A great guest post from my friend, Jon!
As someone frequents Megabus trips between Oakland and Burbank, I initially paid between $30 and $40 each way. It’s still more cost-effective than driving or flying, and a nice chance to just listen to a podcast or take a nap for those 6.5 hours. But.. what about those mystical $1 fares? It took me some trial and error (and creativity), but I figured it out and am happy to share.
First things first. You’ll need to plan your trip out about two to five months in advance. If you’d like some flexibility, you can also buy several $1 tickets and only use one (it’s like low-cost insurance). Every Megabus trip has at least one ticket sold for a dollar, and prices go up after that initial sale has been made. So that means you have to be the first person to make the purchase.
So all you have to do is buy your tickets early?
The short answer is no. Megabus fares aren’t updated regularly or predictably. Every few months, they just update their available fares. You can’t sign up for email updates, and hopefully you have better things to do than to check the Megabus website every day.
Fortunately you don’t need to because Megabus has a twitter account. In fact, if you search the Megabus account and filter for every time they use “tickets are now”, then you have a pretty reliable account of all the times they’ve updated their fares. All you need to do now is set up an IFTTT recipe that sends you a text or email whenever Megabus tweets that they’ve added new fares. After you make an account, search for Twitter in the IF, click on New Tweet From Search, and add “Tickets are now” from:megabus” under Search For. Your recipe should look something like this:
After you’ve made the recipe, forget about it and you’ll get a text every few months reminding you that you can purchase a $1 (+$2 handling) trip to wherever Megabus is willing to take you.
And just make a purchase then. In my experience, something like 90% of the fares are $1 if you check the website within 24 hours.