Frequently Asked Questions


What steps are you taking in relation to COVID-19?

  • As of Monday, June 15, passengers will be required to wear a facial covering in situations where social distancing is not possible. This includes while waiting in line, during the boarding process, when moving around the bus, and when getting off the bus. We encourage everyone to wear a mask throughout the duration of the trip. 
  • We have reduced the available number of seats on our vehicles to give our drivers and customers more personal space and ensure an empty seat next to each customer.
  • We have been and will continue to wash and wipe down all of our buses on a daily basis. 
  • We are providing individual hand sanitizers to all of our employees.
  • Disinfectant wipes will be placed on all buses so that high traffic areas, hand rails and hard surfaces can be wiped down regularly.
  • Disinfectant wipes will be made available in common work areas in every depot and office so that all door knobs, and hard surfaces can be wiped down regularly.
  • While en route with passengers, all efforts will be made to allow as much fresh air as possible into the bus. 

Are all passengers required to wear a facial covering?

Yes.  Customers on all trips will be required to wear facial coverings in situations where social distancing is not possible from Monday, May 18th onwards.  These situations include while waiting in line, during the boarding process, when moving around the bus, and when getting off the bus.  We encourage customers to wear their facial coverings through the duration of the trip. 

Will you provide me with a facial covering if I do not have one?

Customers will be required to bring their own facial covering for their trip.  If you don’t have one, please visit the CDC’s website here for instructions on how to create your own.

Booking Bus Tickets Online

What forms of payment do you accept?

When buying your bus ticket online, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, JCB, and Discover on our website.

When I buy my bus ticket online, is it a reservation?

There are no reservations.  What you are buying online is an open bus ticket on any of our scheduled buses on the date(s) selected.  The time that you select is an INTENDED time of travel, but this is for our planning purposes only.  We understand that your plans may get changed due to factors outside of your control.  We understand that, and will accommodate you to your destination.  Here’s how it works.  The online bus ticket guarantees the holder transportation to the designated destination; it does not guarantee a reservation on a specific bus. We anticipate high travel volume periods and allocate additional resources accordingly. However we cannot be responsible for factors totally beyond our control. If there is an unexpected surge in ridership and a certain bus fills up, passengers are accommodated as expeditiously as possible.  Your shuttle bus ticket is valid for travel 3 days before your selected date and 180 days after the selected date of travel. 

Do you run the same schedule every day—even holidays? 

Yes, we run the same schedule every day of the year—even holidays.  It is precisely on these days that we often run additional buses on the listed departures.

Whose name do I put in the “NAME” field (the buyer or the traveler) in the event these are different?

When booking your bus ticket, enter either the name of the traveler, or the contact person on the order.  Note this is also the person whom we would contact in the event of a service disruption. 

I have booked my bus ticket online but I didn’t receive my ticket in my email, what do I do? 

Send us an email at if in advance of the travel date and we will verify that the email was entered correctly, and we will resend you the ticket.  During business hours you may call 800-747-0994 for assistance.

Is smoking or drinking allowed aboard your vehicles?

For the health and safety of our passengers and drivers, smoking is not allowed on any of our vehicles. Smoking of e-cigarettes is not permitted in our facilities (e.g., bus and rail stations) or on our public transport services. The consumption of alcohol is also prohibited.  When you book your ticket online, you are expected to abide by these rules. 

How close to schedule do the buses run?

We strive for on time performance and reliability while providing safe, professional, and courteous service. Occasionally there can be delays caused by traffic or weather. Please choose a bus schedule that permits ample time to for unforeseen delays. Weather, traffic flow, and other factors may affect operating conditions.  Due to these circumstances, passengers are advised to allow additional time during bad weather conditions or during highway construction periods. Schedules are subject to change without notice.

How do I determine which departure I should choose?

When booking your ticket online, you will be prompted to select an anticipated time of travel. The airlines recommend that you arrive at the airport at least two (2) hours prior to any domestic departure time, three (3) hours prior to any international departure time. Arrival at Amtrak should be at least one hour prior to departure time. Allow additional time during bad weather conditions or during highway construction periods. We are not responsible for errors in schedule, damage suffered from late arrivals, failure to make connections, or situations beyond our control.

