By Linda Zavoral
The California bus wars will heat up Oct. 31 when BoltBus starts making runs between the Bay Area and Southern California.
BoltBus, a subsidiary of Greyhound, will hit the highways with such extras as free Wi-Fi and power outlets, leather seats and added legroom -- the amenities for which competitor MegaBus is also known. Greyhound has also added all of those amenities to its Express buses in California.
BoltBus and MegaBus will battle it out in the "premium discount" category, in which lower fares are made possible because of curbside pickups, with customers typically buying tickets online instead of from an employee at a ticket window.
Fares will be adjusted according to demand, a BoltBus representative said, and lower fares will go to those who book a week or two out. Some introductory $1 fares are still available for the initial runs Oct. 31-Nov. 3; after that, a single $1 fare will be offered on each run at random.
Three roundtrips will be offered on weekdays, with additional runs on weekends.
Curbside pickups for BoltBus passengers will be made at the Diridon Station, 75 Cahill St., San Jose, and the West Oakland BART Station on Seventh Street. The routes end at Union Station in Los Angeles.
Walkup tickets may be purchased from the driver before boarding, but those seats will go for full fare. All tickets are nonrefundable.
BoltBus launched on the East Coast in 2008. MegaBus started in the United Kingdom nearly a decade ago and added its first U.S. routes, in the Midwest, in 2006.
To check the schedule and buy tickets, go to www.boltbus.com.