Megabus: ‘We’re not your grandfather’s bus company’
Making a weekend trip to the city or Nevada will soon be much cheaper for Sacramentans.
A low-cost express bus company -– Megabus.com – will start making non-stop trips from Old Sacramento to San Francisco and Sparks/Reno, Nev., starting Dec. 12. The double-decker buses can carry 81 passengers, includes a restroom, Wi-Fi capabilities and power outlets.
"We’re not your grandfather’s bus company," said Mike Alvich, vice president of marketing and public relations for Megabus. The majority of customers are young professionals, he said, followed by young women taking day or weekend trips together, seniors, families and business people.
One-way tickets start at $1 and increase as the departure date approaches. But for the first week of travel, the company will offer the $1 fare to all passengers. The most someone could expect to pay for a one-way trip is $20, Alvich said.
"We think people will be taking leisure trips," Alvich said. "We’ve made it possible for people to fulfill their travel dreams."
That may be a stretch, bordering on Disney-style marketing, but their biggest competitor isn’t airlines or even other bus companies, says Alvich. It’s the car, followed by people’s fear that they can’t afford to travel.
"So much so that we’ve changed our advertising," Alvich said. "Now we’re saying the expense of travel shouldn’t keep you from doing the things you love."
But how can the company afford to offer $1 seats and survive? Well, there are no brick and mortar ticket offices, Alvich explains, and no bus terminals. "That’s a big expense that’s removed," he said. Most bookings are made online, so the goal is to make sure the buses are as close to full as possible.
"If you get the right mix of fares on an 81-seat bus, you’re not only able to pay bills, you’re able to make a profit," Alvich said.
The company will start with four daily departures to San Francisco, and two going to Sparks/Reno. The stop in the city is at the CalTrain station – at 4th and Townsend streets – while the stop in Sparks/Reno is at the RTC Centennial Plaza. Buses will take off from Old Sacramento – 1020 Front Street, by the Sacramento Railroad Museum.
Departure times to San Francisco start at 8 a.m., and run through 5:20 p.m., according to the website. Buses to Sparks/Reno are scheduled for 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.