Greyhound Buses Reviews
decent local transport Mar 19, 2013
While traveling through the USA I purchased a Greyhound Discovery Pass which allowed me to travel freely, wherever I wanted and whenever I wanted (mind the schedules of course) for 30 days. These passes are also available for other amounts of days. Personally I highly recommend traveling this way because even though you are stuck to a set schedule of the bus line, they still leave multiple times per day and if you get to the station a couple of hours in advance it usually guarantees you a seat on the next bus. I have had some very long drives on these buses, sometimes more than 12 hours, but the seats were pretty comfortable and some of the buses had free wi-fi which was excellent to get in touch with home. I've experienced a few setbacks such as the bus being full while there were still people who should have been on that bus, delay of some hours and a broken air conditioning while driving through the Nevada desert. But these things can happen when you're traveling by bus for over a month and it didn't really bother me, these are the great stories you'll remember ;)
Overall, a great experience if you're too young to get a rental car or simply enjoy being driven !
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Your worst nightmare! Jan 06, 2010
I think I should have written a review about these buses long time ago, but I guess I didn’t feel like doing it, but my most recent Greyhound experience definitively deserves a review.
I will start with some of my previous trips on this bus line. As I come from Mexico, a country with decent public transportation, especially in what intercity buses is about, at first I thought that US buses should be much better, just because it is a more developed country. The first time I used a Greyhound bus was to go from Dallas to Oklahoma City in 2005. I immediately noticed the lack of TV sets, the uncomfortable seats, the rude attention from basically all the personnel from the ticket seller to the bus driver and most specially, the lack of sun shades! As a man from the desert, I absolutely hate having the sun shining over my face and there’s no way you can go around it with this buses! I had the feeling of being transported to a concentration camp.
Then, when I was already living in Louisiana in 2006, I had to use these pieces of junk to get home for my niece’s first communion. This time it was even worse because the trip was so much longer. I made 33 hrs to get home! 33 hrs when you could make 16 hrs by car!!! More time than flying to India and back. Then I started to notice the kind of people that rides these buses. It’s basically three types of people: white thrash, black gangsters and illegal mexicans. The worst people of each kind. You must also know that ex-convicts get a Greyhound bus ticket when they are out of jail, so it's easy to sit next to one of these persons (and it has happened to me). One time, when the bus stopped in Shreveport for dinner, a guy asked me for money. I didn’t know if it was a threat or a beg, but I gave him 5 dlls I had in cash. I also once talked to a Mexican guy who had like 5 driving licenses from different states and under different names. He told me all sorts of things of how Mexicans get a living while being illegally in the states. Moreover, the buses sometimes stink, and there is always loud and noisy people on board. One time the bus driver (a tough 400 lbs big white guy) went all the way to the back and threatened some guys that were using a ghettoblaster saying he would kick their ass out of the bus if they wouldn’t turn it off. You can tell what a great mood that was!
One more thing I hate about these buses is the terribly inconvenient schedules and layovers. Going to Baton Rouge from Ruston takes you about 9 hrs (!) when you could drive there in 4. A Ruston-Houston trips takes 10 hrs when you can drive in 5. Of course you have to change buses constantly and layovers can go from 1 hrs to even 5!
BTW I categorized them as "expensive" not because they really are, but because they are absolutely not worth the price. They should be much cheaper.
And I guess now it’s time for my most recent experience. I had purchased a ticket from Shreveport to Ruston online (I didn’t think there would be so much of a problem, since it’s a straight 1.5 hrs trip). But, when I got to the station to claim my ticket on will call, the guy (a very rude man) said the bus was full. I was shocked. What? Full??? But I had purchased my ticket in advance! I didn’t understand what was going on. And to make it worst, he said the next bus would leave only until 7 AM the next morning!!! This time I really could not believe it! It seems that there are only 3 daily runs between Shreveport and Ruston and that was the last. Just to give an example of public transportation in Mexico, there are buses every 30 minutes from Chihuahua City to Delicias (1.15 hrs trip), so you just go there and get on the next bus. The buses are clean, you have TV sets and sun shades, and you can even buy snacks or burritos for your trip. Why can’t Greyhound buses be just a little similar to that!
Anyway, I had to stay overnight, but I will talk about all that in my blog. It just suffices to say that Greyhound buses are the worst bus system I have ever used and I dare to say that I don’t think there are worst buses anywhere else in the world!
Part of the Chihuahuan Christmas trip :) travel blog
8 / 8 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
A Horrible Way to Travel! Apr 10, 2010
I've seen it in some of the movies, when the actors take the Greyhound bus when going on intercity or interstate trips within United States. And so the idea of going to San Francisco, CA via the Greyhound bus appealed to me. I wanted to experience one of the all-American way of public transport.
