A buck to ride a doubledecker bus between eastern cities

Coach USA is rolling out a $1 fare to ride a double-decker bus between lots of cities on the East Coast, Midwest and Canada. I checked their website megabus.com and it's easy to find and book the fares. I could find $1 fares from New York to DC or Boston. Or Chicago to Milwaukee.

Coach, which is a subsidiary of Stagecoach Group, started two years ago in Chicago and last month celebrated their millionth customer. They picked up another big hub in New York this year that reaches Toronto. Unfortunately there are no cross-over cities (like a Columbus or Pittsburgh) where an ambitious and cheap traveler could connect the two hubs. Megabus also tried California, but didn't get enough riders so they are withdrawing the service. The Megabus model first started in Scotland in 2004 and has spread across Britain since. The buses have wifi and got rave reviews from this Los Angeles Times traveler.

What's different about megabus.com is it's fare structure. The $1 fare (plus 50 cent booking fee) is easy to find if you book far enough in advance. As the seats are snapped up and the date approached, the prices get higher. Even their regular fares are pretty good: From New York I could go to Toronto for $85 tomorrow, $25 in July or $15 in September. Amtrak is $92 and takes 12 hours instead of 10. Greyhound's regular fare is $96, takes 12 hours and the U.S. Greyhound site wouldn't even let me look up the fare. But, it looks like Greyhound Canada is responding to the competition: they offer Greyhound Neon (for New York to Ontario) for "as low as $1" and include wifi.

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