Greyhound traveling trip learned the hard way

Greyhound Bus

Enjoy your relaxing trip aboard a wonderful Greyhound bus like this one
Enjoy your relaxing trip aboard a wonderful Greyhound bus like this one

Recently I had my first experience traveling on a Greyhound bus. It was a long trip from Knoxville Tennessee to Detroit Michigan. I was not excited about the idea of a long bus ride home after a long visit at my dad’s house. I drove down to Knoxville with my brother to visit my dad. But, my brother had to leave after a few days and my dad wanted me to stay longer so that I could help him with a few things. The plan was for me to stay for a week or two and he was going to buy a plane ticket so that I could get back. My dad told me that the price of a plane ticket was actually cheaper than driving, or at least in the same ballpark.

After much longer than a couple weeks had passed I finally demanded my ticket out of there. I was stranded in Tennessee for so long that the price of plane tickets increased due to the changing travel season. My dad told me that rather than paying $400 for the flight, he would get me a bus ticket and give me the extra cash. That made the trip a little bit better for me, but it was still going to be on a nasty bus home. Although, it isn’t very often that I make $300 a day just for sitting on my behind.

I went to the Greyhound bus station the day before my departure. The man at the Greyhound bus counter suggested that we should arrive 45 minutes before my scheduled 5:55am bus departed so that we could get our luggage checked in. We left my dad’s house at 4 am, stopped for breakfast and made it to the station around 5 am. There were people standing in line to get on the bus, but I figured that the bus would be leaving at 5:55am so why should I get in a line 20 minutes before my departure time. I found out the reason why after my bus left and I had to wait for two hours until the next Greyhound bus heading to Cincinnati arrived.

TIP 1: GET IN THE FRONT OF THE LINE AND WAIT SO THAT YOU DO NOT GET BUMPED FROM GREYHOUND OVERBOOKING THEIR BUSES.

While I was waiting I asked the guy at the counter what was going on and he assured me that there was a bus arriving that was going to Detroit and Atlanta. The fact that the two cities are in opposite directions didn’t seem to be an issue with him. Luckily for all of the Greyhound passengers the guy at the desk announces the buses over a muffled loudspeaker worse than any drive thru window that I have ever heard. After the announcements all of the passengers look at each other and ask if anyone heard what they said, most of the time no one knows what is going on. It makes it even harder to hear the announcements when crazy people are pacing around the station rapping to themselves. To confuse matters even further the bus drivers come to the Greyhound station doors, and rather than telling everyone the city that their bus is traveling to, they mention a route number that doesn’t appear on the Greyhound bus tickets. So it becomes a complete guessing game for all of the Greyhound passengers. I just went up to the bus driver and made sure that the bus was going where it was supposed to be going. It seemed like their routes were changing at each station as the bus drivers decided which bus was going where.

T

The Greyhound bus toilet was a constant source of a foul odor on our trip.
The Greyhound bus toilet was a constant source of a foul odor on our trip.

Once I got on the bus I had to share my seat with a fellow traveler. The seats aren't too bad, but they get uncomfortable after a while. The Greyhound travelers were friendly and respectful towards everyone else. I expected things to be much worst, but most people were just trying to sleep as we traveled. One big problem was the bathroom on the bus. I did not use it, but I sure could smell it and it was awful. It was kind of an outhouse kind of smell for the first leg of my trip. Since I was seated near the rear of the bus, I think that the smell was worse than the smell at the front of the bus.

TIP 2: Sit near the front of the bus. There is a better chance of sitting by yourself and it will not smell as bad.

My Greyhound bus ticket told me that we were making two stops. One stop in London, Kentucky and one stop in Cincinnati, Ohio. Then our final stop was in Detroit, Michigan. I was wondering why the ticket had 6 hours of traveling in Ohio since I can drive to Cincinnati in 4 hours without speeding. I found out once we started traveling. It seems that Greyhound doesn't list all of their stops on the tickets. They only list a few of the stops. My ticket listed 4 cities, but we actually stopped at about 8 different cities. It was kind of nice to get out and stretch my legs, but adding 6 hours of traveling time to the trip isn't worth the stretch.

My one hour lay over in Cincinnati turned into 10 minutes of standing in the connecting bus line. So any plans of eating lunch there disappeared. Greyhound wasn't doing very well on my trip when it came to staying on schedule. I wasn't complaining though. After my 2 hour delay in Knoxville, I was happy to get on a bus out of Cincinnati that was heading in the right direction. I tried to call my ride home and let them know that the bus was going to be at least 1 hour late, but all of the phones at the stations were out of order. It was one of those rare times where I wished that I still had a cell phone. By the time we made it to a station with working phones my ride was already on its way to pick me up. So they had to wait an hour in a half for me to get there.


