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Checking in bags on Greyhound w/ print at home ticket


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#1 BCL

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 11:17 AM

So I'm doing an overnight with the family to Reno on the Zephyr. I was thinking of taking an Amtrak bus and CC back to the Bay Area with AGR points, but thought of maybe using another bus service. Greyhound was an adult $13 web-only fare Reno-San Francisco (I am not getting off in that part of Oakland at night) which sounded good, so I booked two adults and one child for less than $39 including the booking fee.

I have never taken a scheduled Greyhound bus before. The closest was when we chartered several Greyhound buses for a HS trip.

So I'm confused as to what it means to check in a bag. We're taking a standard airline size carry-on but that might not fit. I also see some strange rule that there's no checked baggage for "electronic ticket" passengers who have a print at home ticket with a specific date/time, but then goes on to say that baggage service is handled by the passenger.

I'm not sure if there needs to be anything more than my name/address on the luggage, or I need to get a tag from an agent or baggage handler. Their website mentions finding out about the policies at the station.

I realize that Greyhound can be an adventure, but I'm willing to try anything once. The time I rode Megabus it went smoothly, although it tends to be self selective with passengers with Internet/printer access. I read stories about drug deals, recent prison releases, and mentally ill passengers. It can't be that bad, could it?

#2 SubwayNut

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 11:39 AM

Airline sized carry-ons will need to go under the Greyhound bus. I assume these bags normally ride underneath Amtrak buses? Generally (on the east coast and on a few other lines, at least this often isn't normally enforced) you will need to wait in line at the ticket counter, show your eTickets (to avoid the online ticketing fee)hold a reservation and pay cash at your local 7-11 next time, it's the cheapest option) and the agent will weigh and then tag each bag with your route and destination. Then you will take the bags back, generally place them in line to hold your spot at the boarding gate (varies depending upon station), sit down nearby, wait for your bus to be called get in line with your bags and walk them out curbside where the driver (and station attendants at busier stations) will grab your bags and load them underneath the bus. If you were transferring buses you would have to retrieve your bags yourself and move them to your new boarding line before rechecking your bags curbside at the next bus.

 

I think the best analogy to Greyhound's luggage policy is how gate check/valet bags work on airlines when you end up on Baby Jets or Turboprops that don't have large enough overhead bins for a standard carry-on.


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#3 BCL

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 12:16 PM



Airline sized carry-ons will need to go under the Greyhound bus. I assume these bags normally ride underneath Amtrak buses? Generally (on the east coast and on a few other lines, at least this often isn't normally enforced) you will need to wait in line at the ticket counter, show your eTickets (to avoid the online ticketing fee)hold a reservation and pay cash at your local 7-11 next time, it's the cheapest option) and the agent will weigh and then tag each bag with your route and destination. Then you will take the bags back, generally place them in line to hold your spot at the boarding gate (varies depending upon station), sit down nearby, wait for your bus to be called get in line with your bags and walk them out curbside where the driver (and station attendants at busier stations) will grab your bags and load them underneath the bus. If you were transferring buses you would have to retrieve your bags yourself and move them to your new boarding line before rechecking your bags curbside at the next bus.

 

I think the best analogy to Greyhound's luggage policy is how gate check/valet bags work on airlines when you end up on Baby Jets or Turboprops that don't have large enough overhead bins for a standard carry-on.

 

 

I'm getting really confused because I may have too much information.  I looked at these parts of the Greyhound website and can't make any sense out of it:

 

https://www.greyhoun...l/etickets.aspx

 

Print at Home Baggage Information

 

Check with customer service when you arrive at the terminal for information on checking your baggage. Greyhound baggage restrictions apply.

 

https://www.greyhoun...nformation.aspx

 

At Greyhound, passengers are responsible for transferring their own bags. Baggage assistance is available upon request. Special handling ID tags are available for customers that need help with their luggage, such as elderly passengers, customers with disabilities or adults traveling with small children.

 

Be sure that all checked bags have a claim check AND an identification tag. You must get both of these at the ticket counter prior to boarding. Please make sure your bags are properly tagged inside and out.