How early should I arrive at the bus?

Ten minutes ahead of the departure time is usually sufficient, except during peak travel times when additional time is necessary to load. At our intermediate stops, buses will often pull up at the departure time, immediately load and depart.

After I book my ticket online, do I get a digital or printed ticket?

We encourage you to bring your digital, online bus ticket. We can scan your smart phone or tablet at the bus.  Printing your bus ticket is no longer required.

Can I use my ticket on another date or at another time if my flight is late or is canceled?

You are prompted to select an anticipated date and time of travel when booking a bus ticket online for planning purposes. However, due to the unpredictable nature of airline and train connections, tickets may be redeemed up to 180 days from the selected date of travel.

What if I lose my ticket or can't find my online bus ticket? Can the driver look up my booking?

Drivers and agents do not have the ability to look up bus ticket bookings online. The customer must keep their ticket safe and secure as replacements for lost tickets will not be issued. The customer must present their ticket to board vehicles. The ticket remains the property of the company and must be produced for inspection and, if requested to do so, be surrendered upon demand to an authorized company official. The customer will not be permitted to use Van Galder Bus/Coach USA services without a valid ticket.

Can I get a refund?

All sales are final.  All bus tickets purchased online or in person are non-refundable except in circumstances where Van Galder fails to provide service due to matters under its normal control.  Van Galder will make every effort to operate posted schedules.  However delays may occur from time to time due to traffic congestion and other unforeseen circumstances. Van Galder is only responsible for a maximum of your ticket purchased.  Carrier will not be responsible for any ticket, or portion of, that is lost, stolen, misplaced, etc., by the passenger after purchase. 

My plans changed and I need to go to a different destination. Can I change my ticket?

Customers may use the value of their ticket for travel to another destination served by Van Galder provided the cost is less than the value of the held ticket. There is no cash value and the difference will not be refunded. If the different destination has a higher cost than the held ticket value, customers may pay the difference towards the regular full-fare one-way price for each travel leg.

At what age are my children eligible for a discount?

All children, 16 years and under traveling with an adult, require a ticket for travel. Discounted child fares are available for up to three children 16 years old and under, with each adult fare purchased.  If there are more than three children traveling with one adult, each child thereafter shall pay the full fare.   

How old does my child have to be in order to travel alone?

Unaccompanied Minors Policy

To insure the safety of our young passengers, Van Galder Bus has the following policy regarding unaccompanied minors riding the bus:

  • Children 12 and under MUST be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Children 13-16 will be allowed to ride under the following conditions:

- The parent must be present to purchase the ticket

- Emergency contact information must be provided

- The name and phone number of the person meeting the child must be provided to the driver

- If no one is there to meet the child, the authorities will be contacted.

Those who are 17 and older may be asked to provide identification. If no identification is available, the driver has the right to refuse transportation. For questions, please contact our office.

What other discounts are available?

Student Discounts

UW Madison Students, Memorial Union Members, Edgewood Students, & MATC Students: $48.00 round-trip tickets ONLY to O'Hare and downtown Chicago. Valid ID is required for purchase and use. Student discount tickets are exclusively sold at the Wisconsin Union Theatre Box Office, inside the UW Memorial Union (608) 265-2787.  You must present your ID to the agent or driver at time of use.

Beloit College Students with a valid ID, may purchase $46.00 round-trip tickets ONLY to O'Hare and downtown Chicago at the Beloit College Campus Center.  Valid ID must be presented to driver or agent at time of use.


10-ride ticket packs are available when booking bus tickets online.  You will be issued a barcode that is good for ten one-way rides between the locations selected.  The website will ask for a date of travel, this is the date on which you want the tickets to be effective.  The tickets are valid for 180 days from this date. 

