Thursday, January 7, 2010

Go Greyhound (Far, Far Away)

After reading this story, about Greyhound leaving passengers locked outside in near-freezing temperatures, it reminded me of my last trip with the carrier.

It was early in my Air Force career, sometime in late 1992 I believe, and being a cash-poor E-1 I took a bus from Grand Forks, ND to Columbus, GA to visit the family. The trip was uneventful, if boring and cramped, until I reached the Chicago bus terminal (if there's more than one, I apologize; I have no idea which one I was at). It was late at night, maybe 11:00 pm. I was unsure of my connecting bus, so I approached a ticket agent, boarding pass in hand. She looked at it and gave me the number, pointing me toward a long line of people. The bus was supposed to leave in about an hour.

I found out once I got towards the front of the line that the bus was not my connection. I hurried back to the ticket window where the same woman from before let me know that I "must have misheard her" and that my bus left a half-hour before. The next bus would leave in three hours.

I walked outside. The street was filthy; boxes, bags and other detritus was strewn about like you see in the movie slums. Some men smoking across the street nonchalantly began to cross the street towards me. I went back inside. That was my only experience setting foot in Chicago.

With an hour to go, I decided not to take any chances and got in line. When the boarding announcement was made, a huge rush began. People who had been loitering in other parts of the terminal or even just arrrived at the terminal rushed to the bus, pushing the people in line out of their way. People who had been waiting in line for hours suddenly found themselves getting shoved aside. No Greyhound employee made any move to stop this.

I began elbowing and shoving back belatedly. After starting things about fifteenth or so in line, I ended up being one of the last people to get on. Many people ahead of me in line didn't make it.

So, to sum up: Greyhound sucks. I've never ridden it since and have no plans to. If I am ever in the situation of being stranded in a town with just enough money for a bus ticket in my pocket, I would seriously consider hitchhiking. You get what you pay for in the travel industry, and Greyhound reminds you of it constantly.


  1. I thought "The Warriors" (in the picture) were from the Coney Island area or someplace like that? LOL

  2. They're representative. Sheesh. ;)

  3. LOL!! You know me, always a critic!