Megabus to offer Nashville-to-Chicago route

Move comes only three months after service began in Music City

Megabus announced via its website Tuesday it will offer service connecting Nashville to Chicago via Indianapolis starting March 14.

The expanded service will begin almost three months to the day Megabus, which is owned by Coach USA, began operations in Nashville, connecting the city to Atlanta via Chattanooga.

Dale Moser, Coach USA chief operating officer, said the company conducted Internet research and solicited customer feedback before it decided to add the Megabus route to Chicago.

“We heard from our Nashville riders that Chicago would be a good market,” Moser said.

Moser said it is too early to provide Megabus statistics regarding the two-month-old Nashville-Atlanta service. He did say that compared to other startup cities (Coach USA calls Nashville a “route to hub city”), Nashville has fared favorably.

Founded in 2006, Megabus is able to offer low fares — often no more than $10 per ticket and sometimes only $1 — because it does not have the high-cost infrastructure and expenses associated with conventional bus line companies. For example, there are no Megabus terminals (Coach USA leases space), and the buses are serviced at existing Coach USA maintenance facilities. In another cost-saving move, Megabus does not offer cross-country trips. Ticket prices are based on availability, with the cost increasing as buses fill to capacity.

Coach USA operates its headquarters in Paramus, N.J.