You Got Served... NOT
June 22, 2007

Even in first year I had my reserves about FedBus. Now, I like saving money but the cost difference between taking Fedbus instead of Greyhound just didn't outweigh the other benefits of taking Greyhound instead of Fedbus. Greyhound was just more comfortable, more relaxing and you could take as much crap with you as you wanted (which was a big deal because laundry would go home with me every trip in first year).

After first year, I thought, maybe I should just suck it up and give it a try. It can't be that bad. So I did. And soon, I became a frequent FedBus patron. Until this summer, it was working out pretty well for me. And then, it all crashed and burned.

1. The Letdown
Typically, FedBus had been pretty punctual and I could plan my schedule around when I was expected to arrive at home and stuff like that. And then, one week, my fellow patrons and I stood in line anxiously awaiting the moment big yellow bus turns the corner to bring us to Islington station. We waited. It rained a little. We still waited. The bus did not come. Then the FedBus woman (I don't know here name, nor do I want to) comes and tells us that the bus 'will be coming in 15 minutes' and saunters off. It did not come until about an hour after the designated arrival time. I was pissed. FedBus has this stupid rule that you're supposed to show up 15 minutes before the bus gets there so you won't miss it. So we waited MORE than an hour. And so we load the bus and asked the FedBus ticket person why the bus was late and she said the driver got lost on the highway. Oh good, that's exactly what we need - a driver who doesn't know where to go. But we didn't realize the problem was that big until we had all boarded the bus and he turns to us and says "Now, how many of you has done this before?" Done what? Taken the bus? A bunch of us hesitantly put up our hands. He continues, "Good, because this is my first time. I might need your help." Wow, wasn't that the understatement of the year! He didn't even know how to get back to the highway! Luckily, some guy was nice enough to offer to be his co-pilot and get us all home without getting lost.
Conclusion: FedBus is unreliable and hires ridiculously under-qualified drivers.

2. The Miss
So the university has decided that summer is the prime time to do some (much needed) road construction on Ring Road. Makes sense - the volume of people is drastically less during this term. FedBus usually picks up in front of DC on Ring Road. So Andrew and I went there and waited. There was no bus. There were also no people. Unfortunately, we didn't take this as a hint that something was wrong until three minutes before the scheduled pick up time. Andrew called the Feds office and the lady informed him that the pick up was now in front of Hagey Hall - at the OTHER END of the campus. So we get there as fast as we can, just to find that there was no bus. Was it possible that we missed it? We asked some people who were there already if they had seen a yellow bus. "No." So we waited a little longer and figured maybe we should head over to the office to see if it had already left - apparently, NOW they're punctual. Darnit. So we try to reason with the lady and ask if we can get our money back. "No."

See, I can understand if a service provider doesn't want to give the money back but most bus services allow you to use the ticket you bought for another trip. Stupid thing with FedBus is that you can only use it for that ONE bus ride you bought it for. There's no room for mistakes here. But the stupid thing is, with all their stupid policies in place, they didn't think to put up signs around DC to remind patrons, just in case they missed the sign on the stupid website or for some reason, with all the school stuff floating around their heads, forgot about the new pick up.
Conclusion 2: FedBus is unreasonable and is not, in fact, there to "enhance the quality of life for students" because I do not feel that the service I have been receiving was enhancing the quality of my life in any way. In fact, I feel like my blood pressure has been pretty high lately.

3. The System is Down
Usually, we buy our tickets online to avoid having to go all the way to the SLC to get them (Well, for me, it's just so I don't have to deal with the FedBus lady). But then for some reason, the Waterloo server crashed and we couldn't access the site. I usually like to get the tickets ahead of time but this week, I had passed the torch to Andrew and as usual, he likes to wait until the very last possible moment to do things. So we find out, before the alloted 15 minutes, that we needed to go to the office. There were people in line (of ALL the times) in that normally deserted office and so we waited patiently, but slightly annoyed, in line only to find out that 'the system gets rid of the bus once the 15 minute mark has been passed'. What kind of ridiculous moron came up with THAT idea? Apparently the logic behind that is because the system doesn't know where you're getting the tickets from and doesn't know if you'll get there in time.

Two things: 1. What the crap does the system care if we get to the bus on time or not? It's not like you wait! You just want our money! 2. If we're standing in front of you, you know we're here and will make it to the bus in time so why is the 'main' computer shut out of the system as well?!

So we try to get the lady to sell us a ticket to the next bus so we can get on the bus we want. We're still paying the same fare. But she can't do that. Seriously, she can't do ANYTHING. Quit your day job, you suck at it.
Conclusion: the FedBus system sucks

Luckily, there was a Greyhound leaving only 30 minutes after that fiasco and we gladly hopped onto the nice, comfortable, air-conditioned bus and went on our way. Another lovely surprise was that it now conveniently drops off at Islington (probably because they wanted to up the competition after the whole 'taking FedBus to court' issue, which I initially thought was ridiculous but now I'm secretly wishing they won that and sued FedBus' caboose).

Anyway, I'm done. From now on, I will be a loyal Greyhound patron. I'm too fed up with FedBus.

1 comment:

alana said...

I'm not familiar with FedBus, but it sounds shitty. I had my reservations about Greyhound because I usually took ViaRail, but one time I ended up on the bus after the train sold out, and now I too and a loyal Greyhound customer. Cheaper, easier, and...quicker too, I think. Plus, everytime I take the train I seem to sit beside someone who wants to chat the whole ride home. Um...thanks but I'd much rather take a nap for two hours.

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