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“Cheap for a Reason”

Written on: 26/09/2012

I recently used the Megabus service to travel from Edinburgh to London, and back again.

Outgoing:

The bus did not turn up, but luckily another service was leaving at the same time. I don't know if this was an earlier service running late, or if there were multiple services.

This service was not direct, so they advised people whose final destination was London to disembark in Newcastle, where the original bus would meet them (along with passengers going from Newcastle to London).

When we got there, we were informed not to leave the bus stop, as the bus would be there 'any minute'. Given this is Britain, there was rain.

The bus was an hour and a half late. Some other passengers took the initiative to look up contact details for Megabus and contact them asking after the service. We were told - paradoxically - that the bus had just left Berwick and that it would be in Newcastle within fifteen minutes. When it was brought up that it has started to rain, the advisor simply stated that we 'should have prepared for the weather'.

Return:

The bus left on time (thankfully!) but arrived late. The bus driver, at one point, got lost (he asked passengers for directions), which might explain what happened to my bus coming out. During a ten and a half hour journey, there were no rest stops, which I imagine remained the case for those who continued travelling after Edinburgh onto Glasgow.

As it was night for much of this journey, many of the bus stations were closed. Consequently, where we were dropped off was often not quite where we expected. If you are not familiar with the town you are arriving in at night, this could potentially be a major problem.

The Bus:

I was relieved to see, on boarding the bus, that we had individual air conditioning and lights for each seat. It turns out, however, that both of these are centrally controlled by the driver, and both were switched off for most of my outgoing and return journeys.

The seats were small; I'm not particularly large (a 5'3, size 8 woman) and I still found myself occasionally intruding on the personal space of those sat next to me. For a taller person, I imagine this journey would have been very uncomfortable.

Overall comments:

I would not recommend this service for anyone on a time limit, or anyone needing to make connections. The journey is long and uncomfortable and the service is not great. Yes, it was a third of the price of the train, but the next time I make this journey I will pay the extra.

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