Greyhound Experiences

Most people I've met hate Greyhound. Makes sense, but instead of hate, I find interest in the apparent clusterfuck that is the Greyhound bus experience. I've ridden the bus a bunch of times going various distances, here's some of the more interesting experiences and observations I've had:

1) Every hour or two of riding or waiting at the station, you will hear at least one person say (usually peppered with expletives), "I will never ride Greyhound ever again".

2) The bus sometimes makes stops at obscure parking lots, often near a McDonalds for people to take a 15 minute break or so. After one such break, we started to pull out of the lot, when everyone in the back of the bus started hooting and hollering "Driver! You forgot someone, she's running after the bus!", these shouts were answered by the driver getting on the intercom saying "I said everyone back on the bus by 4:35pm". We hadn't even made our way out of the parking lot, but that woman would be left behind without her luggage, purse, and phone as the driver knowingly drove off and away.

3) A woman was mistakenly directed to a bus going in the opposite direction, after arriving 300 miles backwards, she was told to wait until 2am with her daughter for the next bus, and she would have to pay for another ticket for her "bonus" trip, it was now 7pm.

4) I watched a girl of 20 something sit down and introduce herself to like-aged guy in the seat next to her. 100 miles down the road they were having sex without a care who saw, she was on top, no one said a word.

5) Almost without fail, a gray haired white person will ask some chatty black folk what the word "nigger" is all about, and who's allowed to say it.

6) If you're traveling more than 1000 miles, there's an excellent chance your bus will "break" somehow, and you'll need to wait while they get a new one. I've seen heaters break in brick cold winter, AC go out in blistering summer, shocks go out, "a gasket or something crazy" stop working, tires go out, all kinds of problems.

7) Once in Amarillo, TX the driver got on the bus, introduced himself, and then asked if anyone knew how to get to Oklahoma City, our destination.

8) In general, the drivers coffee and lengthy conversations with co-workers are more important than getting on the road.

9) No matter how scattered and terrible you think your trip is going, there's always someone in worse shape. Look around at any station and you'll find someone who's been held up 8+ hours waiting for delayed bus, their luggage is 500 miles away in an unknown direction, they haven't showered in days, have no more money, and their voice is shot from cursing out drivers and people behind the desk.

10) Don't be surprised in the route the bus takes. Sure, you're going south, but the bus has to go north, transfer you, west, then east again, maybe north once more, then south, a little loopage, and then bam! You're at your destination.

No Greyhound trip is without incident. If you're in a hurry or easily disgusted it's probably best you fly, it's going to be about the same price and faster in most cases. If you enjoy hearing stories from all kinds of people, and experiencing some new ones for yourself, give Greyhound a shot.

One thing I found out this trip is that (don't take my word for it though, Greyhound's policies vary based the employee you're talking to), is that you can get on and off the bus as you please and stay in town for a night or 3. So in other words, you can buy a cross country ticket and take months to make it the whole way, spending some time in each city as you go along. I took advantage of that to stay in Oklahoma City for a night.

The only other advice I can give when taking Greyhound is to keep track of any luggage you check, watch it every step of the way, charge your phone every chance you get as outlet access varies station to station, and go with the flow. By the way, I'm in NYC as of this morning after a lovely trip cross country. For the record I really do enjoy the chaos, most of the time, but hey, maybe that's just me.

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