Madison to Chicago bus

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Madison - Chicago Bus Schedule

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Journey Information

There are 88 intercity buses per day from Madison to Chicago. Traveling by bus from Madison to Chicago usually takes around 4 hours and 22 minutes, but the fastest Coach USA bus can make the trip in 2 hours and 55 minutes.

Distance122 mi (197 km)
Shortest duration2h 55m
Cheapest price$37.08
Trips per day91
Most frequent serviceCoach USA
Bus lines4

Bus Trip Reviews from Wanderu Customers

Overall score for buses from Madison to Chicago

(Based on 56 ratings and reviews)




August 23, 2023- Visiting family

Amtrak Thruway

Pros: Drivers were cordial. Emergency equipment pointed out. Bus was very quiet. Cons: Nothing really!



July 16, 2023- Business

Amtrak Thruway

Pros: I didn't have to drive. Cons: ??


Deborah K

July 10, 2023- Vacation

Amtrak Thruway

Pros: Relaxing and enjoyable. Cons: Don't know,. Tips: Nope.



June 20, 2023- Solo travel

Amtrak Thruway

Pros: Comfortable ride, people were spaced out, free electricity to charge my cell phone and free WiFi. Restroom available AND we arrived early to our destination. The driver got out at each destination and quickly unloaded luggage for the passengers. Cons: Ask the drivers to speak more distinctly when announcing the next stop.



May 10, 2023- Solo travel

Amtrak Thruway

Pros: Very courteous drivers! Cons: It was all excellent.

How much is a bus ticket from Madison to Chicago?

$50.48 is the average price of a bus ticket from Madison to Chicago. Taking a bus is an affordable way to make this trip. It’s easy to find a bus ticket at this price or lower when you use Wanderu to book your trip online in advance of your travel date.

Average prices by travel date


Over the next four weeks, the average ticket price of a bus from Madison to Chicago is expected to range from $50 to $57. If you are looking to travel to Chicago within the next week, you can find bus tickets starting from $50. The cheapest bus tickets in the next month are $50 and can be found on September 30, 2023.

Monthly average prices


The lowest bus ticket prices on this route can usually be found in May. That’s when the average price of a bus ticket is expected to be just $47 – the lowest of the year.

Alternatively, if you plan to travel from Madison to Chicago in September, expect to spend more on your bus trip, as the average ticket price may surge to $54 at that time of year. However, if you book your trip ahead of time, you can still score a ticket at a lower price.

Prices as travel date approaches


Most bus companies charge higher ticket prices the closer you book to the date of travel, so it’s a good idea to buy your bus tickets as early as possible. The best way to find cheap bus tickets is to book at least 19 days in advance. By doing so, you can expect to save C$13.69 on your bus ticket compared to booking at the last minute.

What bus companies travel from Madison to Chicago?

There are 4 bus lines from Madison to Chicago available for you to search and compare on Wanderu. With 64 daily trips, Coach USA usually has the most buses running on any given day. Here are some time and price comparisons for all the available options:

BusDaily TripsAvg. TimeAvg. Price
Amtrak Thruway113h 53m$52.61
Coach USA644h 52m$51.41
FlixBus US55h 34m$61.62
Greyhound94h 13m$56.26
  • Amtrak Thruway, also known as Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach, is a system of intercity passenger buses operated by Amtrak to connect train stations to areas that are not served by the carrier’s railroads. On the bus, passengers can enjoy comfortable reclining seats with leg rests and access to onboard restroom facilities. Amtrak Thruway bus tickets from Madison to Chicago start at $53. On average, there are 11 Amtrak Thruway bus trips on this route every day.

  • Book Coach USA from Madison to Chicago from $51. There are 64 Coach USA schedules from Madison to Chicago and you can expect on average to pay for a Coach USA ticket to Chicago. In Madison, Coach USA departs to Chicago from Phillips 66 and 1 other station. In Chicago, Coach USA arrives at Chicago O'Hare Bus/Shuttle Ctr and 1 other station.

    An average trip on Coach USA from Madison to Chicago takes 4 hours and 52 minutes , while the fastest available Coach USA trip will get you to Chicago in 2 hours and 55 minutes .

    On weekends, Coach USA offers 70 trips per day and you could expect to pay for a weekend getaway trip to Chicago.

  • FlixBus US is the American branch of German bus company FlixBus, known for providing sustainable, affordable, and modern bus travel. The company offers cheap bus tickets to popular urban destinations throughout the United States. FlixBus US buses include many amenities, including comfortable seats, free WiFi, power outlets at every seat, and an online portal for free entertainment. On average, FlixBus US operates 5 trips per day from Madison to Chicago, and the average ticket for this route costs only .

  • Greyhound is the largest nationwide bus carrier in the United States, offering cheap, safe and reliable service across the country. Greyhound has become a household name, serving over 16 million passengers per year with daily trips to over 2,400 destinations. Greyhound performs about 9 bus trips from Madison to Chicago every day, with the average journey taking around 4 hours and 13 minutes to complete. Bus tickets for Greyhound trips to Chicago usually start from $37.

Frequently Asked Questions

The cheapest bus carrier you can take from Madison to Chicago is Greyhound, which has an average ticket price of $24.40. That said, Greyhound also averages the longest travel time at 5 hours and 54 minutes. To arrive in Chicago sooner, consider traveling on a Megabus, with an average travel time of 3 hours and 43 minutes. Megabus tickets average a few dollars more than Greyhound, but may be worth it to save you almost two hours.
Bus carriers such as Megabus and Van Galder depart from Langdon Street just outside of the Memorial Union building on the east side of the UW-Madison campus. The Memorial Union is on the south shore of Lake Mendota, next to the Helen C. White Hall and across from the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The fastest you can expect to arrive in Chicago from Madison is about 3 hours, though the average time is closer to 3 hours and 45 minutes. Nonstop flights from Madison to Chicago take about an hour, but are far more expensive, averaging about $229. For comparison, bus tickets for this route average just $25.08.

