Saturday, February 28, 2009

The 'Hound Bites Back.

I mentioned in my last post that I would be joining the 83,000 (thanks to my readers) riders who use the Riverside Greyhound station annually as of Thursday night. Well, we used the station, but that's all.

I did everything I thought possible. I picked up my tickets early, we traveled with carry-on baggage only (my standard policy), and we were at the terminal an hour before departure. I have to mention, of course, that the terminal has seen better days. The Greyhound sign has been taken down, the counter no longer serves snacks and beverages, and I'm pretty sure some seating has managed to disappear. Anyway, our 20:20 bus arrived five minutes early.

And the driver came into the terminal and said "I've only got two seats." There were nine passengers waiting for that bus in the terminal that night.

The ticket agent and driver made a valiant effort, but they freed up only two more seats, and Dani and I were not among the four who made it on the bus. The ticket agent then tried to get dispatch to send out a new bus, but to no avail. Finally, we were told that we were being re-routed through Los Angeles, and would arrive in Las Vegas at a bleary 4 or so in the morning. (Our original time of arrival was 00:40, late enough for my tastes...)

I told the ticket agent to refund my tickets, which she promptly did. She said that even this was generally against company policy, and further informed me that there were usually 20 people in San Bernardino that would subsequently be re-routed. (San Bernardino's personnel are working the Riverside station until the station's fate is known.) She also told me that the bus, a 53-passenger MC-12, had 45 people on board upon leaving Los Angeles. That means that the bus didn't even have enough capacity to accommodate Riverside alone, let alone the other stations on the route.

I ended up driving to Las Vegas, tired and in a foul mood, but I'm fortunate to have had the option. Greyhound should be ashamed to allow customer service to deteriorate to such a level, and they should understand that service like this creates a huge PR problem for those of us who would really like to see their service as an integral part of Riverside's intercity transportation.

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