Decisions (Amtrak vs Greyhound, DEN to ORL)?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by snljamie0518, Aug 29, 2019.

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  1. Aug 29, 2019 #1

    snljamie0518

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    snljamie0518

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    My husband & I are in the process of moving to Orlando, Florida from Denver, Colorado in November. We haven't decided if we want to take AMTRAK or take Greyhound. I am not too thrilled about taking Greyhound. My husband is in a power chair so flying is out. If we took AMTRAK, which would be more comfortable. The agent at the AMTRAK station said there are no companion fares at the moment so the fare would be $625 one way. We would have to take three trains. A transfer in Chicago & then a transfer in Washington, DC with a two-three hour layover.

    My question there is: What is outside the station to see/eat? How close are the monuments to the station? How close is the White House to the station?

    Ok, now on the Greyhound. I know this is an AMTRAK forum but we need help in deciding which we should take. Greyhound is cheaper but I am curious if anyone here has taken Greyhound & has any positive thing to say about it & how they treat people in power chairs. I am freaking out from all the negative things I have read about it but we also need to have affordability too. Does it still stop at every McDonalds? [Which I really am trying to avoid if I can].

    Thank you for your help & for listening. I have always liked this forum.
     
  2. Aug 29, 2019 #2

    Everydaymatters

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    If you have never traveled on Greyhound, you should do it once. That way you will know you never want to do it again. I don't have any experience with power chairs, but I once traveled from Chicago to Orlando. Everyone told me I would be sorry I did it. I was. Another time I took Greyhound from Chicago to Cleveland when there was a family emergency and the Amtrak schedule didn't work for me. These were the most uncomfortable rides I have ever experienced. First, the chemicals from the toilet made me sick, but since you probably won't be toward the back of the bus, you might not have that problem. The seats are uncomfortable, and while leg room might not seem important, it is. There is no room between yourself and the seat in front of you. If money is a problem, then yes, go Greyhound. If you can somehow manage the Amtrak fare, do it.
     
  3. Aug 29, 2019 #3

    Qapla

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    Is that fare for a sleeper? (h-room)

    The best fare I found is $534.60 for coach ...
     
  4. Aug 29, 2019 #4

    hastybob

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    hastybob

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    Just a hint into the clientele on Greyhound - I know members of the "Airport Interdiction Team" locally. They are the local police department's drug team. They visit not just the airport but other transportation companies. I asked them a couple of times if they visited the local Greyhound station. I was told that they rarely visited there. They have a profile they use to help identify drug couriers and if they visited the Greyhound station, they would arrest everyone there as they all fit the profile!

    Another thing to remember is that buses run late too. I have known them to run 6 hours late or just be cancelled completely. Don't look for compensation if the agency is a contract one. Greyhound has only a few company run agencies. The contract ones cannot or will not help you out.

    Greyhound does have accessible buses now, but I don't know how accessible the restroom is on the bus. You need to ask about that.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
  5. Aug 29, 2019 #5

    railiner

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    I think you will be much more comfortable taking Amtrak, over Greyhound.

    I am curious as to why 'flying is out' as an option...people with power chairs fly all the time...the airlines are very good about ADA compliance...
    And with some careful shopping, you may find some bargain air fares...
     
  6. Aug 29, 2019 #6

    railiner

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    [QUOTE="hastybob, post: 815303, member: 7445".

    Greyhound does have accessible buses now, but I don't know how accessible the restroom is on the bus. You need to ask about that.

    Good luck with your decision.[/QUOTE]



    The Greyhound bus restrooms are NOT accessible. The passenger must request a special stop be made, at some accessible restroom along the way, if they can't wait until the next regular rest stop...

    The only accessible restroom I have ever seen on a bus, was in the Holland America/Princess Alaskan tour bus fleet...
     
