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 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.