Many people choose to travel by bus, whether it is a charter bus, Megabus or a bus for long distance travel, over the option of driving. While these bus companies do a great business what is not seen a lot is complaints in the abundance that airlines would for similar locations.
One such complaint was filed by an accountant from Pasadena Maryland, after the group Shannon Lee and another couple she was traveling with Dan and Jacqueline Childs were refused seating on a bus. The event took place when Lee and the Childs paid $89 for Megabus round-trip tickets to the New York City Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Lee said they were turned away when attempting to board the bus and were told there was not enough seating.
According to Lee they have attempted to contact Megabus numerous times by email and telephone to request a refund and have not received a reply. After Lee bought the story of their complaint and lack of refund to light Megabus company spokesman Sean Hughes stated they would be calling Lee and the Childs to give them an apology and full refund.
Bus complaints remain low compared with airline complaints, while at the same time bus travel is not as harshly regulated by the federal government as air travel. This may account for some of the reduced complaints by motor coach passengers.
At the same time the airline industry has reduced the number of flights by approximately 3 percent, while bus travel has increased at approximately 2.1 percent in 2014, including expansion of city-to-city bus routes. Currently there are about 80 million people traveling by bus annually. According to Depaul University’s Chaddick Institute director Joe Schwieterman in a recently released study one of the reasons bus travel continues to increase is because of the less strict rules when traveling by bus and the attitude of passengers and those waiting for their arrival.
The study found people using bus transpiration were more understanding when there are delays due to bad weather or traffic delays. The other factor found is that traveling by bus is cheaper than other types of transportation such as train or airplane, which lowers the expectations of passengers. The other thing that Schwieterman found is that buses have over a 90 percent rate of on-time arrivals.
According to American Bus Association spokesman Dan Ronan bus company owners cannot run away from customers with issues, if the company is a medium size bus line. This means of a problem occurs with the bus company’s service it is possible to speak to the owner.
Government Overseeing Buses
Unlike with airlines and other modes of public transportation the government is not overseeing bus companies as harshly as it could. In 2013 the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted approximately 40,000 bus inspections with over 100 unsafe bus companies being shut down.
The department also issued requirements for lap and shoulder seatbelts for each passenger to be installed on new motor coaches and large buses, including in the driver’s seat. The agency also established that structural changes and improvements must be made for the design of larger buses. This regulation is an effort to ensure passengers are better protected in the event of a rollover crash.
Still, critics claim the government is not doing enough, especially in the areas of addressing disability access, service questions, ticket sales and lost luggage. The aviation industry is the complete opposite of bus industry regulations in these areas with DOT rules and regulations.
Former Chicago Department of Transportation commissioner Gabe Klein said the difference is because it is a bus and there are fewer chances of anything going wrong.
San Diego bus industry consultant Robert Turner said there are hundreds of bus operators in the United States compared to basically three monopolizing airline companies with both transporting passengers from one location to another.
He questions why the bus industry does not need the numerous government rules and regulations. The bus companies can offer better customer service than airlines and it is due to the amount of competition.
Turner said some passengers with the exception of a limited few refer to airplane travel as a “bus with wings”. He said newer motor coaches have the government mandated seatbelts, but also have a galley kitchen with microwave and wireless internet connections.
Getting Bus Service Results
- Complaining to the Company
Generally customer service complaints in the bus industry can be handled in real time and resolved quickly. Ticket refunds are processed quick and lost luggage is typically found fast. In the event a service related problem was not addressed and solved in a timely manner the larger bus companies have websites where complaints can be filed.
The motor coach and bus company industry in the United States is growing and if there is a company a passenger is unhappy with they can switch to a competitor who will be happy to have new customers.
The guidelines for the bus industry by the Department of Transportation can be found on the DOT website.
Some lawyers specialize in bus accidents. A quick Google search should pop up some results.
Hopefully these tips helped out.