It was supposed to be a fun-filled tour for a gaggle of soccer followers to see a Buffalo Bills house game.
Instead, it turned into a disaster-filled journey that noticed their bus impounded within the U.S., leaving them to discover their very own method again throughout the Canada-U.S. border.
What Rob Blackburn needed and anticipated for his first-time NFL game expertise was an excitement-fuelled two days which included a tailgate social gathering and watching the Bills tackle the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 30.
“I was really looking forward to going to the game. It’s $600 for hotel, bus, and the game…hey lets’s do it,” he says.
“Everything was good till the bus confirmed up.”
Blackburn stated he confirmed up to the IKEA car parking zone in Ottawa on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. anticipating a luxurious coach bus.
“What reveals up is a 35-seater—I don’t know—a promenade bus, I suppose you need to name it. Everyone’s face simply sort of dropped.”
Brent Eckford was there too, together with dozens of others who paid between $525 and $699 to Ottawa Sports Tours. The package deal features a bus trip from Ottawa, a one-night keep in Niagara Falls, Ont., and a ticket to an NFL game.
“It was actually ruined because of this situation that we dealt with,” says Eckford. “Inside the bus, the TV monitor is missing and the wires are exposed just hanging down and the bathroom wasn’t working, so that was quite a mess.”
From there, the 2 males say the journey truly obtained worse. The group would journey six hours, continuous with no toilet or air con, and with exhaust fumes filling the cabin, all the way in which to Niagara Falls.
Blackburn and Eckford say they didn’t have any drawback with the resort.
On Sunday, the group boarded the bus to the U.S. and headed to Buffalo N.Y. for the pre-game tailgate social gathering which many had been wanting ahead too.
“That was one thing I used to be actually wanting ahead to as you’re driving up to the stadium it’s nothing that I’ve ever seen earlier than you simply see everybody making meals and having a beer and simply having an excellent time,” stated Blackburn, a longtime Bills fan. “I used to be tremendous excited to stroll round and communicate to the folks which have been followers for years.
“We didn’t get an opportunity to do any of that.”
As the bus pulled into the car parking zone, U.S. transport officers seen its situation and commenced an inspection. They discovered a gash in a tire, and no required certificates to drive in America.
Local authorities impounded the bus.
“We were so worried,” said Eckford. “Where is our luggage going to be? Where is this, where is that? We didn’t even have the chance to even enjoy ourselves during the tailgate,” Eckford stated.
Another tour bus operator, from Quebec, agreed to let the group retailer their baggage on its bus in the course of the game however not every little thing match.
“Needless to say, the drinks had been all gone once we obtained again,” Eckford stated. “My coolers had been there however a few guys that I used to be on the journey with misplaced a cooler and a soccer.
“The game was good, the Bills received. But round halftime it began sinking in: alright how are we getting house?”
Group members contacted the tour firm proprietor, who agreed to have a bus meet them on the Canadian border, however that they had to get again throughout on their very own.
“We had to trek about two kilometres from the stadium to the Uber taxi drop off,” says Blackburn. The group then waited for greater than three hours for taxis to arrive.
“We waited till about 3 a.m. and the cabs had been to be paid for by the corporate.”
Blackburn stated Ottawa Sports Tours paid for a number of the cabs, however not all of them. Eckford says, one among his buddies had to stroll, with baggage in hand, throughout the Peace Bridge again to Canada – and the ready bus.
“Yeah so it was an actual coach bus it had a working bathroom and it was kind of what we were expecting when we first made our trek,” says Blackburn. “But it’s in the wrong direction. We wanted to have a fun time on our way down.”
In all, a gaggle of 36 folks paid roughly $23,000 for an expertise that fell far in need of what they anticipated.
The tour operator didn’t reply to requests for remark from CTV News. It’s not clear if they’ve been ready to get the bus again from the Buffalo impound lot.
The disenchanted soccer followers say they’re not optimistic about getting their a refund.
“They [Ottawa Sports Tours] have another tour scheduled in January and I’m just worried about those who book a trip,” says Eckford.
“I don’t blame Buffalo and it’s always a good time at the game when it works out.”