Man In Wheelchair Unimpressed With Greyhound

According to Richard, Greyhound has some real work to do when it comes to making people in wheelchairs not feel like second-class citizens. Even in snowy weather and with delays, you don’t really want a driver telling a passenger that he should have brought an attendant if he wanted to get on the bus.

On 12/5/2009, I left San Francisco via Greyhound heading to Pittsburgh, PA, due to arrive on 12/8/2009. My ticket included a round trip/return trip portion to return to San Francisco on 12/16/2009. Because I use a power wheelchair, I called the disability services line and arranged to have a lift-equipped bus along the various schedules that spanned my trip. They advised me that I should be careful not to miss any connecting buses because these modified buses had to be requested 2 days in advance.

During the trip at various times, I was cursed at by Greyhound employees when I requested to be let off the bus at rest stops (they didn’t want to take the extra time required to load and unload me, and they let me know it) and ignored (and as a consequence, virtually trapped on the bus). In general, I was made to feel as though I was an unwelcome burden rather than a paying passenger. At one point on the trip, we were diverted to a different route due to impassable weather conditions. Though this caused an estimated 8 hour delay, I have no problem with this since it was beyond Greyhound’s control.

Next, I was on another bus which lost all interior heat. In 3 defree F weather. At speed with a substantial windchill factor. The window of the wheelchair lift door on this bus froze over with a thick layer of interior frost during this time, about 6 hours, to the point where I could scrape (not just rub) it off and come up with snow in my gloved hands. At this point I was wearing my jacket zipped up, a cold weather cap, and gloves, all the cold weather gear I had available. I lost feeling in parts of my body due to the cold.

Finally, the driver gave up on hopes of restoring the heat, pulled into a truck stop, called for another bus, and had us all go inside the truck stop to wait. About 8 hours later, the replacement bus arrived. While in the truck stop, in a bathroom I checked my extremeties over as feeling slowly returned to them, and belive that I had the beginning stage of frostbite.

Next, upon arriving in St. Loius, MO (a transfer point for me), I found that the bus that I was directed to was not wheelchair accessible. My luggage had already been transferred to it (against my explicit request to the driver NOT to transfer my luggage without me being physically present), and it left for Pittsburgh, PA without me. At this point, I was offered a bus that was due to arrive about 10 hours and 26 minutes later. (~2:54am to 1:20pm)

My wheelchair charger was in the single piece of checked bagge which left without me on the non-accessible bus, as it is too large to fit in my carry-on. I was not allowed to remove it by Greyhound personnel, as they claimed they were too late to spare time to off-load my bag, and that it would be waiting for me at my destination. Due to all of these unplanned delays, the charge level of my wheelchair was critically low. Thankfully it did not die, but it went far below the level I planned for, and what is recommended by the manufacturer for cold weather usage.

Finally I arrived at my ultimate stination, a full 25+ hours late from the time time on my ticket. None of the buses had well-sealed wheelchair lift doors; every single one had a noticeable draft during the trip. On my return trip, I had less delays and only arrived home about 2 hours late (which is acceptable, if not preferred), however this section of my trip had its own set of problems.

Along with being ignored and forgotten on the buses during many rest stops, I experienced wheelchair lifts which were barely operational that briefly trapped my chair, doors that would not close unless the driver banged on part of the frame with a hammer, and finally, a wheelchair lift door which would not open, which trapped me on the bus for over 12 hours. That required a mechanic and support personnel to fix at a station. Oh yes, and one driver who strapped down my chair when I boarded, who refused to release my chair at rest stops, since I “should have had an attendant” and “it wasn’t his job”. From my position, I wasn’t able to reach the release buttons, and was stuck.

Due to the extra time I spent stuck in transit, and the intense cold on parts of my trip, I had to seek medical treatment when I returned home via a ER visit and a trip to my doctor. (Extreme swelling my feet)

At no point on this trip from Hades was I offered any sort of apology or compensation. When I booked this trip, I chose Greyhound over a train or plane for a few reasons. One, I could ride seated in my wheelchair, versus checking it as luggage and risking damage on an airline. Two, the low price for purchasing my ticket 3 weeks in advance. Three, the ability to check baggage for free, and four, the flexibility to change my trip dates for $15 if I found a need to spend more time at my destination. Instead, I had to cut my stay short by a full day.

Along the trip, my ticket had to be reprinted twice due to delays, and my originals were confiscated when I was given reprints, and the drivers each took their portion of the ticket, so all I am left with for proof of my trip itinerary is the transfer information portion.

Nothing about this trip went as planned, and along the way I was treated as less-than human. I want a complete refund of my fare, $212 plus a $3 mailing fee, plus a reasonable fee for the time I spent composing and the money I spent mailing this letter via certified mail, return receipt requested.

Update: Here’s some more information from Richard explaining why he doesn’t want to fly with his wheelchair:

Also, for those who suggest that I should have flown – Airlines would have checked my chair as baggage, and would have had to monkey with my chair’s electrical system (to disconnect the batteries and remove the joystick to make it fit in the compartment), and I have had a couple of friends in chairs who have flown, and been greeted in the terminal at their destination with an inoperative wheelchair. In both cases, the staff just wondered off after saying something along the lines of “I don’t know why it won’t turn on..”, thus leaving them stranded.

Also, my chair costs about $6,000. Airlines are responsible by law for only $250. I chose Greyhound because I could ride in my chair, thus safeguarding it.

Comments

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  1. jdmba says:

    Putting aside the comments to come which focus (perhaps) on the handicapped nature of the OP, I think the problem is a little more simple … if you are going to travel for a long distance in inclimate weather, perhaps choosing ground transportation is not the answer. This is the same exact advice when flying during the winter … not to choose a plane change at O’Hare.

    • FatLynn says:

      Yes, I think his letter could have been more effective by focusing on their poor accommodation of his wheelchair, leaving out the details like typical delays.

      • SweetBearCub says:

        OP here, thanks for the feedback. The letter in the tip/complaint I submitted to Consumerist was marked as a rough draft, typed while I sat here in pain. I wanted to get all of it laid out, so as not to miss any details. Any letter I submit to Greyhound or a regulatory agency today will be more succinct.

        Also, for those who suggest that I should have flown – Airlines would have checked my chair as baggage, and would have had to monkey with my chair’s electrical system (to disconnect the batteries and remove the joystick to make it fit in the compartment), and I have had a couple of friends in chairs who have flown, and been greeted in the terminal at their destination with an inoperative wheelchair. In both cases, the staff just wondered off after saying something along the lines of “I don’t know why it won’t turn on..”, thus leaving them stranded.

        Also, my chair costs about $6,000. Airlines are responsible by law for only $250. I chose Greyhound because I could ride in my chair, thus safeguarding it.

        • Shadowfax says:

          Next time go Amtrak if you can. Dad was in a powerchair for 12 years and traveled on the train for work. They have a special section for the wheelchair (with you in it) and train crews tend to be much friendlier and more helpful than airline or bus employees. They always fussed over dad to make sure everything was OK throughout the trip. And they never had idiotic rules like making him get rid of his tire inflation canisters (you might be a terrorist and that might be part of a bomb!)

