Waiting 3 Hours In The Heat For Our Bus, Megabus Only Answers Via Twitter

Megabus serves as an alternative to Greyhound or Amtrak travel, but has a distinct disadvantage over its competitors. Passengers have to queue up outside to wait for their buses instead of inside air-conditioned bus stations. Or at least some kind of shelter. Kenneth found himself waiting outside for three hours, fifteen minutes for an absentee Megabus. He tried to call the company to find out what was going on, but no one was picking up the phone. The Twitter representative did pick up the computer, though, so that was something.

I was slated to leave on the Indianapolis 215pm Megabus to Chicago. In 85 degree summer heat, we were forced to wait at the bus stop for 3 hours until 530pm for a bus to arrive that would take us to Chicago.

Customer Service

My first phone call to the customer service hotline was at 3pm. No answer, put on hold for 10 minutes. I then hung up.

My second phone call to the customer service hotline was at 4pm. No answer, put on hold for 10 minutes. I then hung up.

My fellow customers were visibly frustrated at this point. There was no timeframe for which we’d know when the bus would arrive. We were just in limbo at the bus stop.

Issues with Megabus:
1. Completely no transparency as to timing, leaving passengers stranded with no time frame of bus arrival. At 330pm an email arrived from Megabus saying that the bus had been delayed. Anyone could see the bus was delayed. But WHEN WAS IT GOING TO COME? Thus, we had to sit in the sun forever

2. Afterwards, I talked to a customer service representative. I had to tweet to Megabus before someone would respond. She refused to give a refund, even after we had wasted 3 hours of our time.

3. Non-existent customer on the phone. I suspect Megabus doesn’t actually have anyone manning their phone line, but specialises in wearing down customers’ endurance by putting them on hold for hours, and then blames it on customers hanging up as the reason they can’t get through. Is 10 minutes not enough for Megabus customer service? Terrible, terrible, terrible.

By Megabus standards, three hours baking in the middle of a parking lot is nothing.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Chmeeee says:

    This has happened to friends of mine in New York, the story was pretty much exactly the same (minus the heat). I’m thinking part of how Megabus keeps their fares so unrealistically low is by not actually having a customer service department.

  2. hokiehor14 says:

    85 degree? Do we now consider that heat? Yep seems like megabus gives customers what they pay for.

  3. StarKillerX says:

    So you’ll stand in line in the heat for more then 3 hours but wont wait on hold oh the phone for more then 10 minutes, although the call could have informed you why the bus was late and maybe even tell you when it would now be there?

    • erinpac says:

      That’s also what caught my attention. If you’re already stuck waiting… why not give the hold a chance? I wouldn’t assume that ten minutes means there’s nobody answering the phones at all. It’s unfortunate, and probably shouldn’t be this way, but usually when I call a customer service line I expect to be on hold ~30 minutes or so now, and am pleasantly surprised on the rare occasion I am not. If I were stuck waiting on a bus, it’d be a good motivation to wait through the phone hold rather than hanging up and starting at the end of the phone queue again.

    • Coffee says:

      While I question how useful the call would have been (I can imagine an overworked CSR agent exasperatedly telling the person that the bus is late, and that’s all he/she knows), I was also a little curious about this. Bad companies have long CSR wait times, and I’ve waited 20 or 30 minutes on the phone before getting through to a representative. Granted, this never should have happened in the first place, and with the technology available today, people should be able to go online and see EXACTLY where a bus is, but hanging up after ten minutes seems like it was a little hasty.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Yeah and this plus complaining that they keep people on hold for hours when in fact they only stayed on the line for 10 minutes before hanging up makes me write them off as a whiney drama queen who simply wants to try and get weasel some freebies out of the company.

        • MMD says:

          If you’re stranded at a bus stop with no way to know when the bus is coming, do you really want to run down your cellphone battery waiting on hold for a half hour? What if the CSR has no information, and now your battery’s down to 20% and you have to start calling around to let your friends/family know where you are and make alternative travel arrangements?

    • Jawaka says:

      Well clearly he had more important things do do than wait on the phone. He had to wait in line.

  4. Jacquilynne says:

    I find it sort of amusing that Consumerist has chosen a picture of a Megabus in the snow to illustrate this story.

  5. josephbloseph says:

    My sister took a megabus from NYC to burlington vermont. It left over an hour late, resulting in my sister getting into burlington around 2 in the morning instead of 1. Not as bad as the time I took a greyhound from Boston to burlington, where the bus driver got on the wrong highway, drove for an hour, and abruptly pulled over to ask someone on the side of the road directions. He then wanted to turn around, drive the hour back to where he made his mistake, and head the right way from there. Luckily there were a few people familiar with the area who were able to convince him that as both this and the correct road both generally travel north, that if he drove for another half hour, he’d get to an east-west road that would take him back to the correct route in less time. The bus I take most often would have to be the Fung Wah Boston to NYC. Their service has been nothing but reliable in my experience, though when I was in college before I started taking that bus, I was aware that they frequently had breakdowns. My theory is that all of their older buses broke down and caught fire, and were replaced by new ones.