 

Take your baggage to the bus and give it to the baggage handler who will load the baggage underneath the bus. You are in charge of picking up your bags next to the bus at each transfer location and taking them to your connecting bus.

 

 

However, what really confuses me is that I found their service manual information on baggage:

 

http://extranet.grey...sm/baggage.html

 

EXCEPTION 2: ELECTRONIC TICKETS: No baggage will be checked for travel with an electronic ticket. An electronic ticket is defined as a ticket that is printed off a personal computer and is valid only on a specific day on specific routes published on Greyhound's website, www.greyhound.com; Transcor or ARC electronic tickets are not subject to this exception. All baggage, excluding carry-on baggage, will be transported in the baggage compartments. Passenger will be responsible for claiming baggage at destination and for rechecking baggage at transfer points. All baggage must have an I.D. tag inside and attached outside. CARRIERS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR LOST, DAMAGED OR MISPLACED BAGGAGE.

 

 

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, because it sounds kind of absurd that they change the baggage rules if you purchase an advanced purchase fare with a ticket you print yourself.

 

I do understand that the passenger is responsible for most movement of the luggage up to the point where it's loaded onto the bus, save someone incapable of doing so or who might be traveling with small children.  I think we might qualify as the latter, but I really don't need help so I won't bother.  However, the way it's tagged and this blurb in the service manual that there is no checked baggage with an "electronic ticket" is confusing me to no end.


Edited by BCL, 17 December 2014 - 12:20 PM.


#4 pianocat

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 03:59 PM

I understand your confusion! Last Christmas when I took Greyhound from Evv to Stl I walked in the station with an e-ticket but went directly to the counter to see if I needed to do anything else before loading.  He took my e-ticket, and I can't tell you exactly WHAT he did, but it became a more 'ticket-like' document than a printed out page from my computer.  This i presented to the driver who loaded my bag under the bus right away.  Ironically,  just 3 hours ago I did another Greyhound booking online for my Stl-Evv leg on New Year's Eve. Also, this time, printed out an e-ticket.  I plan to get to STL and head to the Greyhound desk to ask same info. as last year, and if they don't turn it into a 'ticket', like before I'll definitely be asking about that little tidbit you found in their rules about the luggage. Try checking at the desk...it worked last year for me! [Also, not sure you have suffered the same issue with printing their e-tickets, but almost 1/4 of the right side of the page doesn't fit on the normal size page.  Fortunately, the bar code and equivalent info. DOES show up on the left hand side adequately. I doubt it's my printer, because I have a new model from last year - and it did the very same thing today]


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#5 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 04:16 PM

I live in Reno, so I've ridden this route many, many times. On this route, they mostly use the new (2010-2013) D4505s with very painful seating. Prepare something to sit on and pad out the pain, which comes from the sagging seats, otherwise they're good buses.
 
If you get an older (2006) white D4505, ex-Americanos, it will have much better seating but it won't have Wi-Fi or outlets.
 
First of all, don't use Print at Home, it sucks. You've got to use Will Call. The way you do Will Call is that you pick up the ticket at the ticket desk in Reno after paying for it on the Internet. While you are picking up the ticket, you can weigh, check, and tag your bags. Then you take your bags with you to the line for boarding. If it's a local to SFD, that's Gate 3. Express to SFD is Gate 4. Gates 1 and 2 are for SLC/DEN, the latter has double-gate boarding.
 
You place your bags in the line and you wait for the driver to open the door. This'll be about 5-10 minutes before departure. When he opens the door, he'll announce boarding and you take out your ticket. Show it to the driver and give your bags to the baggage handler. Do not attempt to load baggage into the bus. Just hand your bags to him and go onboard.

 

You need credit card and ID.
 
The driver will probably delay departure by 5-20 minutes because RNO-SFD is always on-time and over-padded. Same thing with all the Reno routes, they're always on time.
 
You have to book early to get the lowest fares. You can get a $4 fare if you book early enough. Here's an explanation of all Greyhound fares: http://extranet.grey...sm/pageset.html.
 
