Megabus shifting local operations Wednesday to Union Passenger Terminal _lowres

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING -- A Megabus waits on Florida Street near Third Street in Baton Rouge, on Oct. 23, 2013.

Megabus, the discount intercity bus company that has been operating from a makeshift bus stop at Elysian Fields and St. Claude avenues for many months, will switch Wednesday to the city-owned Union Passenger Terminal, 1001 Loyola Ave.

For passengers waiting for or getting off buses, the new station will mean air conditioning, seats, restrooms and easier connections to taxicabs or other local transportation options.

For some unhappy residents near the old stop, the change will mean an end to their complaints about problems such as litter, plus security concerns.

“This is a win-win for both the people of New Orleans and Megabus as it helps to ensure that passengers have a safe, convenient and enjoyable experience to and from New Orleans,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “UPT already features Amtrak, Greyhound and RTA bus and streetcar service, so this move adds another convenient transportation option for both residents and visitors.”

Megabus offers service from New Orleans to Atlanta; Baton Rouge; Houston; San Antonio; Mobile and Montgomery, Alabama; and Orlando, Gainesville and Tallahassee, Florida.

The New Orleans Building Corp., which manages the UPT for the city, and Megabus entered into a lease agreement last month for the company to move its operations to the central terminal.

The lease permits Megabus to operate two bus bays for 12 months, paying an annual rent of $70,000.

The NOBC has the right to terminate the lease if Megabus is found to be operating outside the terms of its lease.

Since launching in April 2006, the company’s website says, Megabus has served more than 40 million customers throughout more than 120 cities across North America.