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Old 05-02-06, 12:08 PM   #1
johnnygofaster
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Greyhound Bus: Any experience?

I did a forum search and was surprised to see this was not addressed in a dedicated thread.

Greyhound says they'll let you load a bike, provided it's in a case/box no longer than 62" x something. Seems like a decent deal: ride one way and then take the bus back (always a cultural experience in itself).

Someone must have done this. How did it go?

Cheers,
Brian
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Old 05-02-06, 12:41 PM   #2
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If you are taking Greyhound in Australia, it will be a pleasant trip, you will be comfortable and well-treated, and you might even get away without having to box your bicycle.

If you are taking Greyhound in Canada, it will be a pleasant trip, you will be comfortable and well-treated, but you will have to box your bicycle.

If you are taking Greyhound in USA, it will be an unpleasant trip, you will not be well-treated, and you will definitely have to box your bicycle.



I couldn't believe how horrible the Greyhounds in the US were when I took them last summer!!!!
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Old 05-02-06, 12:47 PM   #3
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Never taken a bike on board, but I've spent more hours than I care to count riding around the country on greyhound busses. It shouldn't be a problem at all, you can watch them load and unload baggage, there's little or no chance a whole bunch of heavy **** will end up on top of your box, etc. The biggest downside, imo, will be all the time you'll spend on the bus (how far are you planning to go?)... might make you very stiff and sore, especially after a long ride.

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I couldn't believe how horrible the Greyhounds in the US were when I took them last summer!!!!
Sad but true. Most "third-world" countries have better long-distance bus services.
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Old 05-02-06, 01:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachS
Sad but true. Most "third-world" countries have better long-distance bus services.
+1

Avoid Geryhound in the States at all costs.

In New England Peter Pan used to be decent, perhaps some one with some recent experence can chime in on them.
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Old 05-02-06, 01:33 PM   #5
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if you're in/near a big city, check out the cinatown bus situation. definitely risky, but sometimes they get you there faster and cheaper. sometimes you end up in baltimore at 3 am...

if you do go greyhound box the bike yourself (can't stress this enough). pack it carefully, as they will not be delicate. make sure at EVERY stop that they don't unload it and leave it sitting there.

peter pan's a little better, but the above all still apply.

other than that, it aint so bad. you get what you pay for.
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Old 05-02-06, 02:14 PM   #6
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I've taken Greyhound in the States twice. Once, at the end of a tour, I took it from Eureka to San Francisco. And once, to start a tour, I took it from San Francisco to Eureka.

In both cases, there were no problems. I had my bike boxed as they requested.

From Eureka to San Francisco, there were a number of guys on the bus who had words tattoed on their necks and foreheads. A woman explained to us that there a prison in Oregon that gives prisoners a one way ticket to San Francisco when they're released.
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Old 05-02-06, 02:31 PM   #7
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My first pick is always Amtrak, but I have ridden the "dog" quite a few times with a bike. I never had a hassle and the drivers almost always let you load and unload your bike yourself. You come across some interesting but occasionaly rough characters on buses but I never had any hassles. Same common sense rules apply on a bus as they do everywhere else, don't show your money and keep personal information to yourself.
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Old 05-02-06, 03:03 PM   #8
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Johnny -

Like Machka, I've had the pleasure of riding busses in a lot of places. As a kid I rode the "Chicken Bus " in Puerto Rico and, despite the poultry, it was a better experience than Greyhound in the U.S. of A. of late. Greyhound is the way that poor people get around in the U.S. and it shows. I rode next to a guy who had just gotten out of the Cal State pen - everything he owned was wrapped up in a cellophane wrap bundle - why they wouldn't give parolees at least a cheapo gym bag - is beyond me. A goodly number of folks taking Greyhound in the U.S. have marginal social skills and some are even borderline. My experience is that Greyhound is worst on major cross-country runs -- those routes usually have Amtrak options. Use Amtrak even if it runs late.

Greyhound has gotten rid of most of its feeder lines in the U.S. in the past two years. BE CAREFUL! If a website says there is bus service to Nowheresville - double and triple check. Maybe half of these feeders were taken over by regional transit - but other routes are no longer served. For example - through service on US 101 on the Pacific Coast is now gone. The replacement services are local and difficult to link up with. In Canada, Greyhound is much, much better - - but then, it's Canada.

