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I am in Cedar Rapids and planning to travel to Chicago.

When I checked online at megabus.com I did not see any buses departing from Cedar Rapids. I only saw some buses departing from Iowa City. I think I can get a ride to Iowa City.

I want to return from Chicago on Monday. But the bus timings of megabus.com are not convenient. I am looking to start around late noon on Monday. megabus.com has buses departing from Chicago at 6 AM in the morning or 9:30PM. Both the timings are not very convenient.

Can you suggest any way to travel from Chicago to Cedar Rapids? I want to return to Cedar Rapids at a time wherein I can get a bus back to my room or I can ask my friends for a ride.

  • Greyhound will sell you a ticket, but it's actually Trailways. Same issue as Megabus in Chicago, either leave at 6AM or in the evening and arrive the noon the next day. The overnight trip takes 13 hrs because it goes to Des Moines, then backtracks. – mkennedy Sep 9 '15 at 22:51
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    You should travel to/from Iowa City, and take a taxi or get a ride to Cedar Rapids. This will give you several more options, and the bus fare is much cheaper, offsetting the cost of a taxi. – Michael Hampton Sep 10 '15 at 4:25
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    Or if you can find a last minute cheap fare, consider flying CID-ORD. I see round trips from $167 on Skyscanner. – Michael Hampton Sep 10 '15 at 4:41
  • @mkennedy That itinerary is completely absurd, too. It would be like going from Riverside to San Bernardino via Los Angeles. – Michael Hampton Sep 10 '15 at 9:08
  • @MichaelHampton 167$ when Megabus tickets start at 1$ and are frequently under 20$, is mostly an option for people who consider their time a lot more valuable than their money. – gerrit Sep 10 '15 at 9:26
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It might be possible to do this by bus, but neither the Greyhound nor Burlington Trailways websites will show the itinerary as valid, since it requires literally a zero minute connection in Iowa City, and you have a very high risk of missing the connection.

This unbookable itinerary starts with BTW schedule 1205 in Chicago, leaving at 11:00 am and arriving in Iowa City at 3:50 pm. You would then be required to transfer to another bus, BTW schedule 1490, which is scheduled to depart Iowa City at exactly that time, 3:50 pm, arriving at CID at 4:30 pm. Making such a connection is a crapshoot at best, which is why the web site does not offer it.

In order to attempt this at all, you would need to buy separate tickets for each part of the itinerary, Chicago-Iowa City, and Iowa City-Cedar Rapids, and in advance. You probably won't have time at Iowa City's bus station to do it. You are also taking the chance that your bus from Chicago will be on time, which from experience I would say is unlikely. The connecting bus, coming as it is from downstate Illinois, is much more likely to be on time, and you are that much more likely to miss it.


My current advice is to take the Greyhound/Trailways/Megabus from Chicago direct to Iowa City, and then get the new 380 Express bus (currently $3.50 one way) to Cedar Rapids. Thanks to Carl from Busbud for pointing out this new service.

My advice to you would be to start and end your bus journey in Iowa City, and get a ride from your friends or a taxi (about $40 plus tip each way) to and from Cedar Rapids. You can buy the bus tickets online at greyhound.com, burlingtontrailways.com, or at the Burlington Trailways counter at the Eastern Iowa Airport (even if you start/end at Iowa City). Speaking of which, you might also consider flying; last minute deals for CID-ORD round trips can be had if you search.

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    From my personal experience, despite the bus connection sucking, it's actually on time quite usually. I've done it many times. Traffic out of Chicago is very bad, but the timetable has considerable waits later on and it often catches up by the time it reaches Iowa City. – gerrit Sep 10 '15 at 9:34
  • Even if the bus does catch up, it's still quite risky. It was much nicer when Greyhound still ran its own buses through Iowa... – Michael Hampton Sep 10 '15 at 9:51
  • I agree, I would not recommend it and I agree with your advice, although 40$ sounds too cheap, considering that a shared taxi from Iowa City to CID is some 75$ round trip. To amend your final paragraph, I would take a local bus from Cedar Rapids to CID (there are many), then use the shared airport shuttle to Iowa City. Shared taxi ought to be cheaper than a regular taxi. – gerrit Sep 10 '15 at 9:53
  • @gerrit I was quoting a one way price. Yellow Cab gave me $38, Marco's said $40, I stopped there. – Michael Hampton Sep 10 '15 at 9:55
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    Well, my personal experiences are that I have friends who will give me a ride all the way from Cedar Rapids to MLI and back, so I have only had to take a taxi in Iowa City when stumbling home from the bars... :) – Michael Hampton Sep 10 '15 at 9:58
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You're likely best off getting yourself to Iowa City or Coralville and taking the bus there, especially on the return trip.

Buses from Cedar Rapids

Burlington Trailways has three daily buses from Cedar Rapids to Chicago: one via Dubuque, one with a change in Iowa City and one via Iowa City. Unfortunately their returns depart Chicago around 6am and are very slow.

It might also be inconvenient that the Cedar Rapids Trailways stop location is at the airport.

Buses from Iowa City and Coralville

There are more frequent and direct buses to Iowa City, often at lower fares.

You can now take the 380 Express bus for a $3.50 between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City on weekday mornings through early evenings. At other times, a Taxi may cost you upwards of $45.

Trailways has more frequent and direct buses to Chicago from downtown Iowa City than from Cedar Rapids.

Megabus serves Coralville instead of Iowa City which is also served by the 380 bus. If you do have to wait long you'll have way fewer amenities nearby than you would in downtown Iowa City.

  • As the user originally noted in his question, the Megabus schedules are equally inconvenient. As for the Cedar Rapids airport, the buses used to stop at the Ground Transportation Center downtown but got moved out to the airport after the 2008 flood. – Michael Hampton Sep 24 '15 at 19:35
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    Oooo, that 380 Express looks really nice. It's long past time the area got a bus like that. Only wish it also stopped at the airport. – Michael Hampton Jan 29 at 1:36
  • Indeed it's "temporary" for the construction period on the corridor but hoping that's just an initial funding thing. – Carl Jan 29 at 1:41

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