When I Rode Greyhound

May 28, 2014 at 2:05 pm

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!

Greyhound Trip, May 2014, 01

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.

Greyhound Trip, May 2014, 03

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.

Greyhound Trip, May 2014, 05 Greyhound Trip, May 2014, 06 Greyhound Trip, May 2014, 07

I learned that Grey­hound will ship pack­ages. Seems like it could be a cost-effective same-day ser­vice for get­ting phys­i­cal mate­r­ial from place to place.
Greyhound Trip, May 2014, 04

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.
Greyhound Trip, May 2014, 08

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.

Eng­lish, French and Span­ish for most sig­nage on the bus.
Greyhound Trip, May 2014, 09

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!

Greyhound Trip, May 2014, 10

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.