Now that D4505 kicks the arse of the TD925s that Megabus use, but its seating is horrible. Greyhound spec'd the wrong seats for the D4505 and they're actually expensive seats. I'm highly pissed at Greyhound right now for this major blunder. Also, some of the seats have much more legroom than others, the legroom all varies.

I have hundreds of D4505 pics here: https://www.flickr.c...57645568405286/.

 

If you get a 1M86DMHA D4505, Greyhound #86300-86407, that series sometimes has regen failures when the engine will blow black smoke out the back and then break down unless the driver is skilled enough to get it to its destination without a breakdown. I've never seen it happen, but I've heard about it. I personally like the 1M86DMHA more than the 1M86DMBA, which has a louder engine. The "H" is a Detroit and the "B" is a Cummins.


Edited by Swadian Hardcore, 17 December 2014 - 04:17 PM.

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#6 BCL

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 05:20 PM

First of all, don't use Print at Home, it sucks. You've got to use Will Call. The way you do Will Call is that you pick up the ticket at the ticket desk in Reno after paying for it on the Internet. While you are picking up the ticket, you can weigh, check, and tag your bags. Then you take your bags with you to the line for boarding. If it's a local to SFD, that's Gate 3. Express to SFD is Gate 4. Gates 1 and 2 are for SLC/DEN, the latter has double-gate boarding.
 
You place your bags in the line and you wait for the driver to open the door. This'll be about 5-10 minutes before departure. When he opens the door, he'll announce boarding and you take out your ticket. Show it to the driver and give your bags to the baggage handler. Do not attempt to load baggage into the bus. Just hand your bags to him and go onboard.

 

You need credit card and ID.
 
The driver will probably delay departure by 5-20 minutes because RNO-SFD is always on-time and over-padded. Same thing with all the Reno routes, they're always on time.

 

It's probably too late now as I already printed it out, and I don't think will call is an option unless I'm willing to pay a fee for it now.  What's the issue with Print at Home?  Am I screwed when it comes to checking in and weighing my bag (I'm kind of confused by the service manual since what I read makes no sense), or does that mean I still need to get in line to do that, and it was a waste of my time and paper since I would have been in line anyways?

 

We're on an 8311 and the routing is Reno-Sac-Oakland-SF.  I think this is an express.  At least there's an E on the schedule.  The buses without an E seem to stop in Colfax, Roseville, and Suisun City.

 

http://extranet.grey...les/pdf/540.pdf



#7 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 06:13 PM

If you already printed it out, it should be fine. It's just that Print at Home tickets cannot be printed out at the terminal.

 

In that case, just go to the ticket desk at the terminal with your Print at Home tickets and you can check your bags that way. You still must have ID and credit card. Weigh, tag, and go to Gate 4. 8311 goes out of Gate 4 because it's an Express.

 

8311 is a good run. The driver might make an extra stop at Colfax for a smoke break, if he is a smoker himself. Just sit on something and the Blue D4505 will be fine. It's an Express so the White D4505 is even less likely. There's 132 Blue D4505s and only 6 White D4505s out here. I've ridden some bad nuts though, #86535 and #86544. #86544 is the worst blue Greyhound I've ridden. It was clean but it had a very loud engine and computer problems. Best D4505 I've taken would be #86397 or #86550. Both rode well.

 

I've never taken a White D4505, only seen them. They actually do have Wi-Fi, my mistake.

 

Don't expect good service from guys at the stations. They're hit-and-miss at best. The Food Service guys at SAC are friendly, though. The drivers are always good here except for Loewy, who's a rookie.

 

I'm taking 8309 to San Francisco on Friday. Then 6725 to Los Angeles on Saturday.

 

Don't try to fit anything big into the D4505, their parcel racks are only 10" tall.


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#8 BCL

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 06:35 PM

If you already printed it out, it should be fine. It's just that Print at Home tickets cannot be printed out at the terminal.

