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Old November 13th, 2007, 07:54 AM   #1
hkskyline
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MISC | Greyhound Bus Thread

Greyhound touting overhaul of buses, many terminals
12 November 2007

DALLAS (AP) - The old dog is getting a new look.

Greyhound Lines Inc. says it has spent $60 million over the past three years to freshen up its fleet of 1,250 buses and its largest terminals.

Next, the company plans an advertising campaign designed to bring back former customers and attract new riders between 18 and 24, and Hispanics.

Greyhound officials say the makeover is part of an upgrade that began in 2004, when the company eliminated many small-town stops and routes to speed up service between larger cities.

Patty Herbeck, Greyhound's director of marketing, said the company has refurbished more than 900 buses with new seats and paint jobs and spruced up 125 of its roughly 940 terminals by repainting, renovating restrooms and adding plasma-screen televisions in waiting areas.

Dallas-based Greyhound traces its roots to 1914, when a Swedish immigrant named Carl Eric Wickman charged Minnesota miners 15 cents to ride between Hibbing and Alice. By 1987, it grew into the largest intercity bus line in the country.

In the early 1990s, however, the company went through a three-year labor strike, growing losses and a spin through bankruptcy court. More recently, it has gone through several changes in leaders and ownership. Since Oct. 1, it's been a division of FirstGroup PLC, a British bus and rail operator.

Ridership declined after Greyhound eliminated about 1,000 destinations in 2004, although a spokeswoman said sales are up 15 to 20 percent on the remaining routes. The company said it carried 19 million passengers last year and had sales of $1.2 billion.

Greyhound hasn't launched a major national advertising campaign in years.

"Greyhound has earned its status as an American icon," Herbeck said. "But when you're 93 years old, you have to remind people who you are and what you stand for. We're trying to tell them the look and experience of Greyhound has changed."

Greyhound hired Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners of Sausalito, Calif., to develop a multi-million-dollar broadcast, print and billboard advertising campaign that begins this week.

The first television spot shows an old bus pulling into a terminal and the driver disembarking to take a break. An auto-racing pit crew hauls in new seats, paints the bus, and changes the driver into his new uniform.

The ad agency said the spot will air on cable channels such as MTV and on NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." Print ads are planned for Rolling Stone, SPIN and other magazines, with versions also for online search engines.

Greg Stern, the ad agency's chief executive, said the campaign's slogan -- "We're On Our Way" -- was a nod to Greyhound's service that gets passengers from one place to another.

"There is also a certain humility in it," Stern added. "We've listened to you, we're improving our service and our facilities, and it's time to have a new look."
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Old November 13th, 2007, 08:06 AM   #2
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Too late. I will never use Greyhound again. My last experience was taking Greyhound home from Seattle to Vancouver and it was awful. The bus was one of the refurbished models that looked brand new on the outside and were the same pieces of crap on the inside. The bathroom... nightmares are more pleasant.

The Seattle Greyhound station was breathtakingly bad. Appalling is more like it. I have traveled a couple times from the Vancouver Greyhound station to points east in BC and Alberta. The Vancouver bus station is housed in the train station, a grand old neoclassical building. The Seattle bus station looks like something out of a third world nation. There were dozens of desperately poor people and guys who look like they just got out of prison (or were heading there shortly). The lights were dim, the floors and walls looked scummy, and the staff were appallingly rude, borderline incompetent really, and the entire facility exuded disdain for the customer.
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Last edited by Vancouverite; November 13th, 2007 at 08:12 AM.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 07:56 PM   #3
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They just closed the greyhound station here and added it to the new Amtrak station. I've yet to use it, though. The one in Chicago is clean but it is too small for the centre of buses in the US. The floor there is often covered in people sleeping and little kids.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 09:25 PM   #4
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Greyhound isn't bad for small distances (say, like Hartford to New York) but I would avoid it at all costs for long distances unless you are either: are short of cash or a cheapskate or want to get there as slow as possible.

In 2005, I went all the way to Columbus by Greyhound. Took 17 hours and cost less than $100, which was much less than the plane at the time. It was mostly at night, but I could not sleep at all because of the noisy bumpy roads in Pennsylvania and the fact that the driver woke us up lots of times to get off the bus.

Today, Skybus Airlines, a low-cost airline, has a direct flight from a nearby airport to here in Mass to Columbus. If you buy it ahead of time, you could pay as little as $36 and the flight is barely more than an hour. If low-cost airlines like this become more common...Greyhound is in trouble.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 10:06 PM   #5
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Similar to the National Express Buses in the UK or Eurolines in Europe.

Take the National Express, when your life's in a mess.........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiBI3A2WcrE
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Old November 13th, 2007, 10:38 PM   #6
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I agree that the Seattle station is horrible. We've been hearing about potential replacements for many years. Hopefully it'll happen in the next few years.

