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Passenger decries ‘appalling’ Greyhound service

Some local Greyhound passengers are unhappy with North America’s largest bus company.

Jessica Summers vows to never travel with Greyhound bus service again after an “absolutely appalling experience” over the Christmas holidays.

And a teenager was nearly stranded in Red Deer recently after Greyhound told her they oversold a bus and there was no more room.

Greyhound is investigating the concerns.

Summers said she and her husband Jon were expecting a 13-hour trip from Red Deer to Regina. Instead, it took 26 hours to get to their destination.

Summers said the worst of it is how the couple and others were mistreated by staff when they took the bus that left late on the evening of Dec. 21.

They arrived at the Red Deer bus depot late that night and discovered that everyone had to stand outside to wait in temperatures of -30 C.

The bus arrived 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time.

Summers said the bus driver never apologized for being late, continued to keep people outside while he had a smoke and spent his time packing the group’s bags into the bus.

He had navigational troubles in Red Deer and Calgary, and then he nearly backed into a vehicle dealership near the Calgary bus depot, Summers said.

“Someone from the back of the bus ran up front and had to turn the bus around for him,” said Summers.

A passenger actually drove the bus while the driver stood outside and directed, she added.

By the time the bus arrived at Calgary at 12:50 a.m., the bus was nearly an hour late and that meant a number of passengers, including the Summers, missed their next connections.

Summers said she learned that the driver worked for MPM, Mountain Pacific Motorcoach, a business contracted to deal with overflows during the holidays.

Calls to MPM based in Edmonton were not returned.

Once inside the Calgary terminal, staff were unhelpful as well, said Summers.

The 20-some passengers were not offered any apologies or compensation for missing their next connections and were told by staff they’d have to stay in the terminal for the night.

Summers and her husband were able to stay with family in Calgary.

By noon on Dec. 22, the Summers arrived to find a crowd lined up.

“We were informed that there were three buses ready to take us all on the rest of our journey,” said Summers, 27. “However, though they recognized that some of us had been there since 1 a.m., they were boarding the local passengers first.”

Summers tried getting more information from Greyhound staff, asking if the first bus leaving was the best option for arriving in Regina.

They refused to give any more information and it turned out to be the slowest of the three buses, she said.

The bus from Calgary arrived in Regina just after midnight on Dec. 23.

“The worst thing about this was that Greyhound never offered an apology or took responsibility for the situation,” said Summers.

Summers sent letters to management at the Red Deer and Calgary depots, and to Toronto head office last week, but hadn’t yet heard back.

“I used to be a user of Greyhound for a long time,” she said. “After this experience, I don’t intend to continue.”

Reached at the Red Deer bus depot on Wednesday, the local agent for Greyhound declined comment, referring the matter to Greyhound media relations head office.

Maureen Richmond, Greyhound’s director of media relations in Cincinnati, Ohio, said an investigation will be conducted into the bus driver’s behaviour and also what may have caused delays.

She said other bus companies are often contracted to deal with increased holiday traffic.

Richmond said it varies from depot to depot whether they are open 24 hours or have posted hours.

She said she would ask the customer service team about the hours at Red Deer and whether they should change. Sometimes depots are run by third parties, Richmond said.

“Certainly our focus is on safe and reliable transportation for all our passengers — our goal is to get them where they want to go on time and safely, and with a great experience,” said Richmond. “It doesn’t sound like that was achieved. I’d like to learn more about it, so it doesn’t happen again.”

Richmond said that Summers’ concerns have been forwarded onto Greyhound’s Customer Service Team and someone should be in touch with her this week. Others frustrated by what happened can contact customer service online through greyhound.ca.

On Wednesday, Richmond said she didn’t have any more information regarding the Dec. 21 incident and specifically regarding the passenger taking the wheel.

CTV Edmonton reported that Emily Jones was nearly stranded in Red Deer recently after Greyhound told her they oversold their bus and there was no more room. She was turned away from the bus, despite pre-purchasing a ticket. She ended up taking Red Arrow bus service to St. Albert. The Jones family couldn’t be reached for comment.

Richmond said the region manager has spoken with the driver and understands where the miscommunication happened. He will reach out to the father of the girl directly, she said.

“I sincerely apologize for this inconvenience,” said Richmond. “We sell to capacity to ensure all passengers get where they need to be safely and reliably. This should not have happened.”

ltester@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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