          • Luckier says:

            I agree with Shadowfax, that you may be able to ride in your chair on Amtrak (of course, different routes = different accommodations, so his father’s commuter experience may be different.) Here in the Northwest, a wheelchair rider gets a seat in business class (roomy, quiet!) and can reach a wheelchair-accessible washroom in the car. While you may not be able to roam around the train, the train staff have always been very friendly and helpful to me, likewise fellow passengers – I bet you could find someone to bring you back a bowl of Ivar’s clam chowder and a microbrew.

            • Shadowfax says:

              Actually dad didn’t commute with Amtrak (no commuter rail where he lived) but he did do cross country business trips with them on several of their lines. When he was traveling, and according to their current website, all trains are accessible, provided you reserve your wheelchair seat in business class or an accessible sleeping compartment ahead of time. And they always brought his meals to him when he didn’t feel like transferring to the (also accessible) dining car. And the few times I went with him, the food was pretty good, too.

          • Verdant Pine Trees says:

            I just want to second Shadowfax, I am sure that you would be treated much better on Amtrak – which is *not* to say you were wrong for using Greyhound. I’ve travelled all over the country on both Amtrak and on bus lines, including Greyhound, and Amtrak has much better service … even if it’s occasionally tardy in reaching a destination.

    • El_Red says:

      If it is possible, why not take the train? I traveled long trips by train, and it costs approximately the same as bus. And a lot more comfortable…

  2. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Wow! That is absolutely unforgivable! Letting a man sit in sub-freezing weather with no heat and “forgetting” him on the bus at rest stops. That is reprehensible.

  3. ZeGoggles says:

    FTA:

    “On 12/5/2009, I left San Francisco via Greyhound heading to Pittsburgh, PA, due to arrive on 12/8/2009.”

    …Wow. People do this? I can see the value in taking the bus to hop across a couple of states. But cross country?

    Richard, please, fly next time. According to the last part of your experience, you noted that you paid $215 for a ticket. For a few bucks more, literally, you can get yourself in the air and avoid the headaches of Greyhound. For a few dollar tip, you’d get prompt service getting around the airport and on and off the plane in a wheelchair.

    • evilrobot says:

      “included a round trip/return trip portion to return to San Francisco on 12/16/2009″

      So, roughly a 2 week vacation, with almost half of that time spent on a bus.

      I wholeheartedly agree with ZeGoggles. Although you did save money on the mode of transportation, don’t forget to place a value on your time.

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      Rather inconsiderate comment for people who don’t fly. There are plenty of people out there who can’t/won’t fly for various reasons. John Madden of NFL fame is one prime example. My cousin’s wife is another. She refuses to fly, and since they live on the other side of the country the only options they have to see family if they want to is either by train or bus.

      • thompson says:

        I generally agree for those who can’t fly (a category I would put OP in, due to the high risk of damage to his wheelchair)… on the other hand, those who won’t fly… well, I think they should get over it. They have options, they just choose not to exercise them.

        • ZeGoggles says:

          Ah, a wise comment indeed. Agreed.

          If she refuses to fly because of a bad experience with the airline or wants to “stick it to the man”, her problem.. get over it.

          If it’s a medical condition or something along the lines of her having a heart attack in mid-air, then fine.

      • FaustianSlip says:

        If you’re going cross-country, and your only options are a train or a bus, a train is by far the better option, especially if you’re mobility-impaired, like the OP. He’d be entitled to a couple of pretty substantial discounts if he took Amtrak, he could get his own sleeper, which would lessen the discomfort of any delays, and while it’s certainly possible that the staff on board could have treated him like garbage, I’ve never seen the kind of systematic, habitual abuse he describes here. And he wouldn’t have found himself trapped the way he did (numerous times) on the bus.

    • Segador says:

      I was gonna say. I can’t believe people would take a bus across the entire country. I rode Greyhound for the first and last time in my life from Denver to LA, and never, never, never again. Sitting in the aisle on a 110% booked bus with crazy/hostile/drunk fellow passengers was AWESOME. If I can’t afford to fly, I won’t go. I’d rather set my hair on fire than ride Greyhound ever again.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        If your hair’s anything like your Eraserhead avatar, I wanna see that. :)

        I don’t blame you; I wouldn’t use them anymore either. It’s just too scary/unpredictable.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i went from colorado to florida once on a greyhound bus. it took three days and it was actually a really fantastic trip.
      i helped a friend get home from a military base in florida to his dad’s house so he could leave his car there when he transferred to submarine duty.
      i met a lot of great people and saw some very cool scenery.
      also, his dad was a tattoo artist and i got a free tattoo out of the deal

    • Mighty914 says:

      I was thinking the same thing. He gives his reasons for taking the bus in the update, but still… I sometimes take the bus from New York to Boston and evne that’s a pain in the ***.

      PS. And Greyhound is probably the worst bus line of them all…even below my beloved Fung Wah.

    • ladyw says:

      Flying can be just as bad. Trust me.

      • ZeGoggles says:

        Not really. I flew 100,000 BIS (Butt-in-seat) miles for calendar year 2009. I rarely had any issues. Even this past weekend I flew and only suffered a three hour delay.

  4. nbs2 says:

    Uh, wow. I’ve certainly complained about Greyhound before – what with being unable to board an express bus that I had a ticket for and being forced to take a local that extended my trip by 12 hours – but that has nothing on this experience.

    I wish you the best of luck in getting some blood out of this rock.

  5. richard_toronto says:

    Sure sounds like this is grounds for a complaint under the ADA.
    I know that California takes those complaints *very* seriously.

    It also sounds like Greyhound needs to spend some time enrolling their front-line employees in some sensitivity training.

    • pop top says:

      He should definitely file a complaint with the ADA immediately. He should also see if his state’s civil/handicapped rights department can refer him to a lawyer. I’d even go so far as to contact local news agencies about this trip too. The handicapped don’t deserve to be treated so poorly. The drivers that were verbally abusive, forgot him at his stop and mistreated him need to be fired.

      • Dustinm says:

        I agree with Squinko on this. If I were the OP, I wouldn’t even bother contacting Greyhound myself, it would be through a lawyer, and after filing complaints with any and every govt. agency that is applicable here and contacting the local media. This is way beyond the level of most of the complaints that Consumerist gets, and the treatment this man endured is absolutely inexcusable.

    • Hogan1 says:

      He was treated like crap but a lawsuit probably won’t be successful as Grehound did provide lift equipped busses. For transportation; they’re not required to do much else and any of the supposed verbal incidents will be difficult at best to prove in court.

      The best bet is to contact them and seek a refund. Be professional and explain in detail. If they refuse, step up to an EECB or take it the media.

      • treimel says:

        A driver refusing to release your wheelchair from its hold-downs is manifestly not a “verbal incident,” and is, in fact, actionable. Hard to prove, you say? Well, let’s think this through–who is a jury going to believe: this man’s trestimony, or Greyhound’s? No one can know for sure, of course, but I know where I’d put my money.

