Ten-Hour Greyhound Bus Trip Turns Into 26-Hour Odyssey For Teenager

WAFF reports that Greg Moore, age 15, took a Greyhound bus from Opelika, Alabama to Athens, Georgia which is normally a 10 hour trip. But because of unannounced re-reroutes, the trip was extended to a brutal 26 hours. Greg’s family was alarmed because they didn’t know where he was during that time, and only received scant information from Greyhound. To make matters worse, $900 worth of belongings had been stolen from his lost luggage which he didn’t receive until a week later. More, inside…

The article says,

“It was scary because my sister and brother-in-law had no idea where he was. Greyhound said they had re-routed him out, but no one was really sure where he was,” said Moore’s aunt, Lisa Tolbert.

Moore’s location was a mystery to his family, and when he arrived in Athens the next day his bag wasn’t on the bus.

“Somebody must have taken the tags off… it took a week before I could get it back,” Greg Moore said.

When it was finally returned there was $900 worth of personal belongings missing.

Tolbert thought she was saving money by having her nephew take the bus. Little did she know she would spend more money on gas for the 8 trips between Florence, Athens and Birmingham looking for her nephew.

“I’ve spent more now, then if I had gone down there and gotten him myself,” Tolbert said.

When summer ends, Moore says he will have his aunt drive him back.

“This is my first time experiencing this, first impressions are their last impressions. I just feel like I’m never going to ride Greyhound again,” he said.

If there is a bright side to this, at least the bus driver didn’t fall asleep and roll the bus. Better late than never?

Valley boy gets runaround on Greyhound [WAFF] (Thanks to Jessie!)
(Photo: Getty)

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  1. MissPeacock says:

    No real comment on the story (I’m sorry), but that picture is awesome!

  2. Wow, that sucks. With your own car or a rental, that’s less than a 3-hour drive (give or take).

    I thought almost all fleets had GPS transponders now…this is really unacceptable.

  3. kborer22 says:

    i’m going to school in boston, have been known to take the boston-ny express to get home, and for $20 it’s a steal! A radio station up here WBCN The Toucher and Rich show always do a drunken red sox/celtics recap, some of the best radio i have ever heard! So the decided to send 2 interns on a greyhound bus trip to stand outside the superbowl and do a drunken recap. they were giving daily up dates, i remember one bus from ny-nashville was supposed to take like 14 hours, well they ended up stranded with a flat tire, and greyhound did not send another bus for 5+ hours! Greyhound is notorious for crap like this!

  4. Kos says:

    @kborer22: You should take BoltBus. Way better.

  5. jchabotte says:

    lesson:

    When sending a kid on a trip, get them a cell phone and tell them to call at every bus stop.

    (i’m not blaming the kid or the family.. just sayin’)

    I’d say that learning to NOT use greyhound would be a lesson, but that should have been implied.

  6. scoobydoo says:

    According to Google maps, it’s 174 miles. By car it would be just under 3 hours. So how they managed to turn that into 26 hours is beyond me…

    I really don’t want to play the blame game here, but surely even a 15yr old should be old enough to ask where a bus is taking him? When he got to Atlanta, they sent him back in the opposite direction to Montgomery, then even further away to Birmingham. If you have basic knowledge of your surroundings you should be aware that a bus heading 200 miles in the wrong direction is a bad idea.

    When he was in Atlanta he was just 50 miles from his destination, one phone call (even from a pay phone) and he could have been picked up, instead, he let Greyhound put him on a bus heading back in the direction he just came from.

  7. Skankingmike says:

    When i lived in philly i had a g/f in Pennstate the bus ride was 8 hours and that was when i got the direct route bus. Generally they stoped in Harrisburg.. The best was the time they just left me in Harrisburg and said the next bus comes tomorrow. Well then why did you sell me the tickets?

    i hate greyhound.. i would never send my kid on one of those.

    3 hours by car? i would’ve driven.

