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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-14-06, 11:31 AM   #1
Roody
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Do you ever ride on the big gray dog?

That would be the Greyhound bus. It is just about the only interurban bus service in the U.S. (and Canada?), since most other bus lines are actually owned by Greyhound. Here in the midwest, it is virtually the only means of transport between cities, other than auto or plane.

I surprised myself when I calculated that I ride Greyhound for over 5,000 miles a year--about the same mileage that I put on my bike!

Tell us about your experiences with Greyhound, or why you wouldn't get on a bus even if they gave you hot towels and homebaked cookies.....
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Old 01-14-06, 12:04 PM   #2
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Not since 1989.

No notable experiences. I used to travel to see my girlfriend at Geneseo College, before I got a car. I would just sit there and read and hope it got over with and that nobody too large would sit next to me and crowd my space.
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Old 01-14-06, 12:46 PM   #3
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Why would you take a bus...ok it is easyer and faster, but thats why you build a touring bike...well thats why I did.

Good Luck,

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Old 01-14-06, 01:26 PM   #4
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In the late '60s and to the early '80s I rode the dog a lot. Most notably was in '78 and '79 when I bought month-long Ameripasses and toured the country, traveling at night and doing the tourist thing during the day.

I learned then, that the front seat was the only seat. I would show up at the terminal well before the bus left to be first in line.

It was a kick and those open empty miles through Arizona, Texas, Nebraska and everywhere else were great for reflecting on my life and where I wanted to be going.

Ah, but things have changed so much. Last time I rode the dog was Palm Springs to LA, round trip for the SIGGRAPH conference where I was a speaker. Leaving LA my luggage was searched. They've moved the terminal to a worse part of town than it used to be in.

But for short distances, it may well be the best answer. Recently I was contemplating a last-minute trip from Little Rock to Nashville. After reviewing the options, the dog was faster and cheaper than taking an airplane. No airlines would go direct between them, so I had to go via Chicago if taking the airline. The bus was direct.
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Old 01-14-06, 03:25 PM   #5
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I've gone Greyhound, but it's so slooooow. A 3-hour drive is 6 hours by Greyhound.

If I get my driver's license in the future, then I probably would rent a car rather than go by Greyhound... but it's not horrible. It's cheap. It's been on time for me more consistently than Amtrak.
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Old 01-14-06, 04:33 PM   #6
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My experiences of riding Greyhound and its subsidiary, Vermont Transit, have been mixed. I ride the Big Gray Dog often, and my experiences are in the following categories:

On one hand, there are experiences that are favorable. When I ride the bus it's usually to places I go to quite often. Therefore, the station managers and most drivers of the route I take know me by name and sight. This helped around Sept. 11, 2001. Their services as a bus line have also been fairly dependable and predictable.

On the other hand, there are also unfavorable experiences. For example, someone in the station stole my wallet from me just after I paid for a ticket. That doesn't count for those times while riding on the bus. On one of my trips, 5 other passengers sitting around me had just been released from 2 different prisons. It's also nearly impossible to sleep, even if you have to. Not to mention how crowded it can get. That's why I call the bus "The Buckboard Express".
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Old 01-14-06, 08:32 PM   #7
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Last time was courtesy of Uncle Sam. Transferring from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri to Fort Rucker, Alabama. We must have stopped in every small town along the way. I did get to spend 2 hours in Memphis though. Went to the Peabody Hotel and saw the ducks in the fountain and the duck march. That trip had to have been 20-22 hours on the bus. It was cramped and uncomfortable but I did get to see parts of the country and meet many interesting people I wouldn't have otherwise.
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Old 01-15-06, 01:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geeklpc1985
Why would you take a bus...ok it is easyer and faster, but thats why you build a touring bike...well thats why I did.

Good Luck,

Super Geek
I'm glad you asked that.

I visit my dad and sister in a city about 200 miles away every four weeks for five days. This is a habit I began when my mother told me she had a terminal illness and I wanted to spend as much time with her as possible in the time she had left. Mom's gone now, but I value the time I spend with my dad, who also has serious health problems.

Obviously, cycling that far that often would be nigh on to impossible. Airlines are impractical for those distances, at least here in the midwest. There's no train service, and even if there was it would probably cost twice as much as the bus.

Service has been curtailed over the last few years because Greyhound's screwy business model seems to call for saving money by making routes as scarce and inconvenient as possible. Still, the trip there takes about seven hours with an enjoyable 90 minute layover in Grand Rapids. The trip home is about five hours. By car, it takes between three and four hours. By bike, who knows?
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Old 01-15-06, 04:00 PM   #9
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I ride greyhound a few times a year, usually a 3000 km round trip each time. I have had some interesting trips. On one the RCMP and Military Police stopped the bus, came in with guns drawn and arrested a 15 year old girl. It was quite the experience.

I enjoy the long trips with strangers, it always gives you a good story. I my home province we have STC (Saskatchewan Transport Company), we are still a good Socialist stronghold.
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Old 01-15-06, 06:00 PM   #10
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I guess your seat-mate makes or breaks the trip. I've had good luck on planes, but never had to take a bus. I'll remain optimistic, should I ever take a bus trip.
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Old 01-15-06, 06:19 PM   #11
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I've bused between my home and my sister - about 200miles. Just as fast as driving on the routes I've taken (and the speeds I drive - slow, steady, efficient) and much cheaper.

No isssues - just like taking a plane without the security hassles. If a passenger were ever out of line, I suspect the driver would boot them from the bus PDQ.

