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PC Connect v.s. Flix Bus


Bus travel

Recently, I wrote an article about how to travel without a car. In this article, I talked about a bus service called PC Connect.


At the time of writing the article, I hadn't ridden with them it yet, but I changed that on my most recent trip to London.


Let me tell you all about it!


 

On my last trip to London, I took the Flix Bus and oh boy was that a horrible experience! Thankfully, PC Connect was eons better! Let's do a little comparison.


Why PC Connect is Awesome!


PC Connect bus stop

First off, finding the bus stop for PC Connect was so much easier than Flix because they had actual signs at designated stops. Flix, however, gave a rough idea of where passengers were meant to collect. They gave an address for a building in the city where we were expected to stand in front of and wait. This was the same for the drop off location.


I remember many passengers asking if they were in the right place and responding with I think so, since it was also my first time taking this bus. However, finding the stop was so confusing that even the bus driver couldn't find our stop.


He even drove past us twice and had a passenger on the bus directing him where to go. In the end though, he couldn't figure out how to get on the other side of the street, so he moved the stop to around the corner.



Next, delays are quite normal when traveling, so I wasn't surprised when both services were delayed. How much they were delayed is what matters though. The PC Connect bus was delayed by about 10 minutes, reasonable. The Flix Bus however, was delayed for over an hour.


It's one thing to be delayed at an airport that's indoors and has washrooms, shops, etc., for a few hours, and a whole other thing to be delayed outside, at a random location, waiting for a bus. At least at the PC Connect stop there was a bus shelter with a bench.


Inside the PC Connect bus

Once on the bus, you could already tell how much nicer PC Connect was. For starters, PC Connect was a smaller bus with only 16 seats total, whereas Flix had well over 20 seats available. This meant that Flix was far more crowded and the seats were crammed together, the complete opposite of PC Connect. It was so spacious, especially since only 7 of us booked the bus I was one.


Part of the reason PC Connect is a smaller bus is because the back of the bus was an accessibility section. They had space for wheelchair folk and the like. This is not something Flix offered. PC Connect may not go as far as Flix does, but which passengers can travel with them is more inclusive.


The biggest perk for me about the interior of PC though, was that there were no bathrooms. For some, this may be a downside, but I promise you will change your opinion after understanding the bathroom situation on Flix. I wrote all about the experience in this article. I encourage you to read it and save yourself the experience.



When it comes to ticket prices, I think this is the biggest overall perk. Flix was about $20 and PC Connect was $12 for a ticket. I actually paid more for the Flix Bus. I paid more for the same distance - to and from the same cities - and had a worse experience on Flix.



These next ones are definitely specific to my own preferences, fore warning. The route Flix took was highways, which, I personally, never really enjoy. PC Connect however, went through country roads. When my mom comes down to visit or to take me up for a visit, these are the roads she takes. Because of this, they feel more homey and comfortable for me, so I have a bias towards them.


PC also had a few stops in different cities along the way, whereas Flix was a direct trip to London. I personally prefer having more options out of a bus trip, so that I can take it more than once and experience multiple places. Flix did not offer this, but, as I said before, this is very much a personal preference. Some of you may enjoy the direct trip.


Where PC Connect Could be Better


The only downside with PC Connect for me was that the app was more confusing to use than Flix.


When getting a ticket with Flix, you book it online through their website, then they email it to you. When boarding, the driver scans a QR Code on your ticket and you get on. Done.


With PC Connect however, they have an app called Blaise. When I tried to get my ticket the first time, the app wouldn't load. I would try logging in and it would just bring up an error. I waited a few days and it seemed to be working for some reason.


When scheduling my ticket, it took me a bit to figure out that you had to input specific times and days for it to work. However, you wouldn't know which days and times to put without looking at the schedules, which aren't on the app, but rather on their website.



When boarding, you had to click this icon that would release a private code to the driver, who would then mark off that you boarded. No scanning of a code, no ticket to show, just a code that would appear on his screen. Not a system I've come across in my travels thus far.


Location also was not great on the app. It couldn't tell me where exactly I was in relation to where the stop was. I couldn't tell if I was going in the wrong direction was or how close I was the stop. The map and location capabilities of the app weren't great, but, in fairness, neither was the map through Flix either. Definitely spoiled with Google maps' quality.


If the app is too confusing however, PC has the option for you to pay your fare in exact cash when the bus arrives, which Flix does not have. A redeeming quality to a confusing app.


notificiation from PC Connect

One thing I really loved about the PC Connect app though, was the notification I sent to my phone telling me that the next stop was mine. It can be quite a stress reliever for first time travelers knowing they won't miss their stop of get off at the wrong stop since the app will let you know when it's time to go.


 

Overall, I recommend you take PC Connect and only take Flix if there is no other option. If you must take Flix, bring your own hand sanitizer and tissues.


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