tell by the suits and resumes).

That said, I'd pay extra to take the train simply because I like train travel better. You can get up and walk around and go to the cafe car and such. But Megabus has been getting a lot of my Amtrak runs these days for one simple reason -- the schedule.

To some cities, there are up to ten Megabus departures a day, while Amtrak has just a few. If I want to go to Milwaukee, Amtrak wins because it's cheaper and faster and more convenient. But taking the train to Cincinnati drops me off in a crappy neighborhood at 3am. Megabus gets me there at noon. It's an easy choice.

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are they larger than normal?

Most of their buses are Van Hool double deckers with 81 seats, though they do have some regular motorcoaches that they might use while the routes are catching on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megabus_%28North_America%29

I just completed a trip on a few of their routes in the southeast and northeast. All the buses were pretty full. As long as your seatmate isn't too fat it's comfortable enough. Very comparable to an airplane, but the seats recline more. The wifi is spotty, as someone noted. Greyhound Express gives you more leg room, but you have to deal with their crappy terminals. On a rainy day this might be an advantage, though.

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Thanks for the clarification, all.

The Wikipedia article JamesL posted indicates several incidents/accidents. Does anyone have any sense as to whether this frequency of incidents is on par with similar services offered by other companies - or higher or lower?

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Would it be fair to say that a company that has a business unit whose marketing is driven by internet traffic and that incentivizes early bookings is managing to effect price discrimination against 'the great unwashed', a practice which feeds back on itself by increasing demand from the 'washed' as they respond to a more comfortable demography?

Edited by TheNiche

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Would it be fair to say that a company that has a business unit whose marketing is driven by internet traffic and that incentivizes early bookings is managing to effect price discrimination against 'the great unwashed', a practice which feeds back on itself by increasing demand from the 'washed' as they respond to a more comfortable demography?

one would expect a global transportation company to construct a business model targeting a specific demographic and market share. riding an intercity Megabus with college students and suited jobseekers - not exactly the crowd debarking at Houston's Greyhound terminal...

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I've taken Megabus several times between NYC and Boston. Depending on departure times (rush hour), we were not always on time but it was never too bad. Wifi was not consistent early on, but recently I've had good service. The service overall was really good, busses are nice, clean bathrooms, overall good clientale, etc.

From what I can figure out, their pricing model acts like SW (or like SW used to, not always true any more). The earlier you book, the higher the chances are you will find a $1 deal. As those sell out, the prices go up, but still reasonable.

I will definitely use this for trips to NOLA and Austin. Maybe even for Dallas depending on who I'm visiting and if I need a car there. Though not sure I would want to park my car across from the Eastwood Transit center for a weekend, but I could always take a Metro bus to get there.

Overall very excited about this, especially for trips to NOLA where I don't want to have my car there (plus the obvious mileage/gas savings).

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From what I can figure out, their pricing model acts like SW (or like SW used to, not always true any more). The earlier you book, the higher the chances are you will find a $1 deal. As those sell out, the prices go up, but still reasonable.

This is the way I understand it works as well. Basically, if you can plan ahead - you can get the killer deal. Last minute fares are pretty much in line with everybody else.

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This is the way I understand it works as well. Basically, if you can plan ahead - you can get the killer deal. Last minute fares are pretty much in line with everybody else.

One thing I'll add is that the definition of "advanced purchase" varies from run to run, probably based on demand for a particular day and time.

Several times I've booked round trips where one leg of the journey was a mid-range fare ($10-$15), but the other leg of the journey was one of the $1 super-early-booker discounts, even though I booked them at the same time.

Someone above mentioned Greyhound Express. I haven't had a chance to use that yet, because every time I've looked into it, it's been significantly more expensive than either MegaBus or Amtrak.

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I got a $1.50 round trip to San antonio

The great thing about a $1.50 fare is that no matter how bad the trip is, you can always say to yourself, "Hey, it was only a buck fifty!"

Unless you lose a limb. That would be different.

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I got a $1.50 round trip to San antonio

good lord! how far in advance did you book it & where does it drop you in SA?

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good lord! how far in advance did you book it & where does it drop you in SA?

Weekend of June 23. Booked it a few days ago. I booked more tickets for July 7 just to see if anyone would go with me. Total cost $4.50 for that trip. Even if I don't go, not a big loss.

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would be even more awesome if they had amenities on the bus to bring a bicycle.

$2 for a round trip to Austin and ride my bicycle would be a nice day trip.

Edited by samagon

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Guess where Greyhound is headquartered! Coincidence?

maybe Greyhond has been taking notes from UAL on accepting competition :angry:

Grand Prairie? really!

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well that's annoying. I have a trip booked there in early July, and was planning on coordinating with one cousin that lives downtown to pick us up, otherwise either get someone from Carrolton where we're staying to pick us up (or we'd take DART up that direction). They haven't notified me at all yet...

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This is a huge blunder on the part of Megabus. I cannot fathom what they are thinking. As the linked blog post points out, the most significant apparent benefit of Megabus is its low pricing. This will essentially negate that - effectively rendering the Dallas area inaccessible by Megabus.

It's not made clear in the blog post, so does anyone know if refunds are being provided to those who already hold tickets and request one?

