What is the Megabus?
The Megabus is a intercity double decker coach bus service that is low cost and in my opinion incredibly more comfortable than the alternative, Greyhound Bus. The bus offers free Wi-Fi (that usually doesn’t work) and electric plugs at your seat. They stop in over 100 U.S cities, including routes through Canada.
Where does the Megabus travel to?
Check out the route map on the site to find out where the closest stop is to you.
Do I need a ticket for the Megabus?
Once you’ve selected your dates and times, entered your information and purchased your ticket, make sure to save it or print it out. You will need the ticket or at least the confirmation number to board. I usually send it to TripIt, or save it in a note on my phone. The driver is going to ask you to read the first 5 numbers/characters of the confirmation number, so make sure you have it accessible.
You can change your ticket for a $1 fee. (50 cent change fee and 50 cent new reservation fee)
How to get the best seat on the Megabus
Travel light and show up early. I suggest arriving 15 minutes early, we’ve never taken a megabus that doesn’t leave at least 30 minutes late. When the bus first arrives, passengers with carry-on only bags rush to the bus door to await boarding. If you have luggage to load that doesn’t fit in your lap, join the line in the back of the bus.
Each passenger is allowed one piece of luggage and one carry on. (I’ve never seen them be too strict on this but I’m sure it depends on how busy the bus is that day.)
If you are traveling with someone else, I suggest splitting up. Josh takes our big bags to put in the back of the bus, while I get in the front of the line to be one of the first to grab a seat. You do need your ticket to get on so when I board I show the driver my ticket for 2 people and explain my husband is putting his bag on. When Josh gets on he knows his ticket number and reiterates that to the driver. We’ve never had trouble with this and we’ve always gotten the seat we want. Make sure both of you have the ticket numbers because they do occasionally ask for it when putting your bag on also if you’re carrying more than one bag.
There are two levels of seating on most Megabuses. Personally I prefer the bottom level, the seats seem to have much more space, the ceilings are higher and if you get carsick, the swaying is more forgiving on the bottom. You have the choice to have a table on the bottom or a regular seat. Be aware if you do pick the table you might end up playing footsie with your stranger-neighbor across from you. If you go too far back in the bus you are sitting near the bathroom and it could end up being a smelly trip. However, the far back left seats on the first level have the most leg room.
I suggest skipping the table seats and sitting 1 or 2 seats back, in between the bathroom and the table seats.
Why should I care what seat I get?
Before we started strategically boarding the Megabus we had AWFUL bus trips. Especially during the holidays these buses get incredibly crowded and if you are stuck upstairs it can get very … sweaty, stuffy and vomit-acious. We might sound crazy, but when you become a regular on the Chicago – Indianapolis Megabus route you begin to figure out how make the trip a positive experience.
Tips for Surviving the Megabus
Lower your expectations.
I never show up for a megabus expecting it to leave on time, the wi-fi to actually work or the person sitting in front of me to not talk loudly into their cell phone. There is always something that drives me nuts, but by lowering my expectations, I can handle the trip.
Come prepared for the weather
The megabus stops are outside and not usually accommodating to weather. We have stood outside in the pouring rain and below freezing temperatures waiting hours for the bus to arrive. If it might rain bring an umbrella or poncho, if it’s winter wear extra layers. The worse the weather, the later the megabus is and waiting outside in the extremes doesn’t make the next 3-5 hour bus trip ahead of you any more enjoyable.
Bring headphones or ear plugs
I’ve never understood why people feel it is their right to talk loudly in small enclosed places like buses. Every bus trip includes at least one long phone call with screaming involved, someone listening to their music loud enough for all to hear or a conversation on evolution between two strangers who are suddenly best friends. Come prepared with something to listen to or block out the noise you will thank me later.
Have your charger with you
The electrical plug at your seat is a huge plus for the Megabus. You can watch movies on your laptop and listen to music on your phone without fear of your battery dying.
Hopefully this tips will help you on your next Megabus trip. We’ve taken it so many times, we want to help you have a comfortable trip.
What tips do you have for riding Megabus?
Juliann | Browsing the Atlas says
Very helpful! I haven’t taken the Megabus yet, but have toyed with the idea. I will definitely remember your tips when I do.
Caroline Eaton says
You must try it – set your expectations and follow the tips in the post! Let me know how it goes!
Thanks for your helpful info. So so excited!!! I’ll be taking the Bus with my two chicks. This will be our summer adventure. They r super excited, for they’ve never taken the bus before LOL going to Orlando Fl. We’ll be visiting Winter. (The dolphin) in Clear water. Etc…. I reserved 4 seats so we would not have a stranger sitting next to us. Say a prayer for safe travels.