I traveled a full circle around the US by Greyhound in 1987 over a period of three months. Stations ranged from pretty nice to horrible, with Seattle being one of the worst even then. Houston had a great station. Philly had an ok station, but the cheapest bed in town was $15 and I was catching an early bus, so naturally I tried to sleep in the station, which proved unworkable because the chairs were designed to make any form of relaxation utterly impossible.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 10:47 PM   #7
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I used to ride Greyhound back in my college days. Not any more -- flying is better over long distances, and there's nowhere I like visiting within 500 miles. (Toronto is the closest)
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Old November 13th, 2007, 10:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaeger View Post
Similar to the National Express Buses in the UK or Eurolines in Europe.

Take the National Express, when your life's in a mess.........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiBI3A2WcrE
I took National Express from Birmingham to London back in the summer of 2006 and I thought it was alright. I was sitting next to a really cute girl the whole ride so maybe that's why I never noticed a problem with the bus. I was sitting way in the front and was also excited being in the U.K. for the first time.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 02:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaeger View Post
Similar to the National Express Buses in the UK or Eurolines in Europe.

Take the National Express, when your life's in a mess.........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiBI3A2WcrE
National Express cover the trains when they're doing track maintenance. Used to happen quite a lot late night from London to Northampton. They weren't that bad. At least the driver was polite. True it did take over twice as long by road, but hey, it was late at night, I just slept!
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Old November 14th, 2007, 05:35 AM   #10
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You think greyhound sucks try taking chinatown bus lines from New York to Boston becuase the train schedules were messed up
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Old November 14th, 2007, 05:44 AM   #11
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The only nice Greyhound station I've been in is Montreal's.

Toronto's is terrible. Whoever designed it should be shot.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 07:29 PM   #12
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I like taking the intercity buses, they are usually quite comfortable and relaxing. When I was single, I did a lot of online dating and I would usually take the Greyhound to various small cities in southern Ontario.

With that said, for long distance trips it is best to find an alternative form of transport. I once took an Ontario Northland bus to Timmins, stopping in several small communities along the way, and took about 12 hours!!! If I am to go up there again, I would either fly or take a train part way.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 02:07 AM   #13
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I haven't taken Greyhound in a while, but the stations don't seem the greatest. In Minneapolis the station is generally clean, and is a new station (2002), but there are lots of beggers and homeless people in the area when you get off the bus, not the best welcoming...

Taylorhoge: I've never rode the Chinatown bus lines, but I haven't heard the greatest things about them. Unmarked buses, confusing stops, language barriers, sometimes dangerous drivers, compitition, late buses, smelly/dirty buses. They have good schedules, some are once an hour.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 04:01 AM   #14
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Chinatown buses are meant for point-to-point travel, such as Boston to New York, or New York to Philadelphia. There may be a stop or two along the way, but they're unmarked but very few in number. They use the same type of buses as Greyhound so they're still very comfortable.

The ticket agents speak minimal English, but if you tell them the city you're going, they will understand and sell you a ticket. Having ridden on them many times out of New York Chinatown, they tend to park around the same area next to the Manhattan Bridge and the agents will swarm around you if you walk into the intersection and can direct you to the right bus. They also have a sign at the front showing the destination in Chinese and English.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 04:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Chinatown buses are meant for point-to-point travel, such as Boston to New York, or New York to Philadelphia. There may be a stop or two along the way, but they're unmarked but very few in number. They use the same type of buses as Greyhound so they're still very comfortable.

The ticket agents speak minimal English, but if you tell them the city you're going, they will understand and sell you a ticket. Having ridden on them many times out of New York Chinatown, they tend to park around the same area next to the Manhattan Bridge and the agents will swarm around you if you walk into the intersection and can direct you to the right bus. They also have a sign at the front showing the destination in Chinese and English.
Do you know if these buses exist in Chicago, or is it only an East Coast thing?
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Old November 15th, 2007, 04:26 AM   #16
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Do you know if these buses exist in Chicago, or is it only an East Coast thing?
It's very big on the East Coast, but I haven't heard of them in Chicago. I think they go as far west as the middle of Pennsylvania right now.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 04:30 AM   #17
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Not in Chicago, but they are on the East coast and are popping up on the west. The tickets are cheap $10 to Philadelphia, $15 to Boston so its not all bad.
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Old November 15th, 2007, 06:17 AM   #18
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Greyhound isn't all that bad in Canada
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Old November 16th, 2007, 11:29 PM   #19
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Should note there used to be a lot of con-artists near the Toronto terminal claiming to have "lost" their ticket and needing money and stuff, but haven't encountered any recently.
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Old November 17th, 2007, 12:14 AM   #20
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When it comes to the Chinatown Buses, you generally get what you pay for.

I just found out that there is a Chinatown Bus here, which goes to Boston and NYC, $15/one-way.
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