NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Pick a day, any day, and you'll find cheap bus rides morning, noon and night to and from New Orleans to other Southern cities like Houston and Atlanta. The pickup and drop-off spot is on Elysian Fields near St. Claude Avenue.
"It's an eyesore to the neighborhood," Marigny homeowner Roger Honeycutt said.
The website for Megabus calls it a "temporary location." When we asked how long the makeshift bus stop had been operating at this temporary location, Marigny resident Matt Woerner said, "approximately six, seven, eight months."
People who live in the area say they're past frustrated. They say the trash that litters the area is just one issue. People line up for rides in all types of weather in front of a shuttered grocery store. There's no shelter and no restroom.
Woerner says he watches lines of people extend down Elysian Fields and wind down South Rampart, and says he's seen some of them even urinate in public behind the nearby vacant building and in yards.
The lack of facilities also creates concern for business owner Tracy Deroche, who owns a nearby bar that is open 24 hours a day.
"They wanna use the bathroom, and one of the biggest issues? Minors. I cannot have minors in the bar," Deroche said. "I'm required to have so many bathrooms per square foot, and that's what I don't understand is - they're running a business (Megabus). If I'm required to have a bathroom to run my business, why aren't they required to have a bathroom to run their business?" Deroche asked.
Residents and business owners also complain that the added traffic affects their quality of life.
"This is still free parking in the neighborhood, and what they do is they pull up in to the neighborhood, they park, they unpack their luggage, they walk over to the bus, and they stay four or five days," Woerner said. He owns two houses on South Rampart, yet he says it's hard to find parking.
In addition, often you'll find orange cones blocking off the street for Megabus. Deroche feels he's losing business because his patrons have trouble finding parking.
"They're blocking the sidewalk. You've got cars on the sidewalk. You can't walk on the sidewalk," Honeycutt said. "We had a city bus, a Megabus and a school bus all converged in the same spot. The school bus was almost hit."
They've turned to the FOX 8 Defenders to help track down answers. A city spokesperson tells FOX 8 that it has proposed that Coach USA, which operates Megabus, lease space downtown at Union Passenger Terminal, which also houses Amtrak and Greyhound. Megabus' Director of Corporate Affairs Sean Hughes says they would love access at the terminal because he says it makes sense for passengers. But he confirms the talk of a potential lease isn't new.
Hughes said the company stressed concerns to the city for its larger-than-most double-decker buses months ago. They want to make sure the vehicles can get into the terminal's bays and back out. They'd like a trial run. Plus, he says they've never seen a complete lease, and they've asked for the terms and conditions for at least six months.
City communications manager C. Hayne Rainey tells FOX 8, "Right now, the city is negotiating with CoachUSA on lease terms and we are confident that a resolution will be agreed upon soon which will bring this affordable travel service's operations in New Orleans into compliance."
Megabus' Hughes says the city directed them to use the current temporary location.
The FOX 8 Defenders will continue to follow-up on this situation and bring you any updates.
If you have a consumer complaint, call the FOX 8 Defenders at 1-877-670-6397, fill out our online complaint form or email us at email@example.com