Do they check Id’s?
They do not check ID’s, but make sure you have is accessible.
I take the Megabus from Dallas to San Antonio all the time. I like
I have not experience the late bus
It’s true about the seat in.
I really enjoy taking the bus.
I’ve done the Memphis to Chicago route. I agree with all your advice, the biggest one for me being lower your expectations. I do think it’s better than Greyhound, but people need to understand it’s not a private limo service. You are riding with others. For the price, as long as the schedule works for you, Megabus is a great option. I just haven’t been able to make the schedule work for me too often out of Memphis.
Caroline Eaton says
Yes – expectations play a huge role in successfully riding the megabus! We go into every trip expecting to be at least 1.5 hours late – this makes our trips much less stressful!
Shane Todd says
We’ve got Megabus in the UK and it’s awesome!! London and back from Manchester for £2.50…. can’t go wrong!!!
Caroline Eaton says
Great to know – once I get to London I know how I will be getting around!
Maeira Imtiaz says
Can you please tell me is it safe to travel on megabus late night from manchester if i am alone ?
James Patterson says
Taking my first mega bus trip from CLE to PIT today and two more bits of advice not on here
– Buses leave on time too. I was 4 minutes late for my 12:20 bus (they moved the bus area here in CLE recently from downtown to just east of downtown, third spot in a year) and the bus left on time.
– There are no refunds or rescheduling or anything like that if it’s less than 24 hours before your bus leaves or if you miss your bus. Had to pay another $8 for a ticket leaving tonight instead. No big deal, but just be ready for that.
Clarence Simmons says
Your experience will depend on where you get on the bus. I was in Albany, New York and took the Megabus to New York City. The Megabus uses the parking lot of the train station. Everybody on the bus drove to the train station to catch the bus. This was not your Grayhound crowd. The train price $31 (senior), Megabus $15.
Tim L. says
I took Megabus from Memphis to Chicago a few years back with my wife. The trip was great, as great as a 9 hour bus ride can be. What I enjoyed was being able to relax and not have all the stresses of driving. We both enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone. You may ask why take a bus for 9 hours? To fly it was going to cost us $750.00 at the time, Megabus only charged us something like $60.00. I am sure the prices have gone up, however even with flying you have to wait in airport security and get to the airport 90 minutes early. Megabus is a great new way to travel if available for you.
Caroline Eaton says
Thanks for the comment – I love hearing about Megabus success stories! 🙂 The price difference is definitely worth the extra travel hours and like you mentioned, bring an extra book and sit back and enjoy the ride!
How do you get the$1 fare?
Check the deals and i am a college student so i am frequently traveling to and from home. I noticed that the $1 tickets are on random dates or if you see $1 ticket it probably mean there is probably little to no people on the bus. But try looking on Fridays and Mondays for those cheap fares.
Russell Bradley says
So many times we’ve rode the Mega Bus blindly just hoping for a “okay” trip. These tips give us the info we need to create a perfect strategy to enjoy a affordable ride.
Just a question the carry-on isn’t an actual airplane sized carryon is it?? do they fit in the bin on board??
Josh Eaton says
No, they’re not airplane-sized. Your luggage goes underneath or in the luggage storage at the back of the bus. We only bring onto the bus a very small bag like a small backpack or purse.
Megato Montreal says
The Toronto-Montreal bus leaves from the regular terminal as a Coach Canada service and arrives at the Megabus station behind VIA station, not at the Montreal bus station. There is one stop in Kingston but you cannot leave the bus – the driver said to someone who asked “Do you want to go the washroom or do you want to go to Montreal?” The lower level seats with tables have less space on the left side set than on the right (which are lower). The trip was about the same on the comfort level as VIA and the travel time was quick with the amazingly uninteresting scenery along the 401. It is more reliable than an airline and competitive on this 5-6 hour trip if the airport is not near you at either end.
Hi! I am visiting Canada from Australia, and I need to get from Toronto to Montreal. I am considering Megabus, but am concerned about our luggage. We will have one big suitcase each, one small carry-on suitcase, and also a back pack. Are they pretty strict on luggage? Should we purchase an extra seat as suggested on the Megabus website?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Isaac Marchal says
I would definitely purchase the additional seat. It will be cheaper to buy the seat now rather than later if they do decide to enforce their rule on that day.
Thank you so much for taking the effort to write this!
ACC girl says
My first Megabus experience recently was great. Bus left absolutely on time at each stop. Late comers left behind. I have no problem with that since the website tells you to be there early, what size your checked and carry-on baggage should be and warns that you’ll be waiting outside and that there are no refunds if you’re late. Passengers were friendly and helpful to each other, even sharing snacks as needed. Drivers were friendly and competent. I’ll do it again.
