When I was younger, much younger than today, I used to watch all those American movies of travellers making their way across this amazing country and this gave me a desire one day to jump onboard a Greyhound Bus and do likewise.
My first opportunity came on the journey from Fort Lauderdale to New Orleans, booked it online, the price varies at different times of the day and different days of the week and it is about 50% more if you pay at the ticket office.
Well I never, I looked for the button to select our seats, it’s expensive for us, even though definitely the cheapest form of travel here, no seat selection online nor seat allocation at any stage. It’s a free for all, with a first come, first sit where you want, with the expected behaviour of people hoarding seats for their bags and the like. If you can get two seats together you have done well, most buses are full.
The bus itself from the outside is built in a long slim narrow look, like the greyhound dog itself, dark windows and a cool color scheme of grey and blue, the inside meanwhile is narrow seats and we are small, plenty of window leaks for added ventilation.
Don’t get me wrong I am not at all complaining, just learning again how well television can portray these illusions of something that’s just not true.
The customer service is on par with other countries, India perhaps and definitely below African standards, I kid you not. The drivers make these strict announcements like they have been trained in some military greyhound camp, instructing us what they will do to any of us who disobey. I understand and agree when it comes to smoking, drinking, drugs, sex, loud telephone calls, loud music, no headphones and on and on….but these guys are a well-trained breed of professional drivers, threatening to offload us in the middle of nowhere. In one case a girl claimed she was sexually assaulted on the backseat by a fellow passenger, the driver pulled over and gave them a ticking off, but they remained on board. Maybe all talk no action, hmm America really?
Stopping off at the Greyhound stations for connections and end pints are well positioned, but the communication is consistently poor, with no language excuses this time, no one seems to really have a clue except the bus driver himself, what platform you can connect for onward journey’s, where your luggage is. I think for those who do not speak English it must be a real challenge to work out what is going on and there are plenty of non-English speakers around, we even end up helping the odd Latino with some translations.
I am genuinely thrilled to have ridden on so many Greyhound buses across four or five states at the time of this blog post, but jack it up guys and go learn from those guys in Botswana, Kenya or China who don’t have wifi on buses that also don’t work.