Want to go holiday shopping in San Francisco but don't want to take the car in? Here's some good news.
Riding a surge in bus-travel popularity, especially among younger adults, the inter-city bus company Megabus.com will begin offering trips in California and Nevada next month for a low as $1.
The company's double-decker buses have free Wi-Fi and power outlets and will have stops in Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, Las Vegas and Reno/Sparks, according to the company. The buses also feature tables and restrooms.
Megabus says it will offer "frequent daily service" beginning Dec. 12, and that all tickets during the first week, Dec. 12-19, will be $1.
After the first week, ticket prices vary according to when they are booked.
"Fares start as low as $1 every day and increase gradually as the traveling date gets closer," Megabus says. "Customers are encouraged to book early to secure $1 fares."
Reservations can be made online at www.megabus.com.
The bus stops for Megabus in the Bay Area will be at
- Oakland – W. Oakland BART Station at 1451 7th Street close to the intersection of Center St.
- San Francisco – Caltrain Station at 700 4th Street (stop will be on 4th Street)
- San Jose – close to the circular drive to the main entrance of Diridon Caltrain Station at 65 Cahill Street
Megabus launched in 2006 and expanded to provide West Coast service in 2007-08 but then pulled back.
Now Megabus "has returned based on customer demand," said company spokesman Mike Alvich in a prepared statement. "We've seen impressive growth throughout North America."
Megabus and rival Boltbus (a Wi-Fi-equipped partner of Greyhound) reflect a turnaround in the popularity of inter-city bus service, which reversed a long decline in 2006, according to a study from DePaul University’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development.
"Megabus started its Chicago hub in spring of '06 and that began the whole curbside boom," said Joseph Schwieterman, a transportation professor and director of the Chaddick Institute, in a comment quoted in the Chicago Tribune. "… It's spreading across the U.S. really rapidly, so we think this year the curbside bus (service overall) is up in scheduled departures by about 15 percent, and that's after huge growth the last few years."
Passenger rail, however, has seen its ridership suffer as a result, the Chicago Tribune reported.
"Amtrak has taken a hit, as more than a quarter of the bus passengers have been diverted from rail travel, leading some to wonder what impact sustained growth of the curbside buses might have on future rail subsidies," the newspaper said.