Has someone ever traveled from NY to Toronto?
My wife has taken the megabus between Toronto and NYC about 10x now. When we can afford the plane we fly.
Because she doesn’t work yet she doesn’t mind the trip. Buses always leave close to their time.
The luggage she takes is one / 2 full sized check-in type suitcases. We easily save 60$ there. And none of the airport nonsense either. The wifi never works but the power outlets are great she says.
She carries lots of reading material to make the time go by easily. Much like any mass transit be prepared for a crying child and his or her infanto-fascist parents. This is a 13 hour trip so don’t get bored easily, pack good snacks and be happy that you’re going home for 1/4 of the regular flight price with luggage.
My wife often travels return within 110 dollars. It’s not for those who live deep in NJ, CT or ON suburbs. Because then it’s a 16-17 hour trip door to door. Still for 25$ one way…
Ronnie< great advice thanks, can you tell me if there are any restrictions for bringing food on the bus that will be consumed on route- or troubles at the border or long hold-ups checking every ones luggage? thanks
I love Megabus! I’ve only taken one trip on it, but have wanted to use it more. In 2012, I went from Memphis to Knoxville for a one-day training. I bought a RT ticket, traveling through Friday night, went to my conference Saturday, and returned Saturday night. I was extremely lucky that my conference was less than a 10-minute walk from the bus station. Not only, did I not have to pay for hotel since I traveled through the night and slept on the bus, I didn’t have to pay for a rental car! Although, I did get a cab to take me to the bus stop on the way back since it was 11pm in downtown Knox. I was very lucky to have a great experience, and had read someone else’s review of Megabus before purchasing a ticket. In this guy’s review, he mentioned that a woman who arrived 5-10 minutes before departure was not let on the bus, as the website stated that you must be there or checked in 15 minutes before departure. So I knew I needed to get there early!! It was difficult to find the pickup point, as it located with our local Memphis transit, but did not have a sign. I just had to ask around. The bus left on time. We made two stops: a 30-min rest stop after the first two hours of driving, and a pickup/dropoff stop in Nashville. Bus driver was very nice and relaxed at the rest stop when he came on the intercom with his smooth Jamaican accent and said, “We will take a 30-minute rest. If you are not back on the bus before 2pm, you’ll be waving good-bye to the tail lights.” It was funny when he said it, but we were all back on the bus at five ’til 2! The stop in Nashville was very fast, and we arrived in Knox on time. Returning, we actually arrived in Memphis 20 minutes early! I had the app downloaded and was able to track our arrival time and let my hubby know we were early, so everything worked out very well. The wifi worked, but was super slow. But I figured it might be with lots of other people trying to use it, so I was prepared with other things to do. Plenty of outlets for everyone on the bus to plug in at least one thing. Top front seats of bus offered plenty of leg room, but it worried me that if we were to get into an accident, I’d be the first to fly through the windshield. The drivers were very good, though, so I wasn’t too worried. They were very courteous as well. Unfortunately they have cancelled service between Memphis-Nash-Knox. Just not enough business. They still have routes going in and out of these cities, just not between them. It was all word-of-mouth around here, no ads. Too bad, as I’m sure a lot of people would have been using it if they knew about it. By the way, my BIL had a terrible experience traveling Dallas to Memphis, but it was during Christmas holidays last year. Too many people. It was his first time with MB, but he would probably be willing to do it again as long as it wasn’t during the holiday season. Happy future MB travels to everyone!
Mike Mast says
Great comments/thoughts on Megabus. I’ve taken Megabus from Grand Rapids to Detroit and Chicago often, LA to San Fran and back, Chicago to Memphis and back a few times, Memphis to Dallas and then Austin, Austin to Houston and then New Orleans, and New Orleans to Memphis. I think the most I’ve paid for a ticket was $17 from Detroit to Grand Rapids and that was only because I booked it about 3 hours before the trip. My trip from Grand Rapids all the way to Austin was $4.50, then Austin to New Orleans was $2 and New Orleans back to Grand Rapids was $11.50. That’s messed up.
Some things I’ve noticed from other riders were bringing along an electric blanket or shawl during the winter months. Very nice for those occasions when they’re opening the door or your getting on/off the bus. I’ve recently purchased a cloth breathing mask and have noticed others with breathing masks. It’s not for germaphobes so much as to avoid breathing in the constantly flowing dry as hell air on the upper levels.
