Advantages cheap, lots of offers and discounts, frequency of journeys
Disadvantages obnoxious drivers, cramped seats, arctic air conditioning.
|Quality of Rooms|
|Frequency of bus / buses|
|Value for money|
Mcafferty’s Greyhound (MG) comprises of two names Mcaffertys and Greyhound Pioneer, each company had different beginnings but have now merged to offer a state wide service, which spans across Australia.
Well my time here in Australia is drawing to a close, so my Australian reviews will soon be coming to an end as I am due to fly back to Blighty in a month…(sigh) but no worries mate I will get to drink decent tea and eat my mums roast dinner with Bisto Gravy aaaahhhh anyway I digress, to keep you all going here’s a review on Mcaffertys Greyhound, the Australian coach company.
BOOKINGSYou can book tickets for MG over the telephone while in Australia on 13 20 30 or 13 14 99. You can book face to face at MG coach terminals, which are in all the major cities, you can also buy tickets at independent travel agents. Probably the best way to book though is through their websites.
WEBSITESMG have two websites www.mcaffertys.com.au and www.greyhound.com.au , this does seem strange as both sites are identical. The websites contain a lot of information and is quite often not working properly as they are currently running maintenance on the site, but when you can access it, it is absolutely worth checking out.
To the left of the screen is the quick booking service for those who know where they want to travel. You enter your travel plans and up comes a selection of available seats and the price, you choose the one you want, pop your credit card details into their secure server and you book yourself an “e ticket”. The terms and conditions details of check in times and luggage allowances. Which is basically one backpack or suitcase and one piece of hand luggage.AUSSIE PASSES
The website also gives details of “Aussie Passes” they basically run two types, the Aussie Explorer pass and the Aussie kilometre pass.The Explorer Pass
The Explorer allows you to choose a set travel route and get on and off at your leisure. There are a variety of these routes to choose depending on your budget and destinations – for example there is the East Coast Explorer which travels up from Melbourne to Cairns, Outback Explorer which goes from Melbourne to Darwin and the Aussie Highlights which pretty much goes everywhere. These are quite useful as they give suggested itineraries and the minimum number of days required for the trip. These are set routes though and give you little flexibility to change your route.The Kilometre Pass
The Kilometre Pass allows you to choose your own itinerary, you buy kilometres in sets of 2,000, with this you can travel in any direction on the coach network. On the website there is a kilometre guide which helps you choose how many kilometres you will need.Each of the passes is valid for 12 months from the first date of travel.
PRICES AND DISCOUNTSThe prices for individual trips varies dramatically depending on the season, and events in the area, and the destination. For the best discounts I suggest travelling in the week – journeys are definitely cheaper between Monday and Wednesday. Book over the internet – there is a “websaver” fare offered which is usually 10-15% cheaper than normal. Get a YHA or VIP card, these cost $30 and give you 15% discount on MG fares, sometimes the discount is more than the cost of the card itself so it is definitely worth picking one up. You can also get discounts with ISIC cards and if you are a Pensioner.
The website also has a “specials” section that gives details of current offers. These are always worth looking at as sometimes you can save 30% on fairs.CUSTOMER SERVICE AND CHECK IN
Mcafferty’s Greyhound ask you to check in 45 minutes before, they sign you in and take your luggage.Staff in the depots have always been friendly and deal with you quickly. Drivers I have noticed tend to be a little less helpful. Once you have boarded the bus you are informed of the route and any meal breaks. They also ask you not to consume hot food and any drinks that can be easily spilt, while travelling on the bus.
THE COACHESThe coaches themselves are the standard luxury coaches very similar to National Express ones. They have a reclining seat, but it doesn’t recline very far. The coaches are always tidy and clean. There is usually a water cooler at the back and toilet facilities.which are available whilst the vehicle is in motion.I find the seats are a little uncomfortable for long journeys and the lack of space to move around can be frustrating. On my last trip I thought I got Deep Vein Thrombosis as had to sit next a rather large passenger and after 12 hours of confined space I couldn't feel anyhting below my waist.
All coaches are fully air conditioned and this is great in summer, but I have found that sometimes the air conditioning is too powerful and drivers are reluctant to turn it down or off. As they say it gets hot up at the front but that doesn’t help when it is 3am and your feet are like lumps of ice and your trying to snuggle to the person next to you for body warmth (I kid you not this happened on a recent trip from Sydney to Melbourne).PUNCTUALITY
I ahve never had any major problems with delays on MG coaches. The most I have ever been delayed has been 30 minutes, this was due to another passenger who got lost while on a meal break.SUMMARY
OK, If you can't afford to fly Mcafferty’s Greyhound offer a good service, coaches run frequently, they offer great discounts. I would recommend them for short and overnight travel BUT not for anything longer than 12 hours. The inability to get up an move around unlike the train is awful. The seats don’t recline enough and sometimes there are obnoxious drivers who don’t care about passenger comfort.If you want any advice on travelling/backpacking around Australia, just pop a note in my guest book and I will definitely endeavour to share my experiences with you.
Thanks for reading.CURLY XXXX
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