The Megabus Saga Continues...

First off, sorry I've been blogging about Megabus and Amtrak lately--it just so happens that traveling between Washington and Philadelphia has become a regular ritual and I still cannot make up my mind about which is the better option (being that I am a tightwad who still likes luxury). After contemplating Megabus versus Amtrak again on Monday, I chose the $10 Megabus option over the $50 Amtrak offer. It was a mistake...

The bus was very late, so rather then keep us waiting further, a non-Megabus branded "substitute" from Coach USA was brought in. No wi-fi onboard, so I did not even have to try (like I always do, with a smaller glimmer of hope that the highly touted wifi will actually function). Legroom was terrible--worse than Megabus. But at least the bus wasn't full--I do appreciate the open seat next to me and the Amtrak regional to Philadelphia (with lines stretching all the way down to Au Bon Pain in Union Station) looked very crowded.

The bus driver was a character. He conducted loud mobile phone conversations while he was driving that I could hear ten rows back. Apparently, Coach USA (parent company of Megabus) is a family business--by this I mean that he was complaining to his daughter (who is a Megabus driver) that his wife (who is a Megabus driver) got delayed in Pittsburgh, he got called in to go up to Philadelphia, and he has no idea where's going. Yes, he said that as well as, "I'll just have to rely on my GPS."

The Philadelphia Megabus makes a stop at Baltimore/White Marsh where the gentleman drove around the whole mall parking lot twice looking for the Megabus drop off. He finally found it, where a crowd of people was waiting to board but no Megabus attendant was there to verify tickets.

"I aint checking tickets!" he said, first indicating that no one could get on the bus. Finally, he relented and a crowd joined our journey to Philadelphia.

As we drew closer to Philadelphia, he started asking those around him for directions, saying, "I've never been here before..." Eventually, we made it.

But not before I told myself I would never travel on Megabus again.

(But with a $4 fare to New York in a couple of weeks, guess which option I will be taking?)

Money talks. But Megabus leaves much to be desired...


Mase November 21, 2012 at 07:27 pm

Have you tried BoltBus? Much more reliable than MegaBus. I've found for the NE corridor that the bus lines with a rewards program (essentially Bolt and DC2NY) are by far the best bus options.

BR November 21, 2012 at 07:29 pm

I've had similar experiences on Megabus. On one trip the bus driver stopped the bus in the middle of a busy highway and got out because a panel on the side of the bus had popped open. In addition, I find the movies they play really annoying. As you know, there aren't headphones and they just blast the sound into the cabin. And like you, I've rode Megabus dozens of times but never once had working WiFi or power outlets.

However, I'm still going to use Megabus. For one, it's extremely cheap. And two, it's usually just a 2 to 4 hour ride which I can handle. I'd much rather pay $5 to $20 for Megabus vs $50 for Amtrak or $150 for a plane ticket.

Andy November 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Have you tried Boltbus to NY? They are actually quite decent

Gow November 21, 2012 at 11:35 pm

I always prefer Bolt over Mega.

alex November 22, 2012 at 09:52 am

hmm..seems like we've read the same version of this story 10x already. Why not just stop complaining and either 1) take the train, 2) drive yourself 3) fly 4) take the bus and stop complaining.

by now this "saga" is actually funny :)

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