As for the seating upstairs there’s often some very nice seating up there occasionally with massive leg room. Far up front of the bus has some great leg room up top and you can see everything going by. Yes, that would be troublesome with motion sickness but it was great to see California that way. Occasionally there’s a few seats up there across from the stairs that have nobody next to you (sometimes a bonus), additional leg room, or you don’t have to worry about people behind you when you lean your seat back.
I’ve started bringing a power strip to plug in all my nerd toys. Hey, I can’t help it that I’m a geek. One thing I’d like to ask is has anyone figured a way to get the overhead outlets to maybe better hold a plug? Is there some sort of 3M or other strip or tape or something folks have rigged up? I don’t want to go to a lot of trouble or risk hassle from or hassling the driver/staff with undo messing with them.
One caution about planning to watch movies on your laptop or other devices. Planning to STREAM them using Megabus’ wifi is ill advised. They seem to be blocking even youtube and their download speeds over right around 2.5Mbps at best and below 1Mbps upload. That’s not bad for getting email, browsing and I’ve even conducted some WebEx meetings. But it’s really not designed for effective Netflix, Hulu, etc. so make sure you’ve got optical media like a DVD or BlueRay and player or your movies/media stored on your hard drive or other storage device(s). The electrical outlets, though, are awesome pretty much for anything else and the wifi is there which is more than you can really hope for at the price(s) they’re charging right?
I’ve noticed a few stops, D.A.R.T. in Dallas for example, where they’re PRE-registering/checking people in by staff at those sites and when the bus arrives those folks are express loaded, if you will, and simply allowed to board in mass while others (myself in this case) who are inexperienced with that stop/process and just transferring routes can sometimes be left to fend for themselves boarding/seating wise. Not a big deal, just something to maybe be aware of too.
I’ve been told to purchase additional tickets to carry additional pieces of luggage or particularly heavy bags. Sometimes you can just tip the luggage handlers to get your kit loaded well. I believe my bag to Austin had to be 60+ pounds. I tipped the loader in Chicago $5 because he was grousing, nothing in Memphis, nothing in Dallas and the luggage guy in Austin simply complained to me when I arrived. Too late SUCKAH! Since then, though, I’ve purchased an $8 or so hand luggage scale I use which appears to be identical to the one the short little guy used in Chicago. Though he claimed it only went up to 80lbs and this one goes to 100lbs and my bag was no where near 80lbs or I’d not be able to strong arm it with a single arm.
Plan your stops too. They often stop at the same places and you can even ask your driver if you’re going to stop and where they’re thinking they’ll do it. Then you can use the wifi/Google to figure out your options when you arrive at the stop and get your business handled quick and efficient.
I watched a couple in San Antonio, on Christmas Day, get refused to ride, including their small child, because the dopes bought a box of six or so bottles of wine. Understandable for the holidays. Totally stupid for the bus. At the least, people, wise up. Read the disclaimers and luggage warnings. You can’t transport alcohol. These folks flipped out and almost got kicked off the property which would have not been good for them. What they should have done was taken the wine back, left it there, maybe given it away, I dunno. What I would have done was resorted to better packaging, as it were. I mean you get a couple pieces of luggage and two carry-ons with two adults. There’s no reason to have that box clearly announcing your intentions.
Oh and don’t drink or do illegal drugs on the bus or wait too long at the stops, etc. They will leave you out in the middle of no where. I’ve not seen that happen but have no doubt it could.
I’d be interested to hear if and how anyone has gotten a bicycle box with a bicycle tore apart contained within it. I could maybe get mine down to 50lbs but the dimensions just won’t make it. Would two tickets help with THIS? Just wondering.
Hi all! I will try Megabus in April for the first time to go from Germany to England and back. It’s great to read all those positive experiences, but I was wondering, as I’ll be traveling alone and it’s quite a long trip, do you know if there is a chance to book 2 seats and will the driver accept that? I would be prepared to buy 2 tickets, but I’m worried the driver will still sit someone next to me. It’s overnight from 9 pm to 7.30 am and I’d like to Stretch out my legs a bit too. 🙂
Caroline Eaton says
We know plenty of people who have booked two tickets. The driver shouldn’t be able to make someone sit next to you if you purchase two seats those two that you pick are yours.
I would suggest making sure you show up early so you get on the bus first, to ensure you get two seats together!
Thanks a lot, Caroline, I will do that. 🙂 On such a long trip, I’m sure it makes a huge difference if you have one seat or two. I’ll make sure I’m early, even though I have to put my suitcase in before getting on the coach. So I hope it will be 2 seats next to each other. Otherwise, if I have to spread my body through half the coach to use both seats, that would be really uncomfortable for everyone. 😉 All the best!! 🙂
Best trips for singles says
I’ve done the Memphis to Chicago route. I agree with all your advice, the biggest one for me being lower your expectations. I do think it’s better than Greyhound, but people need to understand it’s not a private limo service.
