Tuesday, (October 17th) morning at 1:55am I was supposed to leave Fayetteville, AR headed for Richmond, VA via greyhound bus. The bus didn’t arrive until after 2:00am and I was left waiting with a person that was clearly under the influence of drugs, alcohol or both, and a homeless guy that was using the bench for a place to sleep. There was no one at the station for greyhound or the affiliate line called Jefferson. The bus didn’t leave this station until around 2:10am, nearly 15 minutes after the time it was supposed to leave. While there were a good amount of people on the bus, it wasn’t completely packed and I was able to sit close to the front where I had some leg room. After standing for over an hour and a half, my knees, one of which has arthritis, were in excruciating pain and it was nice to be off my feet.
That bus took me to Fort Smith, AR where I was left to wait once more for a late bus. This bus left me packed into a seat like a sardine. There was no legroom, the seat was painful and after spending the trip from Fort Smith, AR to Memphis, TN I was left in major pain from this ride. There were no outlets accessible to me to charge my mobile devices, like Greyhound had advertised for all of their buses. In addition to this, the back of the bus was so hot that I was sweating in my seat, and I wasn’t the only one. Several other people riding the bus also complained about this yet nothing was done.
When I arrived at Memphis I had high hopes that I would be able to get a seat that had a charging port for my phone and Chromebook, yet those hopes were dashes on the rocks when was ushered to a long line in the back of the boarding section while others were ushered to the front. I ended up stuck in the back of the bus once again without a charging port and sandwiched into my seat for the first leg of the ride.
It wasn’t until the stop at Nashville, when everyone had to leave the bus then later reboard, that I actually got a seat with an outlet where I could charge my cell phone and Chromebook. However, once again the lack of legroom made it nearly impossible to use my Chromebook to work on anything during the ride. If the bus had not been completely packed I would have been able to turn sideways in my seat perhaps and get some work done.
As we progressed towards Richmond, I began to dislike of our driver. First, our driver threw a fit when a fellow passenger sat in one of the two seats in the front of the bus that the driver had declared as his own. He refused to leave the station until the passenger was seated in a different seat, which meant demeaning the Hispanic families on the bus that didn’t speak English and making them hold children on their laps in a bus that was already full. Only one time was there any effort for the staff of Greyhound to have a translator help these families and that was only with the aid of a fellow passenger. When that passenger switched buses there was zero help offered.
The second incident involving this driver was in Lynchburg, Virginia where the driver held the bus hostage because he wasn’t leaving the station until the young woman that had been sitting behind him for most of the trip coughed and he wanted her moved. There was literally no where on the bus for this young woman to move without changing places with another passenger.The station attendant even came on the bus to explain the driver refused to leave the station until the woman was moved to a different seat. He explained that he could force the driver to leave the station with the woman sitting where she was, but that once the driver left he had no control over what the driver did.
This was honestly terrifying for me. This driver has already ignored the rights of the passenger that allowed her to choose her own vacant seat when she was boarding, and now I was told that the driver didn’t have to abide by the rules set forth by his company while on the road.
The guy that was sitting next to me offered to trade places with the woman and we were finally able to leave, but I was left feeling like I was in a hostage situation. The thing worth noting is both of the people that the driver had issues with were what most people would consider caucasian, while the driver was not, the driver was African-American. (I really dislike the use of that word, because I feel it further separates Americans from one another, but I dislike the use of the word “black” or “colored” even more.)
What bothered me aside from feeling like a hostage, is the fact the guy sitting next to me was the same “color” as the driver, and had been coughing since he took his seat next to me some 400 miles prior. Not once did the driver say anything to this passenger or make him move when he started coughing.
Needless to say, I will never board a greyhound bus again. If I have to travel somewhere and I can’t drive my own vehicle, I’ll fly or rent a car. I refuse to be held hostage ever again by someone on a powertrip with a dislike of passengers based on their skin tone.