anyone taken a bike on megabus?
so as I mentioned in the other thread, I plan on taking my bike to ohio with me in october.
However, their luggage policy is this:
"Customers are advised that megabus.com will accept up to ONE (1) piece of luggage per passenger. For guidance this must not exceed 62 inches when adding the total exterior dimensions of the piece (length + width + height) and should not weigh more than 50 pounds. "
Bike boxes don't fit the dimensions, but do the bus operators actually check that? I imagine since it's not over 50 pounds, and it's flat and easily stored, it won't be too big a hassle (I hope)
I took a bike (no box) on megabus recently from Columbus to Pittsburgh. The driver let me put it on because he didn't seem to care one way or another about any policy. When I got to pgh though the megabus attendant guys at the convention center rather aggressively told me I could never do it again. So I guess that answers that.
just got this email:
Unfortunately, if it exceeds the maximum amount of total inches stated in
our policy, we cannot allow it on our service.
so by that, I can't take my bike, as most bike boxes are a total of about 72 inches
Now y'see, if Amtrak had roll-on service, you could take your bike right onto the 29 Capitol Limited, get off at Elyria, and just about ride home from there. It's all of, what, six maybe seven miles? But Amtrak makes you box up the bike, same as for the Pgh-Phila-NYC trip. Serious PITA.
You cannot fit a non-folding or S+S coupled bicycle in a 62" box. Just isn't going to happen. Most boxes that hold two wheels exceed the 62" maximum, let alone with a frame in there. Believe me, even with an S+S coupled bike and the custom bag that goes with it it's not easy to make it all fit.
I do know of people using a shrink wrap method to fly and bus it with bikes as "art". Remove wheels, pedals, bar/stem and fork. Sandwich frame between wheels with the fork and other bits in there somewhere. Put your u-lock around the top tube and through the wheels. Wrap the whole thing in a million wraps of Saran Wrap from the grocery store with the u-lock sticking out the top as a handle. Instant art project that I've yet to hear of not making it on either a bus or plane. You just cut it open on the other side and get another roll of Saran Wrap for the return trip.
It seems crazy enough to work. And it would solve the problem of what to do with that big bike box once I'm in Ohio
Has anyone ever taken their bike in a box? In the other thread, it seems that Ian has with no trouble, but do they actually measure the boxes and such?
megabus.com does not check luggage or provide receipts for luggage transported on the bus by the passenger. Customers are advised that megabus.com will accept up to ONE (1) piece of luggage per passenger. For guidance this must not exceed 62 inches when adding the total exterior dimensions of the piece (length + width + height) and should not weigh more than 50 pounds. Passengers can also take on board one (1) small carry-on bag that wil fit in the overhead storage compartments or under the seat. Please be advised that passengers wishing to travel with more luggage than specified above will have items refused.
Luggage is subject to inspection when crossing international borders. You will be asked to declare any items subject to duty upon crossing the border. Passengers must claim their luggage at the border crossing point for clearance through customs before being allowed to proceed across the border. No luggage is allowed across the border unless claimed by a passenger.
Our maximum liability to you for any loss or damage to your luggage is US$250 per passenger for any such loss or damage to luggage, and megabus.com will only be responsible to reimburse passengers up to the maximum liability limit in the event of negligence on the part of megabus.com.
nowhere in the luggage policy does it say that it has to be boxed...Only problem is I'll have to wrap it at the bus station. which is not the biggest problem I could have, so I'll take it.
I emailed but never actually boxed a bike up up or took one anywhere. That email was a while ago and they may have reversed themselves on official policy since then, which would be a shame.
Having taken Megabus a handful of times, the drivers are not whipping out the tape measures. As long as the bus is not jam-packed full, you could probably get away with it so long as it is reasonably sized. That said, if you are on a full trip or just leaving from a high-volume station (the Grand Central departure terminal in NYC comes to mind), there may be more tendency to play it strictly by the book, where on the Pittsburgh side they seem less strict/stressed.
Believe me, it works. There are local polo players that have used the Saran Wrap method to take their bikes to tournaments all over the country. You definitely need some mechanical skills to make it worth your while as it requires some wrenching to take the bike apart and put it back together. And you'll want to stop by a bike shop and get frame and fork spreaders to make sure neither gets pinched closed from bags stacked on top of it. People have also had some success with giant hockey bags taped up to make it as small as possible around the bike. There is a lot of air space in any sort of box a bike will fit in.
