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Buses from Chicago to Madison

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Chicago - Madison Bus Schedule

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Bus Route Overview: Chicago to Madison

There are 14 intercity buses per day from Chicago to Madison. Traveling by bus from Chicago to Madison usually takes around 3 hours and 50 minutes, but the fastest Amtrak Thruway bus can make the trip in 3 hours and 20 minutes.

Distance122 mi (197 km)
Shortest duration3h 20m
Cheapest price$19.99
Trips per day23
Most frequent serviceAmtrak Thruway
Bus lines3

Bus Trip Reviews from Wanderu Customers

Overall score for buses from Chicago to Madison

(Based on 30 ratings and reviews)

4.7

5.0

Mary

April 30, 2022- Solo travel

Amtrak Thruway

Pros: The bus driver was fantastic. Bus was very clean!! Tips: Use Amtrak!

Pros: The bus driver was fantastic. Bus was very clean!! Tips: Use Amtrak!

5.0

Maritza

April 22, 2022- Visiting family

Amtrak Thruway

Pros: Even it was raining the driver did a good job!👍. Cons: All is good. Tips: Always bring a snack (Sandwich or chips).

Pros: Even it was raining the driver did a good job!👍. Cons: All is good. Tips: Always bring a snack (Sandwich or chips).

5.0

thier

April 22, 2022- Visiting friends

Amtrak Thruway

Pros: Tje drivers drove soomthly. Bery luch appreciated. Cons: The seat had no working outlet on my seat, no cup golder nor table.

Pros: Tje drivers drove soomthly. Bery luch appreciated. Cons: The seat had no working outlet on my seat, no cup golder nor table.

4.0

Ricardo

April 15, 2022- Visiting family

Amtrak Thruway

Pros: Reasonable good value. Cons: More leg room. Tips: Union station in Chicago not well marked for bus travel.

Pros: Reasonable good value. Cons: More leg room. Tips: Union station in Chicago not well marked for bus travel.

5.0

Britney

March 19, 2022- Solo travel

Amtrak Thruway

Busy.

Busy.

How much is a bus ticket from Chicago to Madison?

$30.68 is the average price of a bus ticket from Chicago to Madison. 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

$45$30$15MayMay

Over the next four weeks, the average ticket price of a bus from Chicago to Madison is expected to range from $30 to $32. If you are looking to travel to Madison within the next week, you can find bus tickets starting from $31. The cheapest bus tickets in the next month are $30 and can be found on May 24, 2022.

Monthly average prices

$50$40$30$20$10JJASONDJFMAM
Traveling from Chicago to Madison by bus will cost you about the same throughout the year. In general, bus ticket prices for that route are fairly consistent, so expect to pay around $31 whenever you decide to travel.

Prices as travel date approaches

$50$40$30$20$103020100

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 8 days in advance. By doing so, you can expect to save $1.25 on your bus ticket compared to booking at the last minute.

What bus companies travel from Chicago to Madison?

There are 3 bus lines from Chicago to Madison available for you to search and compare on Wanderu. With 11 daily trips, Amtrak Thruway 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$31.13
FlixBus US23h 33m$24.25
Greyhound23h 31m$38.04
  • Amtrak Thruway

    Amtrak Thruway

    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 Chicago to Madison start at $30. On average, there are 11 Amtrak Thruway bus trips on this route every day.

  • FlixBus US

    FlixBus US

    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 2 trips per day from Chicago to Madison, and the average ticket for this route costs only .

  • Greyhound

    Greyhound

    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 2 bus trips from Chicago to Madison every day, with the average journey taking around 3 hours and 31 minutes to complete. Bus tickets for Greyhound trips to Madison usually start from $31.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a train from Chicago to Madison?

Amtrak will take you from Chicago to Madison, but there are no direct trains between the two cities (which means you’ll need to transfer). The trip will take you at least 4 hours. A bus can get you from Chicago to Madison in as few as 3 hours, and tickets start as low as $15. Train tickets from Chicago to Madison are usually at least $45.

Is Chicago to Madison a good day trip?

Madison, Wisconsin, is a great day trip from Chicago. At least 30 buses run daily between the cities going each way, so you could arrive in Madison as early as 10:15 a.m. and leave to head back to Chicago as late as 11:15 p.m.

Is it safe to travel by bus from Chicago to Madison during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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.

In addition, federal law requires all bus passengers to wear a face covering for the entire duration of the trip. Please make sure you are wearing a face mask or you may not be allowed to board the bus.

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.

How long is the bus ride from Chicago to Madison?

The bus takes an average of 3 hours and 50 minutes to cover the 122 miles from Chicago to Madison. However, the fastest bus only takes 3 hours and 20 minutes. It's the perfect amount of time to take a nap, get some work done, or watch a movie. 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.

What is the busiest day of the week to travel by bus?

On a weekly basis, the greatest number of passengers tend to travel by buses from Chicago to Madison on Saturday. Tickets for Saturday tend to also be the most expensive. For savvy travelers looking for cheaper priced tickets search for travel departing on Wednesday. Wednesday also tend to have less passengers which may make boarding faster and let you snag your perfect seat.

When do the earliest and latest buses leave Chicago?

The first bus leaves at 8:00am and the last bus leaves at 9:00pm. To see the times for all buses from Chicago to Madison, enter your specific travel dates in the search bar.

How many buses are there each day?

There are 14 scheduled buses that travel from Chicago to Madison every day, so you have a decent number of options to choose from. This includes 23 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 Chicago to Madison; ticket prices start at $30.00.

City Information

Chicago

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.

Madison

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.

Station Information

Where does the bus leave from in Chicago?

Chicago, IL - Union Station - CHIUST-0

Image credit: Jeramey Jannene

Link to image attribution

Main departure station: Union Station

The historic Chicago Union Station is the United States' third busiest train station and a hub for 15 Amtrak train lines with destinations throughout the country. The station also serves bus carriers like Greyhound, Indian Trails and Jefferson Lines, and offers connections to Metra commuter lines. Union Station is also just a quick walk to the nearest Chicago L lines. The current station was built in 1925, to replace the original one dating back to 1881, and today wows visitors with its impressive facade, massive columns, and opulent Great Hall. Located right in downtown and adjacent to the Chicago Loop, Union Station is equipped with many services and amenities, including phone charging stations, shops, and various food and drink options.

All bus stations in Chicago:

  • Union Station

  • Canal St

  • Bus Station - 630 W Harrison St

  • 350 S Illinois St

  • 200 N Second St

  • Bus Terminal - 720 W Muhammad Ali Blvd

Where does the bus arrive in Madison?

Main arrival station: University of Wisconsin - Gordon Center

Buses arrive in Madison at 5 stations, depending on which bus line you are traveling with.

All bus stations in Madison:

  • University of Wisconsin - Gordon Center

  • Dutch Mill Park & Ride Lot

  • Phillips 66

  • University of Wisconsin

  • Dutch Mill Park & Ride (West Lot)

Need a return trip from Madison to Chicago?

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