  6. kaceetheconsumer says:

    Wow, that sucks. It’s pathetic that so many people have so little concern for other humans.

    Everyone ought to spend one day in a wheelchair and try to do some basic things, just to see how many barriers there are and how unreasonable the expectations are of the disabled compared to the able-bodied. All it takes is a bit of thought and consideration to allow people with mobility issues to participate in society with dignity, yet too often, such considerations are missing.

    Don’t even get me started on people parking in disabled spots without passes/plates…oooo I’ve been calling the cops and raging on people constantly here in Austin about it. Un-frickin-believable how entitled the able-bodied can be!

    • cluberti says:

      I hate more the folks who have handicapped plates, park in handicapped spots, and are *clearly* not handicapped in ANY way. At least the folks doing it without plates are easy to spot for the local police – the ones doing it WITH the plates are unforgivable.

      • Luckier says:

        To be fair, I have two friends with non-visible disabilities – one had a heart transplant as a teen and cannot walk long distances, the other has severe foot injuries suffered in a prisoner-of-war camp in Vietnam, which you wouldn’t notice except to see him walk very slowly and gingerly. Both have had people confront them for using ADA plates. I wouldn’t recommend you do so, for the Vietnam vet.

        • katstermonster says:

          If I were the heart transplant person, I’d revel in wearing button-down shirts so I could go “OH REALLY? CHECK OUT THIS SCAR!!!”

      • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

        Please tell us more about your miraculous ability to diagnose somebody’s handicaps with just a glance! And let us know where you got your MD, too.

      • Etoiles says:

        Sometimes disabilities are invisible. My mom looks like any other average-sized middle-aged woman… when she’s not using her wheelchair, you can’t tell she has a set of chronic issues that mean sometimes, just getting to the bathroom from the bedroom is a real slog for her.

        Similarly, when I’m in the elevator going to 2 at work, you can’t tell that I have completely wrecked cartilage in my left knee and sometimes can’t do stairs; you just see that I look like a late 20s / early 30s office drone. Still doesn’t give you the right to give me dirty looks.

        (Though that said, I actually agree about people who don’t need handicapped spaces parking in them — or worse, illegally on the hash lines in van spaces. It happens all the freaking time and I’ve developed a pet-peeve about everyone’s obsessive need for “the best space.”)

        • katstermonster says:

          My father drove a handicapped van as a part-time job in college. If someone wrongly parked in a handicapped space, he could have a cop there in under 5 minutes and a tow truck in under 10. And he was permitted to block the car in until help arrived. He said it was probably the best part of the job.

        • katia802 says:

          I know that feeling. Arthritus in my lower back, both knees and hips. Steps, up or down are a cause of serious pain for me. And the fact that it takes me up to 30 minutes to go down a flight of stairs vs. 30 seconds on the elevator. But, I still get the nasty looks from the 18 yr old students that had to wait 1/2 a second for me to get on the elevator.

      • Tied To The Whippin' Post says:

        Since these plates don’t just grow on trees, there must be some governing body (state, local govnt.) that issues them. Just because you don’t SEE a disability doesn’t mean that a person is physically fit; I have these plates on my vehicle and use handicapped spaces at stores when I have my mother with me. My mom is heavy, but her handicap is that she had 2 knee replacement surgeries, back surgery, and extreme asthma making even a short walk to a store entrance seem like a trek up Mt. Fuji. I don’t use the spaces if I don’t have my mom with me, but I find it pretty crass of you to pass judgement on just the cover of the book without even checking the content inside. Your comments make you SEEM like an ass; but I won’t deem you to be one until I’ve met you face to face and you’ve opened your mouth and confirmed it.

      • johnva says:

        This is a completely ignorant comment. Wheelchairs are not the only disability for which those plates/placards are given out. Instead of trying to be the “parking police”, please consider that you’re not capable of diagnosing someone’s disability status just by looking at them. Nor is it any of your damn business. Butt out and leave people alone – disabled people have enough to worry about without dealing with busybodies like yourself. Yes, there are some people who abuse the plates/placards of their relatives, and a cop has a right to check their identity. But really? If a few people “get away with it”, is it that big a deal? Is it really worth you harassing people who truly are disabled in ways that you can’t see?

        I personally require leg braces to walk normally, and my leg muscles get fatigued when I walk long distances. I don’t have or need disabled parking yet, but I probably will need it someday. At that time, my braces will NOT be visible all the time (as they fit under long pants).

      • EatSleepJeep says:

        …Because a firefighter that lost over 90% of his lung capacity due to breathing the fumes of burning materials fighting fires before they thought to equip them with respirators is going to look different from a non-disabled person.

        • cluberti says:

          You mean like the guy last week who had no problem running into a store, and literally jogging back out, to/from a handicapped spot? I don’t know about where you are, but it’s fairly easy to get a handicapped plate here in my home state (I know, I have to do it every other year) and there are NO checks. You request, they (the state) give you one. No doctor’s note (or anything else) required other than you pick a disability from a list and request it.

          So, yeah, at least here in my home state, abuse is pretty rampant.

          • johnva says:

            Sounds like an issue with your home state’s government, then. They must be poorly run.

            I know that here you have to get a doctor to fill out a really detailed questionnaire regarding the very specific reasons for your need for a disabled placard. You can’t just ask and get one, and it’s not automatically granted just because a doctor signed off on it. I’m sure some people still slip through, but I doubt it’s significant numbers of people. In any case, it’s not worth worrying about. It’s a rare occasion that there is not adequate handicapped parking available around here.

      • kaceetheconsumer says:

        I agree that those who abuse plates belonging to others are unforgivable, because they should know more than anyone that what they’re doing is wrong. And I do know of people who have done it.

        But it’s not always possible to see a disability. I’m pretty good at faking like I’m fine now. My placard is actually expired and I stopped using it before it expired anyway, figuring that once I could walk enough to do non-essential shopping, I ought to leave the spots to someone in greater need. But I actually am still in significant pain, especially after a distance, I still can’t do hills well, and I still can’t go far with any carried weight. You might see me exit my car and notice only a slight limp, but if I went into a store and bought something very heavy, you’d then see me struggle to get back to my car at all.

        Also, it’s possible that you could see someone not disabled park in the spot because they’re going to pick up a disabled person. This happens a lot, especially when the disabled person requires loading and there aren’t enough spots….the able-bodied person might drop them off as best as they can near a ramp, park elsewhere, and then when the disabled person is ready to be picked up, the able-bodied helper goes and retrieves the car and parks now in an available disabled spot. In that case all you’d see at the right time would be someone apparently able-bodied parking and walking out…maybe you didn’t see them coming out 5 minutes later with someone in a wheelchair.

