Imagine this – a bus service that will safely get you almost anywhere in the country for just a dollar.
That’s the whole idea surrounding Megabus. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is.
Megabus is supposed to be known for connecting Chicago to “over 100 cities” in the US and amenities like free WiFi and plushy seats. But instead, you probably know about Megabus as the company that’s always in the news for accidents.
And on Monday, yet another Megabus accident was reported – this one crashing in Indiana on its way from Chicago to Atlanta on I-65. 19 passengers were taken to area hospitals with minor injuries.
This will be the fourth Megabus consecutive crash in Indiana and the fourth accident to happen since fall of 2014.
There have been at least 22 crashes in the U.S with Megabuses since 2013, and there were at least three high profile cases in years before that. 16 high profile Megabus accidents have been looked into, and the company has had a slew of ‘minor’ issues as well – everything from speeding to traffic and hours on the road violations, even DUIs.
Yet somehow, Megabus has maintained a “Satisfactory Rating” from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. And to be fair, given the volume of Megabuses that travel every day, there are way more safe trips than there are disastrous ones.
But regardless – this recent accident along with the long list of others has no doubt called Megabus’s safety into question – especially considering that so many of the accidents that occurred were in the Midwest, particularly Chicago and Indiana.
While a DUI and speeding/traffic violations are errors of human judgment, many of the larger accidents – in this writer’s opinion – hint to a bigger issue regarding training and experience in operating a double decker bus.
Usually, you hear about ‘horror stories of the Megabus’ from the news – not from people you know. There’s even been a Twitter account made called “Don’t Ride Megabus” (@MegabusAccidents) that reports info not only on the big Megabus accidents, but also on the day-to-day ‘minor’ stories that passengers experience.
But you don’t have to go far to find people who have experienced the dark side of Megabus. All I had to do was post a Facebook status.
A friend of mine from Indiana said that on one Megabus she took from Indy to Chicago; the bus driver had their headphones in the whole time. And on a trip from Chicago to Indy in 2014 – during the midst of bad winter storms – the driver was braking erratically, the brakes ended up being frozen, and they had to wait two hours for the new bus. And then the new bus’s luggage compartment caught on fire on its way to Cincinnati – a part of the trip my friend was not on, but no doubt heard about.
My friend David had to wait five hours for his bus in the dead of winter when he was traveling from Detroit to Chicago.
And our very own Peter Hahn once had a five hour plus Megabus ride down to Urbana-Champaign – usually a two and a half hour journey.
While those (thankfully) aren’t quite as severe as, say, flipping or crashing into a pillar (minor paint scratches, really), it still says something that Megabus horror stories are rather easy to find.
You can decide for yourself whether you think it’s worth the risk.
But as someone who frequents the service while traveling from Chicago to Indy, I know I’m considering just driving the 3.5 hours myself next time.