Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Greyhound Sucks!

Next week I'm off to on the Greyhound bus on a business trip. However arranging to take Greyhound was not easy.

Last week I did my research on how to get to Detroit, Michigan from Toronto. I tried looking at VIA Rail, nothing goes there. I tried AMTRAK (VIA Rail's American cousin). The only thing I could find on AMTRAK was a trip from Toronto to Detroit via Buffalo that would take me twice as long and twice the cost as the cost of Greyhound. So I put together a proposal for my boss using Greyhound as the option.

This morning I had the proposal approved and was started ordering my tickets. First I secured my hotel room as I was afraid of the scenario of having transit to Detroit and no roof over my head at night.

Next I went to Greyhound's website to order my tickets. For my round trip I selected the right cities, dates and times as per the ordering process. However, before I could get to the last step, the final payment I was stopped. I couldn't buy my tickets for this trip online! Greyhound couldn't MAIL me the tickets within that time period!

Let me get this strait, I can successfully purchase Air Canada tickets or even VIA Rail tickets two hours before the flight online but I can't do it with Greyhound? Is there something wrong with this picture? Is this company living in the past?

I walked down the hall from the office to the travel agent we deal with in our office building. The representative we normally deal with said that his company doesn't deal with Greyhound because they are a "Mickey Mouse Operation". In hindsight, I believe Disney, the founders of Mickey Mouse, would be deeply offended. You can probably purchase your day pass to Walt Disney World online, but yet Greyhound can't do it for simple bus ride? Go figure.

So I called Greyhound Customer Service to see what could be done. I was told by Greyhound Customer Service, based in Arizona of all places, that I would have to visit the terminal to purchase my ticket. Since I was going north after work instead of south into Downtown Toronto, I asked if there were other locations north of the City. The person said they didn't know the area that well. So I asked if there were ticket agents in Richmond Hill, Aurora, or Newmarket? The agent replied there wasn't and probably that was because the places were too small! I nearly fell of my chair laughing....the population ranges of these towns is 42,000 to well over 100,000 residents.

I asked if there was an agent at York University. She replied there was and gave me the address of the agent as beein in the "William Small Building. However, I couldn't locate the ticket agent even though I am a recent alumni of York University. I told the agent this and she said my other option was to order over the phone and pay around ten dollars in service charges. So I said forget it I will just go to Downtown Toronto to pick up the ticket.

So after work I headed downtown to Bay & Dundas Streets. I quickly moved through the line for tickets. I showed the ticket lady behind the glass the dates and times I was leaving and returning. She said it didn't matter what dates and sold me the round trip tickets from Toronto to Detroit and Detroit to Toronto. She noted the seats were first come first served and the tickets were good for any day. So apparently I have to get to the bus station in Toronto early that day. GREAT! I paid and thanked her for her assistance believing this headeache was finally over.

As I was walking away I read over my ticket and it noted it was not valid for "Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Holidays". Since my return from Detroit was on a Friday I inquired with the Greyhound Customer Service. They said to go back to the ticket agents and try again. So back in line I got.

I ended up with a surely male ticket agent. I explained to him that since the first time it had obviously been screwed up I would like to explain what I was trying to do. He wouldn't even hear me and issued me a $2.65 ticket upgrade or I could go back to the original ticket lady who already had a family of four standing in front of her trying to get tickets.

I paid the absurd $2.65 ticket upgrade to travel on a Friday despite it being Greyhound's falt for:

1.Not allowing me to purchase my ticket online with ease.

2. Having an agent not listening to me or reading the computer print out I had of the scheduled dates and times for the trips from their very own website.

I then tried to complain to Mr. Surly Agent that I had tried doing my tickets online but it not allowing me. He said that he didn't work for Greyhound and that I should see Greyhound Customer service around the corner. He said, and this explains it all, he worked for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). I asked if he sold Greyhound tickets? He said yes. I said then you do work for Greyhound otherwise you were selling illegal tickets for Greyhound and should be arrested.

I then continued on to say their website needed significant upgrades so that I could purchase and print my tickets online like Greyhound's competitors VIA Rail, Porter Air Lines, and Air Canada. He nodded his head and said "OK" with a smirk on his face. I said thanks for the GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE! and left. I knew Greyhound wouldn't hear anything about my complaint from our friend and "it is not my job" union worker Mr. Surly.

I believe if Greyhound didn't have a monopoly on bus service (because trains don't seem to go everywhere....right Calgary & VIA Rail?) this company would be sunk. But because it has a monopoly it can provide such great outstanding customer service like I received!

So thanks again Greyhound for the exquisite online ticketing options, customer serive and charging me an extra $2.65 for my ticket.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the writeup.
    I could not agree more.

    You did however, save me the pain of bothering to call Customer Service. I'll just go downtown and buy my tix.
    -Joseph- shrike@heinous.org


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