Budget Travel Will Surely be the Death of Me

deI booked my first journey with Greyhound this evening, a two hour long coach between New York and Philadelphia. Aside from actually feeling a little affronted by how rude the website was (can a website be rude?) I realised I didn’t know where the coach left from in the city. New York’s a big place and you don’t want to leave finding the bus station to chance. So I googled “Greyhound Bus Station New York” hoping to cut down on the time spent crying in the middle of Manhattan, utterly lost and very late for my coach (I’m all about efficiency). Obviously the results indicated there were two, possibly three locations my bus was leaving from, which was useful, so that’s a mystery to solve at a later date. Google also thinks it’s really helpful in providing you with a rating of whatever company or location you’ve searched, providing reviews from hundreds of random internet morons you don’t care about. I don’t pay much attention to these usually but I found it hard to ignore that Greyhound had been rated 2 stars out of 5. Which is about 2 stars less than I would like. Curious, I expanded some of the reviews, thinking it would be entertaining to read about random people’s misfortune.

Sooooo my advice is don’t read reviews about Greyhound just after booking a Greyhound. Now I’m petrified I’m gonna get sworn at by surly bus drivers who don’t have licenses, have my luggage stolen by former convicts and sit next to clinically insane people who will attempt to talk to me because I have a British accent =( My dad’s advice; take the train.

You should definitely read this hilarious article though that pretty much sums up what a Greyhound bus journey can be like, for those of you who haven’t heard of the company before.

So I’m not exactly filled with confidence, but I don’t want to be melodramatic, I mean it’s only a two hour journey as opposed to a four day long one… and it did cost only $10. That’s the thing with budget transport though. It’s so absurdly cheap you can’t feel justified in complaining about it. If the bus was 6 hours delayed, there were holes in the floor and my bag had fallen out somewhere back in New Jersey, I could hardly moan about it, because it’s my fault for being such a miserly b*stard. I’d have to shrug, and admit that I’d learnt my lesson – next time get the train, or cycle it or something. Anything but the lowest of the low; a Greyhound.

Actually, thinking about it, I took a National Express coach from London to Wolverhampton last week and that was pretty hellish. I was sat next to an old lady who spent roughly 95% of the time coughing and sneezing into my indignant face. In Birmingham some grotty girl vommed all over the coach next to the driver just seconds before she disembarked, so we had to wait for the next one because no staff member at the bus station would clean it up (wut?). In this second coach, which took one hour to travel less than 20 miles, I was outsmarted by the toilet door for about 45 minutes, and then once I figured out how to get in, the bus driver decided to enter some kind of slalom course, throwing me against the walls as I desperately tried to avoid urinating all over myself. Whilst this drama was unfolding and amongst myriad profanities, I had to apologise to my mother on the phone in a calm voice for being so late (sort of failed on that count). All in all, it was pretty unpleasant. But again, it cost me like seven quid so really I’m the one to blame. I chose to take my life in this direction, and I paid the price. I was in a foul mood afterwards and vowed never to take another National Express again between home and London.

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After checking train prices for my return to London next week, I ended up on the National Express website. Coach leaving Wolverhampton Bus Station on Monday at 2:30 booked, and it only cost me £6!

3 Comments

      1. No idea Charlie. I had come to NY for official work. My friend stays in Mount Laurel. She suggested I take a greyhound bus. So I booked the ticket online, collected the ticket from seven eleven. But dint get the location where to board. A series of call and running later got to the station 😦

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