Megabus Coming to Providence

Megabus -- From Chicago to St. Louis
Photo (cc) eekim

Speaking of buses, remember when I posted about the double-deck Megabus operating between Boston and New York. And everyone was all like, “yay, when will they come to Providence?” And I was all like, “I wish they’d run to Cape Cod.”

Well, they are coming to Providence to do a New York run (no Cape Cod love for me).

Megabus has the news on their website:

For as low as $1, Providence residents can now travel direct to New York. Megabus.com, the original $1, city-to-city, express bus company will begin daily service to and from Providence on August 25. To celebrate the launch of the Providence to New York route, megabus.com will offer 1,000 FREE seats during the first four weeks of travel. Customers will need to enter the promo code LUVPROV when booking their trip.

The Providence bus stop will be located at the corner of Fountain and Eddy Streets, near the Avis. I wonder why discount carriers like Fung Wah and Megabus don’t operate from Kennedy Plaza where Peter Pan and Greyhound stop. Maybe they have to pay to operate their or something, would certainly be more convenient to have all buses in one place.

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  1. At least it’s near Kennedy Plaza. Doesn’t Fung Wah stop on Federal Hill (used to be at the Prov Mart, but I think it’s on Federal St at that parking lot between Dean and DePasquale now)?

  2. All the buses in one place? I am confused. Which is it? Is there too much congestion at KP, to the point that it mucks up the urban experience of the downtown? Or are there not enough buses at KP, such that Megabus needs to have a berth there too? Just askin’.

  3. If it were up to me, the long distance buses (Greyhound, Peter Pan, Megabus) would be at the train station somehow, that is what makes the most sense to me, have the intercity transit at one place, and the local transit nearby. RIPTA actually likes the long distance buses being at Kennedy Plaza as a lot passengers get off those buses and onto RIPTA. If the pedestrian environment between the train station were better and better demarcated it wouldn’t be a big deal to have the buses be two blocks away.

    Since there are only 2 berths for the long distance buses at Kennedy Plaza, I imagine that could be an issue for allowing more than two carriers to use it. If they all wanted to have a bus leave on the hour, there wouldn’t be room for all of them. It seems like bad marketing for Megabus to not be where people know the buses to be. People naturally go to KP to catch the bus and to get there and find that Megabus is someplace else is an inconvenience for their passengers.

    The major congestion issue at Kennedy Plaza is the RIPTA buses which are going in and out constantly and the fact that the number of buses serving the Plaza today exceeds the capacity for which it was designed. The long distance buses that come in once and hour or so aren’t the big cause of congestion.

  4. Jim:
    I think Fung Wah out of Providence is no more. They aren’t parked on the lot near my house anymore and the storefront on Dean Street they operated out of is something else now. I can’t find any mention of Providence on their website.

  5. Actually if you book tickets 2 weeks in advance, Amtrak doesn’t work out to too much more than the bus.

  6. In theory, on Megabus, if you order far enough ahead, you could get your ticket for $1. Amtrak can’t beat that, but I do wonder, how many people actually get $1 Megabus tickets? What is the average price people pay for a Megabus ticket? The concept only works if enough people are paying regular prices for tickets.

  7. I’m sure the $1 pricing comes after jumping through a lot of hoops, but the train ride just seems more enjoyable.

  8. The train ride is far nicer than a bus ride, but Amtrak’s prices are often worse than airline prices. Who wants to pay that? I used to travel between Philly and Providence pretty often and always took Southwest because their flights were WAY cheaper than Amtrak. Though I love traveling by train, it’s just too expensive. Amtrak should not cost more than flying, but that’s the difference with a heavily gov’t subsidized entity and private companies.

    I’m with Jef, though. The intercity buses should be somewhere other than KP. That opens up 2 extra berths for RIPTA and puts all intercity travel in a single place, like most cities. They could even make room for those buses if they got rid of part of Station Park or cut into where all the Amtrak employees park on the sidewalk (which shouldn’t be allowed, they should be in the garage).

  9. Ive actually gotten $1 tickets more than once from Boston > NYC, so it isnt that hard. Also, Megabus tickets are generally WAY cheaper than Amtrak, anyday. (the only problem being the cheapest tickets are at ridiculous times, like 1am or 5:30am. but if you dont care about sleeping, its a steal!)

    This development is a dream come true though! No more taking the commuter rail into Boston to take a cheap Megabus into NYC… 6 hours of travel later.

    It would be great if RIPTA buses going from KP to Amtrak couldbe especially marked, and then have all the long distance buses over there. Like someone else was saying, it would also be great if there was better marking along the walking route from KP to Amtrak.

  10. Why would you go to Boston just to take a bus in the direction that you came from? Seems highly counter intuitive. Don’t you have anything better to do with your time?

  11. Jack, Ive traveled with Megabus multiple times and have never payed more than $10 each way. I havent paid $1, but I have gotten tickets for $3. Theres no hoops to jump through, its quite simple: the first person to buy a ticket for any trip pays $1. On every single bus, one of the passengers is paying $1. Sometimes you can find it for a bus only a week ahead of time. Other times, you need to buy a couple of months in advance.

    Megabus is very comfortable, and is a good ride. My only advice is to take a bottle of water. Unlike amtrak, if you get thirsty, theres none for sale onboard.

  12. I rode Megabus this weekend. I booked it on Tuesday and got a ride to NYC for thursday night for $3.00 and a ride home Sunday morning for $3.00. Can’t beat that, plus they have wi-fi, outlets, nice reclining seats, seatbelts, and they stop at the rest area in Connecticut so you can all get McDonalds!

    I looked for this upcoming weekend, and prices start at $12.00, with some trips being $20.00. Even that is cheaper than Peter Pan and way cheapter than Amtrak.

    The only thing I hated was that they got off in the Bronx and went all the way down 5th Avenue from 132nd Street, which took forever. Are buses not allowed on the FDR? I remember Peter Pan used to go 95 into Jersey and then into Manhattan via the tunnels, which wasn’t much quicker.