High gas prices are helping Greyhound and other intercity buses shun their loser-cruiser reputation. Ridership on the U.S. intercity bus system fell by a third between 1960 and 1980, by half again by 2006 — but jumped 13 percent in the past two years. “People are starting to feel good about stepping aboard a bus,” says transportation expert Joseph Schwieterman. “Many see it as a socially responsible way to go.” Bus services are eager to burnish that reputation: Low-cost operator Megabus gave away 100,000 bus tickets earlier this year to “increase awareness about reducing carbon emissions by encouraging bus travel.” Megabus estimates that one filled-to-capacity bus is equivalent to taking 56 cars off the road. To those for whom time is not of the essence, busin’ it is a convenient, eco-friendly, cost-effective option — tragic and unprovoked beheadings aside.