I have traveled all over America and sometimes, that included using the Greyhound Bus Line. It is not as bad as some may it out to be. In fact, there has been some major updates to the buses they use in recent years. It can be a pretty cheap way to visit different places.
I believe my first time on one was going to Tulsa from my hometown just north of Kansas City. I know I have taken a bus to Los Angeles via Las Vegas and Miami as well. I won’t forget the long bus ride from Corpus Christi to Saint Joseph, Missouri.
While I prefer to use the Amtrak system these days, I still find that using the Greyhound Bus lines is needed from time to time. It does have its’ place and using the two together is normally the best way to go. Interestingly, Amtrak now works with them for ticketing them together too!
The biggest benefit to using the bus is you can get wherever you need to go for cheap. I have gotten off the bus at Cleveland, Tennessee from Missouri for most a lot more than a taxi from the neighboring Chattanooga would have been.
A quick look at their website sounds that one could travel from San Diego, California to Bangor, Maine for about $149. This is assuming you would want to be on a bus for basically four day straight. In most cases, traveling to a different city is normally between $50 and $100.
How does Greyhound Bus Line operate
There is really three ways to get a ticket for the bus. You can go to the bus terminal and book a ticket with cash, you can book it over the phone by calling 1-800-231-2222, or you can book online at their website. I normally just book online. Be aware if you do it online, they might ask you for the physical credit card when you check in.
The next thing you do is just go to the terminal the day you are to leave about an hour before and check in. You can take up to 50 pounds with you under the bus and a backpack with you on the bus. You just have to tag the bag that goes under and wait for your bus to be called. When they announce it, you will line up and get on the bus. There should be someone to help you put your bag under the bus.
If you are going far, you might need to transfer to another bus. In most cases, you just have to repeat the process at each leg of the journey. You don’t have to check back in but you take your bag off the bus and wait with it for the next bus to be called and put it under the bus again. It is not like the airlines who handle the transfers completely on their own.
When you finally get to your final stop, you just get off the bus and ask them for your bag. If you are a terminal, everyone is doing this like mentioned above. If you are getting off at a stop along the way; the driver will help you get your bag out from the underside of the coach and tell you thank you for using Greyhound Bus Lines.
What about these upgrades to the buses?
According to their website, they have added a few things that are worth knowing. The first of these would be the plugin for laptops and phones to charge right on the bus. This use to be a major issue because everyone was trying to charge their phones at every stop just to get a little juice. It was a major pain. I am glad to see that they have added, not just the USB option for smartphones but also a regular 110V plug for people with laptops. This is very welcomed by many I am sure.
With that, wifi is not on every bus. This is a big benefit and something that I personally would use on their long trips. It would be nice to have the ability to plug in my laptop and using the internet to work on the website while I am transferring from Atlanta to New York. I am sure that the connection is not the speeds of Google Fiber but at long as it beats dailup, I can make it work!
The third upgrade that I see is they have made a little more legroom on the buses. This is something that I would love as well. When you stand between 6’3″ and 6’4″; having a few more inches for the next twelve hours is something you learn to valve.
Good job, Greyhound Bus Line!
What about eating along the way
Let’s get the elephants in the room addressed: the food courts at the terminals are expensive for what they offer and they are not the most healthy food, either. However, the pricing is not anymore than you would find at most airports in the country. It is worth mentioning that many terminals are still in downtown districts of the cities so finding Whataburger or McDonalds is normally possible.
In most cases, if not all, the restaurants in the terminal is open around the clock and they normally have some food ready to order. It is normally a few options to pick from but it works when in a hurry. I am not a fan of their microwaveable options but their cafeteria style options are normally quite acceptable.
If you have more than thirty minutes between bus transfers and you don’t have trouble moving around luggage; I would highly recommend to venture out and find some decent food. An example of this is that across the street from the terminal in Memphis is Denny’s. You don’t pay that much more for the food but it is far better and there is more food to the order on average. The same is true in Dallas.