Before flying to the NYC we worked out that the cheapest way to travel between cities was by bus, specifically Greyhound buses. For those of you that don’t know who/what Greyhound are, they’re an infamous bus company who offer super cheap bus travel across the U.S.
Looking at their website everything seems super professional, all the buses had WIFI, plug sockets (power outlets), journey times didn’t seem too awful, but above all-it was cheap.
In hindsight I would never have done it but we had a bright idea to get a night bus. The thinking behind it was that this would mean we’d save $20-30 by not purchasing accommodation for the night, as we’d be ‘snoozing’ on the bus. Unfortunately and rather expectedly, this was not the case.
We arrived at the Manhattan bus terminal around 3:00am (to travel to Washington, DC), as we were told our bus was due to be boarded at 3:30am, and during that period never have I seen such poor staffing but also a lack of general courteousness between people.
We repeatedly asked the staff whether our bus was on time (Greyhound buses are notoriously late, my friend Oscar had informed me before that he waited 10 hours for a bus in L.A.), but also where we were meant to be boarding the bus.
All the staff seemed absolutely clueless (not sure whether they were affiliated with Greyhound or just the bus terminal), but all of them showed a complete lack of attentiveness and focus in their job.
Everyone around us was completely out-of-it and sprawled all over the floor, it kind of felt post-apocalyptic, it was majorly surreal.
To make our hellish wait for the bus worse about ten meters away from us, there was a toddler projectile vomiting all over the floor. Around 15 minutes later a member of staff turned up to clean the it using a brush and some paper towels, in affect she just moved around/ pushed the vomit under the seats. By this point I was close to doing it myself and couldn’t wait to get out of there.
Also the announcements that were made through the speakers were so muffled we could barely heard anything they were saying, which made us that much more confused about the departure of our bus.
At this point it was nearly four o’clock, and a bus driver who worked for Greyhound just strolled in, we pushed him for an answer for the arrival of the next bus to Washington, only to hear the bus was arriving at ‘7am’. At this point our hearts dropped knowing we’d have to spend another three hours in this awful terminal.
When we questioned the fact that there was supposedly one at 3:30am, he informed us that it ‘had already left’, but also told us that the passengers had previously boarded the bus at gate 10. This led us to sprinting across to the other side of the bus terminal. Only to find our bus seconds away from departure (Thank f*ck Greyhound’s are always late!).
By some miracle we boarded the bus. Heart pounding, I tried to find a seat only to prepare for one of the most uncomfortable journey’s of my life. I got minimal sleep and we had to have a half-hour stop over in Baltimore.
The stop start nature of the journey naturally made sleeping pretty much impossible.
Our return back to New York was far more straightforward with a lot less confusion, as the staff in Washington, DC were actually doing their jobs correctly. Still the bus journey was grim, and we were also informed that if we were caught drinking alcohol on the bus we would face 30 days imprisonment. Thankfully a beer was not high on my priority list at this point.
To conclude, all I’d say is avoid an overnight bus at ALL COSTS. Especially if the actual journey time is so short you won’t actually be able to get some substantial snooze time.
Hopefully not all Greyhound bus journeys are that terrible, as I have a day time one from NYC to Boston, MA tomorrow.
Nevertheless lesson learnt, and it only enhanced some of my preconceived thoughts about travelling. That being the worst part about travelling is travelling itself.
Until next time,