Just two months after Greyhound Canada shut down, another bus service is looking to fill in some of the gaps left behind in southwestern Ontario.
Starting Thursday, Megabus will begin offering a route between London and downtown Toronto.
The route will operate seven days a week with the bus company offering two trips per day in each direction.
Colin Emberson, vice-president of retail for Megabus, says the route was prompted by Greyhound Canada’s departure from the country’s bus industry in May.
“Just around the same time, we had introduced a new service from Toronto to Ottawa and through our marketing and all of our customer communications, the one city that, loud and clear, needed service was London,” Emberson said, adding that Badder Bus will serve as an operating partner for the route.
The new route will pick up and drop off passengers in London at the Flying J Travel Center on Highbury Avenue South. Pickup and drop-off in Toronto will take place at Union Station.
One-way trips start at $24.99, which adds up to more than $60 for a round trip when factoring in taxes, booking fees and potential fees for reserving seats.
“To start on Thursday, it will be two trips from London to Toronto, one early in the morning, one midday, and then two trips returning from Toronto, one midday, one in the afternoon,” Emberson said, adding that Megabus hopes to expand service in the future.
“We would certainly look to build up the frequency and we’re just looking at where else makes sense… Is there anywhere between the two that we should be stopping or is there anywhere beyond the two that we should be stopping?”
To accommodate health protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Megabus says it will offer socially distanced seating and mandate masking on board, and plans to conduct “enhanced cleaning” on buses.
Emberson added that Megabus is already receiving a good response to the new service.
“Obviously, it’s a bit short notice to go this weekend, but it will build up,” Emberson said.
“Come fall time especially, I think the student population is key as they return.”