For years, Greyhound buses have provided people with an affordable way to travel across the country. They have hundreds of stations all around the country and operate around 123 routes. However, with the popularization of low-cost airlines, you may be wondering whether people still travel using Greyhound buses.
People still use Greyhound buses to move around the country. It is still an efficient transport system that serves millions of people annually. In fact, Greyhound is the largest bus company in the US with over 3,800 destinations across the country.
The rest of this article will expand on the scope of Greyhound buses and how they serve the people of North America on their various routes. Keep reading to learn all about traveling with Greyhound!
Why Do People Still Use Greyhound Buses?
Many people use Greyhound buses as they serve many small towns and localities that are not serviced by airlines. It is also an efficient alternative for people who are afraid of flights. Similarly, the transportation’s comfort and safety attract people who may want to avoid airport hassles.
Many people experience anxiety before or during a flight. In fact, about 25% of Americans report feeling anxious at some point during the flight. This can make flying an undesirable experience for such people, who may opt for a Greyhound bus instead if the travel distance is not too far.
Additionally, about 6.5% experience aviophobia, which is an intense fear of flying. Although 6.5% may sound like a small number, that accounts for over 20 million Americans! Those who suffer from aviophobia will take any available alternative to catch a flight, including Greyhound buses (and one of their major competitors, Amtrak. We wrote about the differences between the two in this article).
Greyhound buses are also still used mainly due to their comfort. After all, who doesn’t like being cozy when traveling long distances? The buses have ample leg room and comfortable seats that ensure you do not cramp up or feel jammed when traveling to your destination. And best of all? You get to avoid hectic airports!
How Many People Use Greyhound Buses Per Year?
Around 16 million people use Greyhound buses across the United States. Greyhound’s fleet of over 1,700 buses carry its users across over five billion miles (8 billion kilometers) all over the country.
The massive number of people using Greyhound buses is attributable to constrained travel options for a big part of the population. If you don’t have a car or live near an airport or train station, then buses present the only option for an intercity commute.
When Are Greyhound Buses the Busiest?
The busiest travel period for Greyhound buses is the holiday season. During this period, many people travel to different parts of the country to be with their friends and family. People also use Greyhound buses overwhelmingly during emergencies, such as hurricanes and other natural disasters.
As the holidays approach, airplane tickets get notoriously expensive while bus tickets remain relatively cheap. Increased air ticket prices make flying inaccessible to middle and lower-income customers who then seek a cheaper travel alternative. Since Greyhound buses provide a more affordable alternative for last-minute bookings, most people opt for a Greyhound bus during the holidays.
The same applies in times of emergencies. As life throws last-minute curveballs during emergencies, Greyhound buses serve the desperate and urgent travel needs of millions of working-class Americans who would end up stranded without them.
For instance, during Hurricane Katrina, thousands of people took advantage of Greyhound bus ticket prices to travel to the safety of their friends and family in places not hit by the disaster.
What Routes Do Greyhound Buses Cover?
Greyhound buses operate 123 routes across North America. They have 230 independent stations across the United States, Canada, and Mexico and serve over 3,800 unique destinations.
Greyhound is the largest bus carrier service in the United States with over 3,800 destinations. They cover several routes linking rural areas to cities and vice versa. The buses also operate various intercity networks in the Northeastern and Western regions of the country, making traveling between cities more manageable and convenient.
If you travel to neighboring North American countries, Greyhound has you covered. The buses have routes from U.S. destinations such as New York across the Canadian border and into cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.
Greyhound buses also launched a route in neighboring Mexico, which connects the towns of Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey with various cities in Texas.
Reasons People Do Not Like Greyhound Buses
Although Greyhound buses are great alternatives for many, not everything is peaches and cream. Bus travel itself can be unpredictable and even uncomfortable at times, which results in many negative reviews for the company. Here are some of the most common complaints from Greyhound users.
Longer Layovers than Anticipated
Whenever you buy a Greyhound bus ticket, all information about the trip is listed on the itinerary. This includes scheduled layovers and how long they should take. Passengers can pick a trip based on the scheduled itinerary in hopes that they’ll arrive at their destination on time.
Nonetheless, the layovers almost always extend longer than scheduled. In some extreme cases, that layover advertised to last an hour can quickly turn into two or even six hours. These extended layovers could be inconvenient, especially if you had made prior arrangements at your destination.
