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Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Old Aug 22nd 2004, 5:45 pm
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Question Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

My student daughter is coming over next week and I'm thinking of taking off with her for a couple of days after she gets over her jet-lag (husband has work commitments, has to stay in NYC during the Republican convention in case of terror attacks and our son is trying out for sports teams at school before the academic year starts).

I'm thinking of going to Philadelphia, Boston or Washington DC with her as she loves everything her brother doesn't ie. art galleries, museums, parks, art house cinema, cafes etc. I really won't need a car in the centre of a city (we only have one car anyway, might as well leave it with the husband!) and I've been looking at the train and bus prices.

Amtrak's prices are extremely expensive ie. unreserved coach seat for one adult (me) is $166 return. Greyhound has a special Summer offer of $32.50 per person each way (7 day advance ticket). DC is about 4 hours from NYC. The fares still seem relatively high to me as I've seen how cheap it is in England to fly to European destinations and National Express always have good offers on. Anyway, I digress.

Has anyone ever travelled with Greyhound? Or is it really only carrying passengers who are mentally disturbed or high on drugs? I can put up with a certain amount of discomfort....but I don't know of any expats who have travelled by bus in the US.
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Old Aug 22nd 2004, 5:48 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Originally Posted by Englishmum
My student daughter is coming over next week and I'm thinking of taking off with her for a couple of days after she gets over her jet-lag (husband has work commitments, has to stay in NYC during the Republican convention in case of terror attacks and our son is trying out for sports teams at school before the academic year starts).

I'm thinking of going to Philadelphia, Boston or Washington DC with her as she loves everything her brother doesn't ie. art galleries, museums, parks, art house cinema, cafes etc. I really won't need a car in the centre of a city (we only have one car anyway, might as well leave it with the husband!) and I've been looking at the train and bus prices.

Amtrak's prices are extremely expensive ie. unreserved coach seat for one adult (me) is $166 return. Greyhound has a special Summer offer of $32.50 per person each way (7 day advance ticket). DC is about 4 hours from NYC. The fares still seem relatively high to me as I've seen how cheap it is in England to fly to European destinations and National Express always have good offers on. Anyway, I digress.

Has anyone ever travelled with Greyhound? Or is it really only carrying passengers who are mentally disturbed or high on drugs? I can put up with a certain amount of discomfort....but I don't know of any expats who have travelled by bus in the US.
I haven't but I have spoken with several people who have, and their experiences were generally not good. Specific comments were that the bus stations seem to be in the worst parts of town, the trip seemed to take forever, and connections were difficult (i.e., they missed their connection for some reason - and bearing in mind my last comment, waiting for the next bus was not as pleasant as waiting in an airport, and often meant an overnight stay).
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Old Aug 22nd 2004, 5:51 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Originally Posted by Englishmum

Has anyone ever travelled with Greyhound? Or is it really only carrying passengers who are mentally disturbed or high on drugs? I can put up with a certain amount of discomfort....but I don't know of any expats who have travelled by bus in the US.
I can't speak for all routes, but I used Greyhound to get to Boston, it took a lot longer than the train because it kept stopping at a lot of small stops on the way, it was really cramped and not very nice, the only saving grace, it did have a toilet, which, though was also, gross.
I would use the train if I had the choice, but then I've only used it from Maine to Boston, on the bus, it was close to 9 hours, and the train was about 2.5Hrs...
That was last year, so it might have improved...
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Old Aug 22nd 2004, 5:59 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

My sister in law has used them a couple of times and wouldnt recomend it. All sorts of unsavory characters at the stations and on the bus. I went into one of the stations in Portland to take a leak a few months ago and it was ****** terrifying, so bad that the missus wouldnt go in and she was bursting. Made Kings Cross look like the Hilton!

I'll never complain about Britains National Express again.
In the words of The Divine Comedy :-

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It'll make you smile
All human life is here
From the feeble old dear to the screaming child
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Old Aug 22nd 2004, 6:40 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

32.50 $ it's not so much. Remember paying over 40$ from DC to NYC. And yes it's expensive although fast and without any stops. There's alternative bus or companies going to NYC, Boston and Phili from DC and back. They don't have a bus terminal and they just stop on the street. I tried them out and it was fine. Not less confortable than Grayh and as fast. It cost like 30$ round trip and you can book tickets online! That was a good news and time for bad. I don't remember the website but try to type in Google and you should find it. I remember one goes from Chinatown NYC to Chinatown DC.
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Old Aug 22nd 2004, 11:07 pm
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Cool Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Originally Posted by Englishmum
Has anyone ever travelled with Greyhound? Or is it really only carrying passengers who are mentally disturbed or high on drugs? I can put up with a certain amount of discomfort....but I don't know of any expats who have travelled by bus in the US.

