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Fun for Friday: American Bus Stories

This post is meant to be a companion piece to my German Train story that I posted in January.

Traveling by bus in America can lead to some interesting stories.  I’ve only ridden a Greyhound on one occasion, back in the year 2000, which was a round trip to Pittsburgh.   The trip eastward boarded around midnight; which, by coincidence, is about the same time I boarded the Amtrak to DC.  Nothing encourages public transportation more than boarding in the middle of the night, I say.  Otherwise, this trip was mostly uneventful, and I actually fell asleep.  The trip home included a 2-hour layover in Columbus at 2:30 in the morning.  I wouldn’t have minded a chance to check out Columbus, but of course, everything was closed.   Each trip included many stops and rest breaks in small towns, which is common for Greyhound.

Megabus was a revelation to me when it first arrived. Non-stop, inexpensive transportation to Chicago?  Where has this been all my life?  Well, it’s not luxury.  I’ve made 2 round trips via Megabus, and each time the buses were near the end of their shelf-life as coaches.  Twice the buses were quite late.  The best story, though, was during the trip south from Chicago, when the bus was making an incessant beeping noise.  The driver took all of us to the Megabus garage on the South side of Chicago near the old stockyards to get it checked up.  Turned out the bus didn’t need fixing, so we just beeped the whole way home.   Headphones came in real handy for this trip.  We arrived in Indy about an hour and half late.

I hope these snags don’t discourage people from looking into bus travel.  Memorable journeys are a big part of the fun of traveling.  Have some good humor and patience, and relax.  You’ll get there…probably…

As a final thought, I’m sure readers of this blog have better bus stories than I do.  Please feel free to share them.

4 Responses to “ “Fun for Friday: American Bus Stories”

  1. Curt Ailes says:

    My best bus story doesnt even take place in the US. My wife and I were married in Italy in 2008. The week following the ceremony, we travelled to Southern Italy and spent a week on the Amalfi Coast. The only way to get to the small towns that dot the coast along this region was by a winding road that switched back on itself. We took the SITA bus service which are basically shorter transit buses. It was a hairy 30 minute trip that reminded me of something out a James Bond movie.

    Here is a picture I took from a boat of the road. This was one of the not so curvy portions but see how close it was to the sea?

  2. When I was a student in Pittsburgh I used the buses instead of a car. It was great. Except for one day when I was exploring a new neighborhood, whereupon I made two mistakes. The first is when I didn’t ask where the bus was headed, and the second was when I fell asleep. I awoke in the East Garage when the driver noticed he still had a passenger. After some laughter at my situation, he gave me a transfer and walked me to the correct bus. I made it home, embarrassed but well rested.

  3. Mark Kory says:

    You asked for it you got it!
    I’ve only taken the bus once in my life. I was 14 or 15, not old enough to drive, but back in the 80’s old enough to ride a bus from point a to point b with adults at either end. This was a one way deal from St. Louis to Indianapolis. (Can’t remember why) Anyway, the first half of the trip was “normal” enough. I sat at in the front seat (in hindsight it was probably because of my age). We stopped in Effingham for a quick break and a splash of gas. What happened next, I’m still not quite sure. Basically the Driver got in a fight with a passenger. The cops were called.. people were questioned. It was kinda nutty. BUT (and this is were it get’s interesting) -when it was all over the driver then returned to the bus and we all left for the final leg to Indy. I’m up front, sitting next to a guy with a Walkman (kinda rare at the time), and 65 year old lady who’s primary language was not English. I could see the driver, but I don’t think anyone else could or was interested. Basically he was mumbling under his breath things like “I’m going to kill him..” and “This job’s not worth it”. He was physically wringing his hands and getting louder and louder as the trip went on. I thought FOR SURE, that we was going to take us all out at the next bridge or overpass. Seriously scary stuff. Nothing did happen in the end. We arrived and there were some cops their to get some more details. I will tell you this. That last 150 miles or so seemed to take 8 hours and was (for now) my last adventure on a public bus.

  4. Great story Mr. Kory. Thanks for visiting.

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