        • North of 49 says:

          I just got a mobility scooter. Trying to convince my doctor I need a pass because, in his mind, I don’t need my cane, is a pita. His partner was easy to convince. Him, not so much.
          That burning sensation in my leg, the stabbing pain in my hips, the molten core of the lower back where it joins my pelvis… My mobility scooter has given me so much freedom.
          But, my doc is convinced that I just need to “exercise my leg” in order to fix it. I’ve been doing that for years and it hasn’t gotten better. *eyeroll*

          • SecretAgentWoman says:

            Uh…find a new doc. WHY would you stay with him?

          • kaceetheconsumer says:

            Yeah, it became clear to me as my placard was coming to expiry that my podiatrist wasn’t going to renew it.

            And that’s okay mostly…I know I need to exercise it. But it sucked that it expired just when I needed to do holiday shopping and really could have had an easier time not having to do the hill outside the grocery store.

            At least there was no argument for getting it done the one time around. But then I also didn’t think I’d need a wheelchair and he was the one who ordered that, so I suppose he’s being fair enough because I did end up soooo needing that.

            Sorry your dude isn’t being helpful.

    • Luckier says:

      Agreed. I was on arm-brace crutches a few years ago for several weeks. Crutches are barely comparable to a wheelchair in terms of mobility issues, just a drop in the mobility bucket. But I was shocked at how difficult others made it for me to get around. I had people come up behind me in a revolving door and push the door too fast, knocking me over and trapping me in the vestibule – twice. People pushed past me on the street, and cars either refused to stop, or swerved around me to avoid stopping. The capper – at a busy movie theater, a woman pushed through the doors while the crowd was exiting, and tried to push past me but my crutch was in her way, so I was being twisted and drug sideways away from my good leg and other crutch. My husband tried to stop her, yelling that I was on crutches and she needed to wait for me to pass. She yelled “but I left something in there” and kept pushing. As soon as I was free, I whacked her in the shin with my free crutch. She finally noticed me and snapped “did you hit me with your crutch?,” to which I replied “yes, you tried to knock me down – do you want more” and waived my crutch over my head. This at one of the biggest, best theaters in Seattle. A few people clapped.

      • Verdant Pine Trees says:

        Good for you Luckier. I don’t normally advise whacking anyone with well, anything, including a crutch, but that’s ridiculous.

      • Sky75 says:

        A friend of mine was on crutches a year ago and I was shocked as well at the general rudeness of people – they would push him out of the way so as not to get “stuck behind him”, they would not bother to stop and hold the door, and once he almost got pushed down a narrow flight of stairs. Stores we shopped at would have no motorized wheel chairs or they would be broken, dead, etc. and the staff always had a “well, sucks to be you” attitude. It really opened my eyes to things I had probably done myself that were inconsiderate.

        As for the parking though…when my friend had knee surgery, he got a temporary sticker. When coming out of the grocery store one day (he was almost completely healed by that point) a cop stopped him and checked to make sure it was really his. I don’t mind spot checks like that but if someone ever confronted him about it I think that would be totally unreasonable.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      When I was in grade school and we studied Helen Keller, we had to spend a day blindfolded so we could see what that was like. It absolutely SUCKED. Each blind student was assigned a helper. But the helpers would forget us, and then they served peas at lunch which were impossible to eat without seeing and people slammed into us in the hallway and since we couldn’t see them, scared the crap out of us and I was so glad to take off that blindfold at the end of the day that I thanked GOD that I wasn’t really blind.

      I can’t even imagine what dealing with a wheelchair must be like.

      • West Coast Secessionist says:

        That’s hella cool. It sounds like it would be a really intense learning experience for most of us who take sight for granted every day.

    • bill793 says:

      After getting badly injured in a racing accident (fractured c5/6) I was wheelchair bound for several weeks. While that is nothing compared to years or entire lives in a chair, I definately gained a new perspective…seeing how hard many normally mundane tasks are, and the (mostly crappy) treatment by others, it was definately a learning experince…while I wish the circumstances were diffrent, I do not regret going through it.
      And, like kaycee, my disability isnt readily apparent, and I can’t count the number of times I was the recipient of hostile looks, comments…even had my truck keyed once.

    • thetroubleis says:

      Actaully, a lot of people with disabilities, including me aren’t a fan of disability simulators. They make people think our lives are tragic and always a struggle, which they aren’t. We adapt and so would you if you actaully became disabled.. Yes, sometimes life sucks, but we aren’t always having a hard time.

  7. ubermex says:

    I think this would be pretty bad if it happened to ANY passenger. The fact that some of the issues pertain to staff refusing to provide ADA required services on request means it’s grounds for a serious lawsuit.

  8. mobbo says:

    This is downright CRIMINAL! I’ve had my share of horrible Greyhound stories when I was forced to use them for military travel, but THIS is unforgivable. Treating packages this way would be unexcusable, let alone a person!

  9. Blueskylaw says:

    “and one driver who strapped down my chair when I boarded, who refused to release my chair at rest stops, since I “should have had an attendant” and “it wasn’t his job”. “

    Perhaps this driver had bigger things on his mind, such as how he was going to tell his children about the demon spawn kittens that his cat gave birth too.

    http://www.catsthatlooklikehitler.com/cgi-bin/seigmiaow.pl?4179

  10. ander_bobo says:

    I really hate that there is an underlying “well what do you expect, it is Greyhound” attitude, and not that anybody has said that, but it is really sad that this company still exists when the summation of pretty much every account I have heard of their service is “well atleast I didn’t die”. This situation is particulary disgusting and I hope that Greyhound is either sued out of existance or forced to remedy these glaring issues.

    • mobbo says:

      Unfortunately many under-priviledged people rely on Greyhound as a sole means of distance transport. Mexican immigrants use them very heavily as well because I don’t think they require identification. Here in Dallas, Greyhound markets very heavily to the latino crowd with billboards only in Spanish, sponsorships of soccer tournaments, etc. When I was in the Army I took a bus from San Antonio, TX to Houston, TX for Christmas, and I was the only non-latino person on a very packed bus.

    • North of 49 says:

      Someone did die. In Canada, a man was decapitated by a loonatic who took greyhound. Cause the guy is First Nations, all he got was a sentencing circle. WTF!

      • pwillow1 says:

        If you’re referring to the murder of Tim McLean in July 2008, the person who stabbed him was found to be not criminally responsible due to mental illness. He is confined to a high security mental health facility.

        The “loonatic” as you describe him was not First Nations, but a Chinese immigrant who was granted Canadian citizenship in 2005.

  11. bigd738778 says:

    I have disabilities myself but I’m sure there are more than two sides to the story. I agree with the mention that maybe ground transportation during this time of year may not have been the smartest of ideas. I know that alot of services are being cut back during this bad economic times and like it or not but disability services are going to be cut first since very little money is made from these types of customers.

    • admiral_stabbin says:

      If a company can’t offer a service to a certain level (let’s call that level a “standard”), then they shouldn’t be offering it at all.

      The OP went through hell, and each of the degenerate people that played the “not my problem” game should get my foot in their arse.

      To the OP: On behalf of non-degenerate people everywhere…I am sorry.

