• Report: #1066289

Complaint Review: Greyhound Lines, Inc.

  • Submitted: Thu, July 11, 2013
  • Updated: Thu, July 11, 2013

  • Reported By: milos57 — Cambridge Massachusetts
Greyhound Lines, Inc.
Greyhound Lines, Inc. P.O. Box 660691 Dallas, Texas USA

Greyhound Lines, Inc. Mistreated by Greyhound for the last time... Dallas Texas

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As a freelance journalist, I’ve visited some very forlorn places - domestic and overseas – by very forlorn means. Sweltering buses, pickup trucks, cargo barges, you name it. But in all my travels in the western world, I’ve never encountered a service provider as haphazardly managed and disrespectful of its customers as Greyhound.

This summer, I embarked upon a cross-country research trip for a nonfiction book that I’m currently writing. I elected to travel by bus because I wanted to see more of the countryside, especially small town America, and figured that my road encounters could enhance the narrative I was writing. Plus, I had always been curious about the classic “bus across America” experience that you’ll often hear old timers harken back upon. Greyhound is the business that most people associate with this kind of undertaking. So I bought my tickets for the first leg of the journey, packed a small bag, and waited for the departure date.

In short, patronizing Greyhound has proven one of the worst travel decisions I’ve ever made. From my first bus trip to the last, I was shocked and appalled by the treatment of Greyhound riders.

First, let’s consider the company’s overbooking policy. Greyhound does this routinely, but unlike the airlines, no compensation is offered to riders unlucky enough to be bumped from their preferred departure. The only consolation: “Wait for the next bus.” Too often, the time until the next bus is upwards of eight hours. In an age when rival carriers like Megabus guarantee seating with the purchase of a ticket, one must ask, how does Greyhound get away with this?

But let’s say you’re lucky enough to board your bus. Rest assured, your nightmare has just begun. Consider your baggage, or better yet, make sure you see a Greyhound employee load it beneath the bus. Because without this spot verification, chances are your cargo will go missing in transit. I heard many missing luggage horror stories from my fellow riders, all of which began with a Greyhound counter staff member requiring each customer to surrender their luggage upon check-in. “We’ll make sure it gets loaded onboard your bus,” was the standard assurance. Four hundred miles later – no luggage. And what kind of compensation is offered for this, one might ask? $250.

Determined to avoid a debacle like this, I would board my bus, save a seat, and then request visual confirmation that my bags had been stowed below. This forced me to deal with the drivers, and in almost every case, my concerns were callously brushed off with the following ultimatum: “Sit down, shut up, or get off the bus!” I saw other riders rebuffed for minute concerns. Other times, the bus drivers would actually begin each ride with a lecture that had the tone of a prison warden. It was dehumanizing to listen to, and cast a deeply depressing shadow over the remainder of the journey. You’d never, ever hear an airline pilot or a European bus driver address their clientele that way.

Finally, there’s the condition of the buses themselves. I can deal with grubby interiors, but what angers me is mechanical negligence that leads to frequent breakdowns. Only once did my bus arrive to its destination on time. And like everything else, passenger concerns of missing Greyhound connections were swatted aside with bitter indifference whenever a bus was running late.

These shortcomings are well documented across many consumer watchdog websites, but clearly, Greyhound has no intention of changing their policies. Multiple attempts to complain to their customer service department (which I suspect is not an actual department but an arbitrary name on the website) proved completely fruitless. On every inquiry, I was instructed to leave a voicemail. None of them were returned.

I can only imagine one reason why Greyhound manages to stay in business while treating their customers so poorly. No other major bus line in America services both big cities and small towns. This limits consumer options for those who can’t afford to rent or own a car of their own. Let me put that more bluntly: the poor. Because most Greyhound riders exist on a lower income bracket, it is doubtful that the company will ever be successfully sued, or investigated by the Federal Bureau of Consumer Protection.

But it needs to be. And until something too unconscionable to ignore happens under Greyhound’s watch, I will implore every person I correspond with – through every medium at my disposal – to book their non-airline travel with Megabus, Coach USA, Amtrak or regional carriers. (I've since booked the remainder of my travel this way.) They’ll get to their destinations on time, with their luggage, and they’ll have the satisfaction of doing so without giving a penny to a company that regularly exploits those with less.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/11/2013 02:51 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Greyhound-Lines-Inc/Dallas-Texas-75266/Greyhound-Lines-Inc-Mistreated-by-Greyhound-for-the-last-time-Dallas-Texas-1066289. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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