  7. Aug 29, 2019 #7

    drdumont

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    Do yourself a favor and call the Amtrak Guest Rewards number. If you are not an AGR member, join now. Then call the AGR number and browbeat Julie into letting you speak to an Agent. (Just keep repeating "AGENT", and eventually you will be placed in the queue to speak with an agent. (In my experience, I have never gotten an agent who was not pleasant, helpful, spoke English as the primary language, and enjoyable with whom to deal).
    Explain your situation to the agent, and inquire as to the H room (can you say "handicapped" any more???), and barring that, perhaps the Family Bedroom.
    Also, if you can alter your plans a few days earlier or later, you have a better chance of getting a good fare.
    If moving about without the power chair is not possible, the attendant will bring your meals, and will attend to your needs on request. And of course, don't forget a generous tip for good service!
    One last thought, the only Greyhound I want to see is either chasing a mechanical rabbit, or is rescued from a Greyhound rescue group. They make wonderful family pets.
    I really hope you can make the Amtrak connection work. Flying with a power chair can be done, but I would avoid Southwest.
    Remember, friends don't let friends ride the bus!
     
  8. Aug 29, 2019 #8

    crescent-zephyr

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    I’ve taken Greyhound and I would highly advise against it. Take Amtrak to Chicago and then Megabus to Florida over greyhound.

    Greyhound makes you change busses all the time, including the middle of the night. When you change busses you are in greyhound stations that are uncomfortable at best and many times feel unsafe.

    I will say... the new greyhound busses are somewhat comfortable.
     
  9. Aug 29, 2019 #9

    lyineltrain

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    Just took the silver meteor asking for wheel chair assist etc. horrible service. Can’t imagine changing trains.
    If flying is out then I’d suggest driving, or hiring a driver if needed.
    Never took a bus, but def won’t take a train again.
     
  10. Aug 29, 2019 #10

    crescent-zephyr

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    I can assure you greyhound is worse than Amtrak. That’s from personal experience.
     
  11. Aug 29, 2019 #11

    crescent-zephyr

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    So Denver to Orlando on greyhound is-

    Denver to Kansas City, stop, May have to get off bus.
    Kansas City to St. Louis. Stop- transfer bus.
    St. Louis to Memphis. stop - transfer bus.
    Memphis to Atlanta. Stop - transfer bus.
    Atlanta to Orlando.
     
  12. Aug 29, 2019 #12

    velotrain

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    You can also look at it this way - would you rather spend ~24-36 hours ? looking at highways and cars and trucks and gas and bus stations, or a largely natural environment with occasional inhabited areas?
     
  13. Aug 30, 2019 #13

    snljamie0518

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    I have traveled Greyhound when I was 18/19 years old from Denver to Raton, NM which wasn't bad because it was short distance. My Mom met me at the McDonalds in Raton. I then traveled by Greyhound in 2000/2001 from Denver to NYC with my husband who only used a cane at the time. It was a horrible experience then, the train even left an elderly woman at the train station. We even told each other that we would never do it again unless we had to. I even told my Mom recently that we do NOT want to ride Greyhound but she said take whatever you can afford. If only she knew.
     
  14. Aug 30, 2019 #14

    snljamie0518

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    Flying is out because I do not like flying. The airlines have also been known to damage power chairs by mishandling the chair. The airlines claim they are not responsible for the damages. I have an email about how many airlines damage power chairs & how often it happens. I would post it here if I am allowed to.
     
  15. Aug 30, 2019 #15

    snljamie0518

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    Actually, the Greyhound that my husband saw was going through TX, New Orleans & other cities/states that way.
     
  16. Aug 30, 2019 #16

    Everydaymatters

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    As another person said, please do look into Amtrak Guest Rewards. If you apply for their credit card now, and use that credit card per their required amount, it might help toward the price of the ticket. If the points don't cover the entire trip, maybe it could cover some of the segments for one or both of you.
     
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  17. Aug 30, 2019 #17

    sttom

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    I would recommend the train over any bus. Riding a bus is like flying on air line coach for serval hours without getting to move around. Trains offer way more leg room and even regional coach offers more leg room than most coach seats on airlines, but they are 2x2 instead of 3x3. Not to mention if you get a room, food is included on the train whereas with Greyhound you're not so lucky.
     
