As promised, over the weekend I took my inaugural trip on Megabus. Here’s how it went…
Round-trip ticket between Houston and Dallas was only $4.50 when I purchased it. Much MUCH cheaper than gas to move between the two cities. I purchased the ticket online through the Megabus website, and it was as simple as that. BTW there’s no physical “ticket”. Just print out the page (or have your reservation number handy on your phone. That’s how the operators will check your reservation before you board the bus.
I’m a public-transit rider already. Since the Megabus stop is located in downtown Houston, it was a very quick Metro ride to get there from my house, so no need for parking. But in Houston there is no overnight parking area. If you are traveling via Megabus, you’ll need to ride public transit, take a cab or have a friend drop you off. To my knowledge they don’t provide parking spaces in any of the Texas area cities.
The bus picks up in a surface parking lot. As anyone in Houston knows, this could be a recipe for disaster if your bus is running late, because the heat can get to some patrons very quickly if you’re just standing outside. The attendants set up a tent for us and it was much appreciated, but the heat and humidity were quite stifling that day so the tent didn’t help too much. There were no chairs to sit in, so you need to be prepared for a potentially long wait. One of the ladies waiting for San Antonio almost fainted, and we had to get her some water. Luckily she was ok by the time the Dallas bus pulled up. But seeing as Texas heat will only get worse through the end of August, it would behoove Megabus to work out some better accommadations now before a more serious incident occurs.
After about 20 minutes, the brand-new double decker bus pulls up. Great styling and a wonderful, unique new fixture to Texas auto culture. Boarding the bus I immediately took a seat at the top. A/C was going full blast so it was cool and comfortable (and I was DEFINITELY glad to be out of the heat of the waiting area). I checked the lights, plugs and A/C at my seat… everything worked perfectly. Wi-Fi took a min, but it worked ok for about half the trip. It was a smooth, easy ride with no further issues. And my phone was FULLY CHARGED when we arrived in D/FW.
3 1/2 hours later, we pull into Grand Prairie’s bus stop. Since the Megabus is direct between sites, the drive time was right on schedule without any hold-ups. But as I was trying for an all-transit trip, Grand Prairie turned out to be painfully inconvenient. It’s a $35 cab-ride to downtown Dallas from there. But even that aside, the total trip cost was still only $40 at that point.
The final verdict: I will probably be taking Megabus again. The actual ride was first-class in my opinion. It’s a great tool for those that like to explore cities, or need a quick low-cost way to visit friends and family without the hassle of a car trip. If they can find some better stop accommodations, then Megabus stands to become a new Texas tradition. I hope they work out those last remaining kinks soon.