I’m taking my first megabus six hour trip next week and am worried about my bag. It is one of the rectangular roller bags with little wheels, soft sided, that I used to use for airplane travel. I measured it and it does not exceed 62 inches when added up. Is this suitable to have stored in the baggage area of the bus (not on board)? And for carry on, can I take a small back pack and a soft sided purse (purse not large but made of soft canvas and is utilitarian) on board without hassle?
Thanks. Your article was very helpful.
Josh Eaton says
Your bag should be fine. It depends on how large the backpack is. Sometimes the driver will see you have two bags and ask you to put one of them in the baggage hold. If it’s small enough to go under your seat and not disturb anyone else, you should be fine.
Thank you, Josh, for your quick reply! I appreciate it. What I hope to do is put roller bag in the baggage compartment under the bus and bring on board a small backpack. I will most likely store my purse in the back pack. There is a storage compartment overhead within the bus, right? Smaller than the airlines, from what I’ve read, correct? Or did they eliminate those and on board carry ons go under the seat now?
Also, when we reach our destination and are getting off bus, does the driver oversee getting us our luggage from the outside baggage area, or are passengers reaching in and grabbing, ostensibly, their own bag? What’s to prevent someone from stealing our bag as we are still in line to get off the bus?
Sorry – I have a lot of questions!
Love the tips, but was curious if someone could help me with a couple of questions…Looking at a trip from Columbus, OH to Atlanta where there is a five minute “window” (6:05-6:10) for a connecting bus to our destination of New Orleans. There are afternoon/evening buses in Atlanta but these either put us into New Orleans late or too early. Is it worth the risk, or should we bite the bullet and plan for the odd arrival hours? Also curious if anyone has experienced or witnessed handicapped rider boarding? I’ve seen a wide spectrum of reactions but I get the impression there there have been a lot of Megabus drivers that seem “put out” by any passenger interaction.
Ashish Patel says
Thanks your experience and suggestions are greatly helpful 🙂
Thanks, I just recently booked a bunch of linked up megabus tickets for really cheap allowing me to travel just about every state on the megabus map for under 100 dollars! this is a great price for 2 and a half months of travel but I will be on the buses for a while this summer so I thank you for the tips! I sure hope the wifi does work for me however as I am an internet addict that was one thing that stood out to me in this post but now ill be sure to download a bunch of anime or movies or whatever or bring some DVDs with me now instead of just expecting it to work (but for the price I cant REALLY complain hehe).
Hello and thank you so much for writing this! It was very useful and I’m very happy to know that Megabus has power outlets! This wasn’t mentioned on their website (that I could easily find) so I am pleased.
Can someone help me?
I want to ride the megabus from memphis to atlanta. I know that the megabus uses the city bus station, but are you allowed to just leave your car at the city bus station for several days? Will it be towed or will you receive a fine? If so where do you park?
Derick Spicher says
I will be taking my first megabus trip from Virginia to Pennsylvania with my 2 little brothers and was wondering if food was allowed
Josh Eaton says
It’s up to the driver. I think it’s not allowed but not always enforced.
Definitely allowed, considering the very few rest stops…if any. Bring snacks and water.
i can’t seem to figure out how either to download flash (to show the map) or to unblock … something. you are the FIRST result when i google megabus map flash blocked. can you send me to where i can see the destinations?
Josh Eaton says
You’ll need to contact Megabus directly. We aren’t directly affiliated with them or their website. Sorry!
Waiting for my first Megabus to get here!! Departure in 23 minutes!! Minneapolis to Chicago… Then connecting to the Chicago to columbus bus! We’ll see 🙂
Is megabus safe for an 82 year old non-traveler going by herself from ATL to Birmingham? If we spoke to the driver would they assist her if needed?
Josh Eaton says
I would contact Megabus directly about this.
A few years ago my mother, then at least 92, traveled on Megabus from Houston to Austin. She loved it and made a point of thanking the driver for taking good care of her. Probably depends on the driver. She did not need much assistance and the driver allowed me to come on the bus to help her get situated. However, it seems to me to have worked very well for her.
Lisa J. says
I will be using Megabus for the first time tomorrow going from Philadelphia to New York. I know what time I need to be there but have no idea when I’ll be done. Can I buy a return ticket the same day? Thanks in advance.
I am planning to take a cross-country Megabus trip (roundtrip) between Omaha and New York in November. I have been looking for helpful advice about what to expect, and your blog is perfect! Thanks for posting this information.
I am planning to travel for the 1st time by bus,(Chicago to State college) 13 hrs journey.
