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Megabus to Chicago

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3 posts
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Megabus to Chicago

Has anyone taken Megabus to Chicago recently? I'm thinking about taking the family (2 adults and 2 kids ages 8 and 6) to Union Station Chicago and then taking Amtrak to MSP. Any advice or tips on this trip welcome. Thanks.

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
Level Contributor
6,839 posts
21 reviews
1. Re: Megabus to Chicago

First, welcome to the TA forums!

My wife and/or daughter have done it a few times and I went with them once. Basically have no complaints and if you purchase your ticket early enough, you can get a real bargain. My wife has gone for less than $10 roundtrip and when we all three went the tickets were so cheap that we purchased two different returns so that we'd have maximum flexibility (we weren't exactly sure how long we wanted to be in Chicago when we purchased the bus tickets).

Now, it's basically no frills - no station just a stop on the street, etc - you need to be sure you're there on time (I actually suggest early) and you need to be sure you check the details on the luggage allowance. We've never had a problem, but we've always made sure we followed their rules. I have seen people who exceeded the allowance allowed, but the driver gave a stern warning that it wouldn't always be the case.

The stop in Chicago is on a block adjacent to Union Station and the only thing I can think to add to that is that evidently Union Station is "strict" about not letting Megabus passengers hang out in the station (don't know how they enforce it, but that's what I've heard). So, if it's cold, raining, etc. that could be an issue.

That's the basics of what I can report. If you've got any specific questions, add them to this thread and I'll try to answer them.

Lastly, you might search this forum, I'm pretty certain the topic has come up in the past. Similarly, for general feedback on Megabus you might check the Chicago forum and/or the forums for other cities they service.

Hope this helps,

hlo

Edited: 10:31 am, September 07, 2012
Indianapolis...
Level Contributor
131 posts
59 reviews
2. Re: Megabus to Chicago

I've always had trouble seeing the value. I've checked several times for trips for my family of 4... over $200 roundtrip. If you're looking for a day trip, we always drive to Downers Grove and take the train into Union Station. Parking is free at the Downers Grove main street station. You'll avoid traffic downtown, and the kids love to ride the double decker train. If you go early enough, you can catch the express train going in and only be on the train for 20 minutes. Non-express route usually takes ~45 - 50 minutes. Train ticket runs around $8 - kids usually travel free on the weekends. If you're looking at a weekend, then megabus might be better, depending on the parking fees your chosen hotel will charge.

I personally have never seen $10 RT on megabus. Maybe it's a last minute thing - or maybe I'm doing something wrong on the website...

Chicago Suburbs
Level Contributor
2,773 posts
22 reviews
3. Re: Megabus to Chicago

Non-resident parking is restricted in Downers Grove

downers.us/res/…commuter-parking

Also, Downers Grove is way out of the way between Indianapolis and Chicago.

Indianapolis...
Level Contributor
131 posts
59 reviews
4. Re: Megabus to Chicago

From their site:

"Parking is free in commuter lots on weekdays after 11am, WEEKENDS, and on the following major holidays..."

Like I said - for a day trip, it's my favorite option.

DG is WAY better than trying to fight downtown traffic and parking. Plus it is a much more secure and safer neighborhood than other options. Sometimes other factors play a part. I'm not sure how 10 miles (per mapquest) translates into way out of the way, but the safety of the area is worth the extra 10 miles or so.

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
Level Contributor
6,839 posts
21 reviews
5. Re: Megabus to Chicago

As to cost of Megabus, the key is to buy your tickets as early as possible. Like airlines they have a number of seats on each bus at various prices. These can be as low as $1 although these (obviously?) go quick. if you can get these (and even a litte more expensive ones) the roundtrip cost can be less than the cost of gas one-way. Also there is a small ($1-2) fee, but as I remember this is fixed, not per ticket.

My experience has been that we can usually get tickets (roundtrip) in the $10-20 range (sometimes less if there are still $1 tickets). This still competitive with gas cost for a solo traveler, but less so when you start adding others . . . . As memory serves me the highest one-way price gets into the $20 range and at this price it can certainly often be cheaper to drive.

hlo

Chicago Suburbs
Level Contributor
2,773 posts
22 reviews
6. Re: Megabus to Chicago

10 miles from where to where?

Downers is over 20 miles from downtown Chicago.

If you wanted to park in a suburban Chicago Metra lot, you could try Tinley Park-30 miles closer to Indy than Downers. South Shore parking would be even easier.

Even with heinous Chicago traffic, you'll get to Chicago much, much faster from Indy if you just drive downtown.

Plenty of discounted parking on weekends.

Cali
Level Contributor
16 posts
7. Re: Megabus to Chicago

What are some safe parking options for leaving your car in downtown Indianapolis for 4 days while you take the Megabus to Chicago?

Cali
Level Contributor
16 posts
8. Re: Megabus to Chicago

Also, does anyone know any ways to find Megabus promotion codes for discounts?

I've done a little internet searching and have found many codes, but all of them well out of date.

Thanks for your help!

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
Level Contributor
6,839 posts
21 reviews
9. Re: Megabus to Chicago

Can't help you with the parking, but pretty sure if you scan or search the forum for "downtown parking" or something similar you should find a link to a(some downtown Indy organization, forget exactly what) webpage that lists all the downtown parking lots. What I'm not sure of is how many offer long-term parking and/or what the rates might be. Also, a Goggle of "downtown Indianapolis" might find the website I'm talking about.

Nor can I help you with Megabus discount codes. To be truthful, I've never heard of them and am a little skeptical (based on the fact that the fares are generally so low anyway). Now that I think about it seems like maybe there were some discounting when they entered the east coast market, but that's the only case of discounting of which I have *any* memory.

I suppose one option that might work would be to use long-term airport parking an then use airport/downtown transportation to get to the Megabus stop. I'm guessing the airport long-term parking might be as cheap or cheaper than anything you'll find downtown. Don't remember any details of airport to downtown transport options, but do know the airport website has this as a topic.

Now, the truth is that getting someone to give you a ride to/from catching Megabus is the best option; that's what we do.

Sorry I couldn't be more help,

hlo

Ellettsville...
Level Contributor
16 posts
132 reviews
10. Re: Megabus to Chicago

For parking options downtown try Denison Parking. They have several lots but not all offer overnight parking. I have checked a couple of their lots just to verify that 24 hour service means overnight parking, and that seems to be the case. You can also go on the Indianapolis Downtown Inc. website and get the list of all parking lots/garages with other companies lots included on a list for you to check out. A couple of the Dension lots are right across from the city-county building (AKA police station) so that is nice. Prices for the lots I checked ranged from $5.00 to $13.00 a day.