My husband and I both have travelled with Greyhound. I travelled from Louisiana to Texas (the bus terminal was not in the worst part of town) just located in the downtown area, as with most of the stations. Anyway, and my husband had to ride one from New York to Texas after a failed airline trip back to his home country of Norway(long story) and he had a pleasant experience, took him about 1 day and a half to get back. All I can say is the trips are fine, normal everyday people use Greyhound, one tip though.. DO NOT USE THEIR BATHROOMS ON THE BUS.. they are gross Either hold it until you get where you are going and use the bathroom before you go or wait until you've arrived at your destination point.

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Old Aug 23rd 2004, 2:06 am
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Originally Posted by Englishmum
My student daughter is coming over next week and I'm thinking of taking off with her for a couple of days after she gets over her jet-lag (husband has work commitments, has to stay in NYC during the Republican convention in case of terror attacks and our son is trying out for sports teams at school before the academic year starts).

I'm thinking of going to Philadelphia, Boston or Washington DC with her as she loves everything her brother doesn't ie. art galleries, museums, parks, art house cinema, cafes etc. I really won't need a car in the centre of a city (we only have one car anyway, might as well leave it with the husband!) and I've been looking at the train and bus prices.

Amtrak's prices are extremely expensive ie. unreserved coach seat for one adult (me) is $166 return. Greyhound has a special Summer offer of $32.50 per person each way (7 day advance ticket). DC is about 4 hours from NYC. The fares still seem relatively high to me as I've seen how cheap it is in England to fly to European destinations and National Express always have good offers on. Anyway, I digress.

Has anyone ever travelled with Greyhound? Or is it really only carrying passengers who are mentally disturbed or high on drugs? I can put up with a certain amount of discomfort....but I don't know of any expats who have travelled by bus in the US.
Imho the extra cost of taking the train is well worth it on personal safety grounds. Also, Union Station in DC is a spectacle in itself (beautiful interior), and there are tour buses (if you like that kind of thing) that stop on the circle in front of the station (there's a booking booth inside the station), and a cab rank immediately outside the entrance/exit doors.

The station is well patrolled by private and regular cops, also plain clothes (members of Congress/Senate often catch a train from DC's main station). It takes no time at all for the uniformed cops to turn up if there is a problem - they get tipped off by the plain clothes guys or the rent-a-cops. People can still bum money off you, but they are not threatening, if they are they are soon gone, I swear some of the guys bumming money are cops! Stay safe, take the train. Jmho, but I currently live in the DC metro area and learned a few things about the place. The museums on the Mall are just 10 minutes (five minutes if the traffic is light) by cab from the station. You can spend days at those museums, seriously. But however you get here, enjoy DC!

Last edited by Patent Attorney; Aug 23rd 2004 at 6:41 pm.
 
Old Aug 23rd 2004, 2:06 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Originally Posted by Englishmum
My student daughter is coming over next week
You have don’t the right thing is asking what the Greyhound is like…and I would be happy to tell you…

It sucks so bad, I am actually struggling to come up with any words strong enough to do it justice. I have taken a few journeys with Greyhound and not one of them was a safe, decent, comfortable or pleasant experience but actually forced on me for one reason or another (stranded in inclement weather conditions, flights overbooked, train full, that sort of thing). Please Englishmum, don’t do it, don’t even consider doing it, anyone that tells you that the Greyhound is OK, is either lying (they must work for Greyhound) or delusional. If you want to do it anyway, here’s my best advice:

1) Dress like a punk, lots of safety pins, tattoos, ripped clothing and make sure you fart, belch and swear loudly and frequently, not only will you be less likely to be sat next to by the weirdo’s, but you will feel more like you actually blend into the crowd.
2) Under no circumstances allow yourself to fall asleep; you will most likely wake up with a scabby, fat guy drooling over you (he’ll probably be the driver), and without any of your most valuable possessions.
3) Do not take any valuables, if you have to take valuables, NEVER allow the drivers to place them in the baggage hold. If you do this, you will likely never see them again, if by some amazing co-incidence they do get onto the right bus, by the time you get to your destination, you will be handed back a ragged, ripped and almost unrecognizable piece of material, and under separate cover, your most precious belongings and clothes.
4) Don’t try to complain, its not only the bus stations that hail from the worst parts of town (although this is very true) it’s the staff, I have seen better manners from DMV Staff and a better level of customer service from a chimp.
5) Be prepared to stop in every small town on the way, you will not be allowed to disembark or change seats, even if the person sitting next to you is a deranged dribbler who talks to himself incessantly and smells like a nasty combination of cabbage and charity shop.
6) Be prepared to have that smell in your nose for at least a week following your journey
7) Expect to be delayed or even have your bus cancelled with no prior notice, they will probably not even actually tell you that your bus has been cancelled unless you actually go to them, and ask them where your bus leave from (and even then, you’ll be lucky to find a staff member who isn’t so high on drugs that he actually knows where he is)

