VALDOSTA — Mariah Price stood at the curbside waiting for the bus Wednesday. As she spoke, her daughter, 18-month-old Laniah Evans, worked on a sippy cup in a stroller.
"I'm headed to Atlanta to visit family, and to take my baby to the zoo," Price said.
The curbside was at the James H. Rainwater Conference Center, and the pair were waiting for the inaugural trip out of Valdosta by Megabus.
The New Jersey-based transportation company offers daily trips both ways between Valdosta, Atlanta, Gainesville and Orlando, Fla. Megabus' national network offers service to 150 destinations.
The company’s buses depart and arrive daily at the Conference Center, 25 Meeting Place, at the east entrance. Atlanta and Gainesville buses will leave 11:15 a.m., while buses for Orlando will leave 11:35 a.m., according to a corporate statement.
Price said the cost of the ticket was a big plus.
"Greyhound wanted $150 round-trip for me and Laniah," she said. "Megabus charged me $16."
The company was offering some promotional fares through October; Bryony Chamberlain, company vice president, said regular fares from Valdosta to Atlanta should be about $25, and to Orlando “max around $25-30.”
Some would-be travelers showed up at the conference center Wednesday without tickets, unaware that all seats have to be purchased online (megabus.com).
Price boarded the double-decker bus and chose seats for herself and Laniah — who was in a car safety carrier — on the top deck.
"The view's great," she said.
Megabus says its buses are equipped with reclining seats, wi-fi, power plug-ins for portable devices and onboard toilets.
Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.