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Orlando-Atlanta low-fare Megabus service begins, safety questioned

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ORLANDO, Fla.,None - The Megabus company started its new service Wednesday in Orlando, claiming fares as low as 50 cents.

The Megabus company is now offering three daily rides from Orlando to Atlanta with stops in Gainesville and Jacksonville. They're offering rides ranging from $0.50 to $30.

The bus picks up passengers in front of the Crown Plaza hotel in downtown Orlando, and fare to Atlanta could be less than the cost of taking the Lynx bus to the other side of town.

You can't beat what passenger Terrance Winters paid to ride this bus from Orlando to Atlanta.

"In today's economy, you can't beat what's going on right now," Winters said. "Fifty cents, you can't really complain."

The prices vary depending on how early the trip is booked, how many people are on the bus, and the date and time of the week.

To compare, taking the Megabus to Atlanta is a maximum of $30 per ticket. If you were to drive it yourself, it would cost more $60 in gas. Greyhound fares average about $75. And if you were to book an Airtran flight for tomorrow, it would cost more than $320.

But WFTV's Renee Stoll found out that some question the bus's safety, and after checking out the Megabus company on the web, some passengers said the savings isn't worth it.

On a Facebook page called "Reasons Megabus Sucks," a rider said "I've been robbed on the Megabus, I've had friends molested by other passengers on the bus, my bus has not shown up, buses breaking down."

"Molested? Off the top of my head, I don't see all the complaints that come through," Megabus representative Colin Emberson said. "Molested, I can't remember that off the top of my head. In terms of being robbed, it's very very infrequent."

Emberson said drivers always call dispatch if law enforcement is needed. One rider said Megabus may not be to blame.

"That can happen to any bus line. It could happen in the airport on an airplane," the rider said.

Megabus' safety rating is satisfactory with the federal government.

There were 130 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau last year. Greyhound Bus Lines had 546 complaints in the same timeframe.

However, Greyhound services more than 3,500 destinations, while Megabus serves only 50 in North America.