Written on: 16/08/2013
I should point out that I'm not a fan of bus travel but decided to use Megabus as it was significantly cheaper than the alternatives from Aberdeen to Sheffield. I thought it might be 'an experience'. It certainly was! Not in a good way!
The attitude of the staff I encountered in Aberdeen was a display of, by far, the worst attitude to customer service I've ever endured.
OK, so the travel is cheap, but that doesn't excuse the following...
On arrival at the bus station, I'd planned to ask a question about transfers (I'd have phoned up previously but Megabus have a premium rate phone number for enquiries!) Nobody was available at the Stagecoach desk but a chap came out of the Stagecoach office just as I walked past.
I asked, politely, "Excuse me, do you work for Stagecoach?"
He answered abruptly and said it depended which bit of Stagecoach I was talking about.
I clarified that it was Megabus I had an enquiry about, asked which bit of the bus station the Megabus left from and then asked the question about transfer times. His attitude improved slightly but it was hardly friendly. He told me he was the Megabus driver and he'd be driving the coach I'd be travelling on (which later turned out not to be the case).
The booking confirmation stated that passengers should be at the departure point 15 minutes prior to scheduled departure.
When that time came, I saw the Megabus (destination M11 London) and a queue of passengers. The bus driver was on-board and it was raining, yet no passengers were being let on. I started to wonder if it was the right bus.
A short distance away, in a parking bay, I saw another Megabus which had Aberdeen - Perth Broxden Park on the front of the bus (which was my first transfer point). I thought 'hang on, I wonder if that's the right bus' ( made more sense to me than M11 London and was a reasonable assumption I thought).
I walked across to the bus (the doors were open) and said to the driver (different guy to the one mentioned above): "Hello there - can I get on yet?"
He answered "What?" followed by "You can get fined for standing there".
I asked it was the bus for Perth because that's what it said on the front. He said he was on a break and told me to ask another driver. When I asked "but can't you tell me?", he reiterated the threat of a fine and that he was on a break and told me to "f-off", followed by "f-you" when I questioned his attitude. Totally unacceptable and totally uncalled for - even if the bus wasn't in service and the driver was indeed on a break. The bus should have had stated 'Not in service'!!!
I walked back to the other Megabus (M11 London) where a supervisor had started checking reservation numbers. I showed my reservation to him and said I thought someone should have a word with the bus driver about his attitude. At that point the bus driver in question appeared and told the supervisor I was talking about him and then he accused *me* of using abusive language (a complete lie to cover himself and I said this to the supervisor!)
The supervisor wasn't interested - a 'his word against mine' situation. I was fuming about this and just got on the Megabus - there was no point arguing further.
The supervisor then came onto the bus I'd just sat down on and told me that I needed to get on another bus (not marked as Megabus - just a coach from another company - which was going directly to Perth).
What a shambolic affair.
The non-Megabus coach that I travelled to Perth on had a screaming fan belt when accelerating from slow speeds - to me it was indicative of a lack of maintenance.
After arriving in Perth, I transferred onto another Megabus and the rest of the journey was what I'd originally expected - cramped and uncomfortable (the suspension of the coach was either shot or maybe the norm). That said, I was prepared for that for the money (£32.50) and didn't mind.
I did mind being insulted though. Whatever the cost of travel, customer service shouldn't be that dire - well, non-existent actually.
Think again if you're considering using Megabus - pay a bit more to be treated with some respect instead.