While many external issues could lead to longer layovers than anticipated–such as terrible weather conditions–the most prevalent cause is a shortage of drivers. In recent years, Greyhound buses have struggled to find enough personnel to fill all the scheduled routes. Therefore, you may have to wait at the station before finding a driver to ferry you to your destination.
In the technological world where everyone has a smartphone, free accessible Wi-Fi is fast becoming a way to attract customers to establishments.
If you have booked a Greyhound bus ticket before, you may notice they advertised accessibility to Wi-Fi if you choose to travel with them. These advertisements target business people who are hoping to get some work done from the comfort of their seats. As you can imagine, disrupted Wi-Fi service can result in disgruntled customers.
Unfortunately, the reality of Greyhound buses and their stations is far from what they advertise. While the stations have extremely slow Wi-Fi, the Greyhound buses tend to not have working internet access. Therefore, you may travel for hours with no means of getting any work done or entertaining yourself.
Greyhound buses are not known for staying on schedule, whether it’s on departure or arrival time.
You may arrive at a Greyhound station thirty minutes before the departure time listed on your ticket with the expectation that your bus will be there and you will board and begin your travels at the scheduled time. Unfortunately, you should always expect a delay.
Greyhound buses often depart thirty to sixty minutes after the scheduled departure time, depending on the reason for the delay. In some instances, you may even wait several hours.
Similarly, the arrival time may not always match the one advertised on your ticket. Greyhound buses do not have express routes only utilized by the transport service–they share the roads with all other vehicles. Therefore, buses may encounter traffic, accidents, or adverse weather conditions that may cause them to run behind schedule, even after an on-time departure.
It’s important to have these delays in mind when you book your ticket. If you are attending an important function, do not book a Greyhound bus with an arrival time scheduled just a few hours before. Instead, book an itinerary that will get you to your destination a day or two in advance to be safe.
Faulty Power Outlets
Everyone knows how important it is to have a charged phone when traveling long distances. You need to keep in touch with friends and family to inform them how your trip is going and assure them you are safe. For this reason, power outlets are an essential feature in intercity buses since they allow you to keep your phone charged.
While Greyhound buses have this vital feature, the outlets rarely work. Sometimes only half of them, and your seat may not be positioned at a functioning one. Therefore, if you are traveling a relatively long distance, you may have to endure the torture of watching your device slowly lose charge till it eventually switches off.
Reasons Why You May Still Consider Using Greyhound Buses
Despite the few challenges some customers may face when traveling using Greyhound buses, they are still a great way to travel across the country. Here are some reasons why you would still consider using the buses:
- Affordable. Unlike other forms of transport, Greyhound buses are relatively cheap. The reasonable cost and consistent rates make them viable options when traveling during emergencies or when you want to visit your family last minute.
- Scope of travel. The number of routes covered by Greyhound buses is incredible. The company has stations located all over North America, so you can travel to any city or town you wish by simply booking a ticket.
- Comfortable travels. Greyhound buses are some of the most comfortable rides you will have on the road when traveling long distances. The buses have adequate sitting space with reclining seats that ensure you are comfortable during your journey.
- More lax travel requirements. Unlike plane travel, Greyhound buses aren’t under the jurisdiction of the TSA. This leads to a much more relaxed travel experience (sometimes they don’t even require you to show an ID, as we wrote about here).
- Guaranteed safety. Greyhound buses ensure you get to your destination in one piece (as long as you take some simple precautions, detailed here). The buses are driven by professional drivers who purposely get you where you want safely and sound. Through their stewardship, Greyhound buses rarely experience any road accidents.
Greyhound buses are still operational in the United States and neighboring countries despite the notion that they were put out of business by commercial airlines. They continue to operate hundreds of routes, connecting cities and rural areas across the nation.
- ABC News: Fear of Flying? Some Good Things to Know
- Medical News Today: How can I beat my fear of flying?
- Compare Bus: Cheap Bus Tickets Greyhound USA
- Greyhound: About Greyhound
- Go Nomad: The Bus: Why Americans Still Board the Greyhounds
- Los Angeles Times: Greyhound Starts Bus Service in Mexico, Connecting Routes to Texas
- National Geographic: Greyhound Connects America. What Happens if Intercity Buses Disappear?
- Travel Off Path: Greyhound Announce Cross Border Buses Between U.S. and Canada Will Resume