Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Greyhound Experience

I promised I’d provide a summary of our experience on the Greyhound Express from our recent trip to Chicago, so here it goes.

First off, we decided to take the Greyhound Express because we’d tried the Mega Bus last year and sort of wanted to compare. I believe Steinvic and I want bus-riding to be a real option for these quick trips where we don’t want to tax our cars or spend a fortune on gas and parking fees. We want it to be a good experience. Truly.

We gave Mega Bus a chance: Fail.

We gave Greyhound Express a chance: Fail.

It can be summarized by this image.

Yes, this is one of the few instructional signs that appear in the Greyhound hub. (You are really on your own as far as figuring out where to go and what to do.) It is supposed to be a person getting a ticket at the ticket counter. After our experience, we believe should be a bartender administering liquid comfort.

It wasn’t so much that we were hassled or that our bus wasn’t on time. It was more the:
- disorganization (which makes this particularly anxious traveler even more anxious)
- constant, unwavering scent of urine
- dirty (and I’m not talking because I’m OCD-ish…they were nasty) hubs and buses
- people, both patrons and employees, who generally seemed to be cranky
- bathrooms that were not useable
- lines in which you waited and every single person ahead of you had a "serious issue" and needed to explain everything that had happened to them since birth. (we were there in plenty of time, but still...annoying drain of patience...)

Two good features – no, three – about the Greyhound include the inexpensive fare, the fact that the Wi-Fi worked pretty consistently all the way to Chicago and back, and we got there and back with no real problems. (There were quite a few hostile people for which this did not seem to be the case.)

So, I don’t think we’ll be taking the bus again. It feels too…unreliable. Like something could go horribly wrong…either someone freaking the heck out or a bus not showing up. Just too out of control.

And too smelly.

If we HAD to do it again, I think we might, but it would not be our top choice of transportation…

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