Anyone who’s either known me or followed this blog long enough knows that I travel via bus on a fairly regular basis. As someone without a driver’s license, and with the price of cars, gas, and the like, it’s just pretty easy to hop a bus and rely on them to take me where I want to go. Whether it’s Toronto, NYC, Pittsburgh or elsewhere, I usually don’t mind taking the bus places.
In the past two weeks, I did two bus trips. First was a round-trip to Philadelphia via Megabus; the next, a trip to Detroit and Windsor (and home) via Greyhound. Overall, these trips were wonderful, but they were lessened slightly by extremely aggravating bus situations.
First up, Megabus. I bought the bus tickets to Philadelphia and back in July, for the trip in October. (Buy early to save money, they say.) According to my confirmation email, the bus was set to leave Buffalo at 9:20 p.m. and arrive in Philly at 5:15 a.m.
Being the cautious person that I am, I went on Megabus’ website about a week prior to the trip. I was curious to see if there were any stops between BUF and PHI, so I went through the motions as if I was booking new tickets to see what the schedule looked like. Upon doing so, I found no options for my scheduled bus, but found one two hours later. That set off a warning bell in my head – had the schedule changed and they never told me?
So I called, and spoke to a woman at Megabus, who looked in the computer and CONFIRMED for me that my 9:20 p.m. bus was still set. I explained the situation to her, she looked it up, said you’re good. Okay, fine. The day comes, and my mother and I head down to the bus terminal around 8:30 – always better to be early.
Time passes, more time passes. Eventually, it becomes clear to me that the Megabus “customer service” agent had no idea what she was talking about. The bus eventually comes at 11:20, and I find that yes, the schedule changed and I should’ve gotten an email, and the woman on the phone should’ve told me.
Well, thanks for nothing, Megabus.
I encountered a similar issue this past weekend with Greyhound Canada. I went to Detroit, then Windsor, and all was fine. I had a one-way ticket home from Windsor to Buffalo, which I had to pick up at the station in Windsor; since it was a trip originating in Canada, I couldn’t pick it up at home.
I arrived in Windsor on Saturday afternoon; my return was scheduled for Sunday at 11:30 (and I would get back to Buffalo at 9:30ish.) Upon arriving, I decided to pick up my return tickets then, rather than wait until Sunday morning. Why not, I figured.
Well, it’s a darn good thing I didn’t wait. They couldn’t print my tickets and spent about 45 minutes on the phone with various people trying to sort it out. Eventually, it all came out: the schedule had changed. And yet again, I had not been told.
Eventually, she issued me new tickets (which I had to pay $3 for?). Turns out the 11:30 schedule didn’t exist anymore, nor did the 7 p.m. bus I was supposed to catch in Toronto. My schedule got completely turned around and I was then forced to choose new times, which would see me leave Windsor at 7:45 a.m., arrive in Toronto after 1, have a four-hour layover and arrive back in Buffalo at 9. What should have been an easy ticket pick-up turned into a stressful, worry-inducing endeavor. I was honestly worried I wouldn’t be able to get home on Sunday for a bit there. In the end, my schedule was totally changed and I ended up spending almost an entire day traveling, a few more hours than I had anticipated. In addition, I didn’t have as much time to enjoy my hotel, after having spent over an hour at the bus terminal sorting this out and then having to leave almost four hours earlier the next day. And I had to pay $3, for some unknown reason, to top things off.
So hey Greyhound, thanks for that.
I think there have been two purposes for writing this and sharing it with the interwebs. First and foremost, to vent my frustrations, because it’s unbelievably unprofessional of these companies to change schedules and not inform people. I shudder to think what would’ve happened if I had waited until Sunday morning to pick up my return tickets from Windsor; I may very well have been stuck there an extra day, or at the very least, many hours. Why not at least e-mail me and tell me the schedule changed? I paid good money for these bus tickets (even Megabus, which “starts at $1”, I paid $181 for two passengers RT to Philly) and I deserve better service, and certainly better customer service, than this.
But in addition to venting my frustrations, I hope that anyone who travels via Megabus or Greyhound reads this and takes it as a warning. Make sure you’re on top of things, and call to confirm your bus schedules a few days prior to the trip. (And in the case of Megabus, even if you do call, be prepared for them to be wrong anyways!) Just be on top of things and try to stay flexible as best you can, and hopefully you’ll have better luck than I did.