Best - J
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Old 05-02-06, 04:00 PM   #9
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I was warned to watch them as we changed busses and sure enough, they put my bike on the wrong bus. I had to argue with them for a couple minutes until they put it on the right bus. When I got to my destination and asked the driver to unload my bike, she swore there was no bike on the bus. I had to argue with her to get her to open the cargo door and look. I thought she was going to call the cops on me. When she finally opened it and couldn't see the bike box, she got even madder. I dug it out and she didn't say anything.
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Old 05-02-06, 04:27 PM   #10
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I put mine in a bike box (under the required dimensions) and they charged me $25 extra for it. Total bull****.
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Old 05-02-06, 05:47 PM   #11
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I had a bad experience with Greyhound in the states. I took the bus to Georgia from Michigan. I was going to do the bike accross Georgia,BRAG. I had decided to take the bus because I did not want to be separated from my bike. Needless to say, when I got to Ohio my bike went on one bus and I was on another bus. We won't discuss the rude drivers and the nasty smells on the bus. It was one of my worse experiences.





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Old 05-02-06, 08:03 PM   #12
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I have riden several busses in the us and found that a little respect and a crumpled doller or two helpes things along greatly.
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Old 05-02-06, 08:47 PM   #13
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I once had a transfer in Chicago to a NYC-Chicago express line. When they unloaded my bike, they drug it off to a baggage room and I could see it there in the room. I went up to the person and asked if there was a claim ticket so I can get my bike when I make the transfer, they said that there was no bike back there (even though it was in plain view). To make a long story short, it required yelling before they let me back and I showed them my information inside the handlebar of the bike matched my drivers license. Based on the behaviour of one of the men behind the counter, I sincerely believe the intent was to steal my bike
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Old 05-03-06, 12:49 AM   #14
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Some good points among the comments here .... let me back some of them up .....

1) The US Greyhound will NOT treat your bicycle nicely ... in fact, they hate the very fact that it is there, and will tell you that to your face. A few times I was standing there by the bus in the middle of the night, when they hauled all the passengers, and all our stuff, off so that they could, once again, switch busses ...... and I was gasping in horror to see how they treated my boxed bike. It was all I could do to keep calm, but I figured if I became irate, they'd really damage it.

2) They will haul everyone and all their stuff off the busses every couple hours, and leave you standing there with your bicycle box and all your luggage for several hours in the middle of the night. During that time you will discover that nothing is open, so you can't get anything to eat or drink, and you will not feel comfortable with the idea of leaving your stuff sitting there to go to the toilet.

3) Definitely keep any baggage tags they give you!!!! In fact, if they tell you that your boxed bicycle does not need a baggage tag, tell them it does, and watch them put it on, or put it on yourself!! They should have sticky tags with claim numbers which will adhere themselves to the box, and they should have a copy to give to you which will likely be attached to your ticket in some way. In a couple places I've been, I was told that my bicycle did not need any tags or identification on it ... and they tried to take it away from me without the tags. I stopped them and insisted that my bicycle be tagged. And here's the thing ... when I arrived at my destination, the first thing they wanted was for me to show them my claim tags to ensure that they matched the bicycle's claim tags. At one place, I was fumbling around trying to find my claim tags (after about 36 hours of no sleep) and they just about hauled my bicycle away saying that obviously I didn't have the required information so the bicycle must not be mine. Fortunately I found my tags just then.

4) They will always charge you more than you expect ... and they'll pull out some stained and crumbled document to try to back up their claim.


If you have to travel through the US, and don't want to use a car or airplane ....... go Amtrak!! You'll be 17 hours late and will have spent an entire night sleeping on a wooden bench in a train station, but the ride is a lot more comfortable, and they will treat your bicycle better, and you will be able to go to the toilet and get something to eat!!

Last edited by Machka; 05-03-06 at 12:57 AM.
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Old 05-04-06, 10:47 AM   #15
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Allright. Great information, once again. Many thanks to all.

