A new, regional public transit option arrives in Indianapolis April 10. Megabus.com, a subsidiary of Stagecoach, a United Kingdom bus service, will inaugurate daily, nonstop service between Indianapolis and a variety of other regional destinations, including Chicago, Cincinnati and Columbus. Based on a business model successfully employed by budget airlines like Jet Blu, Megabus.com offers one-way fares for as little as $1, depending on when travelers book their trips.
"We felt the Midwest would be a perfect place to launch in the U.S.," said Mike Alvich, Megabus.com's vice president of sales and marketing. "We took a look at the market and we thought we could provide faster service at a lower price." Alvich characterized that service as "low cost, efficient, safe and comfortable."
Megabus.com has been running buses between U.K. cities for the past two and a half years. Initially, Alvich said, their clientele was primarily students and seniors, who were then joined by families and business passengers interested in traveling from city center to city center.
Megabus.com will run, for example, three nonstop express buses to Chicago each day. Buses depart from the IndyGo bus shelter at 200 E. Washington St. on the northeast corner of Washington and Delaware, adjacent to the City-County Building. Buses will leave at 12:45 p.m., 9 p.m. and 3:30 a.m., with travel times of three hours to Chicago's Union Station.
Travelers purchase e-tickets solely via the Internet by going to www.megabus.com. The earlier one books, the lower the fare. Each bus has a certain number of $1 tickets available. In the case of a Chicago trip, once those tickets are sold, the next price level kicks in for a one-way trip. As of this writing, $8 tickets were still available for a trip to Chicago on April 10. There were $4 tickets for sale to Cincinnati on the same day. So the earlier you book, the more you can save. According to Alvich, booking trips via the Internet "means total accessibility to everybody. It makes low fares available to everyone. You just have to book early."