Our bus partners have implemented several different policies to keep you safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. From limiting vehicle capacity to enhancing cleaning protocols and upgrading air filters, bus carriers are committed to maintaining a safe environment. For details on what each company is doing to ensure their fleet remains safe for travel, click here.

Although masks are no longer required on public transportation, we stand behind CDC guidelines that encourage passengers to wear a mask over their nose and mouth while on the bus or in stations.

Please visit our COVID-19 Travel Guide for more information on all carrier policies and the latest travel advisories issued by every U.S. state, Canadian province, and European country.

The bus takes an average of 4 hours and 22 minutes to cover the 197 kilometers from Madison to Chicago. However, the fastest bus only takes 2 hours and 55 minutes. In other words, you'll have plenty of time to rest and relax on the road. Keep in mind that your actual bus may arrive earlier or later than scheduled, depending on whether there is more or less traffic than usual.

Sunday tends to be the busiest day of the week with travelers taking buses from Madison to Chicago. Ticket price also tend to be more expensive on Sunday than other days. If you are hoping to have more room on the bus and even save some change check out travel options on Thursday instead, as less people travel then and deals are more likely to be found.

The first bus leaves at 1:00am and the last bus leaves at 9:00pm. To see the times for all buses from Madison to Chicago, enter your specific travel dates in the search bar.

There are 88 scheduled buses that travel from Madison to Chicago every day, so you have a decent number of options to choose from. This includes 91 direct buses, where you can stay on the same bus without having to transfer to a connecting bus at any point during your trip.

Need more travel options? Consider taking the train from Madison to Chicago; ticket prices start at $52.61.

City Information


Consistently ranking high on the lists of the best places to live in the USA, Madison still maintains its quaint and idyllic small-town vibe despite being the capital city of Wisconsin. Sitting among the city’s most iconic and most popular landmarks is the Madison Memorial Union, which is located within the campus of the University of Madison. The building features a lakeview terrace filled with colorful chairs, allowing visitors to chill out and enjoy the sun. If you are interested in the history of the state or architecture as a whole, head over to the State Capitol building, which was built between 1906 and 1917. The building features lavish council chambers, which were modeled after the famous Doge’s Palace in Venice, along with other architectural highlights. If you wish to stay close to nature, the Olbrich Botanical garden, with its famous Thai Pavilion and Garden, will certainly be a great choice.

As a college city, Madison features numerous cutting-edge establishments that will make your mouth water. For some of the best dining views in town, head over to Graze, where you can also grab some of the best cheese curds in Madison. If you want to enjoy the best brunch in town, Sardine might have what you need.

The busiest bus/train station in Madison is located on Collins Ct. The city is served by the Dane County Regional Airport, 6 miles northeast of downtown.


Known for its innovative architecture, cultural contributions to jazz and house music, and of course that irresistible deep-dish pizza, the many sights and experiences in Chicago make it one of the best urban vacation destinations for millennials and a top destination in Illinois.

You can't beat the views of the city and Lake Michigan from the SkyDeck in the Willis Tower; at over 1,300 feet, this is the highest observation deck in the U.S. Snap that classic selfie with the Bean in Millennium Park, then wander the many museums in nearby Grant Park. Navy Pier is a popular tourist hotspot for its parks, restaurants, and attractions right on Lake Michigan, and baseball fans will find paradise in Wrigleyville, home to the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field and sports bars galore.

Chicago's enormous parks offer plentiful opportunities for outdoor activities in gorgeous urban settings. Many companies offer kayak rentals or boat tours on the Chicago River, with special tours running on Saint Patrick's Day, when the entire river is dyed green. When you’re ready to buy some souvenirs from your epic trip, hit the big brand stores on the Magnificent Mile, or shop local in neighborhoods like Andersonville and Wicker Park. And don't miss the chance to laugh until you cry at The Second City comedy theater, famous for launching the careers of comedians like Tina Fey and Stephen Colbert.

Chicago is one of the biggest transportation hubs in the Midwest, and provides easy access to nearby destinations ideal for day trips, as well as international travel from two airports. Thanks to plenty of bus and train stations throughout the city, getting to the Windy City is a breeze.

Station Information

Where does the bus leave from in Madison?

Main departure station: University of Wisconsin - Gordon Center

Buses to Chicago leave from 5 stations in Madison.

All bus stations in Madison:

  • University of Wisconsin - Gordon Center

  • Phillips 66

  • Dutch Mill Park & Ride Lot

  • University of Wisconsin - Gordon Center

  • Dutch Mill Park & Ride (West Lot)

Where does the bus arrive in Chicago?

Main arrival station: Chicago O'Hare Bus/Shuttle Ctr

Buses arrive in Chicago at 7 stations, depending on which bus line you are traveling with.

Bus stations in Chicago:

  • Chicago O'Hare Bus/Shuttle Ctr

  • Terminal 5 Station, O'Hare Intl Airport

  • Union Station

  • Bus Station - 630 W Harrison St

  • Dan Ryan Bus Station

  • 5800 N Cumberland Ave

  • Chicago Train Station Bus Stop

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