  8. timmus says:

    Agreed… when I was 15 I flew on airlines by myself and was keenly aware of where I was at all times. Also some people are indeed keenly unaware of where they are… when I was 20 my roommate flew back to the east coast to visit her folks, who picked her up at the airport, and one week after the trip she couldn’t even tell me any of the airports she connected through or even the one she flew into!

    But this story is missing a lot of details and perhaps the 15-year old just put his full trust in Greyhound to get him there according to the routing changes, and was unaware how they just didn’t care.

    Good to see this got out via a major news network, as that screwup is going to cost Greyhound some dollars.

  9. Hmmm…I wonder if this was an attempted runaway, but he got cold feet or something. I mean, there’s no way we’d ever know if the kid willingly snuk onto different buses and then had to make up some lame cover story.

    I’ve known enough 15-year-olds to know not to always take their word at face value.

  10. fullmetalgenesis says:

    I live in Auburn, next door to Opelika (literally – there’s nothing but “Welcome to…” signs that distinguish when you’re in one city or the other) and I can’t understand the trip to Athens takings a full day. The AU Marching Band (War Damn Eagle!) takes 5 or 6 coaches when it travels to UGA for the Battle Between the Hedges and it only takes us 4 hours with stops.

  11. opsomath says:

    I live in Athens and there’s no regular Greyhound station here. Odd, because you’d think college students’d use it a lot, but if this is the kind of crap they do, I can see why.

    The bus station is downtown, but it’s as sketchy as bus stations always are, seldom seems to get buses coming in, and even seldomer seems to have actual Greyhound buses.

    I once took Greyhound from Orlando, Fla to Los Angeles in under three days. They’re a good service if you need to save cash, don’t insist on the most comfortable accomodations, and don’t mind sitting next to someone who just got out of prison. But with these articles, I’m starting to think they’ve done some stupid things to try to save money.

  12. SuffolkHouse says:

    It’s my opinion that you are lucky Grey Hound exists. Do you know anyone who would invest in that idea, especially with gas prices as they are and are likely to be?

    It is a sad story, but Grey House seems to be doing more of a favor than running a business.

  13. unravel says:

    Ah, Greyhound, how I miss thee! I used to ride from upstate NY to VA Beach a lot a few years back, and that was always an adventure. Most trips were decent, but one was right out of Greyhound Hell.

    Once they’d ‘lost’ a bus between CNY and Schenectady. It was supposed to be the last bus out that afternoon, and after 45 mins with no word from the staff, most of us were prepared to take the city bus to the Albany bus station. The clerk came out and let us know a bus had been rerouted, twenty minutes tops. She neglected to mention the fact that it was coming in from Buffalo and was nearly full. I think 3 people got seats. By the time the rest of us got on and realized it was full, others had piled on behind us and there was no way to get out.

    There are no handholds on a Greyhound bus. You have not lived until you are flying down an interstate, precariously perched over an elderly woman it appears you will snap in half if you so much as breathe on, trying to brace yourself on SOMETHING, and praying you don’t fall. Oh god, I came close. Trip only went downhill from there. Good times, good times.

  14. chiieddy says:

    WAFF not WAAF.

  15. This story really sucks, but it’s worth a reminder not to put valuables in checked baggage, be it on a bus or a plane, if at all possible.

  16. This highlights the sorry state of public transit in the United States. Amtrak has to pad their schedules because they share track with CSX, Greyhound has its head up its ass, and God knows you don’t want to FLY anywhere. Once you get where you’re going, don’t think you’re going to get on a city bus to go anywhere close to your final destination, either. If you aren’t driving yourself, you’re probably going to be SOL at some point in your journey.

    I can go anywhere I want in Europe without a car, but not North America. Here, if you’re car-free, you’re some kind of freak or leper or Communist or something.

