Category Archives: bus service

Newsflash: Megabus is coming back to Iowa!

Megabus to restart service in Iowa


The low-cost bus line Megabus is restarting service in Iowa.

The company said Tuesday that beginning March 1 service will resume with daily stops in Lincoln, Neb., Omaha, Des Moines, Coralville, Moline, Ill., and Chicago. Additional service will be added as needed on weekends and holidays.

Competition from cheap gasoline prompted Megabus to drop its Chicago-to-Omaha bus in January. The route included stops in Davenport, Coraville and Des Moines.

The New Jersey-based Megabus teamed up with Windstar Lines to bring the service back to Iowa. The company will use Windstar buses, which are equipped with WiFi and power outlets. Megabus will handle ticket sales.

The company is offering 500 seats for $1 in the first week of service.

Go to to book tickets.

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Burglary on the megabus? on the road from Chicago to Dsm

Written last night (before safely arriving, an hour late in Des Moines):

There may be a thief among us, here on the Megabus bumping along Interstate 80 in rural Iowa on a dark December night, but you have to wonder why someone on this bus would leave his diamond ring and watch in his coat pocket and then leave said coat unattended during a rest stop near Peru, Illinois. As the theft, or whatever it is was, was duly reported, my fellow passengers looked aghast. Now we had to wait for the police and a possible search of the bus and us (or so one rumor went) and our 7 hour bus ride (from Chicago to DSM, which should normally take 6 hours tops) suddenly threatened to get a lot longer.

Fortunately the police arrived fairly quickly (who knew police drive White Ford 150 pickups?), talked briefly to the alleged victim and the driver and we were on the road again after a 1/2 hour delay. It was a reminder of the downside of taking the megabus (along with yakking passengers and the overpowering smell, in close quarters, of McDonald’s cheeseburgers) but there are upsides too — including the affordability ($41 for this ride) and easy on-and-off – and so I am sad to see megabus service between Chicago and Omaha end, which it reportedly will as of early January.

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Filed under bus service, Chicago

Megabus accident – on chicago to st. louis to Kansas City route.

UPDATE ON THE UPDATE: There’s now some question about whether there was a fatality in the Megabus crash, according to the most recent reports.  The bus was apparently headed to St. Louis and then Kansas City. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Sad and disturbing news that at least one person has been killed and many injured in a Megabus crash today on I-55 in Illinois. I held my breathe as the radio announcer reported the destination city of the bus that left Chicago: Kansas City. (Not Des Moines, where I live.)

AS I WROTE earlier today: (which now seems a trivial matter indeed…)

My son took the Megabus last Friday afternoon from Washington D.C. to NYC and all went well EXCEPT that the ride took longer than expected (over 5 hours) due to traffic AND he’d forgotten to bring any food along, which was a problem because the bus didn’t make a stop for passengers to catch a quick bite. (This stop happens sometimes but not always on the Megabus route between Des Moines and Chicago, which I’ve ridden many times.) Fortunately he did bring water – but when the bus finally arrived in Manhattan at 11 p.m., my son was really hungry.

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A review: the Megabus from Chicago to Des Moines

I planned to blog from the road yesterday – specifically while cruising along Interstate 80 from Chicago to Des Moines in the Megabus but alas, the bus’s much-ballyhooed free WiFi was on the blink.  The driver didn’t know why but said this happens occasionally. Otherwise,  the bus ride was just fine – and for the $10 fare, better than fine. (Some people paid as little as $1 for the ride, a few others got two tix for $8 total. Fare comparisons dominated the chitchat amongst passengers. )

The bus departed on time (5 p.m.) from Chicago at the crowded Megabus stop just south of Union Station and Jackson Street, on Canal Street – and it arrived in Des Moines about 35 minutes late, which was no big deal. The bus was clean, the seats comfortable, the air not too cold or  too hot. The driver was courteous and informative, taking the time to fill us in on bits and bobs, like the one scheduled pit-stop at a small gas station on I-80 near Davenport.

A few minor quibbles, some beyond Megabus’s control, that  have more to do with the nature of cheap bus transportation in general.  The bus stop in Chicago was somewhat chaotic, with a large crowd fanning out across half a block as a succession of buses pulled up – one bus going to St. Louis, another to somewhere-ville Ohio, another to Ann Arbor/Detroit and my bus to Iowa City/Des Moines.  As one of the older passengers correctly noted, this open air bazaar – with no visible crowd control and no benches to sit on or lines to stand in – is relatively OK in pleasant weather, which we had yesterday early evening.  But it might not be so OK when it’s raining or snowing or bitter cold.

Many passengers, as expected, were young people in their late teens and 20s  some tattooed and pierced, some black-clad Goths with dusty white faces, two chic geeks, some inner city kids wearing droopy pants.  Great people watching and reminded me of my lost-youth, riding the Magic Bus in Europe.

But on my bus there was also  a large multi-generation Asian family with a pushy patriarch, a Mennonite woman, some middle-aged couples, a few moms with kids.  I worried at first when the watery-eyed man in front of me took a sip from a liquor bottle inside a brown paper bag but he was well-behaved throughout. So was the little girl who sat on the lap of the teen-ager  beside me. The rowdiest passengers were some  women in their mid-30s who laughed and talked loudly, as if they riding their very own party bus after hitting the bars on Division Street (which come to think of it was probably where they had been.)

There were other annoying sounds and smells but that’s to be expected: a rattle-and-squeak  from  somewhere in the back of the bus near the bathroom, pulsating iPod musak from somewhere in the bus’ mid-section (the Ipod must have been  cranked up to blow-your-eardrums-out volume), smells of fried chicken, McDonalds (from the pitstop in Davenport), a fully-loaded brat, and corned beef (my bad. I  brought the sandwich with me from a Chicago deli.)

Next time, I’ll remember to fire up my Kindle – or at least bring the cord so I can plug it in. (There was an outlet below my window but my cord was in my suitcase in the bowels of the bus.) And I’ll remember to leave my novel out of my suitcase. I’ll also remember to fire up my phone (which was also losing juice.) Thank God my iPod was still working.

All told, it’s great to have a viable and inexpensive new option for getting to Iowa City and Chicago from here.

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Filed under Adventure travel, bus service, Chicago, cost-saving travel, Des Moines