Greyhound Bus Executives, Your Dog Is Long Dead

Greyhound

UPDATE #1: 7/8/13: No response at all from Greyhound Bus, except to keep deleting my blog post from their FB page. And what do I want from Greyhound Bus Lines apart from the courtesy of a response? I want a refund to be issued to everyone who was on my return bus trip with me at any point from El Paso to Oakland. I traveled starting 6/27/13 through 6/28/13, with my El Paso bus that left at 1:35 pm on 6/27/13.

Join the campaign-post this blog entry to their Facebook page and flood their page!

Here’s the blog link: http://bit.ly/11wvGkv

And use these hashtags: #dobetter #baddog #refundthebus #floodthebus

UPDATE #2: 7/8/13: I was just contacted by Greyhound management here in Oakland. I never had any issues with the Oakland Greyhound team, and I never will. To the contrary, they’re a fantastic example of how Greyhound should run. However, I was offered a refund for myself and the two other passengers who arrived to Oakland with me on the same bus. I refused the offer, because I want everyone who rode with me on my bus at any point during my return trip to be refunded their trip. ‎#refundthebus ‎#dobetter ‎#baddog ‎#floodthebus

UPDATE #3: 7/8/13:  Sign the Change.org petition! http://chn.ge/1a7gV7W

UPDATE #4: 7/9/13: Received a call from a Greyhound Exec. Decided not to answer, and give them a taste of their own medicine 😉

UPDATE #5: 7/9/13: Greyhound is actually owned by First Group, a Scottish corporation. They have a US Division with a Facebook page.  Come and post this blog on their page as well!

Dear Greyhound Executives,

I originally thought that I wasn’t going to waste a single electron talking in more detail about my bus trip, through your company, Greyhound Lines, Inc. I’ve changed my mind.

I changed my mind because I waited to see if any action would be taken on behalf of Greyhound Customer Service, besides reacting to my barrage of tweets on the issue during the second half of my trip. None was taken, so now I’m talking.

I went round-trip via Greyhound from Oakland, CA to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. I went to Mexico to meet my husband Picasso there for his U.S. permanent residency appointment.

I went by bus because flying to El Paso, Texas was just too expensive. Going by Greyhound was $210 round-trip, which was a little more in my price range than a flight. I figured I’d live tweet and Facebook update my bus adventure.

On your website, you very proudly talk about Wi-Fi on clean and new buses, outlets to plug into during the trip, extra leg room and just wonderfulness all around. 

On the way over to Mexico, sure, I rode a new bus. Once. From Oakland to Los Angeles. From Los Angeles to Phoenix, Phoenix to El Paso, and then El Paso to Ciudad Juárez, I rode buses that looked, smelled and felt like they were fished out of a car graveyard. They were definitely not promoted on your website.

Now, let me be clear – I lived in Mexico for 10 years, so for the bus ride from El Paso to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, I was ready for the equivalent of a tuna fish can with wheels. However, I didn’t expect it in here in the U.S. where,

The future of bus travel has arrived. Well ahead of schedule.

Some other memorable highlights from the way over:

1. In Los Angeles, myself and a large group of passengers waited for hours in a hot and stuffy bus terminal. Our bus was clearly delayed, but the only thing that Greyhound employees would tell us was that the next bus would arrive in, “20 minutes.” We heard this same phrase for hours. We were not offered any type of meal voucher. There were no announcements made. Or if there were, we couldn’t hear them over the antiquated announcement system. As the hours passed, us passengers ended up asking each other to please watch bags and hold the bus if we went to the bathroom or to buy food.

And then there came the delicious moment where a bus arrived, but we all didn’t fit on it. So myself and a group of passengers had to wait for the following bus.

Which, of course, was arriving in “20 minutes.”

2. In El Paso, there were no clear instructions on where to go for the bus to Ciudad Juárez. Since I had arrived to El Paso hours behind schedule, I didn’t know what the process was to be able to get the next bus. Your terminal was staffed by one older gentleman, who had to handle each person’s issue to the best of his ability, as well as answer the phone at the same time. A younger woman would intermittently come out from the back and yell at us to form a line.

3. I was supposed to arrive in  Ciudad Juárez at 3 pm the day after I left Oakland. Yeah, that was a nice idea. I arrived much later. And it was great, because since I very rarely had any place to plug in, my cell phone died, and I couldn’t be in contact with my husband or my friend who had picked up my husband from the airport.

It was wonderful to travel between two countries and be out of communication.