They have a website to book online but due to my lazyness and also perhaps because I wanted this trip to be spontaneous, I did not book online and decided to just purchase the ticket on the counter, an hour before the ideal schedule I wanted. From the little inquiries I got, the bus route would not be scenic anyways so I thought I might as well take the night trip on Dec 17th, 2007 and arrive in San Francisco at 7am the following morning.
This was the schedule I intended to get:
Riverside, CA departs 8:45PM
Los Angeles, CA arrives 9:55PM, departs 11:35PM
*Transfer* (layover 1hr:40min)
North Hollywood, CA departs 12:05AM
Coalinga JCT, CA arrives 3:20AM, departs 3:50AM (layover 30min)
Oakland, CA arrives 6:35AM, departs 6:45AM
San Francisco, CA arrives 7:15AM
When I told my Uncle (who I'd be staying with in San Francisco) about taking the Greyhound bus, he seemed worried. He told me to sit at a seat near the driver, be very careful and be very alert at all times. I am used to long bus travels from my Singapore-Malaysia travels and so I thought an intercity bus in the USA would be similar and so there was nothing to worry about. But oh boy, I was not ready for what I was about to experience.
The bus from Riverside that was supposed to leave at 8:45pm for LA was 45 minutes late. The ticketing office in Riverside closes at 7:30pm, so I had to take my chance and purchase from the bus driver a ticket to LA if there were seats available. So my assumption that the bus was starting from Riverside was obviously wrong, the bus started from another city. When I got to LA, all the seats for the 11:35pm bus were taken and the next earliest available bus would leave LA at 2am and would arrive in SanFo at 1pm. I had no choice so I took it. But at least there was some unexpected advantage (to my amazement): the tickets were waaay cheaper over the counter than from online!
My ticket itinerary showed:
Los Angeles, CA departs 2:10AM
Bakersfield, CA arrives 4:20AM,departs4:40AM (layover 20min)
Fresno, CA arrives7:15AM,departs 7:45AM
San Jose, CA arrives11:05AM,departs11:20AM
(layover 15 min)
San Francisco CA arrives 1:05PM
We arrived in Fresno, half an hour ahead of schedule. From there I had another bus transfer..to a what they call a local bus. Unlike the bus from Riverside to LA and LA to Fresno which was the usual 56 seater big bus, this local one was smaller and older. The seats are not as comfortable and most are already broken (i.e. stuck in reclined position). But what really caught me off guard was the "hidden layovers" in that itinerary because from Fresco to San Francisco, I think we almost stopped at each city we passed by for 5-10minutes each to pick up/load off passengers.
So this was what actually happened:
Los Angeles, CA departed 2:10AM
Bakersfield, CA arrived 4:20AM, departed4:40AM
Fresno, CA arrived 7:15AM,departed 7:45AM
Los Banos, CA
San Jose, CA
San Francisco, CA arrived 1:05PM
We did arrive on schedule in San Francisco but I was freezing the whole time from Fresno to San Francisco because the bus heater was not working! Anyhow, let's see what was my total travel time including the waiting time: 8pm to 1pm would be...16 hours!!!
That is almost the same travel time on a flight from Singapore to Los Angeles!
Going back from San Francisco to Riverside on December 22, I thought it would be a breeze, because I got the express ticket:
San Francisco, CA departs 11:00PM
Coalinga JCT, CA arrives 2:55AM, departs3:25AM
Los Angeles, CA arrives 7:10AM
Then from LA to Riverside:
Los Angeles, CA departs 10:00AM
Riverside, CA arrives 11:40AM
I did not anticipate that it would be a very packed weekend as it was the last weekend before Christmas and everyone was going somewhere. So you could imagine how there were A LOT of passengers that for the SanFo to LA bus 11pm departure, they had to have 3 buses to accomodate all the passengers (2 buses were chartered buses). The trip from San Francisco to LA arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule. However, the trip to LA from Riverside was something that was unbelievable. I thought I was only going to have to endure 3 hours of wait for my bus but at 10am the boarding door for my bus has not opened, meaning there was still no bus for my route. At 11am finally, they boarded us. However, besides being late, they did not at all follow the scheduled route. I should be in Riverside by 11:40am but with the route they made:
Los Angeles to
Hollywood to North Hollywood to
Glendale to Pasadena to
San Bernardino to Riverside
it took me 3 hours to finally reach Riverside. That's another 16 hours of total travel time!!!
Taking the Greyhound bus was indeed one heck of an adventure. It was not at all what I expected, I had underestimated its challenge but I can proudly say that I was able to go through it, I did it! Just like a local! I can't really say that I am regretting choosing to take the Greyhound bus, for after all, this experience made me see a lot of the places in California, it made me learn new things about people, culture and meet another face of reality in United States...but let's just say that this is one of the things that I wanted to try and have tried that now I would say that once is just enough.
