Here’s what to do to help prepare for a ride on this low-cost bus option and to help protect yourself in case of a Megasbus accident
Last week, I questioned whether the low-cost travel option of Megabus is really worth it, given the numerous serious accidents that have occurred in the Midwest.
Known for offering rock-bottom fares for as low as $1, Megabus started offering trips in 2006. It since has transported more than 50 million passengers to 120 major cities across North America. For example, one-way tickets from Michigan to Chicago average about $15. But some Megabus passengers are complaining of safety concerns, late departures and lost luggage. Meanwhile, Megabus crashes and fires continue to occur, with numerous published reports of unsafe, untrained and even drunken drivers.
If you’ve been in a Megabus accident and have questions about your potential legal remedies, please take a look at our recent blog post, “Do I have a Megabus lawsuit?”
Meanwhile, I’m getting questions from readers on whether there’s a way to travel the Megabus way safely. There are some things you can do to prepare for a safer ride on the Megabus:
- Look before you book: Learn more about the bus you’re riding and its safety by visiting “Look Before you Book,” from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Here, you can find safety tips and information about your potential bus carrier. Visit www.fmsca.dot.gov/lookbeforeyoubook.
- Be prepared for delays: Megabuses often do not arrive or leave when the schedule says they will. Dress for the weather because you will be waiting outside for the Megasbus to arrive.
- Show up early: At least 15 minutes before departure time, so you’re not running after the bus.
- Don’t expect order when boarding: There’s no terminals or printed tickets, so have your confirmation ready via phone or printout and be ready to get in line for a seat. Remember, you have to wait in the luggage line first.
- Bring a jacket or sweater: As it often gets chilly in the Megabus.
- Bring food and water: For trips longer than two hours and in case the bus stalls. Also remember your phone charger.
- Avoid front upper deck seats: In some of the Megabus crashes that have occurred, those who were in the front upper deck seats where the ones who sustained the most impact, like a woman who died when a Megabus front steer tire blew in Chicago 2012. Try to sit on the bottom deck if you can.
- If there’s an emergency: Listen to the bus driver.
- Stay seated: When the bus is in motion.
- Keep an eye on your personal belongings: And also secure them under your seat or in an overhead bin so they don’t hurt someone else or block the aisles.
- Call 911 if you believe there’s an emergency. Emergency situations include:
• A bus driver who appears incapacitated, fatigued or impaired (visibly sleepy/nodding, disoriented, slurring speech), and cannot or will not stop or pull over on request.
• A driver who’s operating erratically (speeding, driving recklessly/aggressively, driving through dangerous/extreme weather, or distracted driving) and won’t stop when asked.
• The appearance of an urgent safety problem with the Megabus (heavy smoke, skidding, etc.) and the bus driver will not stop or pull over.
- Know your passenger rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act: Every passenger with disabilities is entitled to either an accessible bus or “equivalent service” – meaning service that is just as accessible as the service provided to passengers without a disability.
- Learn before you board: The FMSCA has provided this great handout about learning the features of the bus before you board, such as emergency exits and safety equipment like fire extinguishers.
Stay tuned for my next Megabus blog post, where I’ll discuss your potential lawsuits if you’re injured in a Megabus accident, and how Michigan law and our No Fault laws work. Safe travels, everyone.