I have a few questions-
how safe it is to travel alone for 13 hrs/overnight?
how clean it is?
Thank you in advance!
Great article. About waiting in cold weather: I’ll be departing Chicago in mid-November; is there a place to warm up at the bus stop?
Josh Eaton says
Unfortunately no, we’ve been there in sub-freezing temperatures. You can go to Union Station across the street, but you’ll have no way of knowing when the bus arrives.
I took the megabus from Chicago at Union Station in mid-November last year. It was snowing and had to wait in it. Definitely be ready with hat/umbrella or rainponcho/gloves/boots/sunglasses and warm coat/scarf for that stop. No shelter. There is a panera or something similar around the corner a block or two if you need a clean(er) restroom, but you’ll prob need to buy something to use it and definitely don’t hang out there because it’s too far away from the stop.
Thanks for a great article.
I’ve never ridden the Megabus in the U.S. but I have done so several times in the U.K. The only bit of advice I have for riding the Megabus is if possible, do so early in the morning because it’s easier to fall asleep.
I’m taking the mega bus for the first,time from atl GA to Richmond VA , and I was,wondering can I purchase the ticket online and just show them I purchased the ticket off my,phone or what and can I purchase a ticket the day of
Ozy A says
Yes, you can show them an email or electronic proof.
Kenneth Byrd (@kdiddy591) says
Gonna take the Megabus in May of this year. Was wondering how the bathrooms are on the buses and if there is long waiting times?
Caroline Eaton says
Usually there isn’t a line for the bathroom – but I think most people avoid using them if possible. While Megabus is a nicer bus, it is still a bus! For longer trips I do know the bus will stop for bathroom breaks at gas stations. The bathroom is on the main level of the bus.
Kenneth Byrd (@kdiddy591) says
Another question. You can now reserve seats on Megabus. Do they block off these seats or trust the public to sit in their own seat and not try to steal it?
They do not block off the seats, no. If someone is in your seat, you just tell them to move. I had to do so once and it was no issue getting the lady in my seat to go to a different one.
Kenneth Byrd (@kdiddy591) says
Yet another question. You check large bags as luggage but you can bring a laptop bag with you onboard the bus, correct?
Caroline Eaton says
Yes, you can put one large luggage under the bus and bring one personal bag (laptop bag) on the bus with you.
Kenenth Byrd says
Has anyone had a problem with reserving a seat on the Megabus? If someone is in your seat do you call the driver?
If someone is in your reserved seat you tell them you reserved that seat, and then they will probably move. If someone is being an ass about then yes – you can probably ask for help from the driver. But honestly, most people get you reserved the seat and will just move.
The bus driver will ask the person to move for you. If they don/t move, they get ejected – happened recently.
I’m a poor college student and megabus is the best way to travel, me and 3 friends went from New York to Michigan I visit our friend. To get the cheapest ride we took 3 different busses each way, 18 hours total. NY-Philly Philly-pitsberg Pitts-Ann Arbor. With road trips, as tiring as the travel is, it was fun expirience. The last three hours we drove through pouring rain and ended up with the front four seats with the window. It was insane. I also took it to and from philly for day trips and might go to michigan again in June.
I get easily car sick and i find the top to be better for my stomach. And the outlets are great, especially when ur on a bus for 18 hours.
The unfortunate thing about the wifi when it did work is the no streaming rule. I wanted to watch netflix:(
Sorry for the long post but I wanted to share my experience
Do any one know if the Orlando FL stop have a place to sit? Also I will be travelling from Memphis to Mami with 6 people. How can we avoid getting left because bus is overcrowded, lateness or the bus doesn’t show up at all? Another, question who and where do u check in with at the Mata bus station in. memphis.
Ken Byrd says
Just want to know how the reserving seats has worked out for Megabus? Has anyone reserved a seat on the bus and was glad they did?
How about the “balcony seat”? Is it worth spending an extra $3 for? Looks like there may be less leg room…
in june I will be taking my first megabus trip from Atlanta GA to Durham NC with my 3 children and back a few days later. we have seat on the top…..any information would be great
Any idea if an ID is required? My son has an 18yo friend who has no driver’s license or state ID. Just wondering if he’ll need one of those to avoid trouble on his trip? Thanks for all your advice on this… it’s been quite helpful!!!
Caroline Eaton says
We’ve never needed an ID to get on, only the booking number/ticket.
Hi – Thanks for your comments. I have reserved a trip from DC’s Union Station to Toronto, Canada in September. It is a 15 hour trip – mostly throughout the evening hours (6pm to 9:00am and 9:00pm to 11am respectively)
Perhaps any of you can help me clarify the following:
1. I’ve reserved (paid a bit more) for the front (Upper Seats). Based on your explanation, it looks as they would need to rush for seats. Is this still the case for “reserved” seats?
