Earlier this month, I took the Greyhound Express from Nashville to Atlanta for a conference. I wanted to save costs wherever possible, so a rental car was out — over a week, even the cheapest option gets really expensive. Also, booking early on Greyhound gave quite a discount — it was a whopping $15 for a round trip ticket. 20x cheaper than flying, and free baggage was included.
I took a taxi from the house to the Nashville Greyhound station (Eryn was already out of town on another trip). Surprisingly high-tech for Nashville, these little TaxiMagic appliances are quite handy when you want to avoid cash in taxis. Atlanta taxis could take a lesson!
I arrived at the bus station a full hour early, which gave plenty of time to check out the clean-but-cramped space. Lines everywhere, snaking around the different “express” areas. A tip — you stay with your baggage the whole time. After I had gotten my bag tagged, I thought they would take it to the bus, akin to commercial air travel. But no — you stay as close (or as far) from your bag as you desire, carrying it out to the bus when the time comes to board.
Our first (and only) stop to Atlanta was at the Chattanooga airport. We dropped a couple of people off and picked up a few more. It was interesting to consider that what, for me, would be an hour drive in my personal car is, for others, a logistical problem where they may spend more time on Nashville public transportation getting to the bus station than time spent on the bus down to Chattanooga.
Eventually two other buses in our caravan pulled up, but our driver was a bit of an alpha and was always first-in-first-out, so I was already back on our bus before they came along.
There was also a shuttle for, I assume, bringing passengers from the airport to the bus station. It did not look it was heavily utilized. The mini-arcade inside this station (and all the other stations) was the usual mix of late-90’s machines that, once upon a time, had lines eight deep. But now they also sit unused.
This was the view on the bus itself as you boarded. Pretty typical 2x2 layout, the seats were comfy enough although I wouldn’t have minded slightly longer pitch between the seats. This bus did have the power outlets between each seat centrally located (a la the 717 Delta arrangement), which was an improvement over the return bus’ setup of the power outlets on an outer strip. Convenient for the window passenger but horrible for the aisle seat.
The overhead “compartments” on the bus were pretty much useless. A few people came on expecting the same space as on a plane and were sorely disappointed when they had to put their bags in the storage under the bus.
There was the expected air flow control and personal light for each seat, and a call button for assistance. I never could figure out if the driver would have to pull over if assistance was needed, or would just set the bus on auto-pilot and come back to see what the passenger needed if they rang the button.
Just a few hours after leaving Nashville it was arrival in Atlanta on Forsyth. You simply got off the bus, grabbed your bag and walked away. Very efficient!
All told, it was about four and a half hours from getting on the bus in Nashville to getting off the bus in Atlanta. It added about 45 minutes to the trip, plus the time spend in the station. But for that extra hour and half or thereabouts, I got to ride with power and wifi (although that was a bit spotty) and saved $30 in gas money. Will definitely do it again.