Ah, but now we hit my favorite part – the return trip. Wheeeeeeee!

I decided to take the trip back in the spirit that my husband’s U.S. permanent residency was approved.

So I thought, “Well, there will be delays, but I’ll get back to Oakland soon enough.”

Oooh boy, was I wrong, wrong, wrong.

1. On our way over to Phoenix, the driver was asked repeatedly by mothers with babies and young children in their arms to please lower the AC so that the bus could cool off a bit. The bus was a sauna. Swamp ass and bat wings galore. The bus driver said that he could not turn up the AC because, and I quote, “We were in the desert.”

Sure, you don’t want to overheat the bus in the desert. But the driver had the AC in the low 70s – he could have easily dropped it to the 60s without any problems. So the babies screamed and we all sat silently in pools of our sweat. Many of us on board had health issues that could directly be affected by situations like pizza-oven-temperature-heat.

2. When I arrived to Phoenix, our bus was delayed. Another hot and stuffy bus terminal. Again, no explanation. It was late at night. We were exhausted. Again, no vouchers, no information. We were told in Phoenix not to take our luggage off the bus, that it would be handled by Greyhound staff. No one protested. We were all very tired.

After about an hour of waiting, there was some movement on our bus. A man in a wheelchair was being loaded on the bus with his partner. The process of removing some seats and getting both him and his partner on the bus took approximately an hour. The man was completely on display to us passengers that were watching. Some passengers, who were tired and frustrated were saying completely messed up comments out loud to the rest of the group, such as, “The dude’s probably in a wheelchair because he’s a drunk driver.”

I couldn’t walk away from the running commentary, because I would’ve lost my place on the line. Without hearing a single word from any Greyhound employees, we finally got back on the same bus that we had disembarked from about 2-3 hours earlier.

Is this lack-of-dignity approach to loading someone in a wheelchair onto a Greyhound bus, is this your company’s A-game?

2. When we got to Los Angeles, there were, wait for it…delays. No announcements. No meal vouchers. No water handed out as we breathed in the hot and stuffy air. And there was a heat wave slamming through town. And more and more passengers just kept pouring into the terminal.

And when we had arrived Los Angeles, the Greyhound baggage handler didn’t speak any English. Now, I want to detour here for a minute and say that I’ve worked as an ESL teacher for many years, and I have immediate family members and loved ones whose first language isn’t English. I’ve worked professionally as both an interpreter and a translator.

But guess what I had to do right then, in the middle of my trip? Yes, of course –  interpret from Spanish to English for the majority of the passengers of our bus as to what was going to happen to our luggage.

Because our luggage wasn’t in Los Angeles, as we were told in Phoenix that it would be. The baggage handler told me in Spanish that our baggage would be at our final destinations and I gave that information to the rest of our group in English.

This is when I start to plug in again, after having sent some tweets the night before. Apparently, @GreyhoundBus and @GHoundBusHelp were talking to me. But, apart from some platitudes about apologizing and looking into it, nothing.

Suddenly, a Greyhound employee came over and said that there were 2-3 hour delays on all outbound buses from L.A. He didn’t know why. That was it. No meal vouchers, no water. Senior citizens, people using canes and wheelchairs, babies and young children in the terminal and many were clearly suffering from the heat, hunger and exhaustion.

A bus suddenly arrived. Some of us boarded, but many were left behind. An L.A. Greyhound Help Manager got on the bus and called out my name. He came over to me, confirmed that I was on the bus. He asked where I was coming from, and I explained. He then asked me why I was leaving late from L.A.

I wish that I was making this up.

I told him that I was late because there hadn’t been any other buses leaving L.A.since I arrived that morning, and it was now hours later. I mean, that point was rather obvious, but he asked.

I guess I should have said something like I was trying to end global warming and had missed my bus.

The L.A. Help Manger didn’t offer an apology, or a refund. He didn’t check in with other customers. Nothing.

3. And then I arrive in Oakland, and…surprise, no luggage. I heard so many horror stories on the way over about luggage being lost by Greyhound forever, that I was ready for this. And yet, I had done an interpreting session for the Greyhound luggage carrier in Los Angeles where he guaranteed that our stuff would be at our final destinations.

It is here in Oakland that Greyhound employees finally have a pulse, a clue and a head. I’m proud that this went down in Oakland, Oakland being a city that often gets knocked for being a city of hard-knocks. And yet, it was finally here in Oakland that the Greyhound team sprang into action and showed the rest of your company what Customer Service looked like. I had my luggage back within an hour.