    Also, as others have pointed out, 85 isn’t really “heat,” though if it’s humid with still air it can feel pretty bad, and the 3 hours is unacceptable. Now, I can tell you for a budget carrier, you should probably be willing to sit on hold for longer than 10 minutes. I feel that you have unreasonably high expectations for a call center for a discount bus line.

  6. gglockner says:

    You get what you pay for?

  7. umbriago says:

    You’d think there would be a way to track each bus and let people look up online where it is, exactly. It’d be pretty cool. But face it, Megabus is a step above hitching a ride, price-wise, except they won’t accept grass or ass.

    Now Kenneth, as for you, not being prepared to wait outside in blazing 85-degree temperatures* is your own fault. Be prepared. A hat. A water bottle. Maybe a snack. A book, even, or a charged-up Kindle. If it had rained would you blame Megabus for being wet? No! You’d remember next time to bring an umbrella.

    Why “be prepared?” Because transportation you are not personally driving is often running behind schedule. It’s a fact of life.

    * After a month of 100 degree weather, 85 ain’t hot, son.

  8. daemonaquila says:

    One of the fun things to do in a situation like this is organize fellow passengers with laptops and smartphones, and start a circle to see how many consumer review sites you all can reach to destroy their rep in the shortest amount of time. Also, find the names and emails of their execs, and anyone else you creatively come up with. Revenge is sweet, and gets their attention.

    • Bagels says:

      Somehow I have a feeling they could care less….

      • daemonaquila says:

        It’s easy to believe that, but execs get mighty narky when you find their personal addresses and start sending them nastygrams. Also, a deluge of negative reviews does get most companies’ attention. It may not help at that moment, but it’s going to put a big dent in their wallets. They either have to clean up their act eventually, or go under.

  9. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    It’s 82 degrees in my office right now, and that’s nothing unusual. Nancy.

  10. Misha says:

    Um, there actually is a small shelter at the Indianapolis Megabus stop, and the bus stop is not in a parking lot. The shelter isn’t indoors, but it’s there. There are some shaded walkways and benches not twenty feet behind it, in the public area outside the City/County building. There’s another shaded area just across the street. With the placement of the stop and the timing of the stoplights, it is impossible to NOT have several minutes of warning to get yourself back to the stop proper before the bus pulls up.

    • Misha says:

      Also, is Kenneth not from Indianapolis? After weeks of temps here in the 100s and high 90s, 85 is nothing. That’s spring heat these days.

    • hoi-polloi says:

      Thanks for your comment; I was wondering about that. 85 is warm, but not bad if you’re in the shade. If there’s a small shelter at the stop, some people can wait there. Why not find shade where you can, and head over once you see the bus or those folks queuing up? When the bus eventually shows, enough people will be dealing with bags to give you plenty of time to get there.

      As others have said, I don’t get only waiting 10 minutes on hold. I wouldn’t assume that short of a wait, and wouldn’t have called at all if I wasn’t willing to give it at least half an hour. It would be pretty simple to put it on speaker phone and read a book, chat with other would-be passengers, etc.

  11. euph_22 says:

    Your willing to wait 3 hours for the megabus to show up on 85 degree pavement, but aren’t willing to wait more then 10 minutes in hold. You could probably take turns holding with other passengers.

    Why doesn’t megabus have tracking anyways? They already have crappy wifi on their buses.

  12. LBD_Nytetrayn says:

    I had a situation back in May where we were stopped at a weighing station on the way to a stop where we would board another bus to our destination. The bus was leaking something, and they had to send another out for us, which took quite a bit of time to arrive.

    As a result, we missed our transfer, and had to wait for the next one. I did call Megabus and reached someone without too much difficulty to rebook our ticket for the next part of the journey. At first, they were going to charge us for changing our ticket until I pointed out that I wasn’t the one who failed to come through as promised. So they waived the fee and even refunded the first part of our journey.

    Inconvenience aside, I came away rather satisfied.

    If there is any major grievance I have with Megabus, and Amtrak for that matter, it’s the advertising of “free wifi” that doesn’t work most of the time. How do they get away with that? Cross the Canadian border– either going to or from the U.S., depending on… whatever, and it sometimes suddenly starts working.

  13. blueman says:

    Sorry, but if you choose the bargain-basement travel option you can’t expect customer service that answers in 10 minutes.

    You can spend thousands of dollars with all kinds of companies and still have to wait on hold for much longer than that.

  14. shufflemoomin says:

    Only waited on hold for 10 minutes? Why? It’s not like you had anything else to do. :)

  15. Bob A Dobalina says:

    Three people have been killed in Megabus incidents in the last week or so. Why would you even get on one?