I try to support Amtrak as much as I can but it's completely sold out for the dates I want/need to travel to St. Louis.
It looks like megabus is still available. I've never used it.
Anyone have general tips, or juicy horror stories to share?
Do they just keep selling seats and add more buses as necessary?
Anyone ridden through the night? What's that like?
I've never had any trouble with Megabus. Usually a lot cheaper than Megabus and seems to usually be on time, though individual experiences may vary. You can get some good deals if you book far enough in advance, seats start at $1.00. Space is tighter than Amtrak, but most of the buses I've ridden on have been empty enough that I've gotten two seats to myself.
In response to Megabus Greyhound has added some express buses, though not sure if St. Louis is one of the routes.
I've ridden the megabus quite a bit. And, contrary to what The Derailleur implied, you're not going to die. I've got a few tips for you:
You can updates by text to see if the bus is on time or not, and you can save your reservation number in your phone to present it to the driver. you don't need the actual print off.
Bring headphones or earplugs, especially if you're trying to sleep. The bus isn't eccessivly loud, it's just good to be prepared. Sometimes they play a movie at night, but generally things are quiet.
Don't sit near the front if you're trying to sleep.
The buses have wifi, but don't have outlets...
I brought a boxed bike one time and it was a huge hassle. I don't recommend it, and technically megabus does not allow bikes.
I have been on one trip to Indianapolis (for the NAHBS) when they oversold the bus on the return trip there was about 20 of us left in the cold for about an hour while another bus was chartered. But hey, it was $6.50, don't expect perfect service.
Another Megabus-related fatality:
I've ridden the megabus quite a bit. And, contrary to what The Derailleur implied, you're not going to die.
Never ridden but the past weeks got them some press.
Crash, death and a fire in Georgia
I take the Megabus about 6 - 8 times a year and have been for 4 years. I know there have been crashes lately, but really if you compare the amount of crashes to the amount of routes and times, the likelihood of your bus crashing is very, very slim. You are probably more likely to get into an accident in a car.
That said, you kinda get what you pay for but it's my preferred method of travel. I recommend it! If you happen to be vegetarian, pack your own lunch.
Heading to St. Louis in September again. All Amtrak trips for the days I needed seem to be $24. I'll survive without internet for 6 hours...
The fares are good (buy early for the really low ones) but everything else is just ok. I've used it several times and I don't think we've actually left on time ever; the closest was 45 min late. They're very restrictive on luggage, and since the driver usually does the loading, that also contributes to the late starts. It can get crazy around Christmas when people who didn't pay attention to the restrictions try to bring their gifts with them.
I had one horrible experience in the winter. We left for Ann Arbor in the morning during a snowstorm and because it was a wet, heavy snow the driver had to pull over on the highway shoulder several times to clear her wiper blades. Each time she'd spin her wheels getting us going again. Then at some point in western MI she decided to pull off on an exit ramp (not the normal rest stop) and got stuck half way up the ramp, completely blocking it. She kept spinning the wheels, and those of us at the windows on the upper level had to start screaming for her to stop as we saw the bus sliding closer and closer to the embankment on the side. I thought we were going to end up on the evening news: "Bus flips over on I-94".
So she stopped and we had to wait for a tow truck that was able to pull us up to arrive through the traffic on the highway. That took several hours, and when we finallly got back on the road, it was a slow crawl to Ann Arbor. We were scheduled to arrive around 2pm and didn't get in until after 10pm.
That sounds horrible Jeff- sorry you had to go through that. Most of my rides have been pretty good this past year.
My Daughter has taken Mega several times to Madison over the last year... dirt cheap,and she liked them just fine, but their schedules are more aspirational than realistic.
i get the feeling that you shouldn't be in too big a hurry to get where your going, but the ride's reasonably enjoyable.
My Megabus from Madison last year had a flat and the driver went all over looking for someone to repair the tire. The driver continued until the tire blew, which was very unsafe, and we had to wait on the side of the highway for another bus to come from their Milwaukee depot. The bottom line was the driver should have stopped and gotten another bus instead of going on a wild goose chase and endangering the safety of his passengers. What an ass. I mean, we could have been waiting at a rest stop instead, you jerk.
Well, I don't know to what extent I'll be able to resist $1 fares and availability of wi fi in the future, but I'm presently unnerved enough to have booked by next St. Louis trip on Amtrak ($24 each way.)
Going to see my boy Glen Hansard again.
$48 will go a long way towards your peace of mind.