    • Smashville says:

      So you’re saying they should discriminate against the disabled for profit?

    • runswithscissors says:

      Disabled OP blame for the win! I like how you both cast doubt on his truthfulness AND basically blame him for using the service while daring to be handicapped. Truly human of you.

    • thetroubleis says:

      It doesn’t matter, what they did was, if not illegal, extremely cruel.

      Also, I have disabilities too, so does my opinion cancel out yours?

  12. katia802 says:

    When I worked at Goodwill, I spent a large part of my days checking on our locations to insure that they were ADA compliant. That time was mostly spent fighting with landlords and contractors with a “that’s good enough” attitude. There’s a very strong component of businesses that believe that they shouldn’t “have” to do the usually one time cost of getting even reasonably ADA compliant. Greyhound should be sued by the OP for the treatment he received.

  13. Segador says:
    • SweetBearCub says:

      Nope, that’s not me, though what happened to that man is inexcusable. We share the same disability, though I can speak, I just cannot walk well.

      • kaceetheconsumer says:

        A disabled rights activist I knew said she had noticed, particularly amongst those with CP, that the while discrimination was everywhere to all, those who had speech issues plus mobility issues were more likely to suffer neglect, abuse, rudeness, etc. than those who had just mobility issues. She said her theory was that it seemed more threatening (as in, contagious) if there was a speech issue, and of course it’s harder to speak out and ask for help if you’re non-verbal. I have no idea if she’s right or not, but when I think about it, the non-verbal CP folks I’ve known have certainly been treated much more like they are mentally challenged more than those with just mobility issues.

        Of course, the presence of any assistive device automatically makes some people treat the user like they are mentally incapacitated…and not in the positive, helpful, dignity-retaining way that one should use with the mentally challenged, but you know what I mean, I’m sure.

        I guess having the ability to talk balk, while insufficient in your story here, at least means you don’t get left in the depot. Gah.

  14. Orv says:

    Lots of people involved in this story, especially the drivers, failed the “be a f*cking person” test.

  15. shepd says:

    The treatment is unacceptable, however, having taken buses for long trips before, sadly, not as unexpected as I imagined.

    That being said, I’ve taken a bus from Ontario to BC before as a child, and I can’t imagine how much more horrible such a long ride would be if I couldn’t walk. You would think the bus driver would have been more thoughtful.

  16. SacraBos says:

    “Unimpressed”? Okay, I think that might win the 2009 Understatement Award.

  17. RPHP says:

    OP you should seriously consider contacting a lawyer. The way they ignored you out at rest stops seems like false imprisonment to me.

    • anewmachine615 says:

      False imprisonment? I saw the medical injuries resulting from being left in an unheated cab next to what was essentially an open window and thought negligence, at the very least. Anyone know if the ADA creates a private right of action? I’d wager that if so, damages would be fairly significant.

      Thanks for sharing the story, BTW. Adds another reason to stick with my awesome local bus operator (whose internet I’m using to post this) instead of Greyhound for my commute.

      • littlemoose says:

        Yes, the ADA creates a private cause of action. Title III of the ADA applies to public accommodations, which includes buses (and stores, movie theaters, etc.).

      • RPHP says:

        Failure to provide a way to get out of somewhere when a provider takes the responsibility can be false imprisonment. It has been awhile but I remember when I was studying for the bar there was a case where an airline promised to have a wheelchair for a passenger when they got off the plane. The airline did not have the wheelchair and it was false imprisonment.
        If I remember the elements correctly (which I may not since it has been awhile) it is the unlawful containment of an individual to a certain area without their consent. Here Greyhound knew this person would require assistance to get on and off the bus. Obviously, you consent to not being able to get off the bus at anytime (ie you can not demand a bus driver pull over in the middle of the road for no reason) but if it is a rest stop and they are letting everyone else off you have the right to get off. They knew he was going to be there in his wheelchair and would need help but did not provide him the help when he wanted it and reasonably should have expected it.

        I don’t really do this tort stuff though so the OP should consult an attorney who does for advice on the subject (they may find other causes of action as well besides FI such as IIED). I know nothing about the ADA but a lawyer who practices in that area will be able to help him with that as well. He definitely deserves anything he gets out of Greyhound though after such a horrific experience.

  18. JH6 says:

    Its a terrible situation, but seriously next time just take an airplane.

    What was the cost savings there?

    Fares for this trip range from $117 to $251 depending on when you book, and its nearly a 3 DAY trip.

    USAir Flies this route, comes to $133 one way. What exactly are you saving here besides your sanity? It is a 7 hour flight by the way, so you might want to kill yourself after that but it beats the bus.

    • SweetBearCub says:

      I appreciate the suggestion of flying, but besides my fear of flying, there’ this:

      “Also, for those who suggest that I should have flown – Airlines would have checked my chair as baggage, and would have had to monkey with my chair’s electrical system (to disconnect the batteries and remove the joystick to make it fit in the compartment), and I have had a couple of friends in chairs who have flown, and been greeted in the terminal at their destination with an inoperative wheelchair. In both cases, the staff just wondered off after saying something along the lines of “I don’t know why it won’t turn on..”, thus leaving them stranded.

      Also, my chair costs about $6,000. Airlines are responsible by law for only $250. I chose Greyhound because I could ride in my chair, thus safeguarding it.”

      • jamar0303 says:

        Take to the rails instead. Amtrak isn’t bad at all.

        • FaustianSlip says:

          Yeah, I’d recommend Amtrak next time. You could get a discounted price on a sleeper as someone with a mobility impairment (I think it’s 40% or 50%), and I believe your fare would also be discounted. The degree of freedom you’d have to move about the train would depend on what kind of coaches/sleepers are being used, but there’s no way someone would just strap you down wherever and leave you there. And since the dining car and so on are right in the body of the train, you wouldn’t be at the mercy of a driver as far as getting food, using the rest room, et cetera. Oh, and most trains have electrical outlets that you could use to keep your cell (and maybe your chair?) charged up and ready to go. I doubt it would be as cheap as Greyhound, but sometimes you get what you pay for. When you’re going that great a distance, I have to think that the extra comfort you’d have on the train would be worth the additional cost. Not having frostbite is also a plus!

          All of that said, though, you should absolutely sue the hell out of Greyhound for the treatment you experienced. There have to be at least five or six different ADA violations going on there. I don’t know whether you were able to exchange contact information with anyone who was seated near you and witnessed the treatment, but if so, take that with you and get in touch with a lawyer. I think what you went through deserves more than just an apology or refund on Greyhound’s part. Pretty disgusting behavior. As a train conductor that has people with various disabilities ride on a pretty regular basis, it would never even begin to occur to me to behave toward them in the manner you described. Generally, I ask them what (if any) help they need and take my cues from them as to how much assistance they want. We have folks in electric wheelchairs ride with us pretty often, and it’s never an issue to get them set up either in a space earmarked for wheelchairs or in an ADA-accessible seat, if that’s what they’d prefer. Honestly, it’s not that difficult to just help someone out and be respectful. I’m really appalled at the idea of someone locking you in the bus and just walking away. Who the hell does something like that? The number of safety and liability issues going on there blows my mind, not to mention the complete lack of respect. Insane. I hope you follow up on this legally; no company should be allowed to get away with that kind of bullshit, and it sounds completely systematic, as opposed to just one employee.