The Oakland team should 1) Get raises. 2) Be promoted. 3) Travel around the U.S. and conduct trainings for the rest of your company in Customer Relations.

But my dear Greyhound Executives, here’s what I want to ask you:

When was the last time that you took a bus trip through your own system?

Because something tells me that it has been quite a long time.

And here’s what I would like you to think about as you add some more bells and whistles to your website, while you let your passengers rot in hell:

The majority of us who ride Greyhound do not have a great deal of economic privilege. If we did, we’d fly. Many of us who ride Greyhound are vulnerable for a whole bunch of other societal reasons, from the color of our skin, to our reasons for traveling. So the majority of the people traveling do not feel that they have the right to speak out. Or those who have spoken out and received no answer feel that it is pointless to continue speaking out.

So while you sit in your air-conditioned offices in Dallas, I invite you to scroll through the Twitter feed for @GhoundBusHelp. I’ll wait.

How many people are writing positive tweets about your company? How many are writing tweets that are so full of frustration that the words almost jump off the screen?

I mean, if you feel that your business model is fine, well, then, just keep on enjoying your air conditioning.

But I invite you to think about what your company would look like if the core, the center of your business model was based solidly and completely in passenger and employee satisfaction.

But wait – that would you require you to care about your employees and passengers.

Never Again,

Giselle Stern

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22 thoughts on “Greyhound Bus Executives, Your Dog Is Long Dead

  1. Giselle, sounds like you had the trip from hell. The way that Greyhound treated you and the rest of the customers is a disgrace. As a travel company you should pride yourself on being reliable, and on time. I get that delays happen because of traffic, and accidents etc, however, when this does happen, their should be a contingency plan. You mentioned many times that no one offered an ecplaination, or any help with food or water. The treatment you guys put up with was terrible!

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  2. Giselle, I too have had the experience of a life tiime with Greyhound. It was about a week before your trip. Below is an email I sent to Greyhound requesting a refund. Yesterday, I received a response that they would give me a greyhound voucher for the amount of my ticket. Am I gonna accept, NO WAY! I want my money back. I’ll keep you updated…..

    My trip with Greyhound was terrible and unacceptable. I would like to request a refund. I had to prolong my trip a day, because my trip ended up being almost a 24 hour trip when it was suppose to be only an 11 hr. trip. I lost time with my family and even more important I LOST A WHOLE DAY of work, in which I make $23.00 an hour for a loss of $183.00, not including my time and the amount I pay to pay in addition to my bus tickets to get on a different bus line to get where I should had been 7 hours before and this is only for my trip there. Needless to say, I then lost another 4 1/2 hours of work, which amounts to $103.50 because of my trip back.

    First, Leaving Hayward, CA to Tijuana, MX

    1. The bus was 45 minutes late and the Hayward station is outside. I was told to be there 1 hour before departure, so I had to wait outside in the cold from 9:00 pm to 10:45 pm. (the bus was scheduled to arrive at 10 pm)

    2. My bus broke down somewhere before Bakersfield because a Water hose broke. We were stuck waiting for someone to come and fix the water hose for over two hours at 2:00 am.

    3. Since my bus was late getting into Los Angeles because it broke down, I had to wait for another bus to Tijuana.

    4. After boarding the bus in Los Angeles, about 15 minutes later on the highway, the bus comes to a halt, with people speeding around the bus because the transmission froze. A police officer was able to stay with us until the driver finally was able to get the bus into gear.

    5. As we approached Santa Ana, the transmission once again froze and we were unable to go any further. The driver called the Los Angeles station and they told him another but would be right along to pick us up. keep in mind, Los Angeles to Santa Ana is only 30 minutes give or take. We sat around the bus station waiting for this so called replacement bus. After 2 1/2 hours of waiting and still no bus, I purchased a bus ticket sold by another company at the bus terminal to take me to Tijuana. I had to wait an additional 30 mins for this bus and when I boarded this bus, the people from my broke down greyhound bus were still waiting for their replacement bus.

    Secondly, Leaving Tijuana, MX to Hayward, CA

    1. The bus came early so I had to take the next bus almost 1 hour later. The agent at the bus terminal didn’t change my tickets, so I had to stand in the horrendous line in Los Angeles to change my tickets and get new baggage claim tickets.

    2. Since I was late getting into Los Angeles, (because i had to wait for a later bus) I then had to wait for the next bus, not aware that the next bus made every stop between LA to Hayward. So that meant my 11 hour bus ride ended up being an 18 hour bus ride because after boarding in LA, we sat in the bus because we had to wait for another bus to come and bring us a few passengers to ride our bus because their bus had broke down.

