During my first trip to Europe, I was in Paris for 5 days, I decided to take a spontaneous trip to Belgium on my third day there after looking up it was only three and a half hours away on the third day. “WHY NOT,” I though to myself! I booked a bus for an early departure from Paris at 7 AM and arrived at Gare routière internationale de Paris-Gallieni bus stop at 6 AM. Knowing my OCD nature, I made sure to arrive an hour early.
Half an hour after lounging around, I began looking for my bus. I kept looking around but there was no sign, of my bus to Belgium. At that point, it was 6:50 AM and I was in a panic mode. I decided to walk over to the ticket office, and the moment I saw the line and my bus was supposed to take off by 10 minutes. My panic even rose more! I began to wonder if I had bought the wrong Flixbus ticket or if I had a little too much mulled wine the night before. When I bought Flixbus ticket.
Trying to gather my thoughts, I decided I would run around the entire station one more time to ensure I had not overlooked any bus signs. Luckily, I had packed light and with only a backpack on me,c running around like a chicken with no head was easy—BUT, it was quite the scene to laugh at if you were there!!
On my run around the bus station that spanned 6,000 sq.m² across two levels, I began to come across multiple people looking for the same bus. I slowly found us forming a pack. Again, there was no sign of the bus! By some miracle, after minutes of confusion, we identified a lingering bus that had no sign nor direction of its destination. After attempting to speak to several drivers, of which many only spoke broken English, it seemed that nobody could help us. Nobody had an idea of the whereabouts of our bus was, Did we miss it? Is it late? Did it break down? No Clue.
At that point, I was exhausted and my excitation to visit Belgium was being let down by the minute. And then a bus driver approached us with some good news and told us that the unidentified bus was indeed our bus that was to take us to Belgium. Immediately I scurried to the bus to stand first in line so I could have the seat of my choice. Boarding at that point had started 10 minutes after and upon scanning my bus pass, it failed to read. My heart began to race, this technical difficulty landed me several passengers in front of me, while I attempted to look through my receipts and emails to resolve the issue. Finally, the driver announced an apology as he realized and resolved the scanner issue on his end. We were all able to finally successful board the bus.
The bus departed the terminal at 7:45 AM, and we were finally en-route to Belgium.
Transportation allows you to get to place to place, I choose to take the bus this time, and I was on time and ready to board to my next adventure. However, the bus wasn’t there. Sometimes things don’t go as planned when traveling. Be patient and calm. Know that the situation can get better and there are always alternatives. In most cases I would’ve probably claimed compensation for the delay, after however I wasn’t in a hurry. i was only excited to explore Belgium and eat tons of Belgium waffles & chocolates I could possibly eat! This is why it’s important to know what you are entitled to if your journey is delayed or canceled or if a service does not correspond to what was promised. When a bus service is delayed significantly, you may request a ticket price reduction which is proportional to the deficiency in the service. You may also claim a refund on the price of the ticket in the case of cancellation of the service. Keep in mind travel conditions of the bus or coach companies vary, so always first find out what you are entitled to before taking off on your journey.
Remember “You can’t appreciate a country without its public transportation system” – Jetsetpassport.
Have you ever ALMOST missed a bus or flight? Or do you have any reminiscing moments of panic?
I would love to hear them!