  17. unravel says:

    @Ash78: It’s pretty hard to sneak on a Greyhound bus, let alone multiple Greyhound buses. Unless something’s changed, the driver checks & collects the portion of your ticket from Point A to Point B while you board. If you have to change buses at a station because of unexpected problems with the bus, or route, you are given a reboarding pass that identifies the bus you came from, or new tickets.

    It’s not unheard of for buses to veer off route, so I don’t see that as a sign he was trying to run away. There are some that do ‘local service’ (or whatever it’s called) and actually hit a bunch of towns that aren’t mentioned on the ticket. I had this happen with the NYC -> DC bus on my aforementioned trip from hell. Rather than going right down 95, it veered into PA and made a bunch of stops there and in Jersey, then in Maryland. It added about 5 hours to the trip. Which was lovely, because I was sitting behind a slimebag who kept begging me to show him my jugs, and let him touch them. :<

  18. Gopher bond says:

    All buses are terrible. I can bike to work in one hour. If I want to take the bus, it takes 55 minutes and I have to get up an hour earlier and would have to bike 5 miles in a different direction to the bus stop. Who planned these cities?

  19. Nissan288 says:

    two things:
    1. wtf does a 15 year old have that’s worth $900 in his suitcase?
    2. Give the kid a cell phone, geez.
    3. even if money was an issue, I would much rather drive the boy than put him on a greyhound.

  20. Snarkysnake says:

    The next time some dumb asshat starts spouting nonsense about how the free market solves everything (EVERYTHING !)-Send them this story.

    Greyhound must have retarded box turtles in HIGH management positions. If ever there were a time to steal customers away from the airlines,this is it. Sure, Hounddawg buses burn diesel (Higher than jet fuel right now),but for a slight amount of effort and enterprise,they could really compete with the regional carriers and be in the mix on longer hauls. The low end airline customer would give them a look if they didn’t act like the big,slow monopoly that they are. The opportunity is there,but they seem to be stuck in…1970 or something.

  21. Greyhound is still the wild west of travelling in my book. Especially if you are female, my current wife and female friends of mine growing up have all told me of lewd activity by men who get on and try to sit next to them. It IS a cheap way to get from point A to B, but be prepared and when in doubt don’t fight your gut instincts. Also you might want to carry some pepper spray on you.

  22. bigcat39 says:

    Why can’t we have a bus system like Mexico? The “Executivo” class buses are sooooo nice… 24 seats total, nice bathrooms, a stewardess, entertainment, true comfort…. and fares less than Greyhound.

  23. baryl says:

    @fullmetalgenesis: War Damn Eagle!

    I’m an Auburn student myself, and I must say that this whole thing is ridiculous. I’ve never ridden Greyhound before and am therefore completely ignorant on the subject, but does Greyhound not allow you to say, “Hey, give me my bag; I’m outta here” whenever you want? Since this kid is 15, I’m assuming he’s an Opelika native, so there must have been SOME kind of red flag to go up when he saw that the bus was going from Atlanta to Montgomery (which is about an hour southwest of Opelika). Why would he say to himself, “Well, this is bus is going three hours in the opposite direction; I guess I’ll get on!”

    Sorry not trying to blame the victim, just genuinely curious about Greyhound’s “Look, give me my bags; I’m getting off this bus” policy.

  24. ameyer says:

    Ahh, Greyhound.
    I wonder if the bus Amtrak chartered after a derailment cancelled the train I was taking from Carbondale, IL to Homewood, IL ever got to Chicago.
    11 hours for what’d be more like 5 hours by car.
    Of course, about 2 hours of that was because the driver got lost between leaving the interstate and the train station in Homewood.

  25. ameyer says:

    @ameyer:
    Oh, and if you count the time between scheduled train departure and when the bus got to Homewood, it was only a 18 hour ordeal.

  26. ameyer says:

    Oh, and that photo looks more like a Saluki.