    Now you tell me, is this acceptable practice for Greyhound. This was my first time riding greyhound and you better believe it will be my last time. I would like to be refunded at the the amount of the bus tickets, if greyhound has any respect for its name they would also pay me for the hours I lost at work and the extra $30.00 I had to pay to ride a different companies bus to get to my destination. Below is a copy of my itinerary of my trip so you can verify all the information I have provided. I still have my bus tickets from San Ysidro to Tijuana (unused)

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      1. Thanks Giselle,

        All I was trying to do was get to my husband who has been recently deported to Tijuana. I had not been able to touch him in 7 months and I figured an overnight bus ride would be the way to go since I only had 3 days off work.

        My email doesn’t address the full details of the of the trip, if I were to have explained all the details and how horrible my experience was, I would have been typing for an at least an hour.

        I can’t begin to describe the frustration of a woman thinking she will soon be reunited with her husband, (but because of one companies lack of respect for their customers, that can’t even keep their buses in good running condition for their paying customers) the emotions built up and then not being to have the time with him as I expected really put me over the top, especially when your already in an emotional situation.

        On top of the emotional frustration, I could never get connected to Greyhounds Wi-fi, I didn’t mention the alarm that constantly went off from Hayward, CA to LA because the sensor on the bus was faulty. Try sleeping with an alarm buzzing every 2 minutes. I can’t say anymore, I am already getting heated again and I can’t allow myself to go there right now.

        Anyways I will keep you posted. Thanks

        Patricia

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      2. Patricia,

        Thank you for sharing part of your story. While your trip was so terrible, I know how it was so much worse because of the recent circumstances with your husband’s deportation. A lot of salt poured into an already extremely painful wound. Please keep me posted. Also, please send me a message at giselle@thedeporteeswife.com and I can hopefully hook you in to some other resources online. Please know that you are not alone. Big Hug, Giselle

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  3. I want to contact you personally, although I am travelling with family and camping the month of July, In August – lets talk. Google “”Shawn Ambrose Greyhound” to find out all I have done to address the practices of Greyhound. You should be able to get my work e-mail from the web – let me know if you can’t.

    Good luck!

    Shawn Ambrose

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  4. Try going over over Greyhound’s head and complain to the corporate parent, First Group.in Scotland, http://www.firstgroup.com/
    They aren’t that well regarded in Britain, either. You can find FB groups such as I Hate First Capital Connect. At one time the passengers of their First Great Western subsidiary had a fare strike and thousands of people boarded their trains without paying to protest the poor service.

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    1. Thanks Shawn-the “Greyhound Experience” indeed! Enjoy your vacation-I’m assuming that you’re not going via Greyhound 😉 And I just tried to join the group, but I didn’t see a “like” or “join” button. Let me know if I need to do anything! Thanks, Giselle

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      1. If you go to the group page, you should post. It should show up.

        And no, I’m driving this one – and my daughter who is meeting us at our destination, is flying. Hell will freeze over before I use Greyhound. Just Google “Shawn Ambrose” AND “Greyhound”

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  5. Absolutely wonderful letter…impressed! I am putting this on my facebook page so others can appreciate your eloquently written letter to the Greyhound Executives. I am sorry to hear about your horrendous experience, but I do think those who read your statements will feel empowered to also speak out. GOOD JOB!

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    1. Daniella, thank you for stopping by and for your support! Please feel free to #floodthebus by posting the blog on the Greyhound Facebook page:) And please feel free to sign the petition as well! Thank you again, Giselle

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  6. Giselle, next time check out Southwest, I’m sure you can get a roundtrip ticket from L.A. to ELP for under 250, much faster and much easier. Greyhound is a sucky company, isn’t there any company such as the PROFECO in the states?

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    1. Oscar, thank you for stopping by! Yes, if I’m ever faced with Greyhound bus travel again, I definitely do whatever it takes so that I can fly and not get on another Greyhound bus. And yes, there is the equivalent of PROFECO in the US. But, as you can imagine, it gets inundated. It would be interesting to check though, how many reports of bad practices from Greyhound have been officially reported. I’ll check it out and get back to you! Thank you for posting! Saludos, Giselle

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  7. Excellent post Giselle! I had actually considered looking into an unlimited Greyhound ticket so the family and I could explore the US at our leisure but I think I’ll look into Amtrak if that was your experience. I wouldn’t have tolerated it as well with my children in tow!

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