‘There’s a Reason Why You’ve Never Heard of Bus Rage’
Travel Blog • Eva Holland • 06.05.08 | 11:25 AM ET
So says a Greyhound billboard that I pass every day on my way home, and I’m beginning to wonder if the company’s marketing people might be on to something. The one-liners about Greyhound (that its clientele is made up of freshly-released students and freshly-released convicts, for one) have been around longer than I have, but with the airlines rapidly catching up in the joke department, things may be changing. Could bus travel be making a respectability comeback?
For the record, I’m not a big fan of Greyhound. I’ve always thought that the train is the most civilized, relaxed way to travel, and every time I find myself wrestling my belt out of its loops at an airport security checkpoint, that belief becomes more fervent. (I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking about cutting back on flying, and not just for the sake of my carbon footprint.) But without a major infrastructure overhaul, North America’s trains can only absorb so many airport refugees. As the Today Show’s travel editor, Peter Greenberg, notes in this column, Amtrak’s ridership is up by 11 percent this year. But because the freight companies own the tracks, and freight takes precedence (see today’s post from California, for instance), Amtrak’s punctuality numbers are also in the teens. Add in some seriously well-loved rolling stock (out of four rides on Amtrak, I’ve experienced two engine break-downs) and what you have is a rail service that isn’t set up to handle a huge influx of ex-air travelers.
Which brings us back to the bus. Coach companies certainly seem ready to offer alternatives. BoltBus has launched. MegaBus has expanded its service. Limoliner offers a luxury option. I rode the bus from Montreal to Ottawa this weekend, and it was inexpensive, comfortable, and on time—with no vaguely humiliating security measures at one end, and no long wait for checked baggage at the other.
So maybe Greyhound’s advertising hacks have stumbled on to an important travel truth: there really is a good reason why you’ve never heard of bus rage.