Do they allow two bags? Put your wheels in one and the rest in another.
they do not allow two checked bags*, which means that in the wheel-to-frame locking, I need to also find a way to get my seat, rear rack, and helmet into the wrapping. I'll have to head to kraynick's one of these days and see what tools exactly I'll need, and buy them, and also get some practice breaking down and putting my bike back together.
*they do allow a carry-on, but that will have my clothes and such for the trip in it
The more I think about ways in which I can do this, the more doable it sounds. I need to get to a gas station in cleveland anyway to get a crate for my stuff, so deflating my tires so that my lock fits through both the wheels and the frame should be no big deal, I can just take a few quarters and get some air.
I don't know what time you'll be landing in Cleveland, but it looks like the Megabus stop is right up the hill from Ohio City Bike Coop, you should email them, tell them what your plan is, and maybe the can help get you set up on the landing end. They certainly have tools and such. It's just a matter if someone will be there.
also not sure what timeline you're planning on, but with their price structure, you could easily buy two tickets. I'd imagine that buying two tickets would get you two seats and the right to have two checked bags. Though the absence of a second warm body could be problematic, but airlines solve this somehow for people needing two seats, I'd imagine Megabus would as well.
Or we could just try to get Megabus to allow packed bikes onboard (long term solution, not that helpful to you). Would make them that much cooler, and they're catering to the right crowd to have it appreciated.
I would rather not buy a second ticket, as I'm constantly broke (otherwise I might've taken greyhound, since I know they will let you box a bike and all that)
Bill, thanks for the resource! I'll email them and see what's up. I won't be arriving until 845pm at the earliest, but maybe someone lives nearby or something.
Wow, I just did some comparison shopping on fares. Amazing how much cheaper Megabus is than Greyhound or Amtrak. Just picking a couple of dates (10/3 there, 10/9 return, I have no idea what your schedule is), as of this typing it looks like you'd pay as little as $6 round trip on Megabus, vs $55 on Greyhound and $70 on Amtrak (the latter to/from Elyria, the others to/from Cleveland). Amtrak takes half again longer, too, though gets you a lot closer.
Amtrak's schedules for Clevo/Elyria are horrid (middle of the night only, in my experience).
The Megabus stop isn't that close to Ohio City Bikes. Definitely not walkable with a disassembled bike.
Fortunately the PGH-Clevo route is not very well-travelled, so they'll be pretty lenient with luggage. PGH-NYC on the other hand, if your bag is a centimeter over 62 dimensional inches or a gram over 50 pounds, they'll feed you to the lions
Another thing wrong with Amtrak service: the scheduled departure time is more like an "estimated earliest time you will leave if pigs flew". The actual departure time is anywhere from 5 minutes to 10 hours later, depending on freight schedules.
That being said, it's the difference between first class flights and econo seats sandwiched between the bathroom and screaming vomiting babies. I STILL took Amtrak every chance I got between Baltimore and Pgh once I discovered how delicious it was to travel by train on a student fare compared to GH (both took 13 hours to Pgh, $10 difference. it was headed back that the train was on a random schedule and less convenient). Like a vacation all on its own. The seats were just stupid comfy and reclinable, so much room... le sigh.
@Stu- I was comparison shopping for fares from here to Boston and back, and Megabus was $230 RT for two people, flying Southwest was $321 (that includes taxes/fees!), Greyhound was $340, and Amtrak was somewhere around $500.
I'm interested to hear if anyone has success packing their bike (with saran wrap or in a bike box or whatever) and taking it onto Megabus in Pittsburgh. When I arrived (from Columbus) with my bike in the luggage compartment the attendants were very adamant that it was NOT OK to bring something oversize on. Would also be interested to hear if they OK it if you buy two tickets, as most of the megabus travels I've done have been $1 seats, so an extra dollar to bring a bike on would be very much worth it. Kayla, I've never seen fares that high for megabus, when are you traveling to Boston?
I have taken (and/or seen a friend take) bike on megabus and/or greyhound in Pittsburgh, DC, and Durham NC, maybe somewhere else. I use a bike bag bought from Nashbar, packed up easily(I think for my bike I just had to take off the front wheel for it to fit) and have never had any problems with complaining bus people or bike issues or other troubles.
