Traveling in the US by bus is one of the best ways to discover the unrivalled scenic gems its regions have to offer – something you’ll definitely miss if you take the plane. With plenty of paved roads and highways that are perfect for creating the ideal road trip, not only is the bus a greener, more flexible alternative, but it’s also the least expensive way to visit the entire country. View our Ultimate Guide to Bus Travel in the US to discover more travel tips.
The legendary $1 bus ticket. Everyone has heard about it but seldom have gotten the golden opportunity to see it in person. With only 0.59% of the searches on Busbud showing a $1 ticket, you feel like Santa and the Red M&M in the classic “They do exist” ad whenever you see one.
$1 bus tickets actually do exist
At Busbud, we have the largest inventory of bus tickets in the world and we know bus tickets better than anyone. So we crunched some of our data and see if we could discover the elusive secret to the one dollar ticket. Here’s a graph showing how frequently $1 bus tickets are available to you based on the amount of days in advance you book your ticket:
This data is pulled from over a million departures we serve every week on the Busbud platform. As our research demonstrates, the probability of finding a $1 bus ticket increases when you search a month in advance, hovering near the 4% mark when you search 31 days in advance, and reaches its peak with around the 90 day mark. The data becomes less reliable between 90 and 120 days as fewer people search that far in advance.
The 31 day peak seemed odd enough to investigate more. We analyzed the patterns for each operator and found something noteworthy with Greyhound, one of the largest bus operators in the world. Greyhound indeed offers a few $1 bus tickets, but surprisingly, these tickets are provided only 31 days in advance, not any further.
The analysis indicates that the best time to look for a $1 Greyhound ticket is by searching 31 days in advance at the earliest. The data shows that 6.85% of users discovered a $1 ticket. Search too much in advance, and you’ll have no shot whatsoever at getting the $1 ticket.
Now, which day of the week will give travelers the best chance at landing on the $1 bus ticket? The answer is clear when looking at our data.
There are more $1 bus tickets available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays than there are on Fridays and over the weekend. Why is that? On average (orange line), more people travel over the weekend. Obviously, if you’re running a bus company, you’d want to sell those sought-after seats at your regular price rather than at a discounted price. The key takeaway here? Search for bus tickets leaving your city on Tuesday or Wednesday as this will slightly increase your odds at getting the UNO ($1 ticket).
$1 tickets are scarce but somewhat predictable. You can definitely plan one month ahead and hope to find the golden ticket, but this isn’t an efficient use of your time.
This is where Busbud comes into the picture and makes you feel as good as after you’ve eaten anything with Nutella on it.
The Dollar Bus Club
Busbud is officially launching the Dollar Bus Club: $1 Bus Tickets, All in One Place.
How it works
Whenever a traveler searches on Busbud and gets results offering a $/£/€1 ticket, an alert is triggered in our database. If the same person doesn’t buy the ticket within the next ten minutes, we automatically announce the availability of the coveted ticket on Twitter via the @DollarBusClub account.
Why do this?
After doing our research, we realized that there are a lot more $1 bus tickets available than we imagined. Busbud users found 446 different $1 routes in the last month alone! Out of the 446 routes, 43 of them were leaving from Canada, 123 were leaving from the United States and 280 were in Europe. We also found a few in Mexico and Brazil but decided not to include them because these departures are not actually discounted, but rather really cheap bus tickets to begin with. Here’s a breakdown of the number of $1 bus routes per country that were available on Busbud.
What are the best deals?
How much of a deal are $1 bus tickets in the first place? We selected a couple of routes with an impressive gap between the $1 bus ticket and their average and maximum prices. If you were to find a $1 bus ticket for these routes, you’d be saving a TON of money.
Which companies are offering $1 bus tickets?
No big surprises here, Megabus, Greyhound, Peter Pan Bus Lines and Student Agency offer $1 bus tickets. You’ll also find operators such as Citylink (Megabus) and BoltBus (Greyhound) offering the coveted tickets.
Email alerts per city
“But Busbud, if I live in Des Moines, Iowa… I don’t care if there’s a $1 bus ticket available from Glasgow to Edinburgh.”
And that’s a Kevin-Spacey-in-House-of-Cards-legit point you’re making. You can simply sign up to receive Dollar Bus Club email alerts whenever a $1 bus ticket becomes available in your city or any city you wish to receive Dollar Bus Club alerts.