  19. Colonel Jack O'neill says:

    Go and sue those bastards. Under the ADA act, you would have a good case against them.

  20. SweetJustice says:

    The OP was pretty explicit in his reasons for choosing Greyhound–no need to berate him for not flying.

    I wonder what type of recourse he might have based on this little gem: “Oh yes, and one driver who strapped down my chair when I boarded, who refused to release my chair at rest stops, since I “should have had an attendant” and “it wasn’t his job”. From my position, I wasn’t able to reach the release buttons, and was stuck.”

    Unbelievable. This seems like it could be an actual crime.

    • mobbo says:

      What sucks is I’ve noticed that “it’s not my job” attitude a lot more frequently as of late. It’s a shame someone can’t just bend down and help a physically handicapped person unsnap some restraints… I mean… what other imporant function was he about to go do? Smoke? Why didn’t anyone else assist. Maybe it was the way I was raised but I would never refuse to help anyone out as long as the request was reasonable! What has this country come to?

  21. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i would like to provide the OP with a link to the form to file an ADA complaint with the FTA [federal transit administration]

    http://www.fta.dot.gov/civilrights/ada/civil_rights_3889.html

    “In the FTA complaint investigation process, we analyze the complainant’s allegations for possible ADA deficiencies by the transit provider. If deficiencies are identified they are presented to the transit provider and assistance is offered to correct the inadequacies within a predetermined timeframe. FTA also may refer the matter to the U.S. Department of Justice for enforcement.”

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      oh, and to clarify – department of transportation ADA document definitions

      http://www.dotcr.ost.dot.gov/Documents/ycr/ADA1990.htm#101

      “(2) Designated public transportation.–The term “designated public transportation” means transportation (other than public school transportation) by bus, rail, or any other conveyance (other than transportation by aircraft or intercity or commuter rail transportation (as defined in section 241)) that provides the general public with general or special service (including charter service) on a regular and continuing basis.”

      this would appear to include greyhound : “bus…. that provides the general public with general or special service on a regular and continuing basis”

    • dg says:

      I agree – start filing complaints and lawsuits

      * Complain to the FTA

      * Complain to your State’s Attorney General’s (AG) office

      * Find out where Greyhound is based out of and file a complaint with THAT State’s AG

      * Sue them for an ADA violation.

      * Sue them for the full and complete amount of the fare, postage, mileage, ER Visit, Dr’s bills, follow-up bills, filing costs, process service fees, your time, attorney’s costs, and any other costs you’ve incurred (e.g., if you had to buy something because they had your luggage hostage, send them that bill too).

      * Call whatever advocate’s office works on behalf of the Disabled in your State, or Town and give them your story.

      * Contact the local news outlets – newspapers, TV, radio – give them your story.

      * Contact bloggers that the Disabled tend to utilize – give them your story

      * Send your story via certified mailing to the Representatives on whatever committee oversees funding for the FTA – there’s nothing like getting a Congresscritter to call up the people who run some Agency to get them to actually do something.

      In essence – return the favor of visiting Hell On Earth that they provided you with.

      Yeah, stuff happens – especially with the weather, but hey – it’s not like the Driver didn’t KNOW that he had a disabled passenger on-board. So when he called for a replacement bus, the first words out of his mouth should have been “Hey, I’ve got a disabled passenger on board, and my bus has no heat. Make sure I get a bus with a wheelchair lift AND heat.”

      Finally, I’m not sure what size the charger is for your chair, but if there was some way to keep it in a bag on the chair while traveling, that might be to your benefit.

      For what it’s worth – I’d avoid traveling during the winter if I were you. Not that Disabled individuals should be prohibited from doing so, but that it’s simply dangerous to do so. If a bus goes off the road, you’re out in the middle of nowhere, and people may not be able to assist you right away – in that case, you’re getting frostbitten or otherwise severely injured. What if the bus engine dies and you’ve got to travel some distance to the next stop or transit point (say a train station)?

      I recall being on an Amtrak during college one freezing night when the locomotive died. We got out and walked across a farm field to a road where a bus was waiting… it was at least a mile or so… no way a wheelchair would have made it.

      Finally, knowing just how screwed up Greyhound can be – I’d call Land’s End and get some 600-power filled insulated boots, thinsulate filled mittens, and a warm fleece hat. They also have packable coats so you could put on another layer if you needed it. Having grown up in Chicago – we know all about the need to stay warm :-)

      Best of luck to you in your quest for Justice and just plain ole simple Human compassion (which seems to be seriously lacking over at Greyhound)…

  22. phonebem says:

    Wow… That’s about all I can manage, just wow.

  23. Batwaffel says:

    You have a great case for a large lawsuit. If nothing else, it would ensure that this company is put in it’s place and this situation doesn’t happen to someone else.

  24. AI says:

    (Sarcasm intended) I don’t see why this is an ADA issue. Greyhound treats everyone terribly. In this case, it sounds like the disabled guy was just being treated the same as everyone else.

  25. tasiann says:

    Hey, if you really want to stick it to them– can’t you find out if the company and or the drivers can be charged with false imprisonment, as they confined you illegally for hours on end? Heck, I’d at least TRY.
    Also, why not get in touch with the ACLU, or appropriate organization, to ensure this doesn’t happen to you or others in your situation again? I would be screaming bloody murder. No one deserves to be treated as you did, especially a paying customer who sounds more than willing to be as independent on this trip as possible? The “attendant” comment is discriminatory and would have pushed me over the edge. Hell, I would have called the cops during my 12-hour lock in on the bus and complained I was being held against my will! Bet the driver would have been happy to help you disembark the bus at that time! =) I don’t konw how you maintained such a peaceful and positive manner during this experience– kudos to you. Shame on Greyhound and the employees who treated you this way!!!

  26. chgoeditor says:

    I think a lot of the posters have some very good suggestions, and I’m glad to hear that you made it home with a lot less worry. I think Greyhound owes you an apology, at the very least.

    But a couple things you said concerned me. I appreciate that you’re speaking out now, but I wonder why you let them get away with this behavior during the ordeal. If I were sitting on a bus and the driver told me that I couldn’t get off at a rest stop, I’d be dialing 911 and Greyhound’s customer service hotline. You also talk about the serious health issues you faced from the cold and the long trip. Obviously you realized your health was suffering midway through the trip, yet you continued on your journey. I think you have to take some responsibility on that front…was it worth continuing at the expense of your own health?

    • SweetBearCub says:

      I did my best to not let them “get away” with their behavior, but my options were quite limited at the time. First, my phone died a quick death due to lack of power, try as I did to conserve it. I expected to have some time at layover points to charge it, only to find that Greyhound either was late to transfer points and I had to hustle to make my connection or that when we did have time, they cut it short by having a policy of wheelchair passengers being “first on, last off”. That cut massively into any charging time I may have had.