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  18. Aug 31, 2019 #18

    drdumont

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    Amtrak:
    No TSA
    No Seatbelts
    No Center Seats
    Very seldom end up in smoking holes in the ground
    Even in case of an accident you have a better chance of survival
    Generally pleasant attendants
    Roomy 2x2 seating, wide seats, lots of room between rows, adjustable footrests
    You can get up, move around at will
    Room set aside for wheelchairs in the coaches
    Snack bar available
    Generally nicer surroundings
    If you really are Jonesing for a smoke, there will be a smoke stop ahead.

    Intercity Bus (Mostly Greyhound): There are other companies who I hear offer better service, but I haven't seen them.
    Disabled accommodations unreliable or nonexistent
    No wheelchair access to toilet (which I wouldn't enter anyway)
    No attendants, even drivers are sometimes in a locked enclosure.
    Stations are generally pestholes
    Crowded narrow seats
    Even more narrow aisles
    Nowhere near as smooth a ride
    No snack bar aboard
    Like being in the worst part of town in a 3rd world country
    Face it folks, I'm sorry for you if that's your only option, but Greyhound has gone into Ye Olde Porcelain Convenience over the past 40 years, and there is no sign of improvement.

    Airlines:
    TSA
    Seatbelts
    Treat people like cattle
    Narrow seats
    Seats crowded together
    Center seats (in which I will not sit, I will get off the aircraft first)
    What food is available is generally inedible
    Much more subject to weather delays and other issues
    TSA (SO bad it needs mentioning twice)
    Yeah, it will get you there faster, but when you get there you need a rest.

    Just to list a few...

    If Amtrak is impossible for you. see if you can find someone with a van to drive you. Pay for his time and gas.
     
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  19. Aug 31, 2019 #19

    v v

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    Here's a slightly different view from someone who rides both Amtrak and greyhound on a regular basis, with both most journeys are usually 20+ hours at least.

    Many if not all the Greyhound experiences above actually happen, but are not as frequent as implied. Amtrak has it's own staff and customer problems too, just not on the same scale.

    Mainly people riding Greyhound do so due to the lower costs, so a larger proportion of less well off people on a bus than a train. The prison service in the US regularly buy a Greyhound ticket for newly released prisoner to get back home, on our last 2 Greyhound bus rides earlier this year one bus at one time had 4 newly released prisoners, the other 6, none of them new the other or the circumstances before they boarded the bus.
    We sat roughly central to both loose groups on both buses, no problem at all.
    Finding so many newly released prisoners on one bus was new to us, I have been riding US Greyhound since 2001 so maybe this is a policy change by the prison service? Both buses were busy.

    Each Amtrak car or Greyhound bus is filled with the good the bad and the ugly, it depends on your tolerance levels how you handle the people around you. If you can run to it then a bedroom on Amtrak is the ultimate way to isolate yourself from possibly meeting irritating people in comfort, if you only have the price of a Greyhound ticket you should still be fine if you don't mind being close to others who are not like you.

    Last an example that specifically relates to you and your hubby. This year on a Greyhound from LA to Denver there was a lady in a motorised chair, she was travelling alone. The center of the bus seating was altered for her chair to be lifted in, she boarded first, no other passengers complained.
    During the journey the drivers usually have their hands full, therefore people sitting around her helped out with small things as we were going along. She got off only once as far as I remember, a young man offered to help her move around once off the bus and made sure she was bus side at the right time, yes you have guessed he was one of the newly released prisoners.

    I did look up the trip from Denver to Tampa, there is a route where you change buses only twice, it's changing buses that's the pain.

    Have never been in your position but guessing if I were it would depend only on what is affordable. If you could find the cash then travel by Amtrak, due to the comfort level, not because of the people you would meet on Greyhound. There are geniuses on this forum who would willingly help with finding you the easiest route at the best price, by far your best bet.