Love this forum. For every 1,000 internet forums there are 3 great ones.
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Old 05-05-06, 11:01 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Machka
...
If you have to travel through the US, and don't want to use a car or airplane ....... go Amtrak!! You'll be 17 hours late and will have spent an entire night sleeping on a wooden bench in a train station, but the ride is a lot more comfortable, and they will treat your bicycle better, and you will be able to go to the toilet and get something to eat!!
I was considering taking Amtrak from Washington, DC to Boston, MA for the BMB. Called Amtrak, and they said I couldn't take a bike on that train. Though maybe I didn't ask the right questions. In particular, I didn't ask about a bike box. Still, they weren't at all helpful. Nor were the Greyhound people, who said the bike would have to go freight on a different Greyhound.
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Old 05-05-06, 06:14 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebulls
I was considering taking Amtrak from Washington, DC to Boston, MA for the BMB. Called Amtrak, and they said I couldn't take a bike on that train. Though maybe I didn't ask the right questions. In particular, I didn't ask about a bike box. Still, they weren't at all helpful. Nor were the Greyhound people, who said the bike would have to go freight on a different Greyhound.
Amtrak only takes bicycles on board at certain stations... like about a third of the stations. You can check their website to see which ones accept bicycles.

http://www.amtrak.com/

Click on the Stations button, type in your departure city, etc., and look at the Checked Baggage link. If there is no link, AND if the words: "Help with baggage during baggage hours" do not appear, you cannot load your bicycle at that station.

Then type in your arrival city. It has to have the same information.

If you are in luck, then you need to show up at the station with your bicycle in a box. They do not sell boxes and will not accept your bicycle without a box. You can go to the baggage area (see the hours the baggage area is open) and check your boxed bicycle there. I would recommend doing that somewhat in advance. If you are at the station quite early, you can also check the rest of your luggage and they will hold it for you for 12 hours, or something like that, so you can wander around the city or do other things without having to carry around all your panniers etc. You'll pay $5 or something for that service. I did that, and it was well worth it! Just be sure to reclaim it before the baggage area closes or you might never see it again.

And ... when I mentioned Amtrak running late ... I was NOT kidding. Amtrak is notorious for being incredibly and ridiculously late. I was supposed to catch a midnight train out of Sacramento last July. I got there at about noon because that was when my ride could drop me off. I checked everything and wandered around Sacramento for a while, then returned to the station in the early evening to wait 4 or 5 hours for the train. 7:00 the next morning the train finally arrived, and by the time we got up to Eugene, where I was switching to Greyhound (yes, things were going from bad to worse for me on that trip!) we were about 10 or 11 hours late. I had to scramble to change all my plans.

So, if you are travelling by Amtrak, give yourself an extra day just in case.


And yes, Greyhound will threaten you with taking your bicycle on another bus ... that's their tactic to get more money out of you. If you pay them $25 or and watch them put a special tag on your bicycle indicating that it must travel with you, you've got a better chance of it being on your bus. But you've got to keep your wallet handy (but out of sight from all the criminals riding the bus), and an eye on your bicycle at every stop to keep handing over money and keep making sure it doesn't end up on another bus.


Really, for a supposed "Super Power" nation, you'd think they'd have better mass transportation options that they do!!
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Old 05-05-06, 07:14 PM   #18
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I had a incredibly bad experience with grey hound. I was going from portland oregon to ashland last summer. As we are going down the freeway in the middle of the worst high fire areas in the state, I hear this loud ripping sound, followed by the back of the bus (where i was sitting) lurch up a few feet. Then the buses back end started draging and swerving. In a few minutes i saw a fire truck screaming down the oposite side of the freeway. It took the bus driver over 20 minutes to even tell the passengers what happened. He said the one of the axels fell off the rear, into the brush, starting a fire. We stayed there for over two hours without A/c. A muntiny started among the smoking passengers who could'nt get off to smoke bacause of fear of another fire.