      Now, if my life had been in danger, I would have called 911, even if I had to use someone else’s phone, but this was not the case. While the cold on the bus with the frozen window was very uncomfortable, I did not know of any medical complications until after the fact. I’ve never been in freezing weather, let alone seen snow, this was my first time. At the truck stop, since everything worked after being rubbed and prodded, I figured I was OK.

      Second, what would you suggest I do? Get off the bus in the middle of nowhere (virtually) and fend for myself? I had only a low-limit credit card (sub-$500) as my emergency fund, didn’t know anyone in these places, and would have been quite screwed. Remember, Greyhound does not necessarily only stop in well-populated towns – Some areas may only be a truck stop in the middle of a town with a population of less than 2,000, such as where we stopped with the malfunctioning heat bus. My chair has a range of 15 miles when fully charged and under ideal conditions, under the ones I was in at that time, I might have made 2, *if* I could traverse the snow. You would be surprised just how few cities actually have accessible transportation. (Something I learned: Pittsburgh, PA, a town with a population of over 300K, has no accessible taxis. At all. Buses yes, taxis no.)

      And once I get transportation handled, how will I find a place to stay? Will they be able to accommodate me? Will they even have sufficient curb cuts so that I can get into a building? The ADA has very little meaning for a surprising number of businesses.

      Once I find a temp place to stay, what then? I have no one who can come pick me up.

      It’s easy to play armchair quarterback after the fact. I was there, and I did what I thought was best given the situation.

      I appreciate the comment, and understand the sentiment, but please understand that I did what I could as best as I could. I’m not a super-human. I couldn’t just snap my fingers and change the situation to suit my needs. What people do not realize is that traveling with a major disability when alone can be a major hardship. Federal law says that I have the option to travel independently if I’m capable of it, with or without basic assistance. Wheelchair lifts/restraints fall under that category. Had they worked properly and had the drivers done their jobs and offered me the choice to deboard with other passengers, a large portion of my trip would have gone much better.

      • phonebem says:

        I’ll agree, given the lack of any communication tools (ie. no functioning cell phone) unless it was literally a life or death situation complaining at the time would most likely have only made the situation worse. Something to keep in mind when you have to rely soley on other people’s assistance, more so when they’ve already shown an unwillingness to show the care most people would have shown a stray dog.

  27. Tim says:

    As for flying, wouldn’t certain interpretations of ADA require that the airline be responsible for a lost wheelchair? I know that FAA regulations cap it at $250, but you would think that if someone has a device related to a protected disability, the airline would be responsible for it.

    Of course, getting a judge to agree with that interpretation might not work so well.

    • SweetBearCub says:

      In theory, yes, you might convince an airline to take responsibility for replacing or repairing a mobility device that they damaged or lost, however, the hassle is massive. For many people, power wheelchairs are one-off custom devices, set up specifically for them. (That’s a big part of why they’re so incredibly expensive.)

      What would I do in between being dropped off in the terminal with a broken or missing chair, and getting it repaired or replaced? How would I accomplish these things if I could not walk? Depending on public/media outcry, this could take hours, days.. or MUCH longer. Where would I stay while this was being dealt with? Would the airline pay for it? Possible, but doubtful. What about my job, the one I’m not back at home to show up at? Will they fire me? And speaking of home, what if don’t pay the rent because I’m not there to turn in the paper check they require?

      You will find that most people with expensive adaptive equipment will usually go through great lengths to avoid subjecting them to damage, and in my view, handing it over to an airline, an industry world-in-famous for how they treat large, heavy, and amazingly fragile items, was a very bad idea.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        My wife has a $4,500 chair. We’ve never had a problem with flying. Now try to get from gate to gate for connections with a 6 month old, wheelchair, carryons (lots of extra stuff required), etc was no fun.. at all. We generally don’t travel much as a result, I don’t like it when my vacation is so much work! We might when the kids are older.

    • SweetBearCub says:

      Just to give you an idea of how fragile my chair is.. Imagine that the airline did a reasonable job, but in transit, the chair slid and the driving joystick was ripped off of the control.

      It can’t just be re-attached by me, it has a weather resistant boot under it I must also tend to, plus it’s not that durable. Just snapping it back on would likely result in the chair giving me error codes (and refusing to move) due to the throw calibration not being what it expects. This would require a technician with a handheld programmer to fix, minimum.

      If the joystick were truly damaged by that slide, it costs upwards of $800 to $1500 to replace. Yes, that little thing with a joystick, battery meter, and speed selector. So simple, and yet, so costly. And.. That’s presuming parts were in-stock at the closest dealer. Power wheelchairs are not manufactured in high volume; they’re usually built-to-order.

  28. El_Red says:

    His arguments about flying are valid. But problems flying pale in comparison with taking Greyhound!

  29. azstar says:

    “Airlines are responsible by law for only $250. “
    This part is incorrect. That amount refers to checked baggage such as clothing. Airlines are responsible, by law, for 100% replacement cost if they damage, destroy, or lose a wheelchair or any mobile assistance device. Keep that in mind for next time and good luck to you!

  30. juniper says:

    My god. This is what the ADA is for – to ensure that things like this never happen. Richard has a valid ADA complaint, probably a civil rights complaint, and if he has any residual damage from the cold, he should lawyer up civilly too.

    Additionally, here’s where you’ll find links to the correct government agency to complain to – I think you want the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: http://www.dot.gov/citizen_services/disability/complaints.html

    Here is how to file an ADA Title III complaint: http://www.ada.gov/t3compfm.htm . It specifically covers private transportation services. Go get ‘em! (Boy, nothing raises my hackles like shit like this.)

  31. mizmoose says:

    OK, really, I’ve yet to see any bus system be really able to handle the disabled. Small local ones tend to be better than the big companies, but as others have pointed out, Greyhound is not known for their excellent customer service. I don’t mean to sound like I’m blaming the OP, but, seriously, if you stick your head in the bandsaw, the bandsaw is gonna cut off your head.

    I know plenty of disabled folks who fly with their own scooters & motorized wheelchairs without problems. The airlines may be limited by law for $250 of damage for some things but NOT for things like that. I’ve known people to get checks for far more than $250 for damage done to critical items. Additionally, $250 is more than enough money to fix the likely problems the idjits cause — probably put the battery in wrong, in which case it’s likely a blown fuse or a fried battery. It’s possible but unlikely that the primary motor gets hosed. (A $6000 wheelchair will often have multiple 2ndary motors as well as fuses to make sure the whole thing doesn’t burst into flames if something electrical goes wrong badly.) Also, staff are *forbidden* from stranding a disabled person in an airport, something I discovered the hard way after it was done to me. It’s an FAA violation.

    Last suggestion for the OP — a chair is worth $6000 but how much is the cost of the medical care if you get injured by incompetent drivers? It’s not as good as having your own chair but consider renting a chair at your destination if you’re not going for a long period of time. (Yes, it shouldn’t be needed, but it might be the best and safest idea until such a time as the world stops treating the disabled like 3rd world citizens.)

