- Travel and Places
Greyhound traveling trip learned the hard way
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.
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
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.