 

In that case, just go to the ticket desk at the terminal with your Print at Home tickets and you can check your bags that way. You still must have ID and credit card. Weigh, tag, and go to Gate 4. 8311 goes out of Gate 4 because it's an Express.

 

8311 is a good run. The driver might make an extra stop at Colfax for a smoke break, if he is a smoker himself. Just sit on something and the Blue D4505 will be fine. It's an Express so the White D4505 is even less likely. There's 132 Blue D4505s and only 6 White D4505s out here. I've ridden some bad nuts though, #86535 and #86544. #86544 is the worst blue Greyhound I've ridden. It was clean but it had a very loud engine and computer problems. Best D4505 I've taken would be #86397 or #86550. Both rode well.

 

There's a scheduled 45 minute stop for Sac.  I looked up the location, and I think it's close to the McDonald's off of I-5, but I don't think they stop there.

 

So I'll have no issues checking in my bag?  I got thrown for a loop when I saw the service manual section on "electronic tickets" since that sound like what I have.  I also make no sense to me since I had the option at the same price to get them at will call.

 

I also don't get the warning about "duplication" being prosecuted.  I'm not exactly sure what law would be broken for making duplicate copies of an e-ticket as long as there's no fraud involved (like resale).  I basically saved to a PDF and printed off of that.  It also came out as 5 pages even though 2 are blank.  I basically didn't print those blank pages.  I'm wondering if those would have used up paper if I printed directly.

 

I also tried calling the Reno bus station, and nobody answered after at least 10 rings each time.



#9 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 08:14 PM

Don't try calling any Greyhound station. They will never answer the phone. I don't know what happened. Maybe something's broken or maybe every single Greyhound station employee is too lazy to pick it up. After all, Greyhound station employees generally suck.

 

Crazy thing is, I've seen the guy at the ticket desk picking up the phone and talking about tickets multiple times, but they never answer when I call or when anyone I know calls. Ugh, shaking my head.

 

Yeah, there's a long stop at Sacramento. That's at the terminal on Richards. They don't stop at McDonald's; there's no meal stop on this route but they have Food Services at Sacramento which is one of the best Food Services that Greyhound has. But the Sacramento security guards and ticket agents are just UGH! Reno station guys are better than Sacramento, San Francisco and Oakland are OK.

 

It's really not that complicated once you get your bags tagged and don't have to deal with the station employees anymore. From there it's just a few hours to SAC, hop off, stroll around, get back on, a few more hours to SFD, and you're done. When the bus is actually in motion, it's surprisingly uneventful. That 45 minutes in SAC sucks, though. Oh yeah, SAC has clean restrooms and the buses have clean lavatories, RNO and SFD have not-so-clean restrooms, though not full-blown filthy either (but definitely not clean). Using the lavatory while in motion, though, isn't a good idea.

 

If you have kids and want more room, grab the seat right across from the wheelchair lift, I think the 5th or 6th row, right side. Those have tons of room. Front has the least room. Sitting at the front is fun but not comfortable. When I was a kid, I would love the front seat though, and I still do, as you can see in those photos.

 

I'm just really sick and tired of the D4505 and I wish I could ride something else. Lots of people like it, but I don't like those painful seats, ugh.


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#10 BCL

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 08:30 PM



Don't try calling any Greyhound station. They will never answer the phone. I don't know what happened. Maybe something's broken or maybe every single Greyhound station employee is too lazy to pick it up. After all, Greyhound station employees generally suck.

 

Crazy thing is, I've seen the guy at the ticket desk picking up the phone and talking about tickets multiple times, but they never answer when I call or when anyone I know calls. Ugh, shaking my head.

 

Yeah, there's a long stop at Sacramento. That's at the terminal on Richards. They don't stop at McDonald's; there's no meal stop on this route but they have Food Services at Sacramento which is one of the best Food Services that Greyhound has. But the Sacramento security guards and ticket agents are just UGH! Reno station guys are better than Sacramento, San Francisco and Oakland are OK.