AMTRAK…

1) Not as expensive as you might think, they offer masses of deals on weekend and 3 day deals, they also offer child, young persons and area travel rates that bring the ‘website’ prices down by up to 50% (as a British Passport holder, you could even get some special deals – it worked out cheaper for us to get a West coast traveler ticket that took us from New Orleans to Chicago to LA to Seattle and was valid for 3 months than it would have been to buy a straight ticket to LA from New Orleans)
2) On the train you will find a restaurant car, a viewing car, a sleeping section, a café car and you are welcome to stand up, walk around and talk to (or avoid) whoever you like.
3) You can jump off and jump on as much as you like – if you like the look of a town, go and have a look at it and take the next train home.
4) No traffic jams
5) A/C actually works on the trains
6) Staff are polite, friendly and very helpful – even in the stations when buying as ticket
7) All the seats recline to almost flat and you have enough legroom for Gulliver
8) The stations are safe, and architecturally beautiful they are almost always in the middle of the city so there will be no taxi transfers from dodgy parts of town.

Take my word for it, the train is the ONLY way to go.

Hope that helped!

Chris
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Old Aug 23rd 2004, 5:08 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Several years ago I spent three months travelling backwards and forwards across the country by Greyhound, including a particularly gruelling Chicago to Seattle trip! While it's true that the stations can look like something out of Bulgaria circa 1973 and are crowded with every petty sort of petty criminal and scam artist, I never actually felt in any real danger. Just because people are poor, doesn't mean that they're dangerous. I would even go so far as to say just because someone is a Born Agasin Christian heroin addict on their way home after being released from prison doesn't necessarily mean they're dangerous. It can get pretty grim, and I don't advise walking outside the station late at night or, for that matter, straying away from the crowds and security guards even when indoors. But it is a unique oportunity to see part of America that you wouldn't normally see, and if your daughter really is all artsy and alternative, she may get as much of a kick out of it as I did.

It's really your judgment call. How low can you and your daughter go? 'Cause Greyhound is about as low as it gets.

JAMES
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Old Aug 23rd 2004, 5:21 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Greyhound busses are a mode of transportation for a poorer economic strata of society, generally-speaking. When I was in college (VERY poor at the time) I used to use Greyhound frequently to get around, and while it's true that the bathrooms are filthy, and the stations are in less-desirable areas of the cities, I never felt that I was in danger. It seemed no worse than riding subways in NYC. You just need to be careful, guard your stuff, and try not to use the toilet

Actually, why don't you rent a car to drive there? For the prices you're quoting, you could get a decent little compact car, unlimited mileage, and not have to work around anyone else's schedule. Just an idea
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Old Aug 23rd 2004, 5:27 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Originally Posted by Chessiet
Greyhound busses are a mode of transportation for a poorer economic strata of society, generally-speaking. When I was in college (VERY poor at the time) I used to use Greyhound frequently to get around, and while it's true that the bathrooms are filthy, and the stations are in less-desirable areas of the cities, I never felt that I was in danger. It seemed no worse than riding subways in NYC. You just need to be careful, guard your stuff, and try not to use the toilet

Actually, why don't you rent a car to drive there? For the prices you're quoting, you could get a decent little compact car, unlimited mileage, and not have to work around anyone else's schedule. Just an idea
when was the last time you travelled on the NY subway? I agree in the 80's and early 90's the subway system needed serious attention but now, it claims the spot as the safest subway system in the USA. I feel safer int he subway than I do in the street sometimes.
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Old Aug 23rd 2004, 5:52 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Originally Posted by Chopper-Chris
when was the last time you travelled on the NY subway? I agree in the 80's and early 90's the subway system needed serious attention but now, it claims the spot as the safest subway system in the USA. I feel safer int he subway than I do in the street sometimes.
Probably mid-90s was my last visit to NYC. I'm glad to hear they're cleaning it up. Basically what I was trying to say was that almost any mass-transit system is going to be somewhat uncomfortable, dirty, filled with people you'd not generally want in close proximity, and will require you to take precautions with your self and your belongings.

My vote is still renting a car
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Old Aug 23rd 2004, 6:12 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Originally Posted by Chessiet

My vote is still renting a car
thats what I'd do too, unless I had a particulary environmentally concious hat on - on that particular day.

Mind you, I'd be environmentally consious until I get back to work and burn in the region of 300 liters of Avgas per day
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Old Aug 23rd 2004, 6:14 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Originally Posted by Chopper-Chris
thats what I'd do too, unless I had a particulary environmentally concious hat on - on that particular day.

Mind you, I'd be environmentally consious until I get back to work and burn in the region of 300 liters of Avgas per day
I hear ya! I work in the aviation industry as well, our turbo-props burn a ton of fuel
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Old Aug 23rd 2004, 6:29 pm
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Default Re: Anyone been on a Greyhound Bus?

Originally Posted by Chessiet
I hear ya! I work in the aviation industry as well, our turbo-props burn a ton of fuel
what do you do? who do you work for?
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