Other discounts available for frequent travelers:   Contact the office for information on larger quantities including group and commuter packages.  Please contact the office in advance for group travel, so we may better accommodate you.  800-747-0994

20 rides between Janesville and Madison                      $140

40 rides between Janesville and Madison                      $280

130 rides between Janesville and Madison                    $780

130 rides between South Beloit and Madison                $910

130 rides between Rockford and Madison                      $1170


Will I have to transfer buses? And how will I know?

Passengers traveling on our downtown Chicago/Midway routes may need to change buses. You may ask your driver if a transfer will be necessary. These are direct transfers from one bus to another, designed for the most efficient use of our resources.

Can you accommodate a wheelchair?

Van Galder Bus/Coach USA is fully ADA compliant and welcomes all customers. We are committed to providing safe, comfortable, and accessible transportation services to those with special requirements.  In order to best serve you, please contact us with any special needs you may have in advance of your trip. 

Are pets allowed?

No animals are allowed, including anything in a carrier or a tank, with the exception of trained service animals that allow customers with disabilities to perform necessary activities.  Service animals must be properly harnessed and under the direct control of the customer at all times.  Please refer to the following link for more information on service animals:

What is the baggage policy?

Up to two bags and one carry-on per person will be transported at owner's risk. Additional bags or boxes will be charged at $10.00 each. Each bicycle will be charged at $10.00 boxed, or $20.00 unboxed. Van Galder does not check luggage or provide receipts for luggage transported on the bus by the passenger. For guidance, each piece should not exceed 62 inches when adding the total exterior dimensions of the piece (length + width + height) and should not weigh more than 50 pounds. This is consistent with many airline regulations and is approximately the size of a typical extra-large (28 inch upright) suitcase. Passengers can also take on board 1 small carry-on bag that will fit in the overhead storage compartments or under the seat. Maximum bag sizes that are commonly used for airline carry-on, such as wheeled rectangular bags are typically too large to be taken on board the bus and will not be permitted in the passenger area. We suggest a bag with dimensions no larger than a briefcase as being about the correct size for carriage onto the bus. All luggage should be locked and we recommend that a TSA approved locking device be used. We also recommend that you label your luggage with your name, address and contact number. In the interests of safety and the prevention of injury to employees and associates, the driver may ask you for assistance in loading any oversized bags or bags over 50 pounds. Medical devices required for travel are carried in addition to the luggage limitations. Children's strollers may also be carried in addition to the luggage limitations, maximum one per passenger, provided that they are properly folded and capable of being stowed in the luggage compartment. Customers may not transport in their baggage or otherwise any items that are inherently dangerous, including any hazardous materials as that term is defined by the US Department of Transportation or weapons of any kind. Our maximum liability to you for any loss or damage to your luggage is US$250 per passenger for any such loss or damage to luggage, and Van Galder will only be responsible to reimburse passengers up to the maximum liability limit in the event of negligence on the part of Van Galder.

Is parking available?

Madison, WI: Limited free parking is available at the Dutch Mill Park & Ride up to 7 days in the west lot. The east (original) lot is reserved for commuter parking, and is not available from 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM.  There is no long-term parking available at the UW/downtown Madison location.  The closest parking ramp is on Lake Street, between University Ave. and State St.

Janesville, WI: At our terminal for $2.00 per day (Must display permit available from attendant).

South Beloit, IL: At the FasMart/McDonalds for $3.00 per day.

Rockford, IL: Parking is available at the Van Galder Terminal at 7559 Walton St.for $3.00 per day for days 1-5, and $5.00 per day for days 6+.  Parking is available at the Rockford Mass Transit Eastside Transfer Center for $3.00 per calendar day.  Parking is not guaranteed during busy times. Parking at any location is at your own risk.

I have a flight that leaves earlier than your first bus arrives, or I have a flight that arrives after your last bus, is there anything I can do?

Although our schedule is designed to capture the majority of flight banks, we cannot provide regular service that accommodates every possible airline departure. In this case, some passengers will take our bus the evening prior, utilize a hotel near the airport, and take the hotel’s shuttle for their early flight. We monitor volume of flights and changing trends. We appreciate feedback when there is a reason our service did not work for your plans.  Email us at