Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Why I Hate Grehound Buses

So after 3 months in South America I have no problems with long haul bus rides. The 12 hour bus ride from San Fran to LA was going to be a breeze. We would leave at 11pm, get to sleep all night, then be ready to go once we hit Vegas. It all seemed pretty simple. But alas this was not how things unfurled.

Being the paranoid being I am, I convinced Kevin to skip dinner so we could return our rental car from Yosemite and get back to SF Greyhound bus station nice and early to pick up our tickets. We asked the guy working there what time we should get in line at the gate and he told us 15 minutes before departure. Perfect, we had 1 1/2 hours to grab a fast food meal with time to spare. Incidentally, we bumped into Vincent, a french guy we had met at our Yosemite hostel who told us his bus to Portland had been cancelled a few hours ago and he had been stranded at the station waiting for an alternative but the people at Greyhound had nothing as yet so they kept telling him to come back later. This was sad to hear but at this point we were unfazed. These things happen and I'm sure he would be on his way soon.

Kevin got us some kebabs which was the only thing open at the time and we hung around chatting to Vincent. Ok, 10.45pm, we wished Vincent the best of luck and headed to our gate. Then we heard a commotion at the next gate. The bus was full and there were a small group of girls who wouldn't make it. I felt so sorry for them but then in the middle of her rantng I could hear her say "why would you sell so many tickets and not have the seats, look at all those people still waiting" whilst pointing to us. And THAT'S when it hit me, their bus was our bus and we had ust missed out out on seats along with the 20 or so other folks still in the line. Plus they had changed the boarding gates without telling us. Bastards! 

So we all rushed to the service counter to see if there was another bus we could catch. Surely if there were this many people wanting to catch a bus they could arrange something right?? At this point I was still naively optimistic and had some faith in Greyhound. These illusions were soon to be left shattered into a million shards of bitter disappointment. Soon afterwards they made an annoucement that ALL buses that night had been cancelled and then we had about 50 angry people at the counter demanding all sorts of reasonable things like another bus to their destination or a refund but this was met with a verbose, bumbling speech from the guy working there about how empathetic he was for us and how he himself was robbed on a bus the other week. WTF dude? Can you actually give us some useful information rather than wasting even more time. 

So we finally were able to ascertain that there were no more buses to Vegas for another two days and since we had already booked a nice hotel room we opted for the refund. But even this simple task overwelmed the imbeciles at Greyhound who after another ten minutes of fumbling told us they didn't have the code to authorise it and we we would have to wait til the manager came in at 5am the next day. Without so much as an apology. So there are no buses and we had to hang around just to get our money back? The reason, they had no drivers for the buses. 
I'm sorry, but I thought you were a moderately large, functional company. Is there a strike happening? No. Was there a bubonic plague outbreak affecting only bus drivers? No. Well this may seem preposterously simple but call your back up drivers! 

Then Kevin started taking photos of the angry mob for documentation purposes which set off an argument between him and the Greyhound guy. I was tempted to burst out in one of those high pitched crazy laughs at the ridculousness of the situation. One girl was running around in tears because she had a flight to catch and didn't know what to do and it was nice to see a group flock around her with kind words and moral support. At about 1am they got sick of talking to people and just shut up shop and snuck off. It was a cold and miserably hard linoleum floor for a bed that night where I finally fell into an angry, broken sleep at 2am.

Trying to sleep amongst chaos.
Of course, the guy that opened up shop at 5am the next morning had NO idea what had passed the night before and was pissed because he was left to clean up the mess. Oh joy, so lets spend another 20 minutes explaining everything again. When I told him I was in the same boat as the girl in front of me he had the nerve to say "no you're not, everyone's got different things going on". Don't give me your philosphical bullshit man, I just spent the night on your dirty ass floor so just give me a refund so I can leave Greyhound limbo! I have never in my life been so happy to leave a place and I swore on my dog's grave that I would never step into another Greyhound bus station again. The end.

P.S. We drove to Vegas and it was fine.

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