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Prison On Wheels
Member Name: topsyturvy
Advantages: cheap fare, eventually gets to destination
Disadvantages: uncomfortable, usually late
So, I am always looking for ways to save money. My sister lives down in Manchester and I usually take the car when I visit but the money it was costing in petrol was just getting too ridiculous. I decided to start looking for alternative means of transport so I looked up train fares which were ok but still not the cheapest and flights were a lot so then I thought about coaches. I had passed the megabus while driving up before and heard many people talk about the good cheap price they had paid on this.
I went on the website 3 days before I was due to leave and surprisingly enough I still got what I would consider a cheap ticket. It cost £24 for a return to Manchester and back up to Scotland. The website is easy enough to use you pick your starting point and where you want to go, choose the dates and passengers. They travel to basically every city in the UK, all major cities like London, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool and so on.
I went to the station ten minutes before the time the bus was due. However, as per usual the megabus was late and didnít come until 15 minutes later. It came then took about ten minutes for everyone to get off of the bus so we could get on. Finally after all of this I got on the bus and it did leave.
The usual process is that people with cases go to the back of the bus and wait for the driver to help them load their luggage. I didnít like the looks of the luggage section as every case is squashed into this section on top of each other and you could barely fit a tiny purse in because that is how crammed it was. There is room inside for small bags at the front but if you put it under your legs it will be an uncomfortable bus ride.
So actually getting onto the bus what you do is show your reference number to the driver. He has a list and ticks everyone off. The thing that I found bad was on the way back the driver was like I trust you all so on you go which was a pretty stupid thing to do considering anyone could have gone on for free.
The drivers that work for megabus are a hit or miss really. On some occasions they get in the bus drive it with no problems and try to get everyone to their destination on time. However, I did have the experience of a moody driver who stopped the bus to wait on a passenger who didnít get on the bus at the station, this was ridiculous and delayed us all by an hour. He then threatened to kick some teenagers off the bus causing everyone to start arguing, I have never been so glad to get off a bus.
The buses themselves are usually quite long like 1 and a half times a normal bus. Inside they have 2 sets of table seats then just normal coach type seats. There are upstairs seats as well but I donít usually sit there. Above you can adjust the air conditioning. The chairs are not really that comfortable though I found the leg room terrible for a long journey, I was on for 4 hours and couldnít wait to leave the bus.
On my first journey the driver had the heating on full when it was a hot day, someone asked for this to be turned down yet he refused. I then had to keep my legs away from the side because I could have burnt my leg. The top of the seats donít level with my head or anyoneís so you can properly lie back. There are toilets downstairs but I donít like bus toilets so I didnít use them.
I sat at the table seat which was a little bit better for space but still not very comfortable. There are too many seats crammed onto the bus and they should cut out 2 and give just a bit more leg room and it would make the experience that bit more pleasant.
The buses always change drivers after a couple of hours. On the Manchester route they always stop at Lancaster to change over. If the driver is kind they will let you off for 5 minutes but if not they will keep everyone on the bus. Sitting for 4 hours is just not good so I try to stand up when possible for health reasons. I feel they could make one stop every 4 hours for 15 minutes to make everyone feel less uncomfortable.
On my way there I was well over an hour late and by this point had been sat in my chair for 6 hours which was ridiculous and not once did we get an apology, I felt sorry for those going onto London if it had been me I would have gotten the train from Manchester onwards. On the way back the driver made it up much quicker and I arrived on time so like I said it all depends if you get a good driver or not.
What I will say about Megabus is that yes they are giving good fare from as low as £1 and if you are in the north of Scotland wanting to get to England cheap this is ideal, especially for students. Personally for me who drives I will never leave the car behind again and just drive atleast I can stop when I want, have my music on and get a decent air supply.
Use http://www.megabus.co.uk if you want to get a cheap fare and get somewhere. However if you have little children who wonít sit still it might be a bad idea and do not expect an amazing service as you definitely pay for what you get. I think if you can book a train early you might get as good a price.