TIP 3: Wait until you are close to home before you set a time for someone to pick you up. They might have to wait a long time before your arrival.

Detroit Greyhound Bus Station

The greyhound stations aren't as bad as I expected.  This is the Detroit Greyhound bus station.  It is better than the others that we visited.
The greyhound stations aren't as bad as I expected. This is the Detroit Greyhound bus station. It is better than the others that we visited.

My Greyhound made it too Detroit about an hour and a half late. I had my $300 that I saved on the flight, no one mugged me, and my luggage didn't get lost so I was happy. I was even happier to get off of that smelly bus. The Greyhound buses stink, they are slow, they are disorganized, but they are cheap and they will get you where you need to go. I don't think that they are for everyone, but you have to weigh in all of the factors with your traveling. For me it worked out because my flight was going to have to go from Knoxville to Charlotte to Detroit, and that was going to take 6 hours. I sat on a bus for a few more hours and saved some money. If they would get rid of those toilets on board the trip would be much better. The bus stops every hour, so a few people waiting for a rest room would be much better than the whole bus suffering through that smell.

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Comments 37 comments

point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago

Wow that was quite a trip.....you could almost call it a feat of endurance. Isn't is sad how companies like Greyhound do not even try to resemble the pictures in their ads. A little cleanliness goes a long way and it doesn't cost very much to achieve. It does, however, take pride and effort.....something companies like Greyhound have long forgotten. At least you saved $300 and had an "interesting" journey. Enjoyed your hub and I can honestly say I won't be travelling Greyhound anytime soon.


Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Your story reminds me of a Greyhound bus trip I once took from Los Angeles to Toronto Ontario. Lets just say I never want to make that trip again :)

Enjoyed reading your story.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Someone needs to either retain those drivers or print tickets to travelers understand the destination route. Great advice and sharing from your experience.


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks for the comment Point2Make, I hope that I don't have to travel with them anymore either.


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

That is a Looooooonnnnngggggg trip Susan. That would be a tough one to stomach.


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks for the comment Teaches, I don't know why they have destination routes that aren't printed on the tickets. It is total confusion at the bus stations.


bankscottage profile image

bankscottage 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

Sorry your experience on a bus was so bad. I was visiting my son who was working in Mexico and we took several bus trips. We took the first class bus, ADO. We had assigned seats, English movies with Spanish subtitles, clean restrooms, and neat, fresh buses. The cost averaged about $5/hour. We took 2 five hour trips and 2 one hour trips. My son takes the bus all the time, sometimes on overnight trips (saves on hotels). We did not take the cheaper, second class bus service. There is also an even better premium service.


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

thank you for the comment banks. Im sure that there are plnty of nice bus trips out there. I am just speaking from my one and only experience. Your bus sounds like a great deal.


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

michiganman567 -- I've heard it said that one Greyhound bus ride a year will definitely keep a person humble -- and your experience seems to verify that! Great Hub! Best/Sis


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

I hope that my humbling will last more than a year. Thanks for the read and comment Angela.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 4 years ago from malang-indonesia

Nice report about amazing bus and I had seen kind of this bus just from my television. Thanks for writing and share with us. Good job, brother. Rated up and awesome :-)

Prasetio


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Thank you for stopping by and commenting Prasetio. It is best to leave these buses on Television unless you are feeling adventurous.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

Ugh, Greyhound. I rode it once to Atlanta. First time, last time. I am looking forward to getting a reliable car that will take me long distance, because although flying is fun, I hate being mashed together with other people, going through security, standing in line,.. plus I feel very sorry for anyone who sits next to me. I am not the biggest lard butt, but I am very tall and definitely overweight so I barely squeeze into the seats and I desperately try to keep my arms close to my sides.

Traveling this way is undignified and that is why I'd rather drive for a day or two if it's an option. Unfortunately, I don't get enough time off for the luxury, but thankfully, I can avoid the bus!


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

I will never say never, but I'm hoping for a very long break between bus rides. Thanks for the comment Alexander Mark


Georgie Lowery profile image

Georgie Lowery 4 years ago from Slaton, Texas USA

My most recent Greyhound trip was from Lubbock, TX to Buffalo, NY. It took two days AND they lost one of my bags. I may never do that again.