  27. I once had a 42-hour greyhound trip that turned into a 42-hour odyssey

    Just thought I’d brag. It was a unique experience, if nothing else.

  28. MrEvil says:

    I went to retreive a vehicle I had purchased near my mom’s place via greyhound. It was a 13hr bus ride from Amarillo to Springfield MO. According to my ticket anyway, it turned into 18 hours because the bus driver aparrently had no clue where the bus stop in Carthage Missouri was and spent a few hours trying to find it in a town of only a few thousand people. My mother and aunt who were going to meet me at the bus station in Springfield weren’t freaking out, but concerned that I had not arrived at my scheduled time. Oh, I had my cell on me too, but unfortunately it was before Sprint had made alot of nationwide roaming agreements with other providers so I had NO SERVICE while the retarded driver circled Carthage aimlessly.

    Seriously Greyhound, GPS units don’t cost that much and a consumer unit would work just as well as a commercial unit. Heck if you buy enough of them the manufacturer might even be nice enough to make you custom maps with the bus stops and stations already marked.

  29. dustincimino says:

    @Nissan288:
    1.Laptop maybe something else kids carry a lot of valuable stuff.
    2. Cell phones are expensive and maybe the family didn’t have money for that extra cell phone expense.
    3. Again its cheaper to ride greyhound then drive with gas prices today.

  30. MissTicklebritches says:

    I’m not blaming the victim here regarding the missing $900 in personal items, but next time, keep he should keep his valuables with him in the passenger cabin. I don’t like how just anyone can access my luggage on buses and trains.

  31. e.varden says:

    @scoobydoo: @scoobydoo:

    [15-yr-old "shoulda known"].

    Have you ever been fifteen years old? Ever?

  32. mythago says:

    Maybe he didn’t want somebody pawing through his bags on the bus (think you’re 100% alert on an all-day bus ride? think again).

  33. bubba127 says:

    @unravel

    How long ago did this happen?
    I actually work at the bus station in Schenectady and until recently our computer system didn’t give us a headcount of how many people were on the bus.

    As for the OP’s bags, did he check them in or just put them under the bus? If he didn’t Greyhound policy (which is posted in most stations that I know of) says they’re not liable. If he did, he’ll get about $250 out of them

  34. JiminyChristmas says:

    @testsicles: Who planned these cities?

    People with cars.

    This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.

  35. ChrisGriswold says:

    This story trumps mine, but here it is anyway:

    The last time I rode Greyhound was from Pittsburgh to New York City to apply for the New York City Teaching Fellowship. I was in a bus crash on the way there, and I had to deal with a public masturbator in the seat behind me on the way back. (He was apparently using the sleeping woman in the seat next to him as reference material.)

    Greyhound wouldn’t do anything about the masturbator during the trip, but they told me that Greyhound would refund my ticket (minus some fee). Despite following procedure, I never received the refund from Greyhound.

    I’m not really a fan of being in crashes or sitting next to public masturbation, so I don’t think I will take Greyhound next time.

  36. glater says:

    Greyhound is a nightmare. I rode them between kansas and ohio several years ago. A 12 hour drive turned into a 20+ hour “stop at every podunk shithole bus station across the midwest”. The seats are just as crowded as an airplane, if not more so, only without the free drinks, no air scrubbers, and bouncing turbulence from crappy highways the whole way. Stopping in the heart of the St. Louis ghetto and transferring was something I’ll never forget – all the luggage was just dumped out onto the pavement (amidst all the people milling around, no security over any of it at all). I heard gunshots in the distance, honest to god. The police and security officers there had permanent-looking scowls. The station itself was in an old, abandoned bank, the inside made of once-white marble and granite with grand, chipped columns, very roman style, very regal, and looked like it’d been through a war. Back on the bus, I sat next to an old-school motorcycle guy who’d been on for three days starting in san francisco, and had 3 more days to go to make it to the east coast. Probably did heroine and killed a few people in his life. Real nice guy, though. I gave him many cigarettes at our endless procession of smoke breaks throughout the trip.

