Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Should Greyhound Leave Passengers in the Cold?

The Greyhound Bus Company has never been terribly concerned with passengers' comfort or well-being, but Ankur Singh's story takes it to a new here to open a long, messy link to his claim that he was forced to spend an hour outside in falling snow.

Traditionally, in most small towns where a small Greyhound station shuts down for the night, there's been an understanding with an all-night diner or convenience store...there may or may not be places for passengers to sleep or sit down, during layovers in the middle of the night, but there will be a safe, lighted, climate-controlled, and reasonably family-friendly place for them to hang out. And buy greasy fast food and/or stale junkfood, play video games, and generally spend money in ways adults don't normally choose to spend money. Traditionally this has kept some all-night stores afloat during economic downturns.

But when that's not been enough, should passengers have to stand outside in a blizzard? ??? Well, Greyhound has had contracts with bus station operators who are "independent" and can be pretty strange. I remember one bigot who not only refused to stay in the station while a visitor from India tried to meet his cultural standards of cleanliness, but demanded that I go into the men's room and call him out--"I don't know his disposition, I'm not going to talk to him!" (To get the full effect of the bigot's weirdness, you should know that he was five or six inches taller, and proportionately heavier, than the visitor.) Greyhound has apparently taken it for granted that stationmasters are humane enough to make some provision for what can be life-threatening conditions. Maybe that was too much to expect from some stationmasters.

Please click on the link above to join Ankur Singh in demanding that even small independent stations make reasonable accommodations to protect passengers from weather. If there's no second-rate convenience store where people can come out of the snow and rain, then the stationmaster should be required by contract to get out of bed and open the bus station.