Maybe then the issue was that mine was not bagged/boxed up.
It was for October 7-10. Thats for two people, round trip, Pittsburgh to Philadelphia then Philadelphia to Boston (and back).
As I understand it, Megabus's fares are calculated based on (a) How far in advance you book the ticket, and (b) How many seats have already been sold. I just priced the same trip for similar dates in December, and the round trip, per-person cost (all four rides!) is $63. So, $126 for two people. Definitely pays to book ahead.
Yeah, when they first introduced the Toronto bus from Pgh, the tix were $5 each for only 4 days ahead. Now they're $42 each for a week ahead.
Hmm... you should go to Toronto instead. (Though that's Canadian Thanksgiving, so that weekend might be more)
I am flying to Boston in early November on a JetBlue email deal- $90 roundtrip.
Has anyone inquired with Megabus about buying two tickets and bringing two bags?
I remember getting a seat one-way PGH-NYC for $5 just a week or two in advance. Ah, those were the days... I don't see them lower than $30 per trip anymore
yeah, the price of my ticket went up $5 while I was unsuccessfully typing my payment info. should've bought them a few days earlier, but $20 is still great for a round trip to cleveland. Back when Amtrak was still the cheapest option, it would still cost me $40
saran wrap thing worked! But it was too awkward to carry the bike. so i took a cab to the megabus stop.
Good to know!
I felt I should update this thread when I saw it referenced elsewhere - I successfully made it to and from cleveland shrinkwrapping it, but on the way back, the driver told me that he would let me on, but no other driver would do so, because you can't take bikes on the bus (even as checked luggage).
Then, when I got back to pittsburgh, one of the guys who works at the pittsburgh stop said that he was impressed by how I wrapped it up, and that if anyone gives me trouble in the future, tell them (his name - can't remember it) said it was okay.
So the results are inconclusive.
It seems to me that Megabus needs to formulate a policy that relates specifically to bikes, in addition to their blanket "luggage" policy.
Three friends were recently denied boarding on the NYC route because a guy was there to measure & weigh their bags , which were about 10 lbs and a few inches over limit. Stricter than the airlines!
i will ask if there are any plans to put bike racks on megabuses
Between this and the Amtrak thing you would think people were asking to bring poorly secured crates of venomous snakes on board.
the boss said they cant put bike racks on the mega buses cause it would obstruct the drivers view but he did say if the bus wasent real crowded they could fold down some seats in the back for bikes but how would you know if the bus was sold out or not in advance im not sure
They could figure out a way. They just don't see the value.
Hey bear250220, are you a driver for Megabus?
I might be wrong but the under storage of the single decker busses seems pretty cavernous and generally underutilized on the megabus routes I've taken. Seems like they could charge a premium on bikes on a first come first serve type basis.
Bikes would definitely obscure the view of the raccoon you're driving over at 45 mph.
Seriously, there are tens of thousands of transit buses around the world with bike racks on them in daily use. This is NOT a problem.
dmtroyer, et al - the Pittsburgh routes likely aren't the problem. Buses in and out of Pgh often have plenty of room on them, for luggage and for people. The problem is the NY-DC route, NY-Philly, DC-Philly, and some of the other major routes. On those people try and get as much on board as possible, paying as little as possible (and with Megabus, it's really easy to be really cheap). Those routes the luggage compartments are packed, and there are waiting lines for last minute tickets even on wintry Tuesday afternoons.
So if they do pull together some kind of policy, it's got to work not just boarding a Pgh-Detroit Bus on a Tuesday at 6AM, but also boarding a NY-DC bus (while boarding 7 other buses at the same time going different places all from the same stretch of sidewalk) on Friday afternoon of a three day weekend.
They're still figuring out where to get routes set up, what the base prices for routes will be (after the 1$ intro rates - nope, they're not permanent), and settling in to the whole deal. They don't have their logistics down yet. They've figured out how to get started pretty well, but it looks like they're still trying to figure out how to keep things running.
But I think this is also the perfect time to get them thinking about these legit questions. While they're trying to be better than Greyhound and the airlines, it might be good to remind them this is another easy area for them to comparatively excel at without incurring much cost or liability.
