Mega value with Megabus

Rebecca Rutt's picture

Travelling around the UK can be more expensive than flying to some European countries and during my university days, having to make regular trips around the country to visit friends, I started to use the Megabus to save money.

Not everyone is willing to choose such low-budget travel and I can sympathise. Despite the lure of travelling across the country for the same price of a Starbucks – it does have its downfalls.

To name a few bad examples; I’ve been stuck for four hours next to a crying baby, the air conditioning once broke and blasted out hot air all the way from Leeds to London in mid-August and I once had to sit next to a toilet with a broken door which continually banged into my feet. It also never allows me to be on time for anything.

My worst Megabus experience has to be when I travelled from Cardiff to London for a job interview. As I was still a student I shunned the idea of paying £40 for a return train journey in favour of £2 on the bus. However, after several delays along the way I ended up 20 minutes late to the interview, despite allowing extra time.

After swearing never to use it again, I was persuaded back recently when travelling back to Cardiff, and as I had a day off I enjoyed the emptiness of the bus in the middle of a week day. It took about four hours in total but was practically empty and only £4 for a return journey.

Whenever I convert one of my friends we discuss at length how Megabus makes any money at all. Even if you book your ticket on the day it’s not normally more than £20 and most of my fellow money-savvy travellers book way in advance so won’t have paid more than around £3 for a single journey.

To those who’ve never experienced it I suggest giving it a go - It’s not the most reliable service in the world, you definitely get what you pay for, but at such ridiculously low prices it’s hard to argue against it.


Your Comments

I use Megabus regularly and agree with Rebecca's views. National Express is more reliable but they only offer £1 fares selectively and occasionally whereas on Megabus there are some on every service.

The biggest problem is that they do not have spare coaches available in case of motorway delays. If you're waiting at Victoria Coach Station for a 2pm coach to Manchester which has been delayed two hours en route to London you will probably wait until 4pm for its departure. National Express have spare coaches and drivers at major departure points. Megabus do not.

If no Megabus coach is available they regularly substitute a bus - a fairly comfortable long distance route one in most cases but they don't have toilets so have to stop regularly at motorway service areas losing time. On the other hand if the regular coach with a toilet is running late breaks are cut out altogether. I once travelled from Manchester to London on a service that had started late from Aberdeen. Passengers had no opportunity to get off for even a few minutes all the way from Aberdeen to London - about 12 hours.

You get what you pay for. 8 times out of 10 a smooth punctual journey for a bargain price. 2 in 10 delayed. Occasionally a nightmare journey.

One tip. The 50p booking fee is only charged once if you book several journeys at one time.

my son is travelling the cardiff -london route tomorrow morning and i stll cant work out where the bus leaves from,the web site is so sketchy!....hopefully after what you have said he will get to london in one piece!

I have used Megabus on numerous occasions travelling from London to Middlesborough and back again and have been pleasantly surprised. The coach has never been late and they have been very good with me as I am disabled. It is a long journey but where can you travel for £3 return including insurance. It costs me more to travel to the shops from my home.

megabus used to be good value in the past for my journeys north but I've found NE has surpassed them both in terms of cheap fares and comfortable journeys. There's hardly ever a 1 pound fare available now unless you book on the week fares are released (months ahead), compared to NE which often has cheap fares even for journeys less than 2 weeks away.

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