Monday, December 20, 2010

My Megabus trip from D.C. to Knoxville

My Megabus trip from D.C. to Knoxville did not go as smoothly as I had hoped. My daughter's friend in D.C. said that she had friends who use this bus service from D.C. to NYC and Philadelphia. She said that they had nothing but good things to say. This reassured me. I have to admit that at this point I was just not feeling the Megabus love.

Windshield pic taken  a
few minutes  after impact.
The first part of our trip started out well enough. It was disappointing that neither the electrical plugs nor the internet worked. The bus driver shrugged it off saying that those were out of her hands. The day before, our driver had allowed DVDs to be played. That was a no-go with this driver.

This didn't bother me as much as when she told me not to use my cell phone. I was sitting in the front seat. She said that cell phone conversation bothered her. We negotiated and I agreed to speak quietly. She seemed to be ok with that and there was no problem. It turned out that I needed to use it very little.

This windshield photo taken later.
Our bus ride was uneventful except for a couple of things. On Megabus trip from D.C. to  Knoxville we hit a large bird of prey hard enough to break the windshield just above the driver. I saw the lone bird as it approached from the passenger side before impact. It looked to be a hawk but I couldn't be positive. About the time I said "It's a..." the bird and bus collided.

There really wasn't time for the driver to respond before the contact was made with the bird. The driver didn't   seem to be rattled. She calmly pulled over and phoned dispatch. She took pictures to email to the company. In a few minutes it was determined that a replacement bus would not be needed.

Some birds of prey are on the endangered species list in the U.S. I was surprised that the driver didn't call the Virginia State Police or animal control to check it out or look for the body. If she did she didn't say anything. We were stopped only for about 10 minutes.

Later, we got the same unpleasant surprise that my previous driver experienced. When we pulled into the Christiansburg lot the driver faced some angry Megabus customers who were on the Knoxville to D.C. route.

Guess what? As chronicled in yesterday's blog post these riders were apparently not picked up. Our driver let one lady onto the bus to use the bathroom. She said that they had been waiting since 1:30 p.m. (It was now after 3:00 p.m.) They pretty much blasted our driver. She shrugged her shoulders and told them to call customer service. We were only there for a few minutes before she left.

KAT Center
Being off of Megabus from D.C. to Knoxville was a relief. We pretty much made it home without further incident. When she became unsure of her route to get to the transit center I was able to help her. Our driver was only confused about the route momentarily.

Because we only stopped for 10 minutes to pick up passengers and 20 minutes for lunch in Christiansburg she got the Megabus from D.C. into Knoxville an hour and 15 minutes early.

I'm always up for travel adventure but this experience was a little over the top. At this point, if I ever take a Megabus from D.C. to Knoxville (or vice versa) again it will only be because of the driver of the first bus that I was actually on and because of reassurance from my daughter's friend.

One thing is for sure, I'll give Megabus more time to get the kinks worked out from this route first. You can read my other blog articles here and here.

(The photos I took of the broken windshield on the Megabus from D.C. to Knoxville aren't very clear and I'm sorry. These were taken from inside the bus and can give you a rough idea of the damage. Photos taken from the outside of the bus did not show up due to glare and dirt. Except for the large crack across the windshied the driver's view of the road didn't seem to be impaired.)