BT INVESTIGATES

6 Best Budget Bus Companies in the U.S.

They’re eco-conscious and tech-friendly. Some serve drinks. A few sell tickets for a buck. But the best reason to ride one of the new regional bus lines is as simple as two words: gas prices.

By , Tuesday, Sep 20, 2011, 4:00 AM

Budget buses

Our intrepid reporters—editors, readers, friends (and moms)—hit the road to evaluate the experiences.

MEGABUS
Midwest & Northeast
Cities Served: 50+
Everything about Megabus is mega. The British brand's blue double-decker fleet (each emblazoned with a smiling cartoon of a driver) now serves over 50 cities in the United States and Canada, making it the biggest player on the block.
If it were an airline, it would be: United Airlines
Contact Info: 877/462-6342, us.megabus.com


BOLTBUS
Northeast
Cities Served: 8
BoltBus is operated jointly by old-school Greyhound and Peter Pan, but it's much hipper than its parents. For example, send a complaint via Twitter, and the issue will often be addressed by the techie team before you step off the bus.
If it were an airline, it would be: JetBlue Airlines 
Contact Info: 877/265-8287, boltbus.com


LUX BUS AMERICA
L.A., San Diego & Vegas
Cities Served: 4
Sure, Lux Bus offers door-to-door service between Southern California hotels. But the line's bread and butter is its cushy L.A.–Vegas route: leather seats, free snacks, and free beer and wine so you can start the sin before you hit Sin City.
If it were an airline, it would be: Singapore Airlines
Contact Info: 877/610-7870, luxbusamerica.com


VAMOOSE
Northeast
Cities Served: 4
With service between New York and the D.C. metro area, Vamoose has options for any capital commuter. Senators can choose the $50-each-way Gold Bus (which has added legroom), while interns can pay with campus cash from local colleges.
If it were an airline, it would be: Delta Shuttle
Contact Info: 212/695-6766, vamoosebus.com


TRIPPER BUS
Northeast
Cities Served: 3
Tripper Bus, which runs between New York and the D.C. area, values loyalty: after buying 8 one-way trips, you'll pick up a one-way for free. In addition, each ride includes one $1, one $5, and one $10 ticket—a steal for frequent buyers.
If it were an airline, it would be: Southwest Airlines
Contact Info: 877/826-3874, tripperbus.com


REDCOACH
Georgia & Florida
Cities Served: 16
Debuting last spring, RedCoach still has that new bus smell. And with only 27 business-class leather seats per coach—each reclines to 140 degrees—you'll be relaxing in style. Consider it training for those sunny Florida beaches. 
If it were an airline, it would be: Virgin America
Contact Info: 877/733-0724, redcoachusa.com

 

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$1 Tickets: Are They For Real?

Much like discount European airline Ryanair, America's budget bus lines first grabbed the spotlight with shockingly low teaser fares. But it takes strategy (and luck) to land those rates; in fact, there's often only one super-cheap seat per ride. The best rule: Book weeks in advance. Megabus and Tripper sell their $1 seats on a first-come basis, while BoltBus off-loads theirs on a random date to deter scalpers.