Come to think of it, on any domestic trip under about 250miles, the bus would compare very favorably to a commercial flight on account of the check-in & security surrounding flying.
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Old 01-15-06, 08:05 PM   #12
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I went from central Colorado to northeast Missouri to see my family for Christmas. I thought about driving (I currently own a van that I never use) but when I did the math, it was cheaper to take the train or the bus, and that was figuring just gas - not counting a motel stay each direction, wear and tear, and any maintenance or repairs necessary. I ended up taking Amtrak out and Greyhound back, both overnight trips. The seating on the train was much more conducive to sleeping, but the fact that on the bus there's nowhere for people to go meant that it was a quieter ride. (On the train I was at the front of the car directly behind the lounge car - with the bar. And the front door of my car was broken, so it was open the whole time.) On both trips I had no seatmate, so having two seats to myself allowed me to stretch out nicely. It seemed like the bus people were weirder than the train people, but then I didn't get out or see many people getting on or off when the train stopped; on the bus I was in the front and saw everyone who went out for a smoke break each time. (Like the one crazy lady, travelling with her silent husband and her punk-ass, Eminem-wanna-be kid who badmouthed them both. She was a heavy smoker, constantly coughing and frequently spitting. At one stop at a gas station she went over to a guy who pulled in to fill up and bummed some change off of him. She didn't go in and spend it, either, she just put it in her pocket and got back on the bus.)
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Old 01-15-06, 08:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by attercoppe
[snip] At one stop at a gas station she went over to a guy who pulled in to fill up and bummed some change off of him. She didn't go in and spend it, either, she just put it in her pocket and got back on the bus.)
That was her other son, the one that escaped to a better life.
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Old 01-16-06, 01:51 AM   #14
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When I first read the thread title, I immediately thought of Clifford.

But Clifford is a big, red dog.

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Old 01-16-06, 06:07 AM   #15
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I took the Greyhound from Sault Ste. Marie to Kenora, Ontario to fulfil a contract, during an Air Canada Strike around 1999. It was about 15 hours, from midnight to early afternoon. There's no middle armrest, and for the first three hours I sat beside a teenage girl. As the bus raced around the curves of the Lake Superior Highlands, passing everything in sight, we were continually jostled against each other. She got off at Wawa and for the next 12 hours I had the two seats to myself and managed to sleep much of the night. I even slept through the bus getting pulled over and one of our passengers getting arrested just after White River (original home of Winnie the Pooh...ask me about that) after he shoplifted at the rest stop. I hardly ate or drank, and didn't pee for almost the entire trip.
There was nobody horrible near me, but more than one of the passengers was on a multiday trip across Canada, freshening up in rest stops along the way.
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Old 01-17-06, 04:53 PM   #16
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On the east coast there are cheaper alternatives to Greyhound. Yesterday a friend put her son and mother on the "Chinese Bus". It went between china town in DC and china town in NY with a stop in Philly. These busses have low overhead because they have no terminal, the bus picks you up on a certain corner or parking lot. Check the asian papers in your town you might find a bargain. In DC, one of the pickup spots is near 6th and I NW a more convenient location than the greyhound terminal. There is also a NY bus called peter pan. A friend thinks peter pan is just as good as greyhound and a little cheaper.

I agree with a previous poster that the front seats are better on the greyhound. I took the bus many times. The longest was from Rapid City SD to Melbourne Fla. via Omaha, Chicago, DC and numerous other stops. As I recall, not all the connecting busses were greyhound, some were trailways and others. The last time I took an intercity bus was between Montreal and Quebec. No complaints. I forgot the company, it was just a bus trip. I like the way the buses usually stop near the heart of the city.
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Old 01-17-06, 05:26 PM   #17
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On the east coast there are cheaper alternatives to Greyhound. Yesterday a friend put her son and mother on the "Chinese Bus". It went between china town in DC and china town in NY with a stop in Philly. These busses have low overhead because they have no terminal, the bus picks you up on a certain corner or parking lot. Check the asian papers in your town you might find a bargain. In DC, one of the pickup spots is near 6th and I NW a more convenient location than the greyhound terminal. There is also a NY bus called peter pan. A friend thinks peter pan is just as good as greyhound and a little cheaper.

I agree with a previous poster that the front seats are better on the greyhound. I took the bus many times. The longest was from Rapid City SD to Melbourne Fla. via Omaha, Chicago, DC and numerous other stops. As I recall, not all the connecting busses were greyhound, some were trailways and others. The last time I took an intercity bus was between Montreal and Quebec. No complaints. I forgot the company, it was just a bus trip. I like the way the buses usually stop near the heart of the city.
The Chinatown busses are independent operators. Virtually every other interurban bus line in North America is owned "secretly" by Greyhound. That is, they don't advertise their connection because they probably want to sustain the illusion that there is competition.

Also, Greyhound does not own many of the busses they operate. They lease the busses from state governments for a dollar a year. How did Greyhound swing this? They threaten to cut service to different towns and cities. Since they're a monopoly, the governments take the threats seriously and cave in to demands for greater subsidies.

Oh well, governments have always subsidized train, plane and auto traffic, why not busses too? I just wish they'd subsidize cycling. I wouldn't mind leasing a nice new bike from the state of Michigan for a buck a year!
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Old 01-18-06, 11:58 AM   #18
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A friend thinks peter pan is just as good as greyhound and a little cheaper.
It was my understanding that greyhound and peter pan are the same company. I'd buy a ticket for greyhound and hop on a bus with a big peter pan logo on it and a small greyhound logo placed unobtrusively somewhere... or something like that.

When you want to get somewhere fairly quickly and without much expense, interurban buses work pretty well. I don't really know how to pull off multi-day bike trips and even if I did, I usually don't have time, what with school schedules, etc. So there are times where the bus is really the choice for me.
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