2. Do you have to get off when crossing the border to show passports, etc? Or is the bus inspected as one entity? How’s the process handled with luggage?
3. Does the bus stop and lets you buy food when stopping at given bus stops? Or should they take junk food with them?
4. Any reading lights on those seats? Can you recline them – what’s so special about front upper seats (i.e. more space, better view?)
Any other tips for US-Canada trips is appreciated!
Caroline Eaton says
You shouldn’t have to worry about rushing for seats if you have them reserved!
The bus does have stops every few hours at gas stations, each route is different, but you should be able to buy food at each stop. I would bring some food just in case! The seats do recline, but hardly at all so I don’t really call it a recline. I think the seat is a personal preference, we always go for the downstairs seats so you will have to let us know if you like the front upper and why!
We have personally never crossed the border while on the Megabus so Im not sure how that is, but maybe someone else reading through this can help!
I am taking the Chicago to Indianapolis for the first time!! Pretty excited for the experience but as I am a young female solo traveller, I am worried about safety. Particularly at the stop before getting on (and off at the other end too I guess). How safe is the trip?
Caroline Eaton says
I’ve taken it numerous times as a female solo. I have never worried for my safety. I usually make sure I get there early so I can get a seat downstairs near the bus driver. Take normal travel precaution and be aware, but you should be fine, in my experience it is a safe way to travel.
Thanks for this, I am a bit confused about carry-on sizes. I saw a photo/pictograph that (I thought) said under 45″ for the carry-on. I have 2 bags that I may use (haven’t decided which). One of them is a backpack with a computer sleeve, High Sierra Access, which has external dimensions of 41.5″ (20″ x 15″ x 6.5″). The other is the High Sierra Pack-N-Carry 20″ Duffel, it’s external dimensions are 42″ (20″ x 11″ x 11″). I feel both would fit under a seat, or I could easily hold them. I’m curious on if they were too big? I keep hearing different things about size of carry-on bags for Megabus. I’ve also read that it’s up to the driver if something can go on board (I don’t know how true this is though). I would need to take my laptop, so that would be my “personal” item but would be putting it inside the bag, instead of having two items with me and needing to place something under the bus. Megabus has told me that the carry-on can only be briefcase size and no bigger, but the photo said fit under seat… can somebody help/tell their experience? Thanks so much!
Great information in your article. I am trying to figure out how I can piece together mega bus trips to travel to New England for Chicago. I love that you can get much better prices ahead of time, but I don’t know if it is viable to try to travel longer distances. It seems that every other mode of transportation is far too expensive for me to afford. I would love to take a train, but even a simple trip is hundreds of dollars.
In fact, I would prefer to take a train to travel around the country and throughout Canada. Do you happen to know anything about student discounts or other ways of saving a lot of money to travel? Amtrak looks great, but it’s not affordable.
I have an enormous amount of wanderlust that I’ve never tried to quench. Desperate to get out.
I will be taking the bus from Chicago to Iowa City in two weeks. I have bought two tickets since I will be bringing two suitcases. Will I be able to bring two bags (hand luggage) on the bus since I have two tickets?
I am freaking out a little wondering if it is safe since the bus leaves early in the morning (7.30am).
Also how do I know my luggage won’t get stolen during rest stops or regular stops? Is this even an issue or am I overthinking?
Caroline Eaton says
The luggage is put in and taken out by the bus driver, so you don’t need to worry about someone taking your luggage at different stops, it is safe. Also we’ve left and returned home at all hours from Chicago and that area is always bustling with people, so we’ve never felt unsafe. With two tickets you should be able to bring two bags on teh bus, but I’m not positive.
Good luck and enjoy!
I will be travelling from Philadelphia to NYC. Can I purchase two tickets so I have my own space and not having to sit by strangers?. With the fare only being $5 it makes it affordable
Yes, you can. Just put your stuff in the second seat, and if someone asks you if they can sit there just tell them you reserved two seats.
why is the downstairs seats near the driver are better in your opinion?
I just did a R/T Columbus to Chicago. All in all it was ok. And very cheap. $35 total including reserved upper seats(14 out and 10 back which has a small tray table). Yes you wait outside so be prepared. This bus makes a 20-25 min stop for fuel/driver rest at a truck stop on I-74. Food and restrooms. WiFi was in/out. I always pack a small AM-FM radio. My input is bring a small blanket-easy to eat snacks-pack of sanitary wipes-drinks. Small seat area. Bus was warm. Yes this is not a limo or nice big Amtrak seats. But for the price a cheap way to get from A to B. Columbus has a $5 a day parking lot across the street from the Megabus stop. Chicago has a Dunkin Donuts. And Union Station is block away. I will try Megabus again. Plus I always tip to make those feel better.
