Tribune-Review " . . . For Megabus, the still-growing discount intercity bus line, however, the ride has been faster and smoother than anyone would have guessed when it made its debut 61⁄2 years ago, linking eight Midwestern cities to a Chicago hub for as little as $1 a ticket. Within two years, Megabus was carrying 2 million passengers annually. That number is approaching 6 million riders in about 100 cities in the United States and Canada, including Pittsburgh. Its North American fleet of 194 double-decker buses last year has grown to 260, and its network of hubs has expanded to eight cities. . . . a new reality from the curbside operators, so named because they spare the expense of maintaining traditional bus stations. There is free onboard Wi-Fi, power outlets and tables on which riders can eat, play or set up a laptop and phone and get to work on, say, a newspaper column. Along the way, the carriers have breathed life into a mode of transportation that was practically in hospice care for close to a half-century. . . . “The bus sector was flat on its back,” Joseph Schwieterman, a DePaul University transportation professor and the director of DePaul’s Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development, said. “Megabus started its Chicago hub in spring of ‘06, and that began the whole curbside boom. It’s spreading across the U.S. really rapidly, so we think this year the curbside bus (service overall) is up in scheduled departures by about 15 percent, and that’s after huge growth the last few years.”. . . A part of Coach USA, which itself is a subsidiary of United Kingdom-based Stagecoach Group PLC, Megabus is racking up about $125 million in revenue and turning an overall profit, according to a spokesman. FirstGroup PLC’s BoltBus, a 2008 venture between Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines, also has said it’s in the black, but it hasn’t broken out figures...."
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