Edit 23-03-2016: iDBus is now OUiBus and so all references made to iDBus have been changed accordingly throughout the article.
My knees creaked with laziness and guilt as I scorned them for complaining about being woken up when they hadn’t done any work in thirteen hours.
In the first post I wrote on this subject – Travelling Europe By Bus: Eurolines vs. Megabus – I made a bold statement which went as follows:
8-hours non-stop on a coach across Europe isn’t so bad.
I’d like to update that statement by saying:
8-hours non-stop on a coach across Europe isn’t so bad, but 13-hours on a coach across Europe sucks balls.
This isn’t an exaggeration. Whether I tried sleeping in a really weird foetus position I haven’t employed since the womb or stuffed my face with bad service station sandwiches, the feeling of being uncomfortable as f*ck would not go away.
And who’s to blame? Myself and my cheap-skate arse. Here’s why…
OUiBus: Montpellier – Lyon
Departure Time: 15:15
Arrival Time: 19:30
Duration: 3 hours 45 minutes
Departure From: Montpellier Les Sabines (coach station), Avenue du Colonel Pavelet, 34070 Montpellier
- From the front of the main train station in Montpellier (Gare de Montpellier Saint-Roch), you will see that the road in front forks, and you want to take the road on the right ahead of you.
- Take tram line 2 in the direction of Saint Jean de Vedas – if the train station is behind you then this stop will be on the left hand side of the road. Sabines coach station is just 8 stops and takes under fifteen minutes.
- You can buy tram tickets at the stop – click here for Montpellier tram map.
Arriving At: Gare SNCF De Lyon Perrache, Cours de Verdun Rambaud, 69002 Lyon
- OUiBus stops directly under one of Lyon’s main train stations, close to the Old City, so if you require a connecting train just head inside and up the escalators to the train station for more information.
- If you need to get a metro from here, the metro stops are down the steps to the left of the bus stop and under the tunnel. This area is fine during the day, and very well patrolled by police, but I would be hesitant to wait at the metro stops in the tunnel late at night alone – click here for Lyon’s tram and metro map.
I still haven’t told you guys why I wasn’t allowed to visit Paris on my last trip to France. If you really want to know, it will be in this Sunday’s newsletter so click here to sign up.
So with Paris out of the question, a wish to see another new French town, and a niggling in the back of my mind that I still hadn’t tried out OUiBus even after all the great reviews I’d heard I jumped on their website and found the cheapest ride I could.
Advantages and Disadvantages of iDBus
My main goal at the time of booking the trip was to get to Cologne, Germany and I was hoping I could do this from Lyon. However, the big disadvantage to OUiBus (and coincidentally also the same reason I hadn’t travelled with them previously) was that they just don’t have enough connections.
Of all the bus drivers I’ve met on my journeys, I have to say that the driver on my OUiBus that day was the cheeriest of all. He welcomed me with a big smile, and handled the entire checkin as if it was just a chat with a friend.
Something I also really appreciated was the fold out trays from the seat in-front, the plug socket, wifi that worked, and curtains over the windows. I’ve never even attempted to work before on a Megabus or Eurolines bus because there just isn’t the comfort, and usually the sockets and wifi is just too poor, but on the OUiBus I got so much done… and I was comfortable doing it!
For those who don’t need to work on the go, the seats are super comfortable and they move around to offer optimal space. The trip also included a twenty minute break at a service station so we were able to stretch our legs and grab a coffee!
So yeah… there were a lot of advantages on this trip.
Megabus: Lyon, France – Cologne, Germany
Departure Time: 18:15
Arrival Time: 07:20
Duration: 13 hours 5 minutes
Departure From: Lyon, Gare Part-Dieu, 69003 Lyon, France
- The Megabus stop in Lyon’s Gare Part-Dieu is a little hard to find as it is not sign posted. The easiest route is to arrive at the very front entrance to the train station and walk all the way through to the back. You can follow the signs through the station for the trams.