Hell, If they made it affordable I would easily pitch in a few bucks extra to bring my bike. Maybe like $10 bucks each way, more than that would be a deterrent, but I might still pay it anyway so I don't have to drive or for one way bike tours.
@ejwme very good point.
@ edmunds ... you would think people were asking to bring poorly secured crates of venomous snakes on board
It's not right.
It's not even very funny, really.
But I'm somehow compelled to do it..
< Samuel L Jackson voice >
"I've HAD it with these mutherf*cking bikes on this mutherf*cking bus!"
I've witnessed luggage problems on Megabus even on Pittsburgh routes. Coming back from NYC one time, the bus driver spent an hour trying to rearrange luggage in State College and then declared that anybody with luggage at State College wouldn't be permitted to board the bus and left.
Sounds about on par with them leaving my mom on the curb when they screwed up her reservation. Website said 7am, their system said 7pm.
My one experience with Megabus was a Pgh-NYC trip via State College. Only 20 or so on board here, but full bus from S.C., and it seemed everyone brought a big suitcase. The driver spent 25 minutes rearranging and shoving, gave up, and announced that three bags weren't going to make the trip, so either join the bag or have someone come get it, but he was leaving in two minutes.
Given that, I would think that trying to pack a bike would be a big PITA for a lot of other passengers.
Our perspective: Some routes have enough room for bikes. Megabus should change its rules to clearly permit them.
Megabus's perspective (perhaps): Some routes have enough room for bikes. We should cancel those unprofitable routes and replace them with routes that are filled to capacity.
You can still get the Greydog to Cbus and Cincinatti 4 times a day. So probably all the Megabus cancellation means is that there is not enough excess demand for a second more aggressive carrier to challenge the dog.
Also Greyhound is probably much better set up to provide cash, point of departure ticket sales for lower income people who may not have credit cards, internet access, printers, etc. who are more likely to use the bus anyway.
And Greyhound specifically allows bikes, they just have to be somehow packaged. There's some kind of exception for bikes and skis, maybe from the size or weight limits, not clear.
Not trying to be a fan of the dog, just posing hypotheses.
OT was googling around travel options, found this Via Rail Canada employee with the amazing fauxhawk and just had to share;
Smiles. Back to your program.
There are other types of bike racks than what PAT has, especially if speed of loading isn't as much of a concern. the google buses have something like this (actually this one is fancier but the same basic idea). you can lock your bike to it.
i dont drive megabus but i work there megabus is just one division of the company i drive around shadyside and east liberty all day on my route
I'm pretty bummed about the columbus route cancellation, as I took that all the time, but I can't complain a ton because greyhound is only $17 in advance, and I can take my bike. So I guess that pretty much sums it up.
A related question: I'm taking megabus to NYC this weekend. Is there any place nearby where I can lock my bike reasonably safely? Hopefully with a proper, uncuttable thing to lock to (not a fence), maybe with a security camera, maybe in a hard to access location... I normally take the bus down but biking would be much easier.
There is the parking garage on Penn in the theatre district that has covered 3 rivers racks. Just lock it really, really well.
@abra the parking deck at Penn & 9th has a bunch of three rivers racks and has decent security I believe.
If you guys are talking about the same place, I will give it a try. Are there cameras? My bike is pretty theft-proof, but that spot is visible from the sidewalk and all...
Pretty sure it is visible from the security desk and I wouldn't be surprised if there is a camera given it is at the entrance of the garage. That said, personally I would take more comfort that it is visible from a busy sidewalk than visible by a security officer.
Get some waterpaint in garish colors and trash your bike with it before you leave.
We've had a few reports of bikes stolen from that location over the years, but it's not a hot spot for thefts as far as I can tell. Lock it well, and hope for the best.
If that is not usable for some reason, the vertical rack behind the bike center (7th Street, between Penn and Ft. Duquesne, across from Bossa Nova) are pretty well obscured from public view. Normally the opposite of what you think you want when locking a bike, but there is something to be said for "out of sight, away from inquiring minds...." Again, if you use that location, lock it well, and hope for the best.
This stripped frame is still there (9th and Penn garage) from 7 months ago ...
"out of sight, away from inquiring minds...."