 

It's really not that complicated once you get your bags tagged and don't have to deal with the station employees anymore. From there it's just a few hours to SAC, hop off, stroll around, get back on, a few more hours to SFD, and you're done. When the bus is actually in motion, it's surprisingly uneventful. That 45 minutes in SAC sucks, though. Oh yeah, SAC has clean restrooms and the buses have clean lavatories, RNO and SFD have not-so-clean restrooms, though not full-blown filthy either (but definitely not clean). Using the lavatory while in motion, though, isn't a good idea.

 

If you have kids and want more room, grab the seat right across from the wheelchair lift, I think the 5th or 6th row, right side. Those have tons of room. Front has the least room. Sitting at the front is fun but not comfortable. When I was a kid, I would love the front seat though, and I still do, as you can see in those photos.

 

I'm just really sick and tired of the D4505 and I wish I could ride something else. Lots of people like it, but I don't like those painful seats, ugh.

 

Thanks for the advice.  However, maybe one more thing.  I noticed a "boarding number" on my print at home ticket.  Does this mean anything at all?  I found only one image of one of these things, from someone who thought he could improve on the design.  I think this guy got one of the $1 fares that compete with Megabus,  His suggestion (in 2011) looks a lot like the current Amtrak print at home eTicket.

 

ticket.jpg

 

http://cargocollecti...yhound-Redesign

 

He doesn't seem to understand why the bar code is printed twice.  It's typically because some people fold them across the bar code and the toner might start cracking or the bar code becomes unreadable (even with redundancy).


Edited by BCL, 18 December 2014 - 12:53 PM.


#11 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 08:42 PM

I think the barcode is printed twice because, when printed on Greyhound ticket stock, the driver is supposed to rip off one segment with a barcode, leaving the other segment with another barcode for the passenger to keep. That's what I think, but it may not be correct.

 

I've seen the boarding number but I'm equally puzzled as to what they use it for. I've never seen it put to actual use when boarding. I do know that NBTA 0043 stands for Greyhound in their alliance, National Bus Traffic Association.


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#12 BCL

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 09:31 PM

I think the barcode is printed twice because, when printed on Greyhound ticket stock, the driver is supposed to rip off one segment with a barcode, leaving the other segment with another barcode for the passenger to keep. That's what I think, but it may not be correct.
 
I've seen the boarding number but I'm equally puzzled as to what they use it for. I've never seen it put to actual use when boarding. I do know that NBTA 0043 stands for Greyhound in their alliance, National Bus Traffic Association.

I've used a lot of self-print tickets. The first was in 2000 when I went to see Cirque du Soleil's Dralion in San Francisco. I'd never heard of printing a ticket on a sheet of printer paper before. I was actually freaked out because I wasn't able to print them, but their customer service (in Quebec) was very helpful and emailed a replacement PDF. Airlines were still mostly issuing hard tickets at the time. Many of these have bar codes printed two ways. I may be off about toner cracking, but I now get that maybe this is to deal with printer errors like dead lines (which I've seen with Amtrak tickets). If you've got dead lines but print in two perpendicular directions, one of them should still be readable. I've seen this with TicketMaster and Live Nation tickets, so I assume this is typical. I used those before and the eTicket was always handed to me intact, or at the most stamped as valid.

That's my explanation and I'm sticking with it. ;)

#13 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 10:44 PM

So it's for printer errors? Then that "redesign" really sucks, it only has one bar code! Also, the boarding number is useless and should be removed to avoid confusing passengers.


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#14 Train2104

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 11:09 PM

I've seen the boarding number but I'm equally puzzled as to what they use it for. I've never seen it put to actual use when boarding. I do know that NBTA 0043 stands for Greyhound in their alliance, National Bus Traffic Association.


I've taken Greyhound back and forth PGH-NYC a few times for school - the boarding number is what they are supposed to use to designate some form of boarding order. When I left out of the Port Authority they were actually used - an employee called out "Boarding 1-10" and let those passengers on, and so on.

 

In Pittsburgh there are signs for the various groups, but nobody uses them and everyone just boards off a long line. (heck, I was group 4 and I got the last seat on a doubled-up run a few days ago with 25+ passengers in line behind me)

 

I don't think the boarding numbers mean anything for non-"express" runs, but I've never taken one of those before.


