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Megabus FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

This FAQ applies to Megabus (not Megatrain) in the UK only.  As a Megabus driver I'm able to give both the company answer (taken from the megabus website) and the answers you'll likely to encounter in real life situations; not always the same thing! The FAQ is unofficial and is not endorsed by megabus.com

Are there really tickets for £1.00?
How can I book a seat on Megabus?
Where are the stops?
Can I catch an earlier bus?
What if I miss the bus?
How can I contact Megabus?
Can I change the ticket, or cancel and get my money back?
How much luggage can I take? Bikes, Cellos, frozen food etc.?
My luggage is valuable/fragile etc and I don't want it stored in the hold?
Are child fares available?
You pass my house/office, can I get off there?
What if the bus is late and I miss my plane/train/dinner/wedding etc.?
Will there be a toilet on the bus?
Can I bring food and drink onto the bus to have during the journey?
Can I sit on my own and not next to a stranger?
Can I book a window or aisle seat?
What should I do if I think the driver was rude and drove badly?
What should I do if I think the driver was polite and drove very well?
Tips on how not to annoy Megabus drivers!

Are there really tickets for £1.00?

Yes, I see them everyday.  The first 'x' seats ('x' is number bigger then 0 and less than 10!) are £1.00 each.  The next 'y' seats are more, the next 'z' seats more still etc.  The secret to getting a £1.00 seat is to book as early as the website will allow, usually 45 days in advance.  Many people are wise to this so you must check everyday until the date you want appears.  This is particularly true of the busy days - Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and Public Holidays which sell very quickly.  If you have a little flexability mid-week dates can still have £1.00 availability for some time after the date has become bookable.  Never ever wait to see if the price will come down - it wont!  What would have been a lower cost seat rises in price the nearer the date of travel becomes.  To take an extreme example, if the £1.00 seats hadn't been sold and someone then books a seat on the day of travel the seat wont be offered at £1.00.  Always book as far in advance as possible for the best deal.

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What if I miss the bus?

It depends on why you missed it.  If you were at the correct stop 10 minutes before the published departure time and the bus had already gone you should complain using any of the contact methods.  But please don't claim this unless it's true!  Every bus is fitted with recording equipment which will record the stopping and leaving time of each point.  If this shows that the bus left at the correct time then you both look a little silly and will be thought of as trying to get a refund by making a dishonest claim!  The Terms and Conditions, which you accepted by buying the ticket, say "Passengers are required to be at their departure point at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time".  Note "required to be", not "are advised to be"!  If you overslept, didn't leave enough time to get to the stop, forgot the correct departure time etc. then that's really tough luck.  You need to buy another ticket for the next departure and because it's so near the departure time it wont be as cheap as the one you missed.  You wont get a refund on the ticket for the missed departure which, if you think about it, is only fair.  The seat couldn't be sold to someone else because you'd paid for it and said you'd sit in it.  You could just wait for the next bus and throw yourself at the mercy of the driver and hope that if there's an empty seat he'll let you use it.  But I honestly think that it's not worth the risk of either a highly likely refusal, or a fully booked bus.  Better to bite the bullet, buy a ticket for the next trip, and resolve never to miss the bus again.  If you missed the bus because a connection failed (train, underground, local bus etc.) it is outside the control of Megabus and Megabus can't be blamed for that.  The people to complain to are the train, underground, local bus company etc.  If, however, it was a connection using another Megabus then you will be treated very sympathetically by Megabus (I've seen heaven and earth moved for a passenger who missed a connection due to an incoming Megabus being delayed) .... so long as you left a reasonable time for the connection.  A reasonable time should not be less than 45 minutes in my opinion.

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How can I contact MegaBus?

e-mail may be sent to Customer Service from this page on the website:-
http://megabus.com/uk/help/contactus.php
I know that all e-mails are answered the same working day.  Obviously, in some situations more information is needed before a full reply can be given but you will at least know what's going on the same day.

The Customer Services telephone number is 0901 331 0031 (calls cost 10p per minute from BT landlines, calls from mobiles and some other networks may be higher).  This 'phone is only answered during office hours, Monday to Friday 08:00 until 20:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 until 18:00.

