Bad experience with bus alters future travel plans

This weekend, I had a terrible and extremely inconvenient travel experience that may finally alter my traveling methods in the future.

I didn’t exactly go on a great and mystical quest. I went to Cleveland, but since I don’t have a car, planes are expensive and I didn’t want to wait till 2 a.m. to take the Megabus or Amtrak, I booked a Greyhound ticket – at a pretty decent rate, I might add.

Now let me preface the rest of the story by saying that I’ve had trouble using Greyhound before. Occasionally it likes to do this thing where it posts tickets on its website that aren’t actually available, but you won’t figure that out until after you go through the entire process of ordering.

Greyhound’s customer service hasn’t always been the most helpful either. When you do get someone who can speak English well, they’re never able to help you with the problem. They  usually just say something along the lines of, “That’s the way things are, get over it.”

I may be exaggerating the last part a bit, but regardless, I’ve usually felt put off as a whole.

Anyway, on my trip out to Cleveland, I didn’t even leave the station before we started having problems. The bus driver and a passenger were having a quarrel because this passenger saw him reading something on his phone and asked him to please not do that while he was driving.

When they got to Erie, the driver told her that he wanted to speak with her alone and that the bus would not be leaving the station until she got off the bus and talked to him.

At least that’s what she told me; when we tried to get the driver’s side of the story, he told us to stay out of it.

But the problem was, we couldn’t stay out of it.

This woman didn’t want to talk to the driver by herself because she was scared of what would happen. I thought it was a little weird, but when someone went with her to talk to the driver, he said he wouldn’t talk to her unless she was alone.

Which is more than a little frightening, I get that, but at the time I just wanted to leave.

A couple of the passengers tried calling the Greyhound customer service, but no one answered. Someone tried calling the station in Cleveland and the call got “disconnected,” and the station conveniently never picked up again.

Regardless, the driver called the police and from what I could see from inside the bus, both he and the woman told them their side of the story.

The officers looked thoroughly irritated, understandably because it wasn’t a police matter, but whatever they did, the driver and the woman got back on the bus and we left for Cleveland 40 minutes after the scheduled departure time.

I thought about calling customer service to complain, but considering the trouble I’ve had with them before, I figured it would be fruitless.

But now, I’m going to think twice before traveling via Greyhound.

 

KHADIJA DJELLOULI

[email protected]

 

Editor’s note 2/12/15: Greyhound has contacted me, apologized for my experience this weekend and asked a couple of follow-up questions about it. A few representatives have said they’d like to conduct a further investigation of the incident. While I will maintain that my experience with the driver was horrible, my view of the customer service has become more positive since publishing this column.