Ranking Bus & Train Carriers’ Cancellation Policies from Most to Least Flexible

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There are a lot of factors to consider when you make travel plans.

Where are you going?

Who’s joining your travel crew?

Which mode of transportation will you travel on?

Wanderu is here to help you hit the road or rails, and our search results let you compare prices, schedules, and destinations from hundreds of bus and train carriers, all in one place.

But as you’re planning your trip, there’s another detail you may want to factor in: what happens if your travel plans change?

If there’s one thing we’ve all had to embrace recently, it’s uncertainty. 😬 So, it’s probably smart to read up on the cancellation policy of the bus or train company you’re planning to travel with, juuuuust in case.

We’ve got your back. You don’t need to go combing through terms and conditions to find out whether you’ll get your money back if you cancel your trip (what the heck is force majeure anyway?).

We developed a nifty new ranking of how flexible the cancellation policies are for some of our top partner carriers. Reference this ranking to know if your plans need to be set in stone (if you decide to book with one of the Least Flexible™️ carriers), or if you have time to reschedule things later on (if you book with one of the Most Flexible™️ carriers).

Keep in mind that some bus and train carriers may have temporarily altered their cancellation policies due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Check out our COVID-19 guide for temporary changes to these policies.

Ranking Categories

Using our extensive expertise on the policies of our partners, we gathered the cancellation and change policies for 20 of the most popular bus and train companies on Wanderu and compared them based on the following factors:

  • Can tickets be canceled? For a refund or a credit?
  • Can tickets be rescheduled? How close to departure are changes allowed?
  • Are there cancellation or change fees? How expensive are they?

Based on these considerations, we grouped the policies of the carriers into four categories.

The Most Flexible carrier policies allow cancellations for refunds or credits with low fees and not much required notice.

The Flexible carrier policies either allow cancellations but charge a higher fee and require more advanced notice, or do not allow cancellations but do allow changes with low fees at short notice.

The Less Flexible policies do not allow cancellations but allow tickets to be rescheduled for higher change fees.

The Least Flexible policies do not allow any cancellations or changes.

If you want to check out further details on any of these carriers’ policies or even learn more about booking with them, click on the carrier name to check out Wanderu’s complete guide to the company, or feel free to contact the carrier directly.

Most Flexible

These carriers have been doing their stretches because they are FLEXIBLE 🤸. So if you see a killer deal on a ticket with one of these carriers, we say jump on it because you can cancel or change the ticket later thanks to their forgiving policies—no need to wait for that one friend in your group to reply in the group text.

AMTRAK

Amtrak tickets are fully refundable and can be changed without a fee in the first 24 hours after booking. After the first 24 hours, the cancellation policy depends on the ticket’s fare type, and a fee of up to 25% of the ticket price may apply if you cancel or change the ticket.

Check out our complete guide to canceling or changing Amtrak tickets for details.

FLIXBUS US

FlixBus tickets are non-refundable. However, up until 15 minutes before the bus departs, you can cancel your ticket online for a travel credit with FlixBus. A cancellation fee of up to $5 USD is reserved and will not be credited to your voucher. FlixBus tickets cannot be rescheduled, but it is easy to cancel the existing reservation and use the credit to book a new ticket.

OURBUS

OurBus tickets can be canceled up to 30 minutes before the bus departs, and full credit is issued to your OurBus wallet. OurBus tickets cannot be rescheduled, but it is easy to cancel the existing reservation and use the credit to book a new ticket.

REDCOACH

Red Coach tickets are refundable until 2 hours before the bus departs, but a cancellation fee of up to 50% of the ticket price may apply. Tickets can be changed until 2 hours before the bus departs, and a fee may apply depending on the ticket’s fare type.

VIA RAIL

VIA Rail tickets are fully refundable and can be changed without a fee in the first 24 hours after booking. After the first 24 hours, the cancellation policy depends on the ticket’s fare type, and a fee of up to 50% of the ticket price may apply if you cancel or change the ticket.

Check out our complete guide to canceling or changing VIA Rail tickets for details.

Flexible

Alright, these are also decently flexible policies, but they haven’t quite gotten their splits yet. Go Buses’ policy is the only one that allows refunds, but 48 hours’ notice means you really have to have your 💩 together ahead of time to be able to cancel your ticket if plans change.

Some of these other carriers offer credits for cancellations. Travel credits are nice, but it does mean you’re a bit more limited next time you travel and can only book directly with the same carrier. And even for the non-cancellable tickets (looking at you Tornado and Peter Pan), low change fees still land these carriers in the Flexible category.

BESTBUS

BestBus tickets cannot be canceled for a refund. However, up until 24 hours before the bus departs, passengers can place their ticket “on hold” to receive a BestBus travel credit. Tickets can be changed up until 24 hours before the bus departs, and BestBus does not charge a change fee.

