Stagecoach Group has announced that it’s expanding its megabus.com network in the US to Texas. The market-leading budget coach operator will start running services out of Houston, Dallas and San Antonio from June 19. These are the three biggest cities in the state with a combined population of about 4.6 million people.
Megabus.com’s new routes will be operated with a fleet of 25 new state-of-the-art double-decker coaches, which are worth about $17.5 million. The vehicles are environmentally-friendly and feature, seat belts, loos, power outlets and free wi-fi. They also feature GPS technology and offer several advanced safety features. The offering will allow residents and visitors to travel to Austin, Texas, as well as four other US cities – Norman, Oklahoma; Little Rock, Arkansas; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Memphis, Tennessee.
Travellers can already begin booking the new services on the megabus.com website, and during the first week, all of the new route’s tickets will cost $1 or less. The company is also making 10,000 seats available for free. Stagecoach already offers fares starting from just $1. It’s one of the biggest inter-city express bus service providers on the continent. Its other hubs are located in New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Chicago and Atlanta in the US; as well as Toronto in Canada.
The new routes in Texas will initially be operated by Coach America under a contract. This company also operates the megabus.com hub located in Atlanta, Georgia. This site serves 11 cities across North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama and Florida. Earlier this month, Stagecoach announced that it had agreed to a deal that acquired several of Coach America’s businesses and assets – subject to approval from the court and regulators. These businesses include the company’s operations in Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio, and Anaheim and Sacramento in California. Stagecoach plans to eventually operate its megabus.com services from these locations directly.
Texas is the second largest state in the US in terms of population (at 25.7 million), and this expansion to the state brings megabus.com’s number of locations in North America to over 80. The budget coach brand has created around 600 new jobs throughout the continent already, quickly expanding to new cities and attracting over 18 million passengers over the last six years. It’s expected that the deal with Coach America will be finalised within three months. The agreement will provide depot infrastructure so that megabus.com’s network can be expanded to California, which is the largest state in the US with more than a 37.7 million-strong population.
Stagecoach Group chief executive Sir Brian Souter says megabus.com has inspired a revival in inter-city coach travel across the US – especially in the current climate with rising fuel prices and hard-pressed household incomes. The expansion of their successful megabus.com package of high quality service and low fares to Texas will give them access to one of the largest potential markets in the continent. They look forward to extending their geographic footprint more as they deliver on the brand’s growth strategy, he added.
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