- Once you come out of the back of the station there will be a tram line to cross and then you will be in a square for buses and cars, and this is where the Megabus stops to pick up passengers.
- There’s no official check in until the bus arrives, so don’t panic that there is no Megabus representative in the square.
Arrival At: Gummersbacher Strasse, Cologne
- The Megabus stop in Cologne is on Gummersbacher Strasse.
- The nearest U-Bahn station to the city is called Deutz Fachhochschule – once you get off the bus, stay on the same side of the road and follow the pavement in the same direction of the traffic. After a minute or two you will come to a park on your left – walk through it with the intention of crossing directly ahead of you to the other side and once you are out of the park turn to your right to find the U-Bahn station.
- To download a great map of Cologne’s public transport system, click here (the download will begin immediately).
After such a comfortable ride with OUiBus, I was disappointed that they didn’t seem to have a connection from Lyon to Cologne. I was heading to Germany to experience the fantastic Die Wohngemeinschaft Hostel (click here to read the review) and the train was just too expensive.
So after not having too bad of an experience on my last long-haul Megabus trip (click here to see how I handled 8 hours) I was hoping that I could deal with 13 hours and get a lot of work done.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Megabus
The first thing I noticed when getting on the bus was that none of the seats were equipped with plug sockets. I was really surprised at this; having taken shorter bus routes with Megabus before I would have thought that they would have provided a bus with sockets for a 13 hour journey.
We rely more and more on our mobiles for finding our way around new cities, so I was lucky to have my back up battery charger to find my way in Cologne once I arrived.
I have to be honest too, after the comfortable seats on OUiBus I found it impossible to rest for more than half an hour at a time in the Megabus. Travelling overnight you really want to get some sleep and be comfortable, but this wasn’t the case at all and I spent most of my first day in Cologne trying to catch up on sleep and recoup my energy lost from the journey. Quite frankly, on that first day in Cologne I was a miserable b*tch.
Luckily, the bus did have wifi – although with no way to charge my phone this had to be used sparingly.
We also had stopped at a service station for food at around 23:00 which was more than I had expected. During this time I spoke a little with the bus drivers who were really friendly and chatty, and I also got to pick up some food to keep me going until the morning.
Megabus vs. iDBus
The friendly driver, comfortable seats with wifi and plug sockets, and bus stations in easy locations by far trumps anything that I have experienced so far with Megabus.
My only criticism of OUiBus is their lack of routes, and also they are a little pricer than Megabus. On this trip for example my Megabus was €8 cheaper, despite the journey being 9 hours longer! If you are really stuck to a budget, then Megabus is the better option – although I would highly recommend taking shorted journeys than long overnight trips as it was just too uncomfortable and really hindered my time in Cologne.
Without a doubt I will be looking to get OUiBus when travelling by bus in Europe, and I can only hope that they are expanding their route options soon!
By the way, I have compiled a guide to travelling Europe by bus: Tips for Surviving Long Bus Journeys Across Europe – just click on the image below!
Map of My Travels, with coach station spots and recommended hostels
Lyon: My trip to Lyon was very last minute, and as such I didn’t receive replies from the hostels in the city. As a result, I ended up couchsurfing with a guy I met in a café and had one of the most fun weekends rock climbing – you can read the story of that weekend here!
Cologne: Well I’ll be damned if I didn’t find the coolest hostel in Cologne! I contacted Die Wohngemeinschaft Hostel due to their eccentric and unique room designs, but the experience I had there far outweighed the design. A beautiful hostel from the inside out it is my top suggestion for anyone visiting Cologne – you can read my review here.
As my previous post – Travelling Europe By Bus: Eurolines vs. Megabus – is so popular, I hope that I can provide more help to you all by covering my recent route with iDBus, especially as so many of you have suggested I use them!
Bus travel isn’t the most fun way to get a across a country, but when it’s as comfortable as OUiBus it’s definitely a great budget option.
Lots of love,