We’ve always heard that the Celts were thrifty. Apparently what Ryannair did for air travel in Europe the Mega Bus enterprise has started doing likewise for surface travel. And now it is also operating in three major population centers in the United States with internet fares for inter-city travel. They even offer lottery type promotions for the prize of a one dollar fare—via the Internet of course.
MegaBus—in keeping with thrifty operations–operates double-decker buses with a total passenger capacity of 81. Apparently some versions carry up to 94 passengers. A typical long distance passenger bus in the US carries 50 passengers
MegaBus (owned by Stagecoach Group, Ltd) cites three attractions for the economically, eco-conscious traveler:
-More than six times more fuel-efficient than easyJet
-Produces seven times less CO2 emissions
-Offers cheaper fares for budget travellers
Mega Bus’s US operations (by Coach, USA) has three main regions of service:
1.Began in Chicago, in March 2006, with daily routes to Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, St. Louis, Ann Arbor, Columbus, Louisville, Toledo, Detroit, Kansas City and Minneapolis.
2.On August 8, 2007, Megabus introduced service to the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Tempe, Arizona
3.On May 30, 2008, Megabus began service from a hub in New York City, with service to Atlantic City, Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo , Philadelphia, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.
But Oregon is not an area of high density corridors connecting numerous large population centers. So would MegaBus, or something similar work?
My thought is that a mix of daytime and overnight service using a double decker format could break even. True, we don’t have a large number of higly populated cities. But what we do have is a fewer number of routes—and plenty of recreational destinations along the way. For example there might not be a lot of travelers chomping at the bit to go from Portland to Klamath Falls, via US Hwys 26 and 97. But there are a number of popular recreation destinations—popular with hikers and bicyclers in the summer and skiers and snowshoers in the winter. Along the mentioned route are: Mt. Hood, Kahneeta and Warm Springs, Billy Chinook Reservoir, Redmond, Bend, Century Drive, SunRiver, Metolius River. Bachelor Butte, Wickiup Reservoir, Oregon Cascades Recreation Area, La Pine. Mt Thiessen wildeness area, Sprague River, Crater Lake National Park, Upper Klamath Lake, and Klamath Falls, of course.
An Oregon Coast route is practically a no-brainer. And the I-5 route, of course.
On more remote destinations–such as to Ontario or Burns or the Wallowas—- an overnight service with sleeping capacity could work. Simply spacing seats about thirty percent further apart will allow them to recline fully. Another option would be to have seats facing each other that also fold down into a bench, when the table is lifted out of the way. I have also thought about the possibility of sleeping compartments: It would seem that a two level design would open up possibilities. (Being alert for “camp robbers” could become necessary at night, and I would not leave valuables anywhere that isn’t secured….. And no playing of old Eagles hits, late at night, either) If you wanted to attract recreational travelers adequate storage for a bit more gear would be requisite. This would be an opportunity for the carless to get somewhere fun and for recreationalists to leave the car at home.