I don’t think I’m overstating the situation when I say that this is going to change all of our lives for the better for the rest of eternity, unless you’re one of those dirty, sniveling Socialists. Huh? Is that what you are? A Socialist? You make me sick. Now get out of my face and go enjoy your universal free healthcare. However, those of you in the banking industry are obviously welcome to hang around, drive our banks into ruin and wait for your bailout and reward – but everyone else has to go back to Canada where you belong.
Actually, this really is huge news for the car-free lifestyle people – or those that would rather eat raw bird ca-ca rather than drive long distance through Wisconsin.
Meagabus, which has been a growing ground transport option in the northeast US since 2006, has finally started service to Minneapolis. So far, they only go direct from Minneapolis to Chicago, Madison and Milwaukee, but if you’ve got the ass-fortitude, there’s connections onward to Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Memphis, St Louis and more.
I’m finding tickets from Minneapolis to Chicago for as little as $10. No taxes, but there’s a whopping $0.50 reservation fee, so that’s one less pack of gum out of your trip budget.
Now why on earth would you choose to take a bus like a hobo or a Norwegian backpacker rather than a car, train or plane? Well, flying is obviously far more expensive, punishing to the environment and increasingly demoralizing – and that’s assuming your flight leaves on time and they manage to deliver your luggage to your actual destination.
Admittedly the train would be a more comfortable ride, but even that’s going to cost anywhere from two to five times as much as Megabus and the travel time is virtually the same (about 7 and 1/2 hours from Minneapolis to Chicago, which I find rather weird (shouldn’t the train blow past a bus, what with all the stop lights and traffic jams and getting stuck behind people in Wisconsin that drive their cars like they drive their combines?).
Apart from the drastically reduced price, here’s the true deal-maker for me: wi-fi. That’s right haters, Megabus has free wi-fi on all its buses and the new fleet of double-decker buses will also have power points, so you can spend the entire ride working, playing poker, and watching all those YouPorn videos you’ve been putting off.
I have yet to actually ride on a Megabus, but it looks as if I’ll be heading back to St Louis next month, so I’ll duly post a review when that happens. Including the two hour layover in Chicago, it’s almost a 16-hour trip, one way. Not an easy day, certainly. However, let’s look at driving to St Louis in a private car: takes about nine hours (10 hours if you get jacked-up lost outside St Louis like I did), the gas bill for a one-way run is about $75 (whereas roundtrip on Megabus starts at about $43), you arrive brain-dead from constantly scanning the horizon for the fuzz, your ass hurts just about the same and you didn’t get to watch Hulu videos and flirt with Norwegian backpackers the entire time.
Megabus stops both at Parking Ramp C in downtown Minneapolis on 3rd Street and 3rd Ave North (which is totally accessible from my building through the Skyway – no big deal, I’m just saying how rad that’ll be in the winter) and on University Avenue, across from Williams Arena by the U of M. Get there early to get the coveted second-level front seat, so you can enjoy panoramic views of the Wisconsin countryside (or sit about three rows back, if you actually want to see your laptop screen).