Interstate motor coach accidents are surprisingly common

When you travel locally by bus, the experience tends to be reliable and safe (although usually not quick). Public transportation in Knoxville isn’t perfect by any means, but accidents are somewhat rare and likely to be minor.

When it comes to intercity or interstate travel by bus, however, all bets are off. The motor coach transportation industry is incredibly competitive and relatively easy to get into. This means that travelers may benefit from low fares. Unfortunately, this also means that when carriers cut costs, safety is one of the first expenses to go. Commercial bus accidents are surprisingly common.

One of the biggest players in the industry right now is Megabus. The company has been around since 2006 and has grown in popularity due to its sometimes-unbelievably low prices (fares as low as $1 each way). But, as a recent case shows, low prices now can mean major expenses later on.

A writer named Lucas Peterson, who calls himself the “frugal traveler,” recently wrote about his experience riding a Megabus from Chicago to Milwaukee. The trip is only about 90 miles, so most people would not anticipate any problems. But more than halfway through the trip, the driver and passengers were shocked to hear loud noises coming from somewhere near the back of the bus.

The passengers were eventually evacuated when the bus started to smoke. Shortly after the bus was emptied, it caught fire. The fire spread quickly and most luggage stored in the compartments underneath the bus was destroyed. Some passengers had thousands of dollars in property destroyed, but Megabus policy states that the company will not pay any more than $250 to compensate for lost or damaged luggage. And even that small amount of money is only paid if the loss or damage was the result of company negligence, which can be hard to prove.

Thankfully, no one was hurt in this particular accident, but Megabus has had several other injurious and fatal accidents in recent years. Just last year, a Megabus crash resulted in injuries to 19 passengers.

Bus accidents are unacceptably common, and regulation of this industry has proven difficult. If you ever need to travel by bus, please do your research and choose a reputable company. And if you are ever injured in bus accident, please speak with an experienced personal injury attorney.