Travel Tuesdays: The Megabus Tutorial To The $1 Fares
Chuck Booth (Owner/Lead Analyst): Follow @chuckbooth3024
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I owe a lot of my PR campaigning during my entire year long MLB Trip to a man named Kelly Van De Walle. Kelly’s marketing company works for Megabus – and he sought out a partnership for the odyssey after he read a glowing article I wrote towards the Bus Line back in March.
I will continue to promote this entity for my entire life now. This is the way to travel on a tight budget. During my 200 or so journeys with Megabus this season I had many people ask me how I was able to snag the $1 fares – since they don’t seem to ever have them.
So pay attention for the next few sentences because I am going to tell you how I did it.
Back in early March they had only posted the schedule for future travel up until Apr.22, 2015. I religiously checked every 6 hours on the site megabus.com – until they posted their itineraries all the way through to Labor Day a few weeks later.
Before that ever occurred I had earmarked 100 journey’s I wanted to use when they schedule was unleashed.
I broke up the transactions in 4 different blocks. The key to remember is that the $1 fares evaporate once a few of the 81 seats are booked for any of their bus destinations. I had a blank canvass of $1 fares and booked all my trek’s within 40 minutes.
Since I layered so many journeys together in a lump sum. In addition to the $1 fares, there is a small booking fee of $1.50, but this is for the entire itinerary, whether it is 1 or 37 transactions. The worst thing you could do is individualized them and have to pay that monetary total per trip request.
Unbeknownst to me at this point was the transfer policy that you are enabled to do with Megabus. Buying all of these $1 fee’s did not cost me an arm and leg, and also provided me value in dollars that I could trade for other journeys should plans go awry in any way.
An example of this is when I needed a last-minute bus to Washington from Philly that cost $21 face value. I was able to select 20 trips at $1 each, plus the booking fee to wipe the cost I would have incurred.
The 20 trips were journeys I wasn’t going to need anymore anyways. The whole transaction only cost me a $1 Trade fee, and another $1.50 for a booking fee and $1 in price difference.
My suggestion to you is to book as many of the $1 fee’s as you can in once they take the reigns of the calendar – leaving with the option to trade at a later date should you have to change your trip plans. Those $1 fees will not stay very long.
The second loophole I found was a trip from Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Washington and Philly towards Boston. Those $1 fee become rarer on longer mileage journeys, but there is a solution. Several times instead of paying $10 for a one-way trip from those aforementioned cities to Beantown, I simply broke up the fares into smaller destinations in two or three different bus schedules – in order to make it to Massachusetts.
My best move was going from Pittsburgh to Philly for $1, Philly to New York for $1 – and lastly New York to Boston for 3 individuals trips equaling $3 – in lieu of paying the $10 fare. In all sincerity I only lost about an hour and a half of travel time with the extra shuffling.
Another thing about having those $1 fee’s is the ability to arrange a second trip on the second day – should you be pressed for a flex time in case you aren’t 100% sure of the exact moment you can leave a city.
If you miss your bus for any reason – you can also barter with the employees of Megabus for any other bus that 24 hour period towards the same destination (only for $5 extra provided they have a free seat on that specific trip.)
You may be tempted to throw down extra money for a guaranteed seat.. In my odyssey it was a nice feeling to not fight people in the general lineup, and know where you are seated. I will caution you to never reserve the seats directly behind the bus (There are 4 seats on the left and right side, but you have 2 people facing 2 people, and legroom is extremely limited.)
For the same price, you can reserve a seat on the top deck, and grant yourself an aisle seat – to stretch out your leg into.
Megabus had free WiFi and power outlets to use. I will caution in saying that some times only one of two seats on a side and row may have a functional outlet, so grabbing that reserved seat would mean you have a better chance of snagging that.
The WiFI worked in 90% of my trips.
For those people who think that Greyhound is a better form of travel after this, I can’t convert you. Have fun with your general seating, archaic bus ticketing and time-consuming boarding checks. About the only thing that Greyhound is better at is the waiting areas where you may be at in a Transportation Center. I would rather pay less money to take a voyage though.
So make your plans for beyond when they are accepting reservations for – then check constantly for when they add days to their reservation calendar!!
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
I am happy to be back at the helm of the MLB Reports, after completing my 224 Games in the MLB Trip in 2015. It was the 4th time I have seen all 30 MLB Parks since 2008. During that time away I was fortunate to do 100 Media Interviews and be named the Baseball Blogger Alliance President.
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Posted on October 13, 2015, in ballpark roadtrips and tagged ballpark roadtrips, boston, Chuck Booth, Greyhound, manfishbrewing.com, megabus, megabus.com, National Car Rental, new York, philadelphia, pittsburgh, transportation, travel tuesdays. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.