An old fashioned letter with a sticky stamp should be addressed to:-
Customer Services
megabus.com
Stagecoach in Perth
Inveralmond Industrial Estate
Perth, PH1 3EE

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How can I book a seat on Megabus?

The one place you can't buy a ticket is on the bus!  The majority of bookings are made using the www.megabus.com website.  A telephone booking service is available on 0900 160 0900 between 8am and 9pm, 7 days a week, but be aware that calls cost 60p per minute from a landline, mobile calls may vary.  In some places where this premium rate number is advertised it says "maximum call length 5 mintes" but in other places no mention is made of this!  Both the internet and telephone booking systems require a debit or credit card to make payment.  From 1 October 2007 megabus tickets can be bought at Victoria Coach Station until shortly before departure and cash will be accepted there.

In Scotland tickets may be bought at the following bus stations: Aberdeen Bus Station, Guild Street, Aberdeen - Edinburgh Bus Station, St Andrew Square, Edinburgh - Inverness Bus Station, Margaret Street, Inverness.  Cash may be used to purchase tickets at these locations.

There are a very few places (2 or 3 in the whole England and Wales) where you can buy a ticket over the counter.  Megabus doesn't pay agents commision so these sellers sell at whatever the website charges and then add, typically, £5.00 to cover their costs.  It's usually better to find an internet cafe and make the booking yourself from there.  Not paying agents commision, charging telephone bookings at a premium rate etc. are some of the ways in which Megabus minimises cost which is then reflected in cheap fares.  I know it disadvantages those without debit/credit cards but that is the business model megabus has chosen. 

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Can I catch an earlier bus?

Officially no, you have purchased a ticket for travel at a specific time on a specific day.  But it is sometimes possible to catch an earlier bus!  Not a bus a day or two early, just the one before the one you were booked on.  The first thing to remember is that you have no right to travel early so don't demand to be let let onto the earlier bus.  Tell the driver why you're early "My job interview didn't last as long as I expected" type thing and then ask if there is any chance of getting on this bus.  If you're demanding or agressive there is no chance you'll get on!  Do it nicely and it usually works!

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My luggage is valuable/fragile etc and I don't want it stored in the hold?

No problem.  So long as it will fit safely into the seat next next to you just buy a second ticket!  If you don't buy a seat for your valuable/fragile luggage it will almost certainly be consigned to the hold however much you protest.  Don't bother saying "I'll fit it around my feet" etc. because driver's have heard it all too often - it usually means you'll either put it on a seat and therefore deprive a paying passenger of that seat, or you'll put it as you say, on the floor, and then cramp anyone sitting near you.  If hand luggage wont fit into an overhead locker it goes into the hold; make an exception for one passenger and every passenger expects to be excepted.

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Are child fares available?

No.  Babies and toddlers (less than 36 months old) are carried free of charge, all children pay the standard fare.

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Where are the stops?

http://megabus.com/uk/stops/  Rather infuriatingly it requires you to enter both 'Leaving from' and 'Travelling to' locations.  I'd much prefer it if you were able to enter a place eg Bournemouth, Glasgow etc. and then be presented with all the stops in that location.  If you go to timetables and enter the same information the results page shows both the timetables and the stops.

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Can I change the ticket, or cancel and get my money back?

You can change your ticket (only if it was purchased on the website) at any time up to 24 hours before travel.  Here is the exact wording "A £1.00 fee (50p amendment and 50p booking) is charged for all reservations being changed. The cost of the initial reservation will be credited against the subsequent reservation. Should the subsequent reservation be less expensive than the initial order, no payment or further credit will be made to the customer, all unused credit will be forfeited. If the initial amount paid is less than the cost of the subsequent reservation you must pay the difference when completing your new reservation".  You can't cancel and receive a refund for a ticket already purchased.

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How much luggage can I take? Bikes, Cellos, frozen food etc.?