I ended up missing my connections, and was'nt given a refund of any kind. You'll meet some of the most unstable people in the USA on the plus side.
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Old 05-05-06, 09:11 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebulls
I was considering taking Amtrak from Washington, DC to Boston, MA for the BMB. Called Amtrak, and they said I couldn't take a bike on that train. Though maybe I didn't ask the right questions. In particular, I didn't ask about a bike box. Still, they weren't at all helpful. Nor were the Greyhound people, who said the bike would have to go freight on a different Greyhound.
If you call Amtrak on the phone you never get the right information. The website doesn't list all the trains between some destinations. You are better off to go to the station and get the schedule book , it lists all the trains in the AMTRAK system and which trains have baggage cars. Bicycles on most routes go as checked baggage. Amtrak has about 15 trains a day between Washington, NY and Boston but only two of those trains have baggage cars and because of the scheduling you need to check the bike in a day ahead of time so it gets there before you do. Amtrak provides a roll-in box( turn handle bars sideways and remove pedals) for $15. If you go to the station and talk to the guys in baggage they will tell you when you need to check the bike in to make sure it is there when you arrive.
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Old 05-07-06, 08:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
Really, for a supposed "Super Power" nation, you'd think they'd have better mass transportation options that they do!!

agreed, but incase you havent notice the ol' US of A is a big place. You have some great stories about the bus station. I have had the honor of riding by the Houston dog station. It;s an isntresting place

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A woman explained to us that there a prison in Oregon that gives prisoners a one way ticket to San Francisco when they're released.
This is competely true for Tx. Huntsville has a litany of prison units at all levels, min to max. The prisoners er .... freed convicts recieve 1 1-way ticket to Houston or Dallas. The houston station is the one that is right down the street from my office. Avoid it at all cost. Air fair is fairly reasonible. I have only flown with my bike internationally, do you guys get charged domestically for a bike?
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Old 05-07-06, 08:22 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbominnow
agreed, but incase you havent notice the ol' US of A is a big place. You have some great stories about the bus station. I have had the honor of riding by the Houston dog station. It;s an isntresting place
Brazil is as big as the continental US, and it has some of the most luxurious long-distance bus service in the world.

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Air fair is fairly reasonible. I have only flown with my bike internationally, do you guys get charged domestically for a bike?
$0-$100 depending on the airline and size of the bike. Usually at least $50.
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Old 05-07-06, 08:59 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachS
Brazil is as big as the continental US, and it has some of the most luxurious long-distance bus service in the world.



$0-$100 depending on the airline and size of the bike. Usually at least $50.

I enjoy the amenities of the US, bus travel aside. 50, isnt to bad, considering shipping a bike could cost that much.
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Old 05-07-06, 09:12 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbominnow
I enjoy the amenities of the US, bus travel aside. 50, isnt to bad, considering shipping a bike could cost that much.
It could, but when I go home in a week and a half, I'm sure FedEx will charge less than the $80 united will...
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Old 05-07-06, 09:33 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachS
Brazil is as big as the continental US, and it has some of the most luxurious long-distance bus service in the world.
.
yeah I went on a surf trip to Peru, which has some of the poorest places I've ever seen and I rode 10 hours on a bus there that I would take over a plane ride anyday! let alone a ride on a bus
but unfortunatly I'll be riding the greyhound in a month or so when I go on my trip because amtrak and flying are too much.
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Old 05-07-06, 09:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZachS
Brazil is as big as the continental US, and it has some of the most luxurious long-distance bus service in the world.
Same with both Australia and Canada!

I have ridden the bus several times in Canada and had a very positive experiences. In fact, at the tail end of my bus trip last July, we crossed the border into Canada, and I had to change to a Canadian bus ... what a difference!! We went from a piece of equipment in the US that is equivalent to a city transit bus to a beautiful, clean, comfortable coach. On other trips, we've made stops in small towns in the middle of the night .... and instead of being dropped off at a place that is completely closed and devoid of other humanity, except for the street people sleeping under the awning, we were always dropped off at places bustling with activity, ready and willing to serve us hot meals and everything!

The only thing with the Canadian greyhound is that they do want the bicycles boxed, they do prefer that the bicycles go freight, and they will charge extra for the bicycles.

I rode the bus several times in Australia too, and had a similarly good experience as I had in Canada ... clean, comfortable coaches, polite and pleasant staff, meals at all the stops, movies on the coaches as we drove through the night ... and even better ... they will take a bicycle unboxed and sometimes without an extra charge!
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