By Waheeda Harris
With high prices for airfare and gas and limited options on train routes, increasingly, those who need to get to places are boarding the bus. (Though the newly revived $5.50 air and sea tariff into the US is likely not what is driving traffic to the bus, political satirist Rick Mercer is convinced otherwise.)
According to a recent article in Business Week, the “Megabus effect” has made bus travel the fastest growing way to travel in the United States. British discount bus company Megabus (affiliated with Coach Canada) entered the Canadian market two years ago after overwhelming popularity in the US and has seen a 58% rise in the past year.
Offering bus transport to destinations in Ontario, Quebec and south of the border, Megabus found its fans with low fares and promotions like $10 round-trip tickets on its most popular route between Toronto and Montreal, $1 one-way tickets, new coaches and onboard complimentary wi-fi. Main competitor Greyhound has been quick to play catch-up, introducing new buses with wi-fi and outlets and, most notably, launching its discount BoltBus service in the US in 2008.