Megabus from Durham to DC and Back for the New Year

 When Megabus announced their southern expansion, it provided my roommate and I an excuse to visit one of our old college friends up in DC for an affordable price, and the ability to completely avoid driving.  Most cities, I avoid driving.  However, I drove into DC once a few years ago, and vowed never again.   Until now my options were driving (incredibly annoying, and can be expensive with the hotel stays), train (surprisingly slow because of all the stops), or a flight (incredibly expensive).

For two people booking what ended up being a fairly crowded bus, we paid $44.50 for the entire trip.  While this is not the best pricing on them, it was the best for going up on the holiday leaving on New Years Eve and returning on Jan. 3.

The stop in Durham is actually easy to find, as it is directly behind the big transit depot in Durham which allows for you to get to anywhere in Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill without having to use a vehicle to get there (meaning you can get to RDU easily if you are positioning for a mileage run from there because of any new double EQM offers).  The catch is that you are waiting on the side of this back road, and if you are familiar with the reputation of Durham (Used to be Murder City USA), you may not feel comfortable waiting on the early morning departure.

As for the trip, it was comfortable, there was enough room on the bus so that neither of us was in extreme pain (My roommate is 6'1 and I am 6'5) and there were hooks on the back of the seat which I was able to hang my lunchbag of snacks for the trip.  Wi-Fi did not work when we were departing Durham, so I just ignored it and spent the leg to Richmond watching videos on my laptop and the leg to DC just chatting with my roommate.  I did see after Richmond that people were getting on the Wi-Fi so I know it did eventually work on this leg.  With a 20 minute stop in Richmond, we arrived exactly on time.

The grand benefit of Megabus is that in DC it drops you off 3 blocks from Metro Center Station and 2 blocks from Chinatown and right across the street from the Embassy Suites Convention Center, Grand Hyatt, and Renaissance hotel.  Below is the view of the Embassy Suites Convention Center where we spent two nights (and a review is coming).

The trip back was fairly straightforward.  The main issue is that the representative at the "terminal was doing a poor job of directing people to the correct line and there were no signs so there were many people who had no clue which line to get in for their destination. This time we did try the internet.  First, it is extremely slow even when functional in DC.  Generally, I would recommend that if you want to do work with the internet, do not do so until you exit the district.  Also, the internet was spotty along 85 in Virginia which tells me where they have focused their contracts.  Even with a 30 minute stop in Richmond, we arrived 40 minutes ahead of time.

Would I take megabus again?  Yes.  However, I'm not planning on internet, and will continue to arrive extra early at the DC complex.  Based on the load factor, I could see the expansion south continuing (but then I'm in a major University area, with UNC, Duke, NC State, plus the smaller institutions in the area).   It's cheap, easy, and they don't try to sell that it is real luxury.  Plus at the price, it is hard to argue with economy plus legroom plus the stop to use a real restroom and stretch.  


Christina January 14, 2011 at 09:44 am

Is there a safe place to park your car near the Durham Megabus stop?

Nick January 14, 2011 at 01:16 pm

Yes, there is a parking deck right next door, and the Amtrak station is a few blocks from the terminal. This stop is in the section of Durham that has been revitalized, and is immediately behind the Durham Station bus transit center.

Christina January 19, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Is that the American Tobacco North Deck that you are talking about? I was told that there is no overnight parking allowed there...

There is a city deck at Corcoran and Ramseur and that is about 3 blocks away. Do you think it is safe to walk that distance at 3 AM in the morning?

Nick January 20, 2011 at 03:06 am

I am not that familiar with the Durham parking situation, just going by what I saw. I believe you will be fine at 3AM, since it is the section they have cleaned up.

Depending on where you are coming from, you may want to just consider a cab, as fares are reasonable (and possibly cheaper than parking) if you are coming from Durham or Chapel Hill.

MAYA October 23, 2012 at 11:34 am

ok is there a closer deck to park at so you dont have walk those 3 blocks or so ?

Sunny Leake July 31, 2013 at 09:17 am

Does anyone know the exact Megabus drop off address in Durham ,NC?