After key role in ‘bus renaissance,’ Megabus files for bankruptcy

The parent company of Megabus, once a popular go-to transportation option for college students in the Chicago region, has filed for bankruptcy.

The slump in ridership amid COVID-19 created a hole the business couldn’t climb out of, said executives with Coach USA, Megabus’ owner.

“As we move through this process, our top priority remains safely carrying the millions of passengers who choose our buses each year,” Coach USA CEO Derrick Waters said in a statement June 11 after announcing the move.

Known for shuttling college students to the Chicago region. Megabus’ parent company recently filed for bankruptcy.
Associated Press

Transportation expert Joseph Schwieterman noted that “Chicago is a major part of Megabus story. The carrier launched its service in the U.S. here, from a curb next to Union Station, in 2006. This started a dramatic renaissance in intercity bus travel.

“Megabus has fallen victim to brutal competition in the post-pandemic market, which has seen FlixBus muscle its way onto most major routes,” added Schwieterman, a DePaul University professor.

Megabus, which used to offer cheap fares from the Chicago area to multiple destinations, scaled back significantly in the region several years ago.

“The good news is that Megabus’ service will likely continue under a different ownership structure. Many carriers are now selling their service on to capitalize on Megabus’ favorable image among customers,” Schwieterman said.

During the Chapter 11 proceedings, Coach USA will operate normally, officials said. The court will supervise potential sales of company assets, and “once completed, these proposed transactions will preserve thousands of jobs,” officials said.

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