Post by chicagoroo on Jun 11, 2012 10:29:56 GMT -5
Hey all, I just wanted to leave a tip on inforoo about greyhound since the general consensus on here is DO NOT take greyhound but no reasons or specifics are ever given. Because of the lack of specifics a group of friends and I took the gamble on greyhound this roo and I wanted to leave my review to guide those in the future.
Let me start off by saying I have taken mass transit, especially busses, quite a bit in the US (megabus, bolt bus, city busses). I have no problem with the comfort, time it takes, or people that generally use these services. I was really ready to come onto this site to give greyhound a good rep and share a detailed "how to get to bonnaroo via greyhound" with those not wanting or able to drive in the future. This will not be a positive review from here out but I will stay as objective as possible.
My first experience with greyhound was buying the ticket with my debit card online. Myself and one of my two friends had our cards charged, then reimbursed within 5 minutes of the checkout. We never received a confirmation email. It took several checkouts and several payments/reimburses to our accounts before the order actually went through and stayed. As a note we both bought tickets from different cities, with different cards about a month apart.
Unfortunately, even upon the payment sticking in my bank account, I never received a confirmation email. I assumed it was going to come at some point. Due to a busy schedule, a few days later I had completely forgot they never sent me an email and I assumed I had accidentally clicked "pick up tickets at will call" and that this was the reason for not having an email.
When I arrived at the bus station to pick up my tickets 45 minutes before boarding, I got up to the self check-in kiosk and both my confirmation number (that I had to call HQ for) and my identifying information would not come up on the system. I went to the desk to be told that I had chosen print at home tickets and that there was nothing that could be done to remedy the situation. Mind you I never received a confirmation email and told both the HQ rep and station rep this. It took 35 minutes to finally get to someone who would print me a ticket on their greyhound printer using the internet.
Nowhere on greyhound's website did they mention that there was a website for re-printing tickets.
Let me note that the two people working the desk were a$sholes even though I remained extremely nice and bonnaroo-esk the whole time. They were apathetic and condescending towards me and did not want to help. For example there was a man that did not speak english and could not use the kiosk. The poor man was trying to ask them to help him buy a ticket and they repeatedly said he had to use the kiosk even though they CAN issue tickets (I saw them do it multiple times). The man at the desk at one point said "just get out of here". I was seriously infuriated by their ignorance and lack of empathy. The guy waited until a different worker got off her lunch break and helped him (after she had to deal with a huge line of people the other guy had built up). The efficiency, attitude and organization of the front desk people were the worst I have seen in any service industry, ever. That includes waiters, waitresses, hotel/motel, everything I have ever encountered.
But whatever, I wasn't going to let the ticket situation or two rude people effect my trip. After nearly missing the bus, we were on our way. Little did we know that every 2.5 hours, all passengers were mandated to exit the bus, wait for a new driver to arrive, allow him to "inspect the bus" (we still don't know what this means or why it takes so long) and then reboard (which is a half hour process itself). So every 2.5 hours, even though we had an overnight bus from 6PM-8AM, we were woken up and put outside to wait for a minimum of 1 hour. The problem here is that every single one of these stops was longer than 1 hour and there was ZERO communication between the staff. The passengers had no idea when they were going to be getting back on, if they were still considered on time, if they would make their connection busses/what happens if they don't, etc. The desk people literally had no idea about anything that was going on. I am not exaggerating, they were simply people to tell you where the bathrooms were and/or ask you if you wanted to buy tickets.
So the not sleeping thing and frustrating stops were bearable... Then comes the luggage.
Somehow, even though we stayed on the same bus the entire length of the trip, our luggage was taken out and left in Nashville. No, I have no idea how or why this happened. Worst part is that no one cared. They got you off the bus and if your luggage wasn't there you had to figure things out on your own in the middle of nowhere. I asked the bus driver if she could radio Nashville and Louisville to ask real quick if they had my luggage and she said she had no radio. Really, you are a commercial transit bus and don't have a radio or contact system? I called her out on it and she said "I can't help you". Not even an apology. So after an initial freakout that we had no tent, clothes, etc. we realized that one of our two bags actually contained the tent. So at least we had shelter. IF YOUR BAGS ARE LOST Now what? Well I called HQ and they said they would file a missing bag report that will be sent to all the stations but it could take 30 days to get my bag back otherwise I get $250 (max amount of compensation).
This process is fine and dandy but absolutely worthless if you need your stuff right away. Essentially you have to do their leg work. Eventually I got the number for the baggage department of nashville and all the other stops we were at. I called each of them one by one asking if they had seen my bag and the guy at nashville said they had it. He said there was a bus leaving for manchester in two hours and he would put the bag on it (should be there in 3 hours). At this point we decided to go to tent only and secure a spot for our tent. I came back 3 hours later to pick up the bag which never came. I called Nashville and they had forgotten to put the bag on the bus again. So even though I spent 20 bucks getting back and forth, I still had no bag. It was going to be another 3 hours until the next bus arrived and I got the baggage man's word that he would personally put it on the bus. The bag was put on that bus and dropped off at the station where they held it for me until I could come back and get it. Since there was a festival to see and I didn't want to spend another $20 and 3 hours of waiting to get the luggage I left it there until a kind rooer drove out to the station to get it for me on Friday night. Thursday night was REALLY cold with no clothes to change into. Also, having worn those clothes for a 12 hour bus ride, carrying in all of our stuff to tent only and a trip to and from the greyhound station a second time... this sucked A LOT.