GO BUSES

Go Buses tickets can be canceled for a refund up until 48 hours before the bus departs. A $2.50 cancellation fee applies. Go Buses tickets cannot be rescheduled, but it is easy to cancel the existing reservation for a refund and book a new trip. Go Buses tickets are non-refundable and non-exchangeable less than 48 hours before the bus departs.

MARTZ TRAILWAYS

Martz Trailways tickets can be canceled for a travel credit with Martz, less a $7.50 USD cancellation fee. Martz Trailways tickets can be rescheduled without a fee.

PETER PAN BUS LINES

Peter Pan tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled. Tickets can be changed up until 2 hours before the bus departs, and a fee of $5 to $10 USD applies.

TORNADO BUS

Tornado Bus tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled. Tickets can be changed up to 2 hours before the bus departs, and a $5 USD fee applies.

Less Flexible

Non-refundable tickets are not exactly what we’d call flexible travel plans. After you book your ticket, you are stuck with it! You can change the travel dates or times with these carriers, but watch out for the higher price tag for rescheduling.

BURLINGTON TRAILWAYS

Burlington Trailways tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled. Tickets can be changed in person at the station for a $20 USD fee.

FULLINGTON TRAILWAYS

Fullington Trailways tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled. Tickets can be changed in person at the station for a $20 USD fee.

GREYHOUND

Greyhound tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled. Tickets can be changed for a fee of $20 USD.

MILLER TRANSPORTATION

Miller Transportation tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled. Tickets can be changed for a $15 USD fee.

NEW YORK TRAILWAYS

New York Trailways tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled. Tickets can be changed in person at the station for a fee of up to $20 USD.

PANDA NY BUS

PandaNY Bus tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled. Tickets can be changed up until 2 hours before the bus departs, and a change fee applies.

WANDA COACH

Wanda Coach tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled. Tickets can be changed up until 2 hours before the bus departs, and a change fee applies.

Least Flexible

No cancellations and no changes? Those travel plans better be concrete if you’re booking with the likes of these carriers since you won’t be able to alter your tickets after purchase.

BARONS BUS LINES

Barons Bus Lines tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled, and tickets also cannot be rescheduled unless Barons Bus Lines customer service makes an exception.

INDIAN TRAILWAYS

Indian Trails tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled, and tickets also cannot be rescheduled unless Indian Trails customer service makes an exception.

TUFESA

Tufesa tickets are non-refundable and cannot be canceled, and tickets also cannot be rescheduled unless Tufesa customer service makes an exception.

How to Change or Cancel Your Ticket

If it’s time to put the flexibility to the test, the quickest way to cancel your bus or train ticket is to contact the bus or train carrier directly. And because most carriers have a limited window for cancellations or changes, it’s best to reach out as soon as you know you need to make changes to your plans.

Added Flexibility with Trip Protection

All tickets automatically rise to the most flexible rank when you add trip protection to your purchase on Wanderu. At check-out, you can choose to add trip protection from Allianz Global Assistance. Trip protection includes 24-hour assistance during your travels, coverage for lost or damaged baggage, and benefits if your bus or train is delayed.

Plus, if you need to cancel your trip due to covered reasons (like illness, extreme weather, or required work shifts), Allianz will reimburse any change fees you have to pay or the price of any non-refundable tickets. You can add trip protection to any tickets purchased on Wanderu, regardless of the cancellation policy of the carrier you choose to travel with. It’s like a flexibility cheat code.

Another way to enhance the flexibility of your vacation is to have your personal vehicle shipped while you take a train or a bus to your destination.

Read more: Why Trip Protection on Bus and Train Travel Is Totally Worth It

Get Ready to Go

Now that you’re well-informed about bus and train carriers’ cancellation policies, the next move is yours: do you pick a carrier whose policy allows for flexibility if plans change? Or are you going to be bold and book with a less flexible carrier to stick with the original plan?

Thanks to Wanderu, you can do either (or both!). With a single search, you can compare the available trips from all of these carriers and more. So whether you’re going for a quick jaunt from Tucson to Phoenix or taking the overnight bus from New York City to Charlotte, we’ll help you find the best deal, with zero Wanderu fees.

And if you ever need help figuring out how to make changes to your ticket, we’ve got you covered there, too. Email us or send a live chat, and our customer service team is happy to help answer whatever questions you have.

Travel Safely

At Wanderu, we want to make sure you are equipped with all the information you need to plan a safe trip. Please visit our COVID-19 Travel Guide for the latest tips & advisories.

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About the author
Bryn Culbert

Bryn Culbert

A planner at heart, Bryn loves nothing more than researching and creating a detailed travel itinerary. She is partial to quirky museums, hole-in-the-wall coffeeshops, and overstuffed bookstores in the cities she visits.