Our tickets ended up being $35 one-way. The price was $20 a piece when I first looked, and I've found tickets as low as $15 each way if you book far enough in advance. I'm just browsing through the site and see that tickets to St. Louis in September are $1 each. How can you beat that?!?
Our bus was scheduled to leave at 8:30pm. The bus ended up arriving at 8:30, but we pulled away only hardly even 10 minutes late. We were able to pack away our larger bags so we didn't have to cram them in the seats with us.
The buses are all double-decker buses and Laura and I had hoped to get the front row up top so we could look out. It didn't work out and we were kind of bummed. We ended up sitting in the first row behind the stairwell, so we got a little extra leg room (about 4 rows back from the front window). I am pretty glad we didn't sit any closer because even from our seats we could hear the millions of bugs hitting the windshield and it was gross. Make note to self-- reserve front row seats for daytime or winter only.
The bus was clean and well-maintained. We learned after we got on, that the buses are equipped with Wi-Fi, so next time I'll plan to bring my laptop. There was a bathroom on the bus and Laura said they didn't have toilet paper. Fortunately, I didn't need to use it.
We stopped once on the way to St. Louis (10ish) and then in St. Louis (1am) to pick up more riders headed up to Chicago. One last stop one the way to Chicago (3:30ish). We arrived in Chicago at 6:20am, which was 30 minutes earlier than the projected arrival time at 6:50. Laura and I headed over to a Panera for some bagels to wait for our cousin to arrive.
Laura in her hoodie and sweatpants (and still cold!) at our stop in the early morning
The experience overall was pretty decent. The bus was freezing (understatement). Every single person was complaining about it and several people even purchased the ugly $22 sweatshirts at the bus stop to keep warm. The driver said something along the lines of "better than not having it at all" and it sort of made me think he didn't really know how to work it. I used my pillow case as a blanket (as best I could!). And then there were these super annoying people behind me who thought it'd be super fabulous to have a get-to-know-you conversation at 4:00am. But other than that, I'd say it was pretty good! And really, you can't really beat the price.
It was super easy to purchase our tickets and way easy to board. Our luggage was unloaded in a matter of minutes. Other people we talked to (or overheard at 4am) mentioned using the bus regularly for a couple of years. Laura is already looking to take another bus up to Chicago and I'd love to schedule a time to go visit my brother- and sister-in-law in St. Louis. On our trip there were several young children (using car seats) so I will would feel comfortable bringing Jackson too!
For the record: I was not asked to give this review, nor did I receive any sort of compensation for this post.