Megabus makes way to Erie

Have no fear, college students – you no longer need to compromise your travel plans due to rising gas prices thanks to the Megabus, an inner-city bus service courtesy of Coach USA.

Since April 2006, the Megabus has provided extraordinarily low travel fares to many major cities in the United States and Canada. Beginning May 11, a route will run out of Erie from the parking lot of Presque Isle Downs and Casino.

Patrons of the Megabus can travel from Erie to Toronto, Pittsburgh or Buffalo N.Y., for as low as $1.50 including service charges. From these locations, buses service more than 50 cities including New York City and Washington, D.C.

The Megabus offers low prices, and the models are all equipped with convenient technology and experienced professional drivers. Comfortable seating with built-in plug-ins provide customers with the opportunity to utilize their electronics while on the road.

Carolyn Rogers, a junior sports management and marketing major, has ridden the Megabus from Pittsburgh to New York several times this semester and said she enjoys the accommodations it provides.

“It is nice to be able to plug in my laptop and watch a movie for the ride,” she said.

Many of the Megabuses also provide free Wi-Fi in both their single and double-decker models.

However, like many other forms of public transportation, less than desirable situations may occur. “There have been times when the bus is early and on time, and I have also experienced when it is late,” Rogers said. “But the bathrooms are very clean, and the seats are comfortable.”

Katie Demetriadis, a senior secondary education and history major, said the risk is well worth the price. Demetriadis took the Megabus from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., over spring break and said she thoroughly enjoyed the relaxation of riding in the large bus.

“It is nice not having to drive and have someone else that is a reliable driver taking that responsibility,” she said. Katie purchased her ticket two weeks in advance and was able to get fare to and from D.C. for $6.25. 

In addition to the lower-than-average prices, obtaining tickets is convenient, as they can be purchased via the Internet or by telephone. To purchase a ticket, simply visit www.us.megabus.com and search for dates and times to accommodate your trip. Once you have purchased your ticket, be sure to print out your reservation number and present it to the driver upon loading the bus. People taking the Megabus to Canada are required to fill out an information sheet to ensure speedy travel through customs and immigrations controls.

Along with planning any trip, it is best to obtain tickets for the Megabus in advance to ensure availability and lowest cost possible. Not only will traveling on the Megabus save you money, but it will also reduce your carbon footprint.

Public transportation services like the Megabus accelerate the benefits of carpooling by significantly reducing the number of cars on the road as well as the emission of greenhouse gases.

When traveling on the Megabus, passengers are limited to one carry-on bag and one personal item in order to accommodate all customers equally.

Similar to the regulations for air travel, carry-on bags must be no larger than 62 inches in total exterior dimension and may not weigh more than 50 pounds.

Limited baggage capacity forces customers to reduce items to provide comfort and accommodation for all passengers.  

Demetriadis said she is a huge advocate of the Megabus and will definitely take it again. After learning about the Megabus, sophomore physician assistant major Alyssa Winslow said that the Megabus sounds like a great opportunity for people to travel for a cheap rate to see their loved ones.

“With the rising cost of fuel, everyone is looking for ways to save money on fuel,” she said. “The Megabus seems like a perfect solution.”

So if you’re planning any summer road trips, visiting grad schools, going to visit friends from out of town or whatever else, the Megabus is sure to make your travels easier on the mind and the wallet.

Save money on gas, reduce your carbon footprint and consider utilizing the Megabus for your next travel destination.

JESSICA SCOUTEN

[email protected]