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Travel to San Francisco Nonstop for $1

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No, it's not some crazy Southwest or Virgin deal. This is the Magic Bus as the LA Times calls it.

A new nonstop line will roll into Los Angeles next week, serving seven cities with a handful of fares as low as $1. Megabus, a subsidiary of Coach USA, will carry passengers from L.A. to San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Las Vegas, San Diego and Phoenix. The fleet will follow routes well served by airlines and Greyhound buses and well traveled by motorists.

To get that low $1 fare (okay, there's a 50-cent booking fee), you need to book way in advance. Otherwise, you're looking at $38.50 per leg (Vegas for $34.50). Competitors Greyhound have similar fees while California Shuttle Bus charges $45.00 each way (for $60, you can get an "upgraded" service with the seat next to you guaranteed to be empty). By Amtrak's Coast Starlight, one leg can be $53 to Oakland (and the trip is around 10 hours. But hey, it's one of the most beautiful train routes and there's a bar!).

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Many might say the airlines are just as cheap, yet faster. True. That is if you book in advance; otherwise airline prices can run a bit heftier. If you're one of those fly by the seat of your pants types and decide a San Francisco trip is in order this Wednesday, one of these bus companies might be for you.

Online sales for the new Megabus service begin Thursday. So rush, rush, rush to be first online to grab a $1 seat.

Photo by Steve Deger via Flickr