When I mention I have a newspaper column, people want to know what I write about.
I tell them I write about an assortment of topics, from politics to movie reviews (go see “The Farewell”!), amusing animals to mundane concerns.
Today, I am hoping to prevent you or your loved ones from experiencing the horror that is Megabus.
My youngest daughter now lives in San Francisco, and had sold her car. Since my youngest son and I were going to be in Anaheim, she decided to save money and take Megabus down to meet us.
Their website certainly makes it look like a far cry from the school bus experience most of us had:
“Our double-decker bus comes equipped with amenities to make your journey as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.”
“Free Wi-Fi, personal power outlets, onboard restrooms” are touted as being available.
Well, that is not what my daughter experienced.
Before even being on the road for very long, the first (!) bus broke down, leaving them in a hot bus for hours as they waited for a new bus.
A few more hours down the road, and the second bus broke down, too. The bus made a stop, but because they didn’t tell the passengers they could get off the bus, no one was able to purchase food or use the restroom. The third bus had no air-conditioning, and the restroom was so disgustingly dirty that my daughter had to wash her shoes after finally — as in about five hours later than the stated arrival time — making it to Anaheim.
Interestingly enough, for the return trip they hired a bus from another company, and other than the personal power outlets not working, it was uneventful.
During her first trip, I tried calling to find out when the bus could be expected to arrive.
While I knew they couldn’t give me an exact time, I did think that in this age of Waze and Google Maps, I could get an approximation.
Nope. When asked what they suggested I do, they said to wait at the bus stop, which would have been a six-hour wait, and completely unreasonable.
Refunds? Ha! In the fine print, they proclaim no refunds, not ever — even though the bus driver of the initial trip had told the passengers they would get one.
Quite frankly, they could not care any less about their passengers, and apparently aren’t going to spend money on maintaining a decent fleet of buses.
They have service in Nashville and Memphis, but I cannot stress strongly enough the need for you not to fall for their pictures of cheerful bus riders in clean, comfortable buses which apparently work.
But don’t believe me — check out the Yelp reviews, and you’ll soon discover that my daughter’s experience was hardly an anomaly.
CHRISTINE BARR is an educator, mother of four and former Henry County resident who now resides in Texas. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.