New York City, NY

Driving Megabus: Making Green Travel Fun and Easy

offMetro.com

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Driving the bus.Alexandre Croussette

The most affordable option isn’t always the healthiest one, and the healthy option is usually the least affordable. That’s true with most things, from your health to the health of the planet. Solar panels on your roof are expensive, but a double-down sandwich from KFC, not so much.

So it’s nice when two masters are served, as is the case with Megabus (us.megabus.com), a bus travel business connecting the Northeast, Midwest, South & Southwest using fuel efficiency and low-cost prices.

Before Megabus, what was there for the urban nomad? Cramped, gas-guzzling Chinatown buses that introduce us to our least sociable selves, with one too many unexplained passenger pick-ups at rest stops off I-95.

What with the inconveniences we collectively live through at airports, and the long travel times promised on most train schedules, travel buses have been long overdue a makeover.

“Megabus has reinvented motorcoach intercity travel,” said Dale Moser, president and COO of Coach USA. “We are committed to delivering safe, affordable, reliable and the greenest travel to the public.”

For Megabus, that means a fleet of double-decker buses, equipped with free Wi-Fi, reclining seats, 50 lbs of ‘no fee’ luggage, and cord outlets. Cord outlets! It’s enough to tame even the most epic of beard men. Megabus routes include east coast stops in Boston, Philadelphia, D.C., Atlantic City, and Baltimore, and more than 80 other American cities, extending as far west as Chicago and St. Louis.

Riding Green

One of the more green things you can do in this world is carpool, and bus travel is the ultimate carpool. Instead of 81 individual cars all going to Boston from New York—all burping emissions—it’s just one double-decker bus on the highway, taking passengers city-to-city, barely a carbon footprint to speak. “Traveling on Megabus conserves fuel, decongests highways and city streets,” said Moser. “And is the cleanest form of travel offered today, all by taking cars off the road!”

In particular, Megabus buses are equipped to meet fuel efficiency standards—from a GPS system that monitors how long an engine idles before it should be shut off to their Smartire technology, which warns against low tire pressure, something that increases demand for fuel and oil.

On the Cheap, On the Fly

We don’t live in Europe. A fact we are reminded of every morning when we try to order a small espresso at Dunkin Donuts. We don’t have the cheapest air travel in the world and who wants to spend scary sums of money refilling gas anymore?

Enter the world of relaxing, inexpensive bus travel. A round trip from New York to Philadelphia on Megabus will cost no more than $22 bucks, and if you’re really smart, take advantage of the deals that one can only quickly describe as “insane.” Think $1 city-to-city express service and 50 cent internet reservation fees. Best of all, once you’ve boarded there’s nothing left to think about. Sit back and watch the country go by.

These low costs facilitate another rewarding aspect of bus travel, spontaneity. It’s liberating to know that you can decide when you wake up to be in Toronto by the end of the day with very little effort or money.

It’s democratic, and to their credit, Megabus has made it green and clean. What’s more, just about every one of the lovely travel destinations, events, and weekend getaways we write about, and review on the site, are a bus ride away. So be your best green selves in your travels and make that a Megabus ride away.

Mega important: Most buses depart from the south side of 34th Street between 11 & 12th Avenues, convenient to 34th Street Penn Station train service and M34 NY Transit cross town buses. Most buses returning to NYC will stop at 7th Avenue & 28th Street. Service to Atlantic City, NJ; Binghamton, NY; New Brunswick, NJ; & Princeton, NJ depart and return to the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

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offMetro is a travel resource for city dwellers who want to get out of town–car-optional. oM reports on the best day trips and weekend getaways that are easily accessible via alternative modes of transportation, be it by bike, bus, subway, or boat. If you can’t make the weekends longer, strive to make them better.

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