Our ‘mega chaotic’ Hull to London Megabus trip

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Our ‘mega chaotic’ Hull to London Megabus trip

Our ‘mega chaotic’ Hull to London Megabus trip
2022-08-13 04:00:00
I travelled on one of the longest distance coach journeys possible from Hull Paragon and it was rather chaotic. As further ASLEF and RMT union train strikes over pay and conditions are set to grind Hull’s trains to a halt, the long-distance bus options are more important than ever. Based on my experience of the Megabus from Hull to London via Leeds, those reliant on public transport would do well to avoid it, particularly if travelling to London for one day only. A broken down coach, a replacement that could not actually go to London, and a dodgy live tracker left me confused, stressed and tired out. Here's what happened. Read more: Cyclist seriously injured after colliding with car in Hull Leg One, Hull to Leeds I was up at an unholy hour to catch the first possible Megabus at Hull Paragon at 6.45am. Ready and raring to go for the 6.45am Megabus service from Hull Paragon to London via Leeds. The bus that I left in would have taken me to London Victoria, but via Manchester, Manchester Airport, Birmingham, Reading and Heathrow, so needlessly added several hours to the trip. Megabus advertise five hours, 50 minutes as the quickest Hull to London time and that involves a change at Leeds, so I picked this option for my day trip and planned an afternoon out in London. The Megabus to Leeds was plain sailing. Barely half full, quiet and without issues. Megabus requires you to book your specific seat for an extra fee of between £1 and £3. With a recurring knee injury, the extra legroom seats for £2 living up to their name was appreciated. The beautiful farmland scenery of Yorkshire from the M62, including frolicking deer and alpacas feeding was also calming. If only the rest of the journey had been as easy. This coach got me as far as Tibshelf from Leeds before having to be swapped out. Leg 2, Leeds to Tibshelf The transit wait at Leeds should have been 55 minutes. But the sand in the hourglass emptied and there was no sign of the second Megabus. No announcements were made. Megabus did not feature on the bus station’s departure board and the specific bus stand did not even list the scheduled timetable. After twenty minutes delay, I realised that Megabus have a live website tracker for their services. An hour and 16 minute delay showed, that grew to two hours a few minutes later. I thought to walk to Leeds Arcades area and have a little shop. Imagine mine and other passengers’ surprise when a non-Megabus decorated coach for our service turned up unannounced only half hour late. We were told the original bus had broken down between Middlesbrough and Leeds. To save time, a stop to Sheffield was cut out, with those passengers put on another coach. The seat reservation made was null and void and the driver advised all passengers to email Megabus for a refund for that part. Otherwise, a two hour delay looked like it had turned into only 35 minutes. But then we stopped at Tibshelf services, south of Sheffield. Leg 3, Tibshelf to London Victoria A man in high vis came marching out of the Megabus office at Tibshelf and talked to the departing driver for several minutes. Clearly, something was amiss. A forlorn Megabus service was being loaded onto a recovery vehicle at Tibshelf. Was this the coach that prompted the chaotic part of my journey? It was explained to bewildered passengers that the replacement coach could not go as it didn’t meet “London regulations”. Another replacement coach from Sheffield would pick us up and two bus drivers would be on board to make up for lost time. I waited at Tibshelf while a limp Megabus branded coach was loaded onto a recovery vehicle – perhaps the original breakdown that started it all? I boarded on the second replacement coach about four hours after leaving Hull. With the Sheffield passengers already on and towards the back of the queue, no window seat was available. The second replacement coach of the day arrives at Tibshelf. The trip to London Victoria was largely tedious. A long drive down the M1 via Leicester Fosse, with congestion speed limits from Bedfordshire to St Albans. “This is boring,” said a boy behind me and I could not have agreed more. With no window seat that I had booked and eyes hurting too much to read, all that I could do was try unsuccessfully to catch some sleep. The sights of London, including Lord’s, Park Lane and Buckingham Palace did make the last part interesting. We arrived in the back end of London Victoria with no designated bus bay. A small area by the coach was cordoned off to allow passengers to collect their luggage. But we also had to cross a busy bus lane to the terminal. Some time had been clawed back to make the service about 50 minutes late in the end, arriving at 14.15. That still allowed time to visit the free National Army Museum for an hour, complete with Napoleon’s horse at Waterloo. Napoleon's horse Marengo in the National Army Museum. Was the Megabus a mega disappointment? At five hours, fifty minutes fastest scheduled time, the Hull to London Megabus service is over three hours longer than a train. The benefit of the coach option is it’s cheap. It only cost £19 buying a day before, plus £5 for seat reservations and an online booking fee. The drivers all tried their best and on a hot day, all three coaches’ air con worked well. But the service was chaotic and at times confusing. The coach option is simply a non-starter for a day trip to London, as far as I’m concerned. 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