  32. foofie says:

    Here’s what bugs me – Why didn’t other people on the bus attempt to help you? I have been on dozens of Greyhounds going long distances, and people are always helping each other. Whether it’s the little old lady who needs a hand putting their luggage in the overhead, or the lady with the sleeping baby who could use a pal to grab her a Mountain Dew at the next Love’s so she doesn’t wake up her shorter half, someone’s always being nice to someone else, especially on long-distance routes like this. That part just makes me sad.

  33. RickRussellTX says:

    Don’t mean to question the decision-making process here, but are there no organizations that rent electric wheelchairs? I realize it would be tricky to do it completely independently, but 3 days on a bus for the purpose of safeguarding a chair is pretty harsh. Since the airline will usually provide taxi-to-gate wheelchair service for disabled customers, it seems like the winning combination is to rent a charged, fully functional wheelchair at the destination site, and leave the personal chair at home.

  34. dannod says:

    I’m sorry this gentleman had difficulty. I use a power wheelchair and have never had a negative experience in all my years of travel — even the one time my chair was damaged, the airline was extremely easy to work with. In fact, I had the exact opposite experience on Greyhound this summer when traveling from Anaheim to Las Vegas. Granted, this is not quite as long of a trip, but everyone from the counter staff to the driver, the guys that unloaded the suitcases were extremely helpful to me.

    Also, I have flown many places around the world from South Africa to Australia to Rome and all over the US with my electric wheelchair and never had a problem. If you have non-spillable batteries and remove the joystick so it cannot turn on, they will not disconnect the battery. I have never had them do so, except once to Honolulu. But they packed the batteries and then were able to put them back in within a few minutes.

    As for wheelchair damage, that $250 figure you mentioned is not correct. There is a maximum limit for which they are responsible and it is the original purchase price of the assistive device. Check out barrierfreetravels.com for the article about this. I know for sure it is not $250 because I had more than $500 in repairs done when my fender bent during a flight from ORD to LAX.

    In addition, I have a very small charger that fits in my carry-on. It is from a company called Soneil and it weighs less than 2 lbs and is about the size of a large paperback novel. It is a bit expensive, but it will insure that you never are without your charger.

    Lastly, I think a lot of my positive experience has been due to my attitude when traveling. I make sure to stay positive, pleasant, well-mannered, happy, and talk to the staff whenever I can. This way they know I am there, they remember I am there, they are willing to help, and they are less likely to leave me stranded. So far so good.

  35. runswithscissors says:

    What the hell is with all the OP blame lately on the Consumerist? In the blinds recall thread commenters were freaking blaming the dead babies for pete’s sakes. And in here there are many people basically placing the blame on the OP for using Greyhound! What’s his mistake here, people – using Greyhound while having the audacity to be disabled? ‘Them cripples should fly by plane or they get what they deserve’?!?

    Disgusting.

    • mizmoose says:

      There’s a point where you have to take responsibility for what you do. Yeah, Greyhound screwed up bigtime. They don’t deserve to get off for this one whit. But they screw up constantly with able bodied people.

      As a disabled person I’d be chewing ground glass before taking Greyhound, because I have 0 faith that I would come out of the trip with a positive experience.

      • thetroubleis says:

        A lot of people with disabilities are on a fixed income, so the extra money to take a plane may not be there, or they my not want to risk damage to their equipment, like the OP.

  36. Geekmom says:

    Seems like SOP for Greyhound. I rode the bus with my two young children twice, both times were living hell and the last being so bad I will never ride the bus again. It is NOT worth the money you “save” on a train or plane ticket. The staff is rude and abusive, they over book their buses, they are rarely on time, and they strand people in the middle of the night in dangerous locations on a regular basis.
    I am guessing they haven’t had the pants sued off them yet is because the only reason anyone would ride the bus is that they have no other choice and very limited income.

  37. othium says:

    Sadly this is pretty much the norm for bus travel in my experience. Drivers do not like to have to spend any extra amount of energy to assist people with disabilities. Many time I have gone along with a friend who uses a wheelchair and used the bus – and had to assist her in securing the chair because the driver didn’t want to get out of their seats. The last time my friend took a bus, the driver again did not secure her chair and the bus was in an accident – causing her to wake up in the hospital with severe damage to her face and teeth when the bus ran into a telephone pole (the driver fell asleep). She hasn’t ridden a bus since.

    Here in Minneapolis we can’t even get the city to clear off the sidewalk cut-outs so that people who use wheelchairs can go to and from their destinations. (They have to set up specific rides that are expensive and most often take several hours if they are able to secure a reservation at all in the first place – making them virtual prisoners in their homes all winter long) I understand when the government cuts it’s programs but I do take an exception when it does so at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens.

  38. CTAUGUST says:

    The OP was treated horribly. That said, it seems that he now realizes that not flying was a major mistake. Who takes a bus from San Francisco to Pennsylvania in 2009, especially when handicapped and during winter??

    People with electric wheelchairs travel by air all the time without problems. Certainly there is a way to purchase some cheap insurance coverage when traveling for the chair.

    Greyhound was horrid and the OP deserves a full refund. However, it seems like the OP picked the worst possible way to travel, asked for trouble and got it big time.

    • Ted3 says:

      “Who takes a bus from San Francisco to Pennsylvania in 2009, especially when handicapped and during winter??”

      Many people do. Some have no other choice and cannot afford the air travell. Others simply have a fear of flying.

      Despite his choice, he deserved to be treated with dignity and respect, no matter what his mose of travel. I highly doubt he “asked for it”.

    • Ted3 says:

      “Who takes a bus from San Francisco to Pennsylvania in 2009, especially when handicapped and during winter??”

      Many people do. Not everyone can afford to fly and some simply have no choice. Others are afraid to fly, so what are they to do? Granted, Amtrak is an option, but that can be pricey as well. IMO, it would have probably been a much better choice for Richard. Nonetheless, he chose bus travel and he simply wanted to get to his destination.

      Either way, there was absolutely no excuse for him to be treated in duch a degrading, dehumanizing fashion.

  39. Ted3 says:

    Greyhound sucks, period.

    I’m really sorry you had to endure such degrading treatment, Richard.

  40. thetroubleis says:

    I really wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not. Traveling with a disability can be super fun. The thing is, this case shows up in the news, but this stuff happens all the time, and often to people who can’t get their stories out to the media.

    I use a service dog for an invisible disability and man, the way people change how they treat you when you have something marking you as disabled is remarkable.

  41. ladyw says:

    Ah, traveling with disabilities is awful. AK-47s pointed at you in airports, telling you you’ll have to miss your flight because the designated wheel-you-down-the-ramp-to-the-plane person isn’t there, forgetting your wheelchair somewhere between London and Italy… it’s a general clusterfark. An inexcusable one at that. Seems if you’re missing a limb or don’t have the use of your legs you automatically forfeit your status as a human being.