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This is a huge blunder on the part of Megabus. I cannot fathom what they are thinking. As the linked blog post points out, the most significant apparent benefit of Megabus is its low pricing. This will essentially negate that - effectively rendering the Dallas area inaccessible by Megabus.

It's not made clear in the blog post, so does anyone know if refunds are being provided to those who already hold tickets and request one?

Yes, I purchased 2 tickets to Dallas and they notified me and said if it would be a problem to email someone (they provided a contact) with a refund request...seeing as my total cost was .50, I could care less to go to the trouble though :/

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obviously this wasn't Megabus's preference, though they didn't do the proper coordination before announcing the stops.

here is the email I got regarding the dallas stop:

Please be advised that the megabus.com pick-up and drop off location for Dallas, TX has moved. The new pick-up/drop-off point will be located at Dallas/Fort Worth at 710 Davis Street in Grand Prairie.

The new stop is at the Coach USA Bus Facility. There are pick-up and drop-off facilities at the facility, but no parking is available on site.

We sincerely regret the inconvenience that may be caused as a result of the change. Megabus.com’s arrival/departure location will not be on Elm Street between N. Olive St and S. Pearl St. in downtown Dallas – as the company announced in May – because the required facility changes at the downtown location will not be completed by June 19; the company plans to add a bus stop in downtown Dallas soon. In the interim we will operate from the Coach USA Dallas/Fort Worth Terminal at Grand Prairie. Further information on the stop location can be obtained by visiting megabus.com and by clicking on the 'Bus Stops' tab.

the Houston stops changed as well. They got rid of Eastwood transit and changed the Downtown location.

email from Megabus (this one did not offer a free refund):

Megabus.com's Houston arrival and departure location will now be on the NE corner of the intersection of Clay St. and Travis St. The new location offers nearby customer parking as well as access to local transit.

Passengers booked from Austin to both Katy and Houston North West are unaffected by this change.

Megabus.com's arrival/departure location will not be at the Eastwood Transit Center at 4400 Gulf Freeway or on Polk Street., near the intersection of Travis in downtown Houston.- as the company announced in May. Those stop locations were not compatible with the Houston METRO schedules.

Edited by skwatra

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its a comfy efficient bus with wifi that is supposed to go from downtown to downtown, point to point. the big deal is that i booked for $1 to go from Houston to Dallas, which would be $36 on Greyhound or $128 on Amtrak, or $40 of gas in my car (not including wear and tear).

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Hrm... hard to beat $1 from Houston to dallas... but why would you want to go there in the first place?

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Hrm... hard to beat $1 from Houston to dallas... but why would you want to go there in the first place?

Some people have been known to believe that Dallas gets all the cool projects while considering Houston 600 sq miles of ghetto. Personally, I can't see it, but some people seem to believe that. Those are the kind of people that probably want to go to Dallas.

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Some people have been known to believe that Dallas gets all the cool projects while considering Houston 600 sq miles of ghetto. Personally, I can't see it, but some people seem to believe that. Those are the kind of people that probably want to go to Dallas.

I prefer my 600 square nautical miles of ghetto.

Not that it would make a difference for riding the bus, but I think there is only one gas station in all of Dallas.

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Not that it would make a difference for riding the bus, but I think there is only one gas station in all of Dallas.

and their icee machine is always broken. Plus, the restroom is out back and the key to it is sunk in the end of a baseball bat.

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and their icee machine is always broken. Plus, the restroom is out back and the key to it is sunk in the end of a baseball bat.

And it is located on Industrial Blvd. down the street from the Lew Sterrett Justice Center...well, at least it was until they renamed it Riverfront Blvd.

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so... this is still just another bus service... right? i checked their site and did not see any tickets for $1.

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Not running in Austin apparently. City won't let them have the stop.

Where did you hear this? They are still selling tix to Austin right now ($1 seats next friday AM which i randomly searched) and show the stop on the edge of campus north of downtown.

Saw a bus yesterday on Clay picking people up but don't know the destination...

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Hrm... hard to beat $1 from Houston to dallas... but why would you want to go there in the first place?

so... this is still just another bus service... right? i checked their site and did not see any tickets for $1.

You didn't? I just checked on a bus for tomorrow to Dallas and it was $1. How hard did you look?

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Where did you hear this? They are still selling tix to Austin right now ($1 seats next friday AM which i randomly searched) and show the stop on the edge of campus north of downtown.

Saw a bus yesterday on Clay picking people up but don't know the destination...

KVUE

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Well, well, well. Aren't the hippies quite the upstart business killer! When you have a problem with loading luggage on a public street, you lose ALL claim to the 'weird' label. You do, however, own title to the label of 'snobby bastages'.

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Austin has never been weird, only self-important. There's a difference.

When you have to tell everyone in the world how weird and cool you are.

You aren't.

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I saw a double-decker Tuesday evening coming from I-10 East to 45-South, presumably to downtown. I'm guessing this is the bus from New Orleans? Does anyone know what types of buses are going to Dallas, San Antonio, Austin(maybe?)....just curious as I bought tickets to Dallas for the June/July weekend and the kid in me is hoping it's a double decker!

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