Travel

Megabus offers full refund to passengers stranded April 10 in Chicago

Edward Hodgson, director of Megabus operations in the United States, called me the other day to apologize for leaving me, my husband and about 50 other Detroit- and Ann Arbor-bound passengers stranded for two hours this month on the streets of Chicago.

What’s more, he said all passengers who were involved in the April 10 stranding incident would receive a full refund, including the passengers who were driven from Chicago, one hour into Indiana, and had to return to the city to pick up the rest of us ticket-holders who were mistakenly left behind.

“It was unfortunate and regrettable,” he said, especially since Megabus was aware of Chicago’s Shamrock Run that day and had extra staff on hand to handle the disruption when 40,000 runners took to the streets adjacent to the usual Megabus pick-up point.

Other buses to Des Moines, Indianapolis and elsewhere in the Midwest managed to leave on time and without incident from an alternate site, but miscues and miscommunication among the Megabus staffers sent the more than half-empty Detroit bus on its way without a majority of its ticket-carrying passengers. You’d think they might have wondered why there were so many empty seats on a sold-out bus. Oops!

Luckily, it was a beautiful, 80-degree day in Chicago and there were no belligerent, Type A passengers making a huge scene as we patiently cooled our heels with a mound of luggage spread across the sidewalk. The situation could have gotten ugly if it had been rainy, cold and snowing.

I’m happy for the refund. But as I said before it was offered, the incident wouldn’t stop me from taking Megabus again as it’s a clean, cheap and convenient form of transportaion. I mean, how else can you get to Chicago for $33 or less — and, for at least the next month, for as little as $1 to Pittsburgh as Megabus launches its new Toledo-Pittsburgh service?

Check out Megabus destinations and schedules here

Susan R. Pollack

Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 48 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma‚Äôs revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including “Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide,” and is the copy editor for secondchancetravels.com. She also has written for websites including gardendestinations.com and travelingmom.com.