|by Sean O'Neill||Innovations, Local and Public Transportation||2|
Since our story hit newsstands, Megabus has continued to innovate. Starting today, Megabus passengers can sign up to receive automated voice messages whenever their scheduled bus might be delayed or disrupted in its service. You can sign up when you book your ticket at megabus.com.
The company says that about one in twenty of its arrivals or departures are delayed, which strikes us as a remarkably low record.
Here's what we wrote about the company overall in Budget Travel's October issue:
Call it prescient: In the past year, Megabus has expanded its operations to 25 cities in the United States and Canada as fuel costs have risen, giving travelers a cheap alternative to driving and flying when they need it most. The bus line keeps its fares extremely low—starting from $1 for the first few people who book seats on each bus—by selling tickets online and doing pickups and drop-offs in the centers of cities rather than at terminals.
At the same time, Megabus hasn't skimped on quality—its double-decker fleet is equipped with free Wi-Fi, video screens, headsets, and seat belts. Plus, many buses run on biodiesel fuel. "We're conscious of what the traveling public wants," says Dale Moser, president and chief operating officer. "We're saving people money but still giving them a coach outfitted with the latest technology."
Now even the 94-year-old grande dame of bus companies, Greyhound, is rethinking its business model. Greyhound joined with competitors this year to launch two bus lines, BoltBus and NeOn, with similar low fares and high-tech amenities. Megabus didn't start a trend, it reinvented bus travel for a new generation.—Jean Tang