Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Megabus: My experiences

Duh: This has not been approved by Megabus, and is not authored by somebody associated with Megabus.

Somebody on another forum asked if anyone had ridden the Megabus recently. I thought you might like to hear the short version of my reply. Look for more detailed, in depth info, in the near future.

Yeah, I have taken the Megabus many (10+) times from Chicago to Indianapolis and back. This last time I took Amtrak, instead, though.

That was because during my last trip down here, the bus broke down outside of Lafayette, IN, on the highway, nowhere near an off ramp. This was at around 9pm at night. They called for a repair guy who came to fix the broken hose, but couldn't make it work. It took him 60-90 minutes to get there to fix it, and when it was clear he couldn't, they tried to get another bus to come get us. The next scheduled bus was going to stop for us, but broke down in Gary, Indiana, because of problems with the A/C. Then they were trying to get another bus to come get us from Chicago, which is a couple plus hours away. At midnight, when they still didn't have another bus on the way for us, and we were still sitting on the side of the highway, I called the cops, apologized for bothering them for the world's most minor emergency, and asked them what to do. The very helpful lady at dispatch called me back with info on how to get a cab to come get me, and it worked out perfectly. I ended up staying the night in Lafayette, and making other arrangements to get to Indy in the morning.

I was to the point where I was ready to flash a platinum card and say "whatever it costs to get me out of here, make it happen." Probably most people riding the bus don't have that ability, and I have no clue what time the rest of the riders actually made it in to Indy. Best guess at the time was that it would be 3 or 4 am before they arrived.

I've talked to Matt Eggert, manager for Megabus/Coach USA, about this, and when I explicitly asked for a refund, he offered one. Haven't seen it go through yet, and had to ping him a second time for it. This is after I emailed him asking him what the hell happened and what their plan is to fix it when stuff like this happens, and I got absolutely no response.

So, I'm not sure I'll never take the Megabus again. But my confidence in them is not very high right now. Sitting on the side of I-65 for hours, inches from traffic whizzing by in the dark, is not fun. They wouldn't even do anything to get us off the highway and to a rest stop. They don't seem to have contingency plans for when things go wrong, and that's a problem.

The train between Chicago and Indy is nice, btw. $18, and there's an electrical plug for your laptop. It's a bit slower than the bus because it stops more often, though.

1 comment:

marlene said...

I'm reading stuff like this all over the internet - scenarios of people getting stranded in the wee hours of the morning on the side of the highway.

I've spoken to Eggert too - about his staff in New Jersey. They are poorly trained and are the worst customer service I've every experienced. He thinks its just hunky dory.

Coach USA should be aware of what's going on - if not, a good ol' fashioned law suit would get them to fix their customer service BS