    So, yeah. Never again.

  37. barty says:

    How could they re-route a bus that only needs to get on I-85, make a probable stop in Atlanta, and then continue on another 80 miles up two more roads? Not to mention expect that to take 10 hours to begin with. They’re always doing at least 60-65 on the interstates around here.

  38. jjason82 says:

    I’m sorry, but anyone stupid enough to keep $900 in cash in their baggage deserves to lose it. Who the hell does that? Everybody knows there’s a chance bags get lost or stolen. Why would you put so much money in one then? Isn’t it always standard practice to keep all your valuables on a carry-on, with you at all times?

  39. feralparakeet says:

    @opsomath:

    I, too, live in Athens, and though the bus terminal by Gameday isn’t anything like the one in downtown ATL, it is actually a regular stop. It’s not multiple buses per day, but I’m fairly certain that they have at least one route that passes through each day.

    @scoobydoo:

    Yeah, it’s about 3 hours, 4 if you go through Atlanta at the wrong time.

    My guess as to why the bus would be delayed would be a route change in Atlanta. I was in that bus terminal once, and somehow I doubt that they’d care to look after minors.

  40. Kajj says:

    @Ash78: Yep, bad thing happened to him, musta deserved it! Let’s invent motivations and actions that are in no way implied by the article! You know what, I bet he spent those 26 hours robbing old ladies. Served him right, little punk.

    @jjason82: “Belongings” is a word used specifically to explain to the reader that it was NOT cash. But then, maybe it’s a mistake to call you a reader.

    The kid was 15. Don’t any of you remember how young that is? Teenagers aren’t all bear-wrestling boot-strapping ubermenschen. Most of them tend to do what grownups tell them, especially in unfamiliar situations. I grew up not far from farmland, and I couldn’t have placed most towns more than a half hour away from my home on a map, let alone recognize them without signs.

    I still eagerly await the day we discover what kind of person gets a free pass from Consumerist scorn. We already know it’s not the elderly, pregnant women, or babies. Nuns? I’m going to keep my eye out for a convent that’s getting its internet traffic throttled and see how that goes over.

  41. baristabrawl says:

    What I want to know is how you can afford $900 in belongings but not $19 for a prepay cell phone. It would be a cold day in hell before I sent even the most responsible of 15 year olds on a GreyHound bus without any way to monitor them. Screw that.

    Also? About the responsibility? Studies show we are not raising responsible kids. (At least not the majority, so save your “Aunt Edna” stories.) We are helicoptering our children. Just so you know.

  42. coren says:

    The lesson? Always use your local bus farmers instead of corporate!

  43. Sanveann says:

    @jjason82: Read the story again … it said $900 of personal belongings, NOT $900 cash.

  44. Ooloi says:

    @Michael Belisle: I’ve got you beat. I went from Boston to Los Angeles on a Greyhound bus. It took about 4 days. It was a miracle that no guy tried to touch me and I didn’t lose one piece of luggage.

  45. jbohanon says:

    I’ve taken Greyhound probably a dozen times and I despise them with a passion. The buses, never, ever leave or arrive on time. You’re lucky if you don’t sit next to someone just out of prison. The entire bus reeks of cigarette smoke after every smoking break. Only one out of every ten drivers has a personality more cheery than Gordon Ramsey. Their station in St. Louis isn’t safe during the day, much less the night. If you’re not getting on the bus at one of the major stops, expect a nearly full bus to come rolling in. And so on.

    On that last issue, once they had five seats and ten people. I got the coveted middle seat in the back row. Four had to stand and one, I swear to God, sat in the bathroom the whole time.

  46. jimmydeweasel says:

    This outta shut up you people bitchin’ about the airlines…..Try takin’ a bus in Bolivia, or Mexico, or Washington DC…………They’re all the same.