    Then there's the option of renting a driver with a van, but that may be expensive?

    If it's down to money then go Greyhound, they'll look after you in the way they do and you'll get there. The new seats are pretty good but they do have some poor buses still. If you're not very tall the legroom is ok too. They usually have an added advantage of good on-board wifi all over. The chairs ride in the middle of a bus so you get the most comfortable ride.

    We've found on longer journeys that having a ready smile was the most important asset, just my take on your question, wish you well.
     
  20. Aug 31, 2019 #20

    crescent-zephyr

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    I’ve never been harassed by the TSA like I have been by Amtrak Police so not sure I’d complain about TSA.

    Even coach gets free snacks and drinks on flights.... not sure why you think peanuts, pretzels, potatoe chips, and cookies aren’t edible.

    As for space.... 1st class on regional planes can be quite affordable.
     
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  21. Sep 1, 2019 #21

    snljamie0518

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    WOW! That's quite a list. It is a list I should show my Mom.
     
  22. Sep 1, 2019 #22

    snljamie0518

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    Thank you for a positive review on Greyhound. I see so many negative ones that it scares me. However, I don't think I would feel comfortable riding on a bus with prisoners that just got released. My Mom would not like the idea for sure. Do the buses still stop at McDonalds or do they stop at other fast food places too?
     
  23. Sep 1, 2019 #23

    v v

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    The stops appear to vary, quite a lot of independent road eateries, sometimes small truck stops and a few fast food outlets. If you can take some food with you it may help if a bus stops somewhere you prefer not to eat. In the Greyhound bus stations in larger cities the bus station mostly have their own cafes which are often pretty good for food and drink.

    The prisoner thing this year was unusual although it did happen, in say the previous 5 years only came across one man who was a newly released prisoner. In the main the ones we spoke with were courteous and helpful, but also anxious as to what the world or their families would think of them now released, never a hint of a problem and it would not bother either Rosie or I to ride with them again.

    Like all mass transit the bulk of people you travel with are fairly reasonable and just want a quiet life, there's always a few who are unhappy or don't fit in but they usually stick together at the back of a bus isolated from the rest of the passengers.
     
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  24. Sep 1, 2019 #24

    drdumont

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    Hmmm -- Although it has been over 2-1/2 years since I flew anywhere, and I am sitting on about 300,000 AA miles still, I haven't seen peanuts on an airplane in ages. And I'll be happy to buy a Coca Cola, a snack, or even a Diner meal if I'm in coach if I can avoid the irritating things in my list.
    And what on Earth did you do to raise the ire of Amtrak police? Other than riding in their white SUVs looking for (the late) Stobe the Hobo types, I don't believe I have ever noticed their presence. I'd really like to hear of your experience.
    (I sometimes enjoyed watching his YouTube videolips, but always thought he was crazy as an outhouse rat).
     
  25. Sep 1, 2019 #25

    crescent-zephyr

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    Southwest, Delta, and American all offer free snacks and drinks to coach passengers. My recent trip on southwest the snack basket was Fritos, Shortbread Cookies, and Pretzels. You could have one of each if you wanted them. Free beverages include soft drinks, sparkling water, coffee, juice, etc.

    What did I do? I boarded the California Zephyr in Chicago headed for Salt Lake City. Before departing 2 Amtrak Police officers came to my roomette, questioned me on why I was headed to Salt Lake City, why I was taking the train instead of flying, and asked if I had any large amounts of cash on me. They then asked permission to search my bags... I said " well if you are asking for my permission the answer is no" naturally the officer said "why wouldn't you want us to verify that what you said is true" and I said "If I have a right to say no, I would like to use that right" and then the officer said "oh you have the right to refuse, but I have the right to insist that your luggage be run by a canine before traveling, and since we don't have a canine with us, that means you or your luggage may miss your train while we wait for a canine" - so naturally I agreed to let them search my bag and they thanked me for my cooperation. ha.
     
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