Flint, MI—This week, national bus company Megabus announced a new partnership with Michigan’s Indian Trails, but Flint’s transit riders shouldn’t expect any big blue buses driving into town just yet.

“We’re merging networks,” said Chad Cushman, president of Indian Trails, Michigan’s largest bus company. “And this is kind of a two-phased effort.”

Phase one, Cushman explained, is simply authorizing Megabus to sell Indian Trails’ schedules on their platform, so Indian Trails will still be operating the buses now tied to Megabus connection points.

So, he said, if riders go to the new Flint stop listed on Megabus.com (1407 S. Dort Highway) they will still see Indian Trails logos rather than Megabus’ signature blue buses.

Megabus announced a partnership with Michigan’s Indian Trails bus service on March 27, 2023. The partnership will soon allow Flint riders to book trips from either Megabus’ or Indian Trails’ website for connections between the two services. (Photo courtesy Megabus)

Phase two, Cushman added, is to make the booking experience more seamless, meaning Flint riders, or riders originating from one of the other 89 cities Indian Trails serves, will be able to book their journey start-to-finish on either bus service’s platform.

“We want to truly interline with them,” Cushman said of Megabus. “Which means you would be able to buy tickets on our web store or their web store for service, either starting on our lines or ending on our lines, connecting with their schedules. That’s ultimately what we’re working towards.”

Ticketing for Flint riders through Megabus is already available, with rides scheduled through the site set to begin on April 3. As of press time, a ticket from Flint to Detroit for next week is $14, a ticket from Flint to Bay City is $11 and a ticket from Flint to Lansing is $12.

“Our fares will not change,” Cushman said, though he added that Indian Trails does not “control the fares on any schedules” operated by Megabus. 

Indian Trails’ Flint location, 1407 S. Dort Highway, on March 30, 2023. (Kate Stockrahm | Flint Beat)

Cushman noted that his company’s agreement with Megabus became necessary after another national bus service, Greyhound, terminated its interlining contract with Indian Trails in the fall of 2022, following Greyhound’s purchase by Flix SE, a Germany-based company, in 2021.

He called the partnership with Megabus “a long-term replacement” to the interlining relationship Indian Trails previously had with Greyhound, and wanted to underscore for Indian Trails’ current and future riders that nothing about their experience should change other than gaining multiple booking options.

“I want to be sure that there’s no big expectation that there’s all this new service that’s coming to Flint,” Cushman said. “It’s still the existing Indian Trail schedules that have always operated in and out of Flint. It’s just now people can buy tickets to connect with Megabus schedules from the Megabus website.”

Cushman noted that the next phase of the partnership should be rolled out in the “near future,” so Flint riders will be able to book their Megabus connections through Indian Trails’ site within the next few months, as well.

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....

2 replies on “What Indian Trails’ new Megabus partnership means for Flint’s intercity bus riders”

    1. Hey Daryl! Thank you for reading and for your feedback. Interlining is basically just another term for route sharing. So in this case a passenger may take an Indian Trails bus out of Flint, but book that route through Megabus. The partnership also means that (soon) passengers will also be able to book trips through Indian Trails that interline with Megabus routes, too.

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