It cost $5/person for a taxi to get you from greyhound to the northwest bushy branch road tollbooth and it is about a 20 minute drive even with traffic since they have a separate route. They drop you off directly at the check in tollbooth. The walk is NOT 1 MILE AWAY from the greyhound so do not try walking this unless you want to walk at least a 2.5 miles (plus it's another half mile or so to the better campgrounds). The $5 is ABSOLUTELY WORTH IT.
Here's a few companies that I used to get to and from the greyhound station:
Christy's: (931) 954-0296 : Great for the ride in but one of their drivers was either confused or tried to gouge the prices over $5 once or twice.
True Blue: 615 631 2538 : She forgot where the greyhound station was and went a bit out of the way before realizing it but she was nice. Also only $5/person.
Debrah: 615 785 5359: She technically isn't a taxi but rather a kind local. She was honestly one of the nicest people I met all weekend and would definitely recommend giving her a call. For a ride to the airport, she'll accept gas money that is quite literally 5x cheaper than everyone else charges for a ride. For ride to bus she charged $5 station like everyone else.
Once at the tollbooth we walked right in and wheeled our stuff to tent only. Not a bad walk, just take the road (don't cut through through the grass.... that would be a mistake). I actually recommend taking a golf cart taxi, it looked as though they were picking people up at the gate, we just weren't paying enough attention.
The trip back was the absolute worst however. Once again, the bus should have travelled overnight from 4PM-5AM. Hahahahaha NO. The trip once again was inefficient, was never on time and had the absurd stops/driver change policies. There was hardly a chance to sleep and sitting in the station for unknown periods of time until they felt like re-boarding was rough. The worst however was the fact that despite the bowling green station man telling our driver that I-65 N was closed due to a terrible accident, the driver drove RIGHT into the mess. It took 3.5 hours to travel, I am not exaggerating since I just google-earthed it, 3 miles. Yes, we travelled less than 1 mile/hour which is slower than I could have walked that stretch. The driver never made a single announcement to the restless bus. After this, it got really ugly for people that missed transfers like one of my friends. For myself, luckily my transfer bus also stupidly drove into the traffic from nashville.
In the end, the bus was over 7 hours late. In the time we spent getting home, we could have driven to manchester, back home and halfway to manchester again. The worst part however is the lack of responsibility, lack of communication within greyhound, lack of communication with their customers, complete apathy and the feeling that this was normal operations for them... there was nothing we could do about it.
Needless to say, I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever take greyhound anywhere again. I recommend NO one ever put your trust in this company. I was hoping this was simply a bad day or two for greyhound and that I just got unlucky BUT after speaking to over 40 rooers that took different busses to manchester, I got the same story. Some of us even shared cabs to go back to the station retrieve lost luggage. I met 4 independent groups from 4 independent busses that lost their luggage in the apprx. 4 hours I was at the Manchester station. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT take greyhound to bonnaroo. Even if someone offered a free greyhound trip for next year, I would pass.
On a positive note I do recommend not driving in and also checking out tent only. Compared to last year... driving in, sitting in 3 hours of traffic and getting placed on the northeast corner... this year was 1000x better! We camped in tent only steps from the arch and it made the festival. Not to mention, we didn't feel as tired from driving this year, despite the stress and shizzy sleep on the greyhound.
I think the best plan of attack would be to take a plane and get Debrah to drive you in to the gate. This way you aren't exhausted when you arrive from driving in traffic, you don't have to drive at all :D, it's fast and reliable and lastly you avoid greyhound like the bubonic plague.
TL;DR 1) Greyhound is as bad as people make it out to be, do not take it. This isn't just based off of my experience but MANY 2012 rooers. 2)There are great way to get to the gates without traffic, without driving and without walking. 3) I liked walking into bonnaroo compared to driving in last year. No milage on the car, no traffic, no long drives.
Post by chicagoroo on Jun 11, 2012 12:47:24 GMT -5
It was sort of like a sandwich with stale bread. The trip in and out were rough but the stuff on the inside was fan-freaking-tastic! Twas a great festival and I must be thankful for the couple that went out of their way to get luggage for a stranger on the internet!
I picked my friend up at the airport in Atlanta and his bag got lost also. He flew in from Seattle on Southwest. They lost his bag and he was given the WORST customer service . . . "No we can't track or locate your bag. It'll get here when it gets here."
We stopped at a thrift store in Chattanooga and he grabbed some shorts and shirts to get through the weekend.
His bag arrived the next day in ATL and he picked it up yesterday before he returned home. At least he didn't have to do any laundry.