Megabus boasts of serving over 19 million customers in North America, and college students are certainly included in that demographic. With airfare so high these days, Megabus seems to be the next best option on paper. The recent death of a University of Missouri student in a Megabus accident, however, could prove to scare some students away from the cheap service. I recently used Megabus from round-trip from Minneapolis to Chicago. Here’s my review of the experience:
When you’re traveling, you obviously want to be on time to your destination. The buses I took were late leaving on both legs of the trip. I realize that running a little late is natural in this sort of travel, and planes get delayed too, but it’s a lot more frustrating when it’s a bus running late. My bus home ran about an hour and a half late, which would be fine if they informed me earlier. The bus before that was late too, so they clearly knew that all other buses were going to be late, but I didn’t get an email about it until after the time it was supposed to leave. I could have slept in longer if they had informed me earlier, rather than sit on the street in the rain waiting for a very late bus.
Lawsuits are being filed against Megabus after a couple tire blow-outs have brought into question the safety of the bus. From my experience though, I never felt unsafe. There’s a lot of weight to the buses, but the drivers inspired confidence, even in the pouring rain.
I had also heard some horror stories from people in regards to fellow passengers. “Keep your valuables close,” they said. That’s always good advice no matter where you are though. It’s true that there are some, shall we say “interesting” people taking the Megabus, but for the most part they’re just trying to quietly get to where they need to go (except of course for the girl sitting behind me on the way back who decided to sing out loud to her music for four straight hours. On the bright side, I sort of got a free concert tour, albeit one featuring a rude no-talent teenager with absolutely no self-awareness).
The comfort is largely influenced by whether or not you have someone sitting next to you. My buses were pretty full, so I didn’t get that luxury. Still, the seats are bearable, with decent legroom. I slept for a lot of the trips, and I have trouble sleeping on transportation so that should say something. There’s also electrical outlets and wi-fi, which help pass the time without running out of battery. Of course the wi-fi is spotty (bus wi-fi always seems to be) and you sort of have to get lucky in getting an outlet that actually works.
This is Megabus’ bread and butter. All they guarantee is a no-frills, affordable mode of transportation, and they do deliver on that promise. You may run late, but for the price it’s a worthy alternative to air travel.
Megabus is what it is – a cheap service offering few amenities. I will say that despite recent stories of wrecks, I felt safe throughout my trips and felt that the drivers were more than competent. Delays heavily influenced my opinion though, and keep Megabus from being anything more than a cheap alternative to air travel. If plane tickets are too high, take the Megabus, but don’t expect to be blown away with the quality of your trip.