Edited by Train2104, 17 December 2014 - 11:10 PM.


#15 Swadian Hardcore

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Posted 17 December 2014 - 11:12 PM

I've never seen boarding numbers being used and I've ridden Expresses and non-Expresses. Maybe they use them in the East, maybe the West does things differently. We sure do have different equipment. Hard-pressed finding a D4505 in the East.


Edited by Swadian Hardcore, 17 December 2014 - 11:13 PM.

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#16 rickycourtney

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 02:09 AM

Greyhound's print at home tickets are a hot mess. You can't reprint them at the station, they don't save any time if you need to "check" luggage and the design is pretty ugly. But from experience, they work. You just hand it over and step aboard.

Checking in at the counter is mostly about registering your bag with Greyhound so they can make sure your bag gets pulled off when you get off the bus. It's a flawed system, but that's a discussion for another time.

While Greyhound gives you time to eat in Sacramento, you're stuck getting good at the stations cafe, since there's no place to eat in that neighborhood. Think of it like being stuck on an Amtrak train, you don't get a lot of options on where to eat.

#17 oiky

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 04:27 AM

This thread interests me. So there is no real advantage of getting a print at home ticket if you need to check luggage? I will have to double check the rules about carry on luggage because i doubt my bag will be small enough to be considered a carry on.

 

In which case, what are the queues normally like for going to the desk to weigh and tag? I really hate hearing things like "you need to arrive at the station 1 hour before departure" because it sounds way too stressful for me. but from the sounds of it it's going to sound like good advice...



#18 tp49

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 05:19 AM

While Greyhound gives you time to eat in Sacramento, you're stuck getting good at the stations cafe, since there's no place to eat in that neighborhood. Think of it like being stuck on an Amtrak train, you don't get a lot of options on where to eat.

 

The only places to eat outside of the terminal are a McDonald's and a Denny's which are a long block away toward I-5 (at Richards and Bercut Drive.)



#19 caravanman

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 09:54 AM

I rode Greyhound from Reno to Sacramento a few months back. I bought and printed my ticket at home. My feeling was that with an "early boarding number" I might have some claim to priority if the bus was oversold.

Very modern bus, no problems for me, 6' 2", with the seats on this shortish route.

You do need to attend the ticket desk if you have bags to check. They weigh the bags and attach their baggage lables, then you go to the door and wait for boarding to begin. Many folk leave their luggage in the line to mark their place, and sit nearby... can be a bit boring just standing for ages.

It all worked well for me with one exception...I had to pay $15 for my second checked bag, the Greyhound site does not highlight this as part of your ticket booking procedure, although it is mentioned somewhere on the site.

 

Ed :cool:



#20 BCL

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Posted 18 December 2014 - 10:39 AM

Greyhound's print at home tickets are a hot mess. You can't reprint them at the station, they don't save any time if you need to "check" luggage and the design is pretty ugly. But from experience, they work. You just hand it over and step aboard.

Checking in at the counter is mostly about registering your bag with Greyhound so they can make sure your bag gets pulled off when you get off the bus. It's a flawed system, but that's a discussion for another time.

While Greyhound gives you time to eat in Sacramento, you're stuck getting good at the stations cafe, since there's no place to eat in that neighborhood. Think of it like being stuck on an Amtrak train, you don't get a lot of options on where to eat.

 

I know the McDonald's there, but it seems a good long walk.  I've been there a few times after going to the California Railroad Museum with my kid.  I'll probably just make sure we have some snacks, and then have dinner when we get back to the Bay Area.

 

I really got confused because I found the service manual section that seems to state that "electronic tickets" aren't eligible for checked baggage.  It makes no sense and I'm not sure why it's there since nobody seems to have encountered being denied.

 

I basically "printed" to a PDF document, so I could save it just in case.  I then emailed it to myself and have it available.  I know it's supposed to be available for reprint, but I'd rather do it this way where it should be within my control.


Edited by BCL, 18 December 2014 - 12:56 PM.





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