Local residents are pleased to have an alternate transportation service
BY ANDREAS BUTLER
For local residents looking for another mode of travel out of town, Megabus began providing services in Daytona Beach on Wednesday.
The Daytona Beach City Commission approved an agreement with Megabus at its July 19 regular meeting.
Both parties are pleased to have reached an agreement.
“Megabus expands the possibilities of travel to and from Daytona Beach. The reaction from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. I’m proud of the city staff that took the suggestion of a resident and brought it to fruition,” Mayor Derrick Henry told the Daytona Times.
Megabus spokesperson Sean Hughes stated, “We are absolutely very excited about being able to provide services to the Daytona Beach community.”
Daytona Beach Assistant City Manager Betty Goodman reiterated that the municipality reached out to the bus service. “They didn’t come to us seeking to expand services. We went to them after citizens and neighborhood organizations met with officials like Mayor Henry and myself and suggested it to us.
“After several meetings with Megabus, we got a deal done. Megabus should be another convenient service for our citizens to take advantage of,’’ Goodman related.
Mary Sturgis rallied residents to ask for the service, passed out fliers, attempted to reach Megabus, and finally met city officials.
Sturgis told the Times, “I am thrilled that Megabus is here. I just got back on a trip from Atlanta on the Megabus. Now we don’t have to spend money going to Orlando to get on the bus.
“This should be good for everyone. People can get on the bus and just come enjoy a day in Daytona at the beach. College kids should also take advantage. It’s convenient and affordable,’’ she added.
Tanger Outlets stop
It’s not uncommon for municipalities to seek transportation services.
“Other cities have reached out to us and asked us about the possibility of us serving. We take their consideration very seriously when they welcome us with open arms as did the City of Daytona Beach. We looked into it and did the logistics and things are working out. We will continue to hammer out the details,’’ Hughes explained.
Megabus will embark and depart at a loading lane adjacent to the Tanger Outlets at 1100 Cornerstone Blvd., which is near Interstate 95 just off LPGA Boulevard, Mason Avenue and Williamson Boulevard.
The service eventually will install a bus stop sign and possibly one or two bus benches in the authorized area.
Megabus is starting out with one north-bound trip and one south-bound trip each day, eventually having three buses going both ways.
The northbound route begins in Orlando, goes to Daytona to Jacksonville and then on to Atlanta.
The southbound route begins in Atlanta, heads to Jacksonville, then makes stops in Orlando and Daytona.
A one-way ticket on Aug. 4 from Daytona to Orlando without fees is $19 on Megabus, compared to $17 for an economy fare on Greyhound. However, a basic one-way ticket to Atlanta from Daytona is $35 on Megabus and $117 for Greyhound.
Features on buses
Megabus features include double decker buses that can carry 81 passengers. It includes WiFi, plug-ins, GPS tracking and seat belts.
Hughes added, “We take safety as our top priority. We’ve had seat belts on our buses since 2007, which weren’t required until 2017. There are a couple other differences with us compared to our competitors.”
According to its website, Megabus offers city-to-city bus tickets as low as $1 for travel around the North America that can be booked from a computer or smartphone.
Megabus has major North American transportation hubs around the U.S. and Canada, serving more than 100 different cities and university campuses.
Akevious Rowe, who has traveled on Greyhound, said she’s willing to try it.
“I hope prices are affordable and they provide a better travel option. I am also looking forward to cleaner buses, clearer routes and better safety. Safety is a major travel concern,” she said “Anybody can get on the buses. There aren’t any background checks. You don’t know what people are capable of. I don’t want to hurt Greyhound. I think it’s a great service, but maybe Megabus can provide an alternative.”
Susan Lewis also likes that Megabus is now available locally.
She said, “I have ridden the Greyhound before. I think it’s a great idea to have Megabus come. I think Megabus has something to offer this community as far as making trips to different places and people being able to get on that bus at an economical price.”
Emmanuel Rivers is from Daytona but lives in in Atlanta. Rivers said he often flies, but has taken both Greyhound and Megabus to many cities, including Orlando and Atlanta.
“It’s good for me,” he said about Megabus. “Friends and family in Daytona can now visit me easier since they don’t have to go to Orlando to get on the Megabus. Megabus has less stops and more affordable prices.’’
For more information on the routes, visit megabus.com.