200,000 Free Seats Available on Megabus

Photograph of a Megabus double decker bus courtesy of Megabus.

Megabus announced that it is offering 200,000 free seats for travel between January 9, 2013 through February 28, 2013 — and you can book a reservation for your free seats today using a special promotion code.

The free seats are subject to availability for travel to and from cities served by Megabus in the United States and Canada. You will need to use the promotion code TRYMEGABUS to book your free seat.

Megabus had similar promotions at this time of year in 2011, 2010 and 2009 — so chances are that if you miss the promotion this year, Megabus will more than likely repeat it in 2013.

Due to local regulations within Canada, free seats for travel to Kirkland and Montreal are excluded; however, additional seats costing ten dollars have been made available. Within the United States, the New York – Atlantic City, Portland – Boston, New York – Binghamton, Chicago – Madison and New York – New Brunswick – Princeton bus line routes are also excluded from the free seats offer.

In addition to affordable fares, Megabus offers customers environmentally-friendly buses, free Wi-Fi Internet service, power outlets, and lavatories.

So what is the catch? Well – for one thing — you are traveling by bus rather than car, airplane, boat or train. However, is that necessarily a negative aspect?

I have never traveled on Megabus, but FlyerTalk members report on their Megabus experiences — and the reviews are mixed for a variety of reasons.

However, traveling on Megabus is not without risk. For example, a Megabus double-decker bus crashed into the support pillar of a highway overpass on Interstate 55 in Illinois on its way to St. Louis back in August of this year, killing one passenger from India and injuring at least 38 other passengers. One person died in each of three crashes involving Megabus in 2011. In September of 2010, four passengers were killed when another double-decker Megabus smashed into a low bridge outside downtown Syracuse, New York. Despite these fatal crashes, Megabus reportedly surpassed the national average on inspections and in safety rankings, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Should you travel on Megabus? Perhaps if you want to save money while using the free Internet service — although I understand that it can be unreliable — or if you just want to watch the world go by while traveling and you have the time to do so. You do not have to be screened at airport security checkpoints, and there is no taxiing in queue to the runway — but Megabus is not immune to traffic jams, nor can you travel on it non-stop for long distances such as across the United States. It may be perfect to go on what would normally be a three-hour drive — especially between cities which do not have their own commercial airport, such as Gary, Indiana to Ven Wert, Ohio…

…in other words, your mileage may vary.

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