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Riding the Dog: A Greyhound Adventure Aug 28, 2010
Riding the Greyhound bus is a singular experience. It may not be the lap of luxury but it is a truly wonderful way to travel if you are afraid to fly and not in a hurry. My trip was December 26, 2009 leaving from St. Petersburg, FL and ending at Union Station in Washington, DC. It took a little less than 24 hours but I was in no rush.
I prepared for my trip the same way I prepared to make any purchase, I reviewed everything I could find on the company I was dealing with and read all the information on their website thoroughly. I brought some snack food, sparing cash and an interactive media device (namely my Sony PSP but any will do) and a book as suggested (as it is clearly stated they don't offer movies or TV aboard their buses). I am very able to amuse myself and among those things I was well entertained on my trip but spent far more time talking to my seat mates.
Travelling Greyhound was a wonderfully smooth experience. I use my local public buses quite frequently and, after reading about it online (mostly through Greyhound's own website) I learned that one bus system is very much like any other and you must realize all that goes with it. I came prepared to be late, I came prepared to get lost and I came prepared to miss a bus. I enjoy the slow pace of bus travel and the frequent stops that can give a slight flavor to the places you pass through.
My trip was scheduled to depart 8:20am Dec. 26, 2009. I arrived at the station an hour in advance as told and waited for the attendant to unlock the door (the station was just opening for the day). Upon checking one bag, I waited for the bus. It was an older bus (a 2001 MCI D4500 to be specific) white with a big dog on the side and giant letters proclaiming: GREYHOUND. I had a little scare when the bus said "CHICAGO" in the destination sign but was assured this was indeed Schedule 0516 bound for Washington DC and New York City. As it turned out, the sign was indeed broken but I do not consider that a major mechanical failure.
The schedule I had on my ticket (called the "itinerary") and the schedule I found on the website (called the "schedule") were different. The schedule showed a good 10 more stops than the itinerary. This is because, like every bus system, the buses do make minor stops not listed on the itinerary. This was helpful in that it allowed me to plan stretch, restroom and meal breaks better than the itinerary.
Approaching the first minor stop in Clearwater we were perfectly on time and took on a few passengers then moving on to the first layover (10 minutes) in Tampa. I learned here that boarding is very organized and directed and that going to the proper gate at the proper time was more important that going to the bus with the correct destination sign on it. There were a few minor hitches on my journey the first occurring after leaving a minor stop in Winter Haven, FL when the driver got lost (I think) before finding Interstate 4 to continue our trip into Orlando.
The trip ran smoothly all the way into Richmond, VA where I had my longest layover. The bus was full and even more people were getting on at Richmond to go to Washington DC. Greyhound actually had the foresight to stick everyone with a final destination in Washington DC on a separate bus (they call them "segments") that ran express into DC arriving 2 hours ahead of schedule.
I had to change my ticket to go home early due to a change of plan and then the second of three hitches occurred: I missed my bus because it was full. Five of us were left behind, three of whom started making a small scene in the station. I knew full well my seat wasn't reserved. I asked the ticket agent and he assured me (rather tactlessly but not rudely) that my ticket was good for a week and so I could ride any schedule departing in my direction in that week. I waited around the DC station for a few hours past my noon departure time and got on the next bus heading to Richmond. It stands pointing out that major destinations are all labeled at most big stations. In DC there are 18 or more gates. I hung out in front of the one that said "Florida" (see how easy it is when you pay attention?). I learned that there was a bus at 2:30. I boarded it on time, it was one of their nice, sleek new buses. Free WiFi, lots of legroom and a smooth ride. It dropped off in Richmond where I had to wait for the 5:30 bus from DC to catch up to me at 7:45 but I still left with no major problems that were Greyhound's fault.
On that trip however was an extremely poor example of customer service. Until leaving Richmond, VA all the drivers had been very pleasant (including an extremely pleasant and good-natured driver between Feyetteville, NC and Richmond, VA on the way up). We got a total bitch (and cousin to one of the passengers). She was curt and rude which don't bother me. It was however when she demanded that we be silent because "I've had enough since Richmond." She demanded one hour of peace and quiet before arriving in Feyetteville, NC. It just so happened to be the hour from 11:30pm December 31 to 12:30am January 1. Needless to say that come 12:00, her silence was shattered. Despite that hitch, the trip was still very pleasant and I arrived home on time (based on the new schedule) and no worse for wear. I would most certainly travel Greyhound again particularly for short trips and trips where speed is not an issue.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy