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Trip Report: Megabus

July 20, 2008

Took Megabus to Kansas City last week (July 8). Buses now load at the curb on Canal just south of Union Station, an open sidewalk with no weather protection. Megabus does have an agent who checks tickets in advance so buses can load relatively fast. We took off about 15 minutes late, bus about 70% full, everything fine. Just before St. Louis, the A/C failed. Driver dropped us off at Union Station and drove away, assuring us that the bus would return with a relief driver. About 30 minutes later that actually happened. On to Kansas City, we paused at a truck stop to try to fix the AC but the only result was to put us an hour behind schedule. On arrival in KC, there was a crowd waiting to board for an immediate departure back to St. Louis.

Returning July 13, we had one of the new Van Hool double deckers. Pretty nice bus in many respects, but the seats are a bit cramped. Also, there are no overhead luggage racks on either level, just the baggage compartment behind the passenger area. And it seemed we had a bit of trouble maintaining speed up hills. But at least the AC worked fine. The bus was perhaps 60% full. I got off at St. Louis, where quite a crowd was waiting to board for Chicago.

I could have taken Amtrak for almost the same fare, but chose Megabus because Amtrak’s StL-KC trains have such a poor on-time record. As it happens, a colleague who took Amtrak said they were only a little late.

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