"Passengers are advised that megabus.com will accept only one piece of luggage per passenger weighing no more than 20kg and no larger than the size of a standard suitcase. Passengers can also take on board one piece of hand luggage up to the size of a small to medium sized hold-all". That's it, when 'push comes to shove' you've no more rights than that.  However, in real life things aren't quite that rigid.  If the case weighs over 20kgs most drivers will accept it if you, the passenger, lift it in and out of the hold.  Offer to do this immediately the weight of a bag looks like it may be questioned.  The weight limit is more for the Health and Safety of the loader than the need to keep weight on the bus down.  Most drivers would have no problem with a passenger with a couple of reasonable sized cases so long as there was room in the hold - there usually is.  The problems come when someone thinks they can save on the cost of a removal van and move house by megabus!

Now to things which aren't 'normal' luggage.  Bikes aren't carried (unless they're folding bikes in a bag) and the reason for this is that they can damage luggage when they rub against it and they can also put oil and grease on luggage.  Having said that I've seen some drivers accept a bike and then put it in the seperate rear luggage hold where it's on its own because there's not much luggage on that trip.  The owner may look happy that they've managed to get their bike on the bus, but will they ever get it home again?  A different driver on the return leg, more luggage on the return leg and the bike will get left behind.  It's not worth turning up with one and it's certainly not worth trying to persuade the driver to take it.  Musical instruments in cases are fine in the hold but if you're not happy about them being in the hold see here.  Frozen food is specifically excluded.

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You pass my house/office, can I get off there?

No, this is a bus not a taxi!  I know passengers think we're awkward when we say 'no' but the problem is once you've said 'yes' to the first request you can't say 'no' to requests from other passengers.  You could end up stopping enough times, each time unloading luggage from the hold, so as to to be late at the final destination.  It's not fair on the majority of passengers who wish to get to the place they booked as quickly as possible.

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What if the bus is late and I miss my plane/train/dinner/wedding etc.?

The Terms and Conditions state "Compensation for delays is not offered".  All I can offer here is the advice that if your journey is absolutely time critical take out travel insurance to cover 'missed departure' 'delay' etc.  I've not seen one which doesn't cover a missed departure due to a public transport delay.  The worst delays are when a motorway is closed due to an accident etc.  The bus breaking down is fairly rare and when it does it doesn't cause as much delay as you might think, a replacement bus is sent out from a local Stagecoach depot and your usually on your way again in less than an hour.

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Will there be a toilet on the bus?

All megabuses have toilets onboard.  The only time there are no toilet facilities is if there is a fault with the toilet, or the bus is a replacement bus not normally used on megabus routes.  If for either of these reasons there is no toilet then the bus will make 'comfort stops' at regular intervals.

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Can I bring food and drink onto the bus to have during the journey?

Drinks first, the no's are alcohol and hot drinks.  Water, soft drinks, juice etc are all fine.  Cold food is fine but no hot food.  The ban on hot food is, to put it bluntly, because it stinks!  Fish and chips, burgers, KFC all stink the bus out, it's just not fair on others.

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Can I sit on my own and not next to a stranger?

Yes, just buy a second ticket and you've got twice the space and a little privacy.

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Can I book a window or aisle seat?

No seats are pre-assigned (except for passengers with disabilities), you board and sit in any empty seat.  You can of course buy two tickets and then you have both the window and aisle seats for yourself.

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What should I do if I think the driver was rude and drove badly?

Inform customer services by e-mail at http://megabus.com/uk/help/contactus.php or telephone them on 0901 331 0031 (calls cost 10p per minute from BT landlines, calls from mobiles and some other networks may be higher).  This 'phone is only answered during office hours, Monday to Friday 08:00 until 20:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 until 18:00.

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What should I do if I think the driver was polite and drove very well?

Tell everyone you meet how great megabus.com is!  Then, inform customer services by e-mail at http://megabus.com/uk/help/contactus.php or telephone them on 0901 331 0031 (calls cost 10p per minute from BT landlines, calls from mobiles and some other networks may be higher).  This 'phone is only answered during office hours, Monday to Friday 08:00 until 20:00, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 until 18:00.

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Tips on how not to annoy Megabus drivers!

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