Whether you’re planning your next trip or your morning commute, bus routes may be a part of your search. Particularly living in New York City, where cars aren’t nearly as common as public transit, bus fares becomes crucial for getting around on a budget.
If you travel or commute regularly, you’re likely looking for the most affordable bus tickets. One company, megabus, operates throughout New York State and has prices that are very reasonable and competitive among other choices in the area. Arranging trips from New York City to Upstate New York is cheap and simple with this branch of Coach USA.
Average Ticket Prices
Megabus is proud to serve its customers one-way fares that begin as low as $1 (plus reservation fees), though the availability of these fares may be limited. Most fares are indeed more than $1 and vary according to a number of factors.
For example, destination—for this example, Rochester and Syracuse, NY—depending on the day of the week and time of day of travel, tickets are generally priced anywhere from $14 to $39 one-way. Weekend fares average around $30-40, while weekday tickets average from $15-30. Megabus’ prices average $20 less than Greyhound, Adirondack Trailways, and other options for bus travel, making megabus your best option for the cheapest bus tickets from NYC to Upstate New York cities.
How Prices Work
The price of your ticket will vary depending on several factors:
- Distance to destination
- The farther the destination is from NYC, generally the higher the fare.
- Demand for seats
- High demand for seats on a particular trip will increase the fare.
- Day of travel
- Weekend fares are often more expensive than weekday fares, but usually not by more than an average of $10-15. Holiday travel also tends more expensive.
- Time of day
- Reservations for trips made later in the day generally tend to cost less than trips that are scheduled earlier in the day.
- Advanced purchase
- The earlier you can reserve your megabus tickets, the better, as the best prices will be available to anyone who makes these reservations farther in advance.
- Online purchase
- You can make reservations by telephone at the same rate as available online, but you will be charged a $3.00 reservation fee instead of the online ticket’s 50-cents. The megabus reservation hotline is a toll free number.
Megabus recommends that you prepare for your trip by researching the routes you need, particularly if your dates and times of departure are flexible. The cheapest fares from NYC to Upstate New York cities can be found last-minute as well, but your budget will benefit from earlier planning.
Ticket Purchasing Process
On the home page of the website, you will find the Search & Buy box located on the right of the page. This is where you can begin your search for tickets between New York City and Upstate New York. First select “New York” from State/Province drop-down box, then “New York, NY” from Leaving From, and your destination city—for example, “Rochester, NY”—from Traveling To. You can then select the dates you plan to depart and return and click Search to begin.
You will be brought to a page with availability for certain routes, times, and their fares. Select the trip(s) you want and click the “Add journey(s) to basket” button. The next screen will display your itinerary and total cost of the reservation. Fill out the appropriate information, accept the Terms and Conditions, and click the “Pay for journey” button at the bottom of the screen. You can then purchase your tickets with a credit card, and you’ll be given a reservation number and confirmation of payment when you are finished.
Tickets can only be purchased using most major credit cards but not in cash or by check. This payment will be processed by RBS Worldpay, the secure online payment processor for megabus.
After booking your reservation, the rest of your travel experience will be ticketless. When boarding your bus, you will give the driver your reservation number, which is located on your reservation confirmation email and payment confirmation page. These printouts are not required, but they are recommended.
Megabus will provide a Passenger Information form to all international travelers, which should be completed and brought with you on the date of your trip. This will make the customs and immigration controls process much smoother and quicker.
All children 17 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult, so a ticket may not be purchased for them alone. A ticket is still required, as they do need a reservation of their own, which will be available at the trip’s regular fare price. Also, no pets are allowed on the buses except for service animals that must be harnessed properly at all times. Bicycles are also not permitted.
If you need to change a reservation, you will be charged a $1 fee, which includes 50-cents for a change fee and 50-cents for a new reservation fee. If your new reservation is less expensive than the original trip booked, no payment or other credit will be made. If your new reservation is more expensive, you will be asked to pay the difference. After reservations are made, they cannot be canceled or refunded.
You can also make reservations on your mobile device for your convenience on-the-go.
Despite its affordable prices between New York City and Upstate New York cities, megabus offers several amenities (on most vehicles) to make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable:
- On-board restroom facilities
- Power outlets
- Free WiFi
- Rest stops on longer trips
- Wheelchair storage
- Luggage storage
- One piece stored per reservation, which does not exceed 62 inches after adding the dimensions of the total exterior and does not exceed 50 pounds
- One small carry-on
No refunds will be issued if the particular vehicle for your trip does not have these amenities, as some trips will require a replacement vehicle that does not have them.
You can also register for an online account which will allow you to make repeat bookings faster, which could be particularly useful for frequent and commuting travelers. Entering and storing some of your basic details will make these bookings pre-completed for your convenience. You will also be able to review any future reservations.
For customers requiring the use of a wheelchair during the trip, select the Wheelchair option when you are booking your trip so that megabus can work to accommodate you. Customer service representatives—available by telephone—can also assist you with your reservation.
Other Options for Bus Travel
There are other options in addition to megabus that vary in price, availability, and destination cities, but their prices tend to be more expensive. Some of those alternatives are:
- Adirondack Trailways
- Chinatown Bus
- Port Authority
There are many choices for travel between NYC and Upstate New York cities, but the cheapest routes appear to be bus trips from megabus. If you are on a budget or travel frequently, megabus is likely the best choice for your travels.