From The Detroit News
Megabus.com will begin offering daily departures from Detroit to Pittsburgh and Toledo for as low as $1 for a one-way ticket beginning May 11.
Pittsburgh will be the intercity express bus firm’s sixth hub and begin daily service to and from nine new cities, including Detroit and Toledo, said Dale Moser, president and chief operating officer of Coach USA, the parent company of megabus.com.
Megabus.com launched in April 2006 and has run a route from Detroit to Chicago that makes a stop in Ann Arbor.
Moser said the popularity of the low-cost curbside service led to the route expansion. Megabus has served more than 9 million travelers in its five-year existence and now offers service to more than 50 cities in North America.
“We’re delighted with the kind of ridership we have to and from Detroit and the growth we’ve seen year on year,” Moser said, declining to give specific figures.
The highest fares for the Detroit to Pittsburgh route were not available. But Moser said rates go up incrementally from the low $1 fares, such as to $5 or $12.
“The top fare in our business has always been more economical than flying, taking a train, driving your car or potentially taking another bus company,” he said.
On Tuesday, Greyhound Bus Lines’ website was charging a discounted $15.84 for its Detroit-Toledo route and $61.60 for its Detroit-Pittsburgh route.
Joseph P. Schwieterman, a transportation professor at DePaul University in Chicago, said the Pittsburgh hub could be a risky strategy for megabus.com. The company must determine if its business model will work in midsize cities that lack large-scale transit systems, he said.
Megabus, though, has attracted pleasure travelers enticed by the low fares and even those who would have never considered riding a bus a few years ago.
“Megabus consistently undercuts Amtrak by up to 50 percent and with air travel it’s not even close,” Schwieterman said. “It’s rare to find a Megabus fare above $40.”
Detroit Megabus stops are at the Rosa Parks Transit Center, 360 Michigan Ave., and the corner of Cass and Warren avenues near Wayne State University.