Stagecoach Group announced yesterday (31 May 2012) that it is expanding the North American network run by its market-leading budget coach operator megabus.com to the major state of Texas.
Services will start running from 19 June out of Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, the state’s three biggest cities with a combined population of around 4.6 million people
Residents will be able to travel to five cities: Austin, Texas; Norman, Oklahoma; Memphis, Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; and New Orleans, Louisiana.
The new routes will be operated using a $17.5 million fleet of 25 new state-of-the-art double-decker coaches. The environmentally-friendly vehicles have seatbelts, free Wi-Fi, power outlets and restrooms. They are also equipped with GPS technology and a host of advanced safety features.
Bookings for the new services are being accepted from today at www.megabus.com. During the first week of sales, all tickets for the new routes will be no more than $1 and the company is also offering 10,000 free seats.
Texas is the second biggest state in the United States in terms of population. The latest expansion brings the number of locations in North America covered by the successful budget coach brand to more than 80.
Around 600 new jobs have been created by megabus.com throughout the United States and Canada. It has expanded rapidly to service new cities, attracting more than 18 million passengers in the past six years.
The new Texas routes will initially be operated under contract by Coach America. It also runs the megabus.com hub in Atlanta, Georgia, which serves 11 cities in the states of Alabama, North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida.
Stagecoach announced earlier this month that it had agreed a deal to acquire a number of businesses and assets from Coach America, subject to court and regulatory approval. These businesses include Coach America operations in San Antonio, Dallas and Atlanta. Stagecoach intends to operate the megabus.com services in these locations directly in due course.
The Coach America deal, which is expected to be completed within three months, also includes businesses in Sacramento and Anaheim, California. It will provide depot infrastructure to expand the megabus.com network to the Golden State. California is the biggest state in the United States with a population of more than 37 million people.
Stagecoach Group Chief Executive, Sir Brian Souter, said: "megabus.com has sparked a revival in inter-city coach travel in the United States, particularly in the current climate with rising fuel prices and stretched household incomes.
"The roll-out of megabus.com's successful package of low fares and high quality service to Texas will give us access to one of the biggest potential markets in North America. We look forward to extending our geographic footprint further as we deliver on our growth strategy for the brand."
megabus.com, which offers fares from $1, is one of the largest intercity express bus service providers in North America and its other hubs are located in Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and Toronto.