Great Hub, though. People should know what they're getting into by traveling on the cheap!


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks for the comment Georgie. Two days, wow. That sounds like a hard trip to deal with. I hope that you got your bag back. You should get a medal for a trip like that.


lori 4 years ago

Wow..MM...Glad to see you finally made it back!! You could have asked me bout greyhound LOL...been there done that..all in all not too bad tho for the money! Missin ya bunches!


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks for the comment Lori. I didn't expect to see you here.


Starmom41 4 years ago

In the distant past, it was my favorite method of travel. "Not so much," though, after they started the policy where passengers needed to deal with their own luggage- like women & little kids having to haul footlockers around. The second change I didn't like was changing routes to avoid layovers. The third was the no-smoking policy. However, I'd still prefer Greyhound- if I didn't have a cat to tote along.


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

If they could get rid of the nasty bathroom on board it would be much better. The bus stops every hour, so what is the need for it? A trip for a few hours might not be bad if everything went smoothly. An all day bus ride is a hard way to travel. Thank you for the comment Starmom.


Starmom41 4 years ago

Well, when my son was little, we used to shoot back & forth across the U.S. like most people cross town- and we loved it! We made quite a few of those trips :)

I guess the frequent stops is so people can smoke- which wasn't an issue in the distant past.


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

Like most things, they were probably better managed in times past. Maybe I had an unusually bad experience, but I don't think that is the case.


Charles 4 years ago

This trip that this guy wrote about is a typical greyhound bus experience. I've been on a Gulfport, MS to Mt Pleasant MI trip and just Bout everything MichiganMan wrote about happened. I remember getting stranded in Mobile, AL from 3 in the morning until 6 in the morning because that bus station closed overnight. So me and a dozen or so poor souls sat in front of the greyhound hub for 3 hours outside. The Toliets are hit or miss. Either way DO NOT SIT IN THE BACK if you can. Stay far far away from that toilet. Fat Fks can't hold their bowels and they go and stink up the bus. Even though you stop every freakin hour they can't hold it and do #2's to ruin your experience even more.


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 4 years ago from Michigan Author

it sounds like you had a recent Greyhound experience. Thanks for sharing. It brings back some memories.


freecampingaussie profile image

freecampingaussie 3 years ago from Southern Spain

Sounds like a horror story .I think we will stick with the trains when we come to America. That is shocking them overbooking the bus . I always get in line early to get a front seat . You get out quick at stops so have time to buy food rather than wait in line most of the hour .


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks for the comment Aussie, I would rent a car if I were you.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

I would rather rent a car as well most convenient and comfortable thanks for the sharing this Hub. Waiting in queues is not my idea of a good travel


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Cars are much faster too. Thabks for the comment DDE


Vickiw 3 years ago

Enjoyed this Hub. It was informational, and helped me reaffirm that I do not wish to travel on a bus unless absolutely necessary! I have had some pretty trying bus experiences too. Let's just say you have to be resilient, enjoy sleep deprivation and bad food at the stops, and can place great views higher on your list than bad smells!


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 3 years ago from Michigan Author

I think that you cover the experience in a nutshell with your comment Vickiw. Thank you


Conservative Lady profile image

Conservative Lady 3 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

Your trip reminds me of the time my mom took my 2 brothers and myself from Spokane WA to Pittsburgh PA via greyhound - I was young but I will never ever forget that long, slow, smelly ride!


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 3 years ago from Michigan Author

wow, that is a long trip. I don't know if I would be able to make it that long


mopedrider 3 years ago

i woke up with someones hand in my pocket.


Person 3 years ago

Very " interesting " ride you had and is this your dad you had to DEMAND YOUR ticket from?!?


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 3 years ago from Michigan Author

Ok, Mopedrider officially has the worst trip


madscientist12 profile image

madscientist12 3 years ago from Columbia, SC

I used to ride greyhound from Charlotte, North Carolina to Florence, South Carolina to visit family during a time when I couldn't drive. It would take about five to six hours for this trip. If I drove, it only took me two hours on back roads or three hours on the interstates. When I could finally afford to fly, I vowed to never set foot on a Greyhound bus again unless I absolutely had to. Plus, their customer service is AWFUL and it seems that all the employees hate their jobs.


michiganman567 profile image

michiganman567 3 years ago from Michigan Author

that sound like a good game plan. I'm renting a car the next time that I need emergency travel.

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