This has me thinking. What do you guys think about locking the bike on say, the third or fourth floor of a garage if possible? I don’t know how bike thieves operate, but my guess is that they don’t usually look beyond the obvious places. Just make sure it’s a solid railing or some such.
As far as I have read, it's bad to lock a bike in a busy area because the thief can blend in with the crowd... just pretending to be unlocking or adjusting their bike. I would think that the first line of defense is having a bike which you don't care if it gets stolen, second is having a good lock, third locking your bike where a thief wouldn't ever come across it (if possible), and the FOURTH is having it somewhere where the thief thinks they'd be caught (e.g. with obvious security cameras or an official person nearby). Which is why I was originally thinking Marko82's idea originally. The reason I'm concerned about being visible from the sidewalk is not that there are people around (which is potentially a good thing), but that an opportunistic thief would see it strolling around late at night. Of course all of this is based on anecdotal and extremely sparse data... Should probably just get a thrift store bike and bring that down there.
That's some of what Velominati Rule 12 is about.
Marko - I'd be worried that the garage owners/security would see a bike parked up a few levels and consider it to be an "illegal" spot since most garages have racks at the entry.
For what it's worth, the hubby and I once parked our car at 6th and Ft Duquesne and rode our bikes around the north shore. When we went to go back to the car, we had a security guard scream "no riding bikes in the parking garage" when we were about at the 4th level.
We (probably insensitively) ignored him and rode back to our car. I wasn't walking my bike up to the roof, and I doubt they'd want us in the elevators.
But that experience leads me to think that riding up 3-4 levels to park will be discouraged.
I biked to Atlanta and took Megabus coming back. This seemed like a good idea, I've packed up my bike and taken it on their buses before. To get here I had to switch buses twice. I got to the bus stop in Atlanta and learned they'd made changes to their luggage policy. I think before it was just a weight requirement, but they now ask that you measure the length, width, and height of the bag and the sum of these numbers cannot be more than 62". A little silly if you ask me. Asked nicely and the driver did let me on anyway, leaving me to worry about what I'd do if either of the other two drivers did not (perhaps not the smartest move, I'll admit). I did get on all three buses, with the bike-the other two didn't even really say anything about it. Getting off in Pittsburgh, though, I was told- For future reference, you can't bring a bike on the bus, even in a bag. (not by the driver, just one of the other people helping unload there) So, maybe I should give up taking my bike on Megabus. Looks like Greyhound has the same size policy, but at least has in place also a policy to charge you extra if you go over, where Megabus will just boot you if they decide you aren't in line.
I wish Megabus would just have an up charge or some policy for bikes. I mean an extra $10 or something for a piece of mind. That way you aren't rolling the dice all the time.
@Aryn I biked to Atlanta and took Megabus coming back
Biked to Atlanta!? Could you do a trip report?
Enquiring minds need to know!
It would be nice. I don't think Megabus drivers are allowed to take money on site, must go through website, so it would have to be done ahead. It would be nice, though. Greyhound would, of course. Except I think they'll gladly take $30-40 for the excess.
Trip report coming soon, Mick.
Yeah, I am very curious about this trip report. I want to bike from Pittsburgh to Knoxville someday, and I've tried to research bike routes from here to the South, but I haven't made much progress yet...
@Pearmask You still are to continue your preparations for the trip on Mondays 7pm-8pm, right?
@pearmask - I just checked that trip on Google bike directions.
571 miles - and 175 are on bike paths. That is 30% of the way!
Now, I would take a totally different path from the Google one to get as far as Morgantown, so it might be taken with a grain of salt. For isntance, I don't know what 119 is like south of Uniontown, but it would be suicidal near Connellesville.
West Virginia does have great bike trails. The Mon in WV has a trail beside it for the whole distance, for example.
I'm curious - for Atlanta, the low traffic roads might go through WV, but there would be a few hills on that route too. Google recommends going thorugh Cincinatti. I'm guessing teh ACA "Underground Railroad" route might be good too.
This really, REALLY needs another thread.
Mikhail, right now I have to teach until 7:15, so I can't do stairs at 7pm when everyone else starts, but last week I did wander up there around 7:45 and catch stefb on her last trip. I might start doing that regularly (and in two weeks, I'm done teaching and can actually do it with everyone else!)
Mick, agreed — definitely needs another thread. I'm sure I'll end up making one eventually.