Greyhound left an 88-year-old woman, along with around 30 other passengers, standing outside a locked bus station on Thanksgiving Day on a trip from Chicago to Detroit. Roxanne, who was one of the abandoned passengers on the sidewalk that morning, says that was just the final insult after an entire day of failure on Greyhound’s part. She sent a complaint to Greyhound’s executives on December 5th, but it was returned. Here is her summary of what happened.
We purchased our tickets online and for the most part arrived at the station, as instructed, an hour before the bus was scheduled to depart. Several people commented that the line appeared to be extremely long for a single coach.
[Note: I asked her to explain “for the most part” and she responded, “A few of the people I spoke with arrived 40-50 minutes prior to the bus’s arrival into the station, but they still could not be characterized as late. Greyhound’s Web site indicates that riders should plan to arrive an hour before departure. Just so you know, there were plenty of us that were there 60 minutes prior to departure and we still didn’t get seats on our intended bus.” -Ed.]
Much to our dismay, the 12:01 bus to Detroit filled up and departed leaving more than 30 passengers at the station. Fifteen minutes passed, during which time no PA announcements were made and not one Greyhound representative came over to offer any explanation. Finally, I went into the office to ask what was going on. A person by the name of “Carlos” who identified himself as a supervisor said they were waiting to hear from dispatch as to whether or not another bus would be sent. He said that he hadn’t communicated with the customers yet because he didn’t have anything definitive to tell us. I communicated this to the other waiting customers and we all continued waiting in line.
Another 15 minutes passed, during which time Carlos came out of the office and had a conversation with bus drivers outside of the terminal. He returned to the office without speaking to the waiting customers. Myself and a few other customers went into the office in an effort to get some updated information. A woman who identified herself as a supervisor, “Terrell,” said that Greyhound managers were busy doing other things that needed to be done and that is why there had been no communication with customers. After some prodding, she informed us that we would be riding on the 12:50 a.m. bus to Detroit and that all customers would need to come into the office to have their tickets changed. There was no PA announcement made, nor did any of the supervisors in the office go over to the line to communicate with the customers. Those of us who were in the office conveyed this information to the other waiting customers.
[We eventually found out that] we would need to transfer to another bus in Lansing, Mich. and the trip that we had hoped to make in five hours was now going to take us almost eight hours. From Kalamazoo to Lansing, there were people standing in the aisle of the bus—a safety violation that has been documented on film. As a matter of fact, our entire bad experience has been videotaped by one of the customers.
Once we arrived in Lansing, we discovered the bus station was closed and locked. We were told that our wait of an hour and 25 minutes would be outdoors in temperatures that were hovering in the mid-30s. We waited there in the cold for one hour, until just after 9 a.m. when employees of the local transit authority, which shares the station with the inter-state bus transit systems, came and opened the station.
The excuse we have already heard is that Greyhound was not aware that stations would be closed on the holiday. When you are in the transportation business and purport to provide service to customers on holidays, then provisions should be made to ensure that holiday travelers enjoy the same safety and amenities as travels are entitled to any other day of the year.
One of the customers, Mrs. Enid ___, who waited outside in the cold with her daughter, was 88 years old. Several of us developed colds after this exposure to Michigan’s frigid temperatures. We can only hope that Mrs. Enid ____ doesn’t suffer any long-term effects from this ordeal.
Needless to say, never again will I trust my travel to Greyhound.
According to Weather Underground, the real temperature in Lansing, MI on November 26th 2009 was about 38 degrees Fahrenheit for the hour that the passengers stood there, waiting for someone to show up and let them in. And if my janky math is correct (+ this formula is valid), the wind chill would have put the apparent temperature at around 33 degrees.
I think I have a new slogan for Greyhound’s marketing department:
“Greyhound. We’ll do what we can, but… *shrug*” [and then show a bus driving off without you]