Have you ever been stuck waiting with your child, a rat and a pigeon at 1:00 in the morning? Well, I have. Coming back to the United States all the way from Dublin, Ireland was a nightmare for me and I want to give the credit to Greyhound Transportation Services.
The trip started with a flight from Dublin, Ireland to our first layover in Oslo, Norway. We flew Norwegian and we had a smooth flight with no interruptions. In fact, I was happy about the 5 hour layover in Oslo, Norway. I had never been to Norway and it was another stamp in my passport, even if it was just for 5 hours. I had a glass of wine and my daughter and I had a lovely Norwegian meal at the airport. By the way, there is an indoor play center for children at the airport. Bonus Points for Oslo.
The Cushy Middle
We boarded our plane for our 8 hour flight from Oslo to JFK in New York. We landed and spent over an hour in line for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Every other country has their own citizen “VIP” line and I keep expecting the U.S. to do the same for U.S. Citizens, but they don’t. For example, when entering the EU (Europe), there is a EU Citizen line and Non-EU Citizen line. The EU Citizen line always goes lightening fast. Well, this does not apply for U.S. Citizens in the U.S. After we made it through Customs, got all 6 pieces of luggage that I had brought (I am certifiably insane for doing that) we headed to get a taxi to Port Authority Bus Station.
Waiting with Babies, Rats and Pigeons
Not only did it cost me $60 for the taxi ride from JFK Airport to the Bus Station, but it was a hoot moving 6 pieces of luggage with my 4 year old daughter in the middle of New York. I finally get in the bus station, checked in and we wait for the bus to arrive. It’s now 1:00Am, the time our bus was scheduled to leave New York. However, there was no bus. We wait some more. 1:20AM, still no bus. We ask the employees at Port Authority and they say they have no idea how long until the bus arrives. We waited and waited. But, it wasn’t all snores there. A rat and a few pigeons decided to join the travellers in the bus station. Fast forward 4 HOURS to 5:00AM and the bus finally arrives.
My daughter and I are the last to board the bus, afterall I had 6 pieces of luggage to load. We discover, there are NO SEATS left on the bus. At this point, I was about to fall to my knees and ball my eyes out. I begged, pleaded with another parent on the bus to let their child sit on their lap, so that we would have a seat. A few parents told me no, that they wouldn’t do it. The bus driver tells me that my daughter and I must get off the bus and wait for the next one to arrive. When I asked when the next bus would be here, he informed me that it was not his job nor his problem to know about other buses’ schedules. As I slowly crept my way off the bus, a few women on the bus started yelling and pleading for someone to share a seat with us. Finally, the sweetest mother in the world took her 6 year old daughter on her lap so that my daughter could sit on mine.
At 5:00Am we were finally off to Washington D.C. I then discovered that their advertised “Free Wifi” was a joke and the bus driver thought he was the Almighty Zeus or something. He laid out his rules of no fighting or talking on cell phones, that loud conversations would distract him from his job. I just sat there, grateful for my seat and appalled at my journey. I now had been up for more than 24 hours and I was mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted.
The mother that had helped give me a seat began talking to me and her daughter spent the majority of the bus ride playing with my daughter. We soon became friends and exchanged information. She had also informed me that Greyhound was known for their bus drivers being late and their buses breaking down in the middle of a trip.
To The Bitter End
I arrived in Washington D.C. at 10:30AM and took a taxi home (15 minutes away). I called Greyhound wanting a refund for my ticket, my time and my sanity (because I officially lost it on that trip). I was disconnected twice, transferred 4 times and told I would get a call back. After 3 more days, I called back again. Finally the 3rd customer service representative informed me that she could give me a partial refund to compensate for my time (forget the fact that I purchased a ticket for my daughter and she sat on my lap- I’m thinking she might’ve gained a few lbs). I am waiting for the partial refund, it has yet to hit my bank account.
My entire point of this post was to warn anyone considering using Greyhound Transportation Services and to also get out some of my pent up aggression towards them. I implore you to look at the comments on their Facebook page and their reviews. They are absolutely horrific. I truly hope that anyone who has shared a bad experience with them gets a refund as well.