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Megabus to halt service in L.A.

Low fares fail to attract enough riders to continue operations.

May 17, 2008|Andrea Chang | Times Staff Writer

Bargain bus service Megabus, which touted fares as low as $1, said Friday that it would pull out of Los Angeles because of low ridership.

The decision to shut down the hub, which was expected, came less than a year after Megabus began service from Los Angeles to cities including San Francisco and Las Vegas.

"Our approach has been to go into different markets and give it a shot and see how they'll develop," said Megabus President Dale Moser. "If they develop quickly, we'll certainly sustain it. But in this case, the ridership trends aren't growing enough."

Megabus, a subsidiary of Coach USA, will end its service from Los Angeles to San Francisco and Oakland after June 22, and from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, San Jose and Millbrae, Calif., a few weeks earlier, Moser said.

Earlier this year, Megabus halted its service from Los Angeles to San Diego and Phoenix.

Despite spending "thousands of dollars" in advertising, Moser said, the 56-seat buses would sometimes pull out of Los Angeles with as few as 12 riders.

Meanwhile, the service is taking off in the Midwest, where Megabus serves 17 cities and has seen its business increase 137% during the last year, he said.

"We're disappointed too," Moser said. "It doesn't mean at a later date we won't revisit bringing the service back."

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andrea.chang@latimes.com

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