A Megabus driver claimed that Chris’ prepaid reservation was actually a standby ticket, and refused to let him board unless he met the bus at the next stop halfway across Philadelphia. The driver was apparently worried that the bus would be full after the second stop, but he wouldn’t let Chris ride along to find out.
Chris, who purchased his tickets weeks in advance, tried calling Megabus’ 800 number:
I called the 877 toll free Megabus number listed with 800 information. Calling that number – the one listed on the Megabus site – I got a recorded message stating that “information pertaining to this number has changed.” If I wanted the number, “say yes.” I said yes, and it sent me a text (for which I get charged 15 cents by my carrier). This is the text message verbatim, from 23333:
“Reply Y now to get info on the # you are trying to reach. Locator Svc $9.99/month + std msg fees for 20 lookups/month.
Megabus is a shell company that contracts service to subsidiaries. Chris noticed that the bus driver was wearing a 76 Carriage Company shirt, so he tried calling them next.
The dispatcher apologized for the driver’s claim that he didn’t know how I could call anyone. He offered to send a 76 shuttle that they usually use for hotel guests to get us to 6th & Market, and promised to call the driver’s cell phone to hold the bus until we could get there. He repeated, however, that we still weren’t getting on the bus if there weren’t two empty seats after they filled up at 6th. This is the best deal I could swing after having a several-minute argument with 76 about what the word “reservation” means.
This, of course, also meant that a whole bus of people had to sit at 6th & Market for no reason. The bus driver, we learned from our friends on the bus, led people to believe that we were the hold-up!
We figured that if nothing else, we could get taken back home or closer to home on 76’s dime if this didn’t pan out. The shuttle driver was polite and professional.
As it turns out, there were about five empty seats. We rode that bus to NY, leaving about 20 minutes late. Had the bus been full or just had one seat open, our day – a day that a few people took off from work to enjoy, having booked the trip a month earlier – would have been shot. We also had to jaw at a few fellow passengers who were led to believe that we were somehow making them late.
We don’t expect much from Chinatown bus companies or their competitors aside from a seat, but apparently even that is too much to ask for sometimes.
Megabus megasucks; just take NJ Transit or Chinatown buses [QuizMasterChris’ Trivia Pub Quiz Blog & Infoporium]