Because I have close family in Detroit, I like to visit frequently, traveling from Chicago. I usually fly or if I have someone to travel with, I will drive there. I took the train once during a terrible snowstorm. A few days ago, I tried a new means of travel, Megabus. com.
I learned about the Megabus.com from a friend who was a dinner guest at my house. I had never heard of it but my friend, Jean, said she and her friends love to travel this way. I couldn’t believe the price. She said it could cost $1.00 under some circumstances. She also said that it was comfortable and efficient. When I told friends I was going out of town and taking the Megabus, many people responded, “Mega what?” but many others had either taken it and loved it, or knew someone who had taken it and were also, very pleased.
On an early morning recently, I boarded Metra exiting at Olgivie Transportation Center and walked two blocks to Union Station where two Megabuses were parked and long lines of passengers were waiting to board. Quickly, suitcases and bags were placed in a compartment, and passengers presented papers with assigned numbers, which were checked off a master list. Then passengers found a comfortable seat either upstairs or down and the bus took off. It moved at a rapid pace and I could not believe we were in Michigan so quickly. We even arrived in Detroit half an hour early.
As I settled into my seat, a pleasant woman was sitting across the aisle and we began a conversation that continued on and off during the entire trip (when I wasn’t sleeping). She is Pat Ward of Ferndale, Michigan and a Megabus veteran and fan. Her daughter lives in Chicago and the Megabus makes it possible for them to see one another frequently. Having delivered a car to her daughter, she arranged for a one-way trip on a Tuesday morning for $5.00. Pat said, “I have used the Megabus to travel from Detroit to Chicago for the past three years and found it to be a great experience. When comparing it to air or train travel, it is efficient and the quickest reliable form of transportation. You do have to arrange drop off and pick up at the bus stops. I enjoy the comfort and ease as I travel often alone and feel very secure and relaxed using Megabus”.
I wanted to see if my computer would work so I plugged it in and wrote: “As I sit here wending my way to Detroit for a family visit, I am thrilled not to be driving, flying or on the train. I have tried all the other ways. Flying is expensive and a hassle. It is hard for me to get to the airport and one needs to get there early, the plane is always late, and I wouldn’t be able to use my phone while en route. I often drive but that is stressful and I don’t like to drive alone.”
The bus moved quickly and comfortably and before I knew it, we made the one rest stop in Marshall, Michigan. Next stop was Ann Arbor and then quickly we were in Downtown Detroit, where there were two stops, the first at Wayne State University and the final stop at Rosa Parks Transit Center.
Between Wayne State University and Rosa Parks Transit Center, I saw parts of Detroit I had never seen before though I have visited frequently. I noticed some structures that seemed new and attractive-the stadium, restaurants, Rosa Parks Transit Center, itself, and the people mover. I learned that the People Mover has been in place for twenty years and goes around Detroit’s downtown.
Click here for People Mover information.
I took the early bus when I came to Detroit but now, after a lovely visit with my family, I boarded the Megabus in downtown Detroit late in the afternoon and headed back to Chicago. The bus was not very full initially or after the second Detroit stop. However, after the Ann Arbor stop, the bus was virtually filled. Lexi, a junior at Butler University in Indianapolis sat next to me. She told me she has been using Megabus during the last six months to go to Ann Arbor, Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee. She told me that the buses are rarely late and if so, only by about 10 minutes. On one of her trips she was able to obtain a ticket for $3.00 and her friend was able to get a ticket for the famed, $1.00. She used her computer very efficiently. Her Mom told her about Megabus.com, having learned about it from a friend.
This time when we got to our rest stop, the bus from Chicago was there, too. We were a little late arriving in Chicago, a balance to the early arrival in Detroit. I think that Megabus is a hidden treasure and I certainly plan to use it again. In fact, I was so enthusiastic that my Detroit family is thinking about using Megabus to visit me in Chicago.
From the Megabus website:
Megabus.com, which offers daily express bus service for as low as $1, announced today that it is expanding service to four additional cities. Travelers in the Northeast can now go to Pittsburgh and State College, Penn. Midwest travelers can now go to Des Moines, Iowa and Iowa City, Iowa. Megabus.com will begin daily service to and from each city on May 4. Passengers can begin booking travel today at www.megabus.com for May 4 and beyond.
“Popularity in bus travel continues to rise as travelers search for economical options and quality service,” stated Dale Moser, president and COO of megabus.com. “The great travel values offered by Megabus.com allow our customers to do more at their final destination; catch a game, visit friends and family or plan weekend getaways.”
Megabus.com, a subsidiary of Coach USA, launched in April 2006 and has served more than 5 million travelers. In addition to low fares,Megabus.com offers passengers high-value including double-decker buses, free Wi-Fi, power outlets and hassle-free boarding.
Customers are encouraged to book early to secure fares as low as $1 and will pay competitive fares the closer they book to the day of departure.
Photos: B. Keer