Recently, I took a Greyhound bus ride where the company put me and other passengers at serious risk for hypothermia and frostbite by leaving us outside a closed station in the middle of the night in subzero temperatures. I started this petition to ask Greyhound to always keep stations open when customers have a layover, so no Greyhound rider has to risk their health ever again.
On Friday, February 1, I was returning home to Bloomington-Normal, IL from Minneapolis, MN by taking a Greyhound bus. The bus left at 12:01 a.m on Friday from Minneapolis and was scheduled to arrive at Des Moines, Iowa at 4 a.m where I would wait at the station for my five hour layover until my bus to Bloomington-Normal arrived at 8:55.
When I boarded the bus, the driver told me that the Des Moines bus station would not be open until 5 a.m and that me and the other people with layovers would have to wait outside for an hour. In January. In Iowa. Greyhound knowingly abandoned us outside a closed bus station in negative 17 degree weather.
When I bought the ticket, I knew the overnight layover wouldn’t be fun, but the ticket was affordable, and I figured I’d pass the time waiting with a book or a nap in the warm and well-lit station. I did not expect to be spending the first hour outside, since I had made the fair assumption that if Greyhound was going to schedule a bus to arrive at 4:00 am then they would have the common sense to have their station open and ready for their passengers.
The wait made me nervous -- at temperatures that cold, even a few minutes of exposure can mean serious hypothermia or frostbite, and since we had no idea we’d be left outside, no one was prepared for the weather. To keep from freezing, I put on all the clothes I had with me. The other strangers and I huddled together for warmth, wrapping our heads in t-shirts to keep our ears from going numb. When one woman began shaking uncontrollably from the cold, another passenger gave her his jacket.
My experience wasn’t an isolated incident. Several other Greyhound customers have logged complaints on company message boards, saying they were left at closed stations in the middle of the night for several hours, often in temperatures that carry significant hypothermia and frostbite risks, including reports of being left out in the snow. Greyhound does not provide warnings on tickets that passengers might have to wait outside in cold or poorly lit areas, without safe shelter from the elements. At the very least Greyhound could have informed us before we bought tickets that we would have to spend some time outside.
Please, join me in asking Greyhound to keep their stations open when customers have layovers.
Photo by THE Holy Hand Grenade