It had to happen: Kayak for cheapie shuttle buses.
New website Wanderu stops budget travelers from having to hunt through multiple sites for cheap bus fares. It grabs search results from a multitude of other sites—the back-end technology is a lot more complicated than you'd think—to bring bus options, including Megabus, Bolt Bus, Go Bus, DC2NY, and other modern shuttles, to a single search result.
If you're not familiar with these low-cost coach services, the savings can be spectacular. Although prices begin at $1, that rate is hard to snare since it requires extreme advance purchase. Rates more like $25 between Washington, DC, and New York or New York to Boston are more common. And the buses are surprisingly nice, many of them plush double-deckers with power outlets, free Wi-Fi (even if it's sometimes overstressed), and on-board lavatories.
Conveniently, Wanderu.com also has the brain to help travelers route themselves among several carriers, if need be. Trains are also tossed into the mix, although that nearly always raises the final cost.
Wanderu, like Busbud.com, is a price comparison machine intended for true budget travelers, who in America are often students, which is why it made its first splash earlier this year at the SXSW tech-and-music festival in Texas. It's also why its mobile version is particularly streamlined.
Pleasantly, you don't have to know the address of the stops, which change often in the low-cost bus world. Instead, you can either plug in the city pair you want (various stop options will show up in the list of results), or if you already know where the stops are, you can start your search at the specific stop you want to use.
Sometimes, Wanderu delivers you to your chosen bus company, such as Megabus.com, to complete your purchase, and other times, such as with Bolt Bus, it completes the transaction in-house.
It works with the carriers themselves to list their routes, and although its current territory is confined to the U.S. Northeast, from Virginia to Maine, there are plans to fan wider as the market grows.
We haven't had a chance to test Wanderu with a purchase yet. Have you? Does it work well for you?