General Question

hug_of_war's avatar

Have you ever taken the greyhound bus?

Asked by hug_of_war (10725points) November 5th, 2014 from iPhone

I’m traveling home by greyhound tomorrow. I’ve never done this. Any experiences to share? Anything to know that I might not have thought of?

My trip will be roughly 3 hours with no transfers. I’ll be traveling during midday.

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22 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

They don’t have toilet paper and water to wash your hands with. bring your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Bring a sweater or small pillow.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Last time I rode the greyhound was really odd. I noticed all the other passengers, cept’ for one pregnant woman, were all wearing orange jump suits and holding letter sized manilla envelopes. They all had bright shiny silver jewelry around their wrists and ankles too. The bus driver was enclosed within a thick plexiglass box with a few breathing holes.

After realizing that I wasn’t traveling with the Harlem Globe Trotters, and the jewelry was really chains and cuffs, I discovered I was riding on the convict release bus, and all along the way between Missouri and my Iowa destination, the driver would stop at little towns and release two or three guys at a time. He signed their release papers inside the envelope and said goodbye. I asked him why they let a pregnant woman ride this bus, and me for that matter too. Driver said the lady was not pregnant, but an undercover police woman planted on board to see if any of the fellas would bother her. He said I was his last stop, and this was the only bus going my way.

We arrived in Iowa to a parking lot filled with more guys in orange jump suits, lead by another pregnant woman. I was purchasing a car there, so I drove it back to Missouri alone, wondering what those ladies get paid, and vowing to never go Grey Hound again.

Have a nice trip.

FutureMemory's avatar

Many hundreds of times.

Sit as close to the front as possible. Unsavory types almost always sit as close to the back as they can (Greyhound is the preferred transportation home for newly released convicts…I’ve been on a bus with more than 30 ex-cons going home, no joke).

Despite the no smoking signs, some joker almost always thinks they can get away with taking a few puffs in the bathroom.

Greyhound’s don’t smell so great. Not as in dirty, more like…old, musty, poorly ventilated.

The drivers do their job well. Sometimes they’ll chat for hours with the person sitting directly behind them.

Oh one last thing, they can sometimes be very cold. Like someone said above, bring a sweater or something else to keep you warm.

You might want to bring a change of clothes for when you get home. Yes it does smell that bad sometimes.

Darth_Algar's avatar

3 hours? I assume you’re going about 20 miles then?

FutureMemory's avatar

Just wanted to add that I’ve never felt myself to be in danger while riding a Greyhound. My comment about sitting as close to the front in order to avoid the ‘unsavory’ types is mostly because you can then avoid having to listen to their mind-numbing conversation. I highly suggest you bring a portable music device to ensure your ability to tune out everyone around you.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I’ve travelled with Greyhound several times in various parts of the country, and always found it to be fine. The terminal might be a little grubby, depending on what region it’s in, but whatever. Show up early, because believe it or not, having bought a ticket does not guarantee you a seat with Greyhound.

The stories people have told above about ex-convicts, filth, and bad smells sound foreign to me, but then I’m in Canada. Maybe we just keep our buses cleaner.

JLeslie's avatar

Yup. Bring tissue just in case the bathroom is out. Don’t drink a lot before the trip, maybe you’ll make it through without needing to pee. It isn’t horrible if you do need to use the bathroom. Bring something to read, or download a movie on your iPad, or something similar to make the time pass.

I’ve never had a bad experience on a bus.

Zaku's avatar

I have taken Greyhound several times, though over ten years ago. I usually enjoyed the first hour or maybe three. Not so much the multi-day treks, which I have also done. It depends a lot on where you are going and who is on the bus with you. Sometimes the other passengers can be annoying in… interesting ways. Avoid being too near the bathroom at the back. Enjoy the ride.

talljasperman's avatar

Security is tight since the beheading of one passenger by another , in Canada. You can’t even bring knitting needles any more. So I suggest packing light so as to get through security quicker.

Zaku's avatar

@talljasperman LOL seriously?

talljasperman's avatar

@Zaku Yes. it is true in Manatoba July 29, 2008 .Google wiki killing of TIM McLean he was decapitated and eaten by Vince Weiguang Li. On a greyhound bus.

talljasperman's avatar

Google Killing of Tim McLean. Sorry that I don’t know how to link with my smartphone.

Zaku's avatar

Ok, thanks… wow. And they really now search for weapons because of a lunatic cannibal? Egad.

talljasperman's avatar

Yes. I had to empty my full pockets and watch them riffle in my carry on.

dappled_leaves's avatar

They only do that in certain cities. I’ve been on Greyhounds with no bag check since that incident.

Aethelwine's avatar

They smell.

I once took Greyhound from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo and ran into a man I had met in Vegas a year earlier. He was from Boston and I was from Vegas and there we were riding the same bus along the California coast. Small world, eh?

Here2_4's avatar

I have ridden. My first time was long ago. Smoking was still legal in the back few seats. That was to visit my grandmother, and we stopped in a prison town on the way. A guy got on and he had a folder with the prison emblem on it. That was scary. I have ridden other times more recently than that. Do not forget to “go” before you go. You do not want to “hover” over a nasty hole with no seat on a jolting bus! You must have your own tissue just in case, anyway. Who can stand those little sandpaper squares?
You will want hand sanitizer. I agree on those points already mentioned above.
If you bring a beverage, know that soda pop will be flat in five minutes of all that vibration.
Something else would be a better choice. Be there with time to spare. It seems each terminal has its own method for creating delays.
Name tag everything. Everything. Name tags are free at the counter.
The ride can be fun, in spite of the musty smell. It is better close to the front.
Have your ticket handy as you approach the bus. They take it as you board, not after you are seared, as on a train.

JLeslie's avatar

I took Greyhound from Montreal, QC to Burlington, VT and I don’t remember any security getting on the bus. All I remember is US immigration was tougher at that border than I had ever experienced at any border or airport. I travelled in the summer of 2010 I think.

Strauss's avatar

Haven’t traveled Greyhound in a long time. comments about bring blankets or something to keep warm; get to the station early; sit toward the front; avoid using on-board facilities if at all possible; were as true then as they are today. Seats are pretty comfortable (for the first 4–5 hours). Bring something to read and/or something to listen to.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Personally I’ve never taken Greyhound myself. My father use to all the time though. Through the mid 1980s – mid 1990s he worked on a river barge which went all over the eastern half of the country. Whenever it was his time to get on or off he had to board/depart right there, no matter how far from home he was. Getting there and back was his responsibility, the company did not provide transport, so he ended up riding Greyhound quite a lot. Pretty much everything that’s been said in this thread jives with what he’s told me about them.

LostInParadise's avatar

I once took a Greyhound bus from Philadelphia to Atlantic City for free. They let us off at a casino. I thought it was a pretty good deal, since I am not much of a gambler. I don’t know if those rides are available anymore. Mostly senior citizens on the bus. The ride was okay, but for going any distance by mass transit, I much prefer taking a train. It is difficult to read on a bus.

hug_of_war's avatar

It went fine. no one tried to knife me.

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