Here’s a report from a TTP visitor who rode a bus from Bucharest, Romania to Istanbul, and was not satisfied with the service. Her report is reproduced here with her permission:
“I just wanted to send you a copy of what I’ve just posted about my direct bus ride from Bucarest to Istanbul. I wouldn’t advise anyone to take the bus (certainly not this company) to Istanbul…. —Cheryl Kline
“In case you’re thinking of or planning on taking a bus from Bucarest to Istanbul, be aware of what I encountered when I took Marina buslines.
“The bus left at 5pm. There were only 2 foreigners on the bus (me and a woman from Hong Kong) and about 6 Romanians who were probably going to Istanbul to purchase products and bring them back to Romania.
“About 5 minutes after taking off, I smelled cigarette smoke. When I looked around, I saw a blond woman in the back smoking. I was totally shocked. I went to the female employee who had been at the desk in the office (she spoke English and was the only staff on the bus who could) and asked, “Can you smoke on the bus?!” When I pointed to the woman smoking, she replied, “Oh. Yeah, on this bus you can.” I told her b.s. and she made the woman put it out. However, for the rest of the ride to the Turkish border, I smelled smoke every so often (starting a sore throat as I’m allergic to smoke), perhaps from the staff up front, I don’t know….
“There were 2 stops besides the border crossings. The second stop, just before the Turkish border only lasted 5-10 minutes. When we stopped, Ortodogu, one of the other bus companies which also leaves on the same trip at the same time, was at the stop as well. A good sized group of men from that bus were hanging out smoking and they didn’t give me a great feeling either – they looked like trouble. Our bus staff and Romanians of course, joined theirs.
“Once back on the bus and on the road, the woman staff member came up to me with a new bottle of Jack Daniels in her hand. With the help of the blond smoker (who apparently spoke good English), she asked if I would hide her bottle of JD in my bag until we were past the border. She was swaying when she asked, which led me to believe she may have been a bit tipsy already.
“I sat there indignified, not believing how much worse this bus ride was getting. I told her quite clearly how it was the worst bus ride I’d ever been on and I wished I was on the other bus. To which she told me the other bus was exactly the same. I informed her that the president of the company would hear about it and I wasn’t going to hide sh*t for her. She got quite angry with me, telling me that I was in another country blah blah and then started talking about me to the other staff and Romanians (not that I cared – at this point I just wanted to get to Istanbul and it all).
“They finally figured out how to get the bottle smuggled in; it went into the suitcase of 2 new guys they’d picked up at the stop.
“On the Bulgarian side, we got off to go thru passport etc. On the Turkish side, there were 2 windows open for us. When it was my turn to give my passport, the woman staff member came up to me and told me I had to be nice; now that I was in Turkey I had to speak their language. I told her what she could do with it. I also decided at that point I’d had enough. Once I recieved my stamp, I got my luggage and left the bus. I knew from a previous trip that there was a village just a few kms. away with hotels. Even tho it was only 2 degrees out and midnight, it was well worth it.
“I don’t know if all these buses are the same, but I wish I had taken the train. More money, more time, but less insanity and healthier for you. So beware what this trip is like.
“The train costs $25 more and takes 19 hours (the bus was 12), but when one doesn’t wish to be around smokers (illegal in the EU and Turkey on a bus), anything is better! As it was, on my walk to the village I was picked up by a group of university students who took me Edirne and helped me out. But even without them, anything would have been better. 🙂
“Beam me up Scotty. I need a more intelligent planet.”