Great post with lots of useful information and comments.
I always reserve my seat, Its only $1 extra. At least that’s the cost between Baltimore and NYC. I read that the seats recline. Has anyone figured out how to do that? Not sure if being at the emergency exit makes a difference.
Am I wrong if I say that the seat in the lower deck cannot be reserved (the only exception are those around the table)?
Hi do the megabuses have toilets ?
Kenneth Byrd says
Yes they do.
Kenneth Byrd says
I’m gonna purchase a ticket on Megabus to NYC and was wondering if there are any tips someone can give me since this is an 18 hr journey.
I have an extra megabus ticket.Can I ask someone to join me with the ticket(no profit,will sell it for the same price of the ticket).Will the driver reject that?
Kristie Davis says
I have a grand daughter that is 17 years of age, she wants to go to Philadelphia from New York to her friends house. I can’t go because i work that day, But I read something about minors under 17 years of age will be refused service. So i was wondering if i reserved her tickets and Showed the driver my ID and explain to him shes my grand daughter will he let her on? Also can i reserve a ticket 2 days before the actual date she wanna leaves?
They will not let her on, absolutely no minors. The solution here is just not to tell the driver she is one, as just let her go on the bus by herself. I took the bus last weekend and there was a dad who had told the driver his daughter was a minor, and she was eventually kicked off the bus.
Great Blog! I was wondering, do you happen to know anything about the Marta Civic Center in Atlanta? I will be traveling there tomorrow night by Mega Bus from Durham, NC where there’s no bus to Memphis (my final destination) until midnight. I’m wondering where to go to stay out of the weather for 3 hours since indoor seating is not an option.
I plan to travel from Orlando to Atlanta on the megbus in June. Can anyone tell me if I purchase 2 tickets will I be able to put 2 cases in hold? Also I will have some fragile things with me and usually put these in a snail case that is allowed on a plane. I know it is bigger than stated but I can store it on the second seat I have purchased. Well that is my reasoning. Can anyone help pleas?
Last month I went from NYC to Pittsburgh on an overnight (11PM-7AM). I only got about 2 hours of sleep (which was made possible by the bus being less than half full), but it was a much better experience than Greyhound or Chinatown. We were early: we left NYC 5 minutes early, and got to Pittsburgh about 15-30 minutes early IIRC.
I’m planning on making a multi-city trip this summer, and I’ll be taking Megabus from NYC to Boston. Then I’ll go from Cleveland to Detroit, but since Megabus doesn’t have a direct route, I booked from Cleveland to Toledo, then from Toledo to Detroit, with about 2 hours in between. Well I *planned* on taking in the city a bit, but now I’m second guessing: will I even be able to make my second bus?
A 5 hour trip usually turns into an 8 hour trip because…..”The bus drives SLOW like you are on a tour!” Every car and truck is passing by like the Indy 500. Just drives you CRAZY! On the other hand, I’ve been on Greyhound and they FLY like crazy, but of course they make more frequent stops to drop off and pick up. I swear the bus does’nt exceed 55mph even in a 70mph zone. INSANE!
I have been apprehensive about taking the bus at night from Baltimore (Penn station) to Boston. Has anyone traveled this route before? Would it be safe at night to travel with my young son?
Lincoln Dall says
I had ridden the Megabus when its service was rather new here in the United States – back in 2007 and 2008. I really liked it a lot. I was a graduate student and a missionary then and had very little money for travel. I traveled on the Megabus this past month from Memphis to Chicago, and would not take it again. I felt very unsafe on it. And although I have traveled on the Greyhound and Megabus quite a lot, I do not want to compromise my safety. There are many people who feel very uncomfortable on the Megabus.
This would be my first trip on megabus. I may end up with traveling two pieces of luggage. Will they allow two check-in? Do I need to buy extra ticket for another piece of luggage? (Prices are high now.. 🙁 )
or what are the alternatives?
This is single ride without any stops in between
Will they reduce the price once increased?
and also can I buy the tickets at that time if I ended up with extra bag?
I use Megabus a lot. Various results, good and bad. Always remember this is economy travel. No real problems
Recently all my journeys have been on time and OK. Some howlers in the past (well over a year back).
I am a fan of megabus . Once you sus it out, the savings are great.
I’ve tried using it as a hotel, it doesn’t work. Book a hostel/ hotel get that sleep.
Use it or loose it, if it goes its expensive.
Alas UK does not fund transport properly like some other countries , results are newsworthy.