Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news Relaunches Bus Service To/From Los Angeles

Gracie Zheng |
November 28, 2012 | 3:04 p.m. PST

Senior Staff Reporter announces expansions to California and Nevada with fares from $1. (Gracie Zheng/Neon Tommy) announces expansions to California and Nevada with fares from $1. (Gracie Zheng/Neon Tommy)

Low-cost commuter bus company announced on Wednesday its expansion back into California and Nevada with services to and from Los Angeles. L.A. residents can now travel to and from San Francisco, Las Vegas, Oakland and San Jose, Calif. for as low as $1. 

Fares increase gradually as the traveling date gets closer. During the first week of travel, Dec. 12-19, all tickets will be $1. Customers can begin booking travel at

Passengers can get on the express bus at its arrival and departure location at L.A. Union Station's Patsaouras Transit Plaza. 

Megabus said the expansion will create 80 new jobs. The company has already hired 65 people in Los Angeles to get the service started, according to Michael Waters, senior director of business development of

The express bus runs four schedules each day to and from Las Vegas; the trip takes about six hours. There are six scheduled trips to and from San Francisco, which take about eight hours, and four schedule trips from Sacramento going different directions to San Francisco and Reno. The bus runs seven days a week.

Megabus will run 22 buses in California and is a subsidiary of Coach USA. The double-decker buses have a capacity of 81 passengers.

“The ability to control the pricing with 81 passengers available is much better than it was when you were dealing with something less than 60,” said Waters. “In San Francisco on a typical day, if you walk up at the last minute, you would not pay any more than $40 one way." executive Michael Waters annouces service expansion at LA's Union Station. (Gracie Zheng/Neon Tommy) executive Michael Waters annouces service expansion at LA's Union Station. (Gracie Zheng/Neon Tommy)

Megabus stopped its service from Los Angeles to the Bay Area and Las Vegas in 2008 due to low ridership after running for less than a year. The buses at the time were smaller, transporting about 50 passengers.

Coach USA contracted Megabus in 2007 because it didn’t have an operator in California to run the bus service. It purchased nine of its total Coach America locations in July, two of which are in California, according to Waters. 

“The financial dynamics are quite different,” he said. “We actually operate the locations, the facilities, they’re our employees, it’s our equipment. We basically operate everything from the ground to the sky.”

Waters said customers are expected to be mostly young professionals and college students. 

“Back in 2007, the college traffic was a good percentage of the ridership population. From the Bay area we’re drawing from San Francisco State University and UC Berkeley. We expect that to be the same,” he said. 

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Reach Senior Staff Reporter Gracie Zheng here


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Dana Gabbard (not verified) on November 29, 2012 11:27 AM

On plus is this time they'll use a slot at the Gateway Plaza. Last time the pick up for Union Station was hard to find/inconvenient.

friarfool on November 28, 2012 9:51 PM

Waters either knows something about the market that I don't or is just bad at marketing. Why would you talk about SFSU and Berkeley students from L.A. going northward instead of USC/UCLA students from the Bay Area using this to go back home? If you're talking to the L.A. media during the school year, you should probably talk about the L.A. schools....