Among college students here in the Milwaukee area, “The Megabus” is a transportational institution, being the default mode of travel to campuses in Ann Arbor, Chicago, Madison and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
These double-decker coaches are instantly recognizable by their electric blue paint jobs sporting a 20 foot tall graphic of a roly-poly bus driver with a somewhat porcine face and glowing gold uniform.
The coaches provide a restroom, full length skylight and Wi-Fi for about 80 passengers. Built by Van Hool, a Belgian company, the Megabuses are operated by a company out of the U.K., Stagecoach Group. Fares for the buses are sold on the “yield management” pricing model, which evolved after deregulation of the airline industry. The price you pay to ride depends on how early you book, and how much demand there is for seats on the route. A half a dozen or so passengers ride for a buck (or a pound in the U.K.)
The Megabuses hub out of Chicago serving the Midwest, and from New York City, going as far as Toronto, Boston and D.C.
Whenever we’re on the Interstate and one goes by, someone in our car usually says, “There goes the Megabus!”
That’s exactly what I said when I saw one outside of London.
All words and images copyright 2010 Jeffery Blackwell