Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Live Blog Bolt Bus 3

And so I show up early for the time that I believe my bus is leaving. Just to be safe—I get pretty neurotic about travel—I double-check the receipt that I printed the night before that had my confirmation number on it. It was at this point I realized my ticket was wrong. But the print on the ticket is indistinguishable from other text on the receipt. In fact, it's not even in bold. 11Pt Times New Roman squished between lines of bold text that have my confirmation number. Helpful but not enough.

And then there's customer service. My receipt has no number to call on it in case anything goes wrong. So, with limited battery on my phone, I had to make several phone calls. First, one to find the number that I needed—call to Ciera. Second, one that was a dead-end call to the wrong part of the company. Bolt bus does not have a call transfer system. Third, a call back to Bolt bus with the correct option. But only after going through a 'randomly selected survey' dead-end that kicked me off the line. That's four calls just to talk to someone about my screwed up ticket. I was unhappy.

Anyways, I went to the 12:00pm bus to try to get a seat and find out that it is actually a 12:30pm bus—a minor inconvenience but reflective of the disorganized nature of their customer service. Anyways, there weren't any free seats on the bus and I end up waiting until 2:00pm to leave—3 hours and thirty minutes later than I had originally intended.

And so here is where I don't think I'm a fuck-up. There were two people on the 2pm who had similar problems to mine. They booked round trip tickets for the same day as opposed to separate days. Now I assume these guys aren't complete idiots. I assume also that they believed in good conscience that they had correctly booked their tickets. This seems to indicate some difficulties with the overall system.

Now, I am on the 2pm bus as I write. And the service of the drivers and the buses is still excellent. They are friendly and helpful. The problem is in their digital service and phone service. The man I spoke with on the phone was less than sympathetic, uninformative, and I was unsure if he could help me with any positive outcome. The woman I spoke with the first time I called (the time that I went to the wrong line) was even less helpful and overall rude. I can't say that there was anything impressive about that end of their service.

So, the lesson? Book with Bolt but make sure that the ticket is precisely correct. Check, double-check and get on the phone if you have to. Their system is obviously not set-up to be forgiving of mistakes. Make sure you receive your confirmation email. Read that. Bolt bus will not do jack for you should you screw up.

If you can, make sure to talk to a bus driver directly. They are friendly and seem much better able to deal with customer service in the moment than their phone service or internet counterparts.