I've lamented previously on the blog about how truly awful intercity transportation is out here on the West Coast. Trains are daily, if you're lucky, and Greyhound has its limits. The quirky and cheap Chinatown lines that ply their trade between every Northeastern city do exist here in CA, but as only a pale shadow of their Yankee cousins. And if you're car-free and want to visit some of the vast natural wonders that dot our region? You can do Yosemite with a little planning, or buy an expensive package deal with the Grand Canyon Railway, but that's about it.
So imagine my surprise when I put in an LA-SF itinerary in Google Transit (to take a look at the route of the Coast Starlight, and its relation to the coast) and Google spit out a handful of bus trips as well! The service was labeled as "Los Angeles to San Francisco," and Google said it was provided by Bundu Bus. Of course, I clicked on the link.
It seems that a tour operator, Bundu Bashers, has started providing bus service between major cities in the West and- this is the amazing part- the various national parks in the region. They serve Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Arches, Monument Valley, and even Yellowstone. They say that their full system only operates during the summer travel season (April 15-September 30), but even their reduced system serves all those places above, along with Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Phoenix. Fare is $52 LA-SF, which is in line with what you'll pay on Amtrak, but the trip is somewhat quicker.
One of their better deals, which I'm suddenly terribly interested in, is the "Hop-On Hop-Off" pass, providing unlimited travel on their system for 4, 7, 14 or 30 days. I may just spend some time soon flitting about the southwest on Bundu Bus. It's also really cool to see places like West Yellowstone, MT on Google Transit.
Downtown LA terminal is at 8th/Maple. Take the Metro 733 from Chavez/Alameda to 8th/Main, walk east one block and south one block.