Washington, DC

Photo by PoPville flickr user yostinator

“Dear PoPville,

My husband and I recently had a terrible experience with low-cost travel bus company Megabus, and I thought it might serve as a warning for the rest of PoPville.

In short, we were forced to travel on a malfunctioning bus in the middle of the night and then abandoned at a deserted bus terminal at 3 a.m., where there was no access to water, food, bathrooms, and any of the passengers could have been attacked or robbed. I sent the company two messages right away for a refund of the $140 we had to spend on a hotel that night and received only automated responses saying that I would receive a response within 48 hours. That time window has long passed, and I have heard nothing.

We were supposed to come back from Knoxville to DC. When we first got on the bus in Knoxville, the driver said that there was a problem with the bus and that we´d have to wait. When we finally did get on, we started out of Knoxville, and the bus stalled on the highway (middle of the night, pouring rain, semis speeding by) after only about 20 minutes of driving, and we sat in the bus on the side of the highway as the driver tried over and over to get the bus started. We started driving again, and the bus stalled again! Finally we made it to a truck stop, where we sat for 3 1/2 hours while the driver made (what turned out to be) empty promises of a mechanic coming, another bus coming, calling taxis to take us back, etc. At about 2:30am they announced that we´d be taken back to Knoxville on the same malfunctioning bus and dropped at the bus terminal. Since my husband and I were worried about stalling again on the highway and getting hit by a passing truck, we told the driver that we were going to call a taxi instead. The driver yelled at us to get off the bus in that case because he wanted to leave! So instead of getting off and being potentially stranded in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, we stayed on and (thankfully uneventfully) went back to Knoxville.

In our case, we do not have family or friends in the area and were completely stranded when Megabus dumped us at the closed bus terminal. I can only imagine what would have happened if we had not had the extra money to be able to pay for a hotel room that night.”

Yikes. I’ve had good and bad experiences with a few services. Once I took a boltbus a couple of summers ago all the way from DC to NYC without any air conditioning. It was pretty rough. Perhaps it’s time for a final – which is the best intercity discount bus service poll.


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