Greyhound Bus Lines up for sale

Discussion in 'Non-Rail Transportation' started by frequentflyer, May 30, 2019.

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  1. May 30, 2019 #1

    frequentflyer

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  2. May 30, 2019 #2

    railiner

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    "Coast Capital said in a statement Thursday that it has "no confidence in the ability of the current board to deliver the changes needed to best effect, as there is precious little expertise in surface transport among the current lineup, especially in a US context.""


    Above quoted from that linked story...
    I would say that is an understatement...I am underwhelmed by the way the current management has let the once standard bus line of the world, slip into the sorry state it is in today. To be fair, the time for a national bus network in North America has probably come and gone, but they have not adopted to the changing market, and maintained a service that would sell.

    The pioneer's that founded that great American (and Canadian) institution are probably spinning in their graves as to what happened to their once proud company. I myself am proud to have served that company on a couple of occasion's in the past.
    I would love it if some 'white knight' with deep pocket's, would come and resurrect it to its former glory, but realistically that is highly unlikely.
    Indeed, if someone with the means to buy it does so, I am afraid they will 'milk' whatever assets they can glean, and then liquidate the rest...:(
     
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  3. May 30, 2019 #3

    dlagrua

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    While a national bus service is important, the Greyhound mode of transportation seems to cater to the low end audience traveling on a budget. Nothing was done to update and upgrade the service to make it more comfortable and attractive. As a result, only the people that must use bus service with few alternatives take it. If Greyhound does go belly up will this open the door for expanded passenger train service? Where will their customers go?
     
  4. May 31, 2019 #4

    ehbowen

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    As I've said before: In this country, if you're physically and financially blessed with the ability and the means to own and operate a motor vehicle, all of North America is your oyster. But if not, then you're not even a third class citizen.
     
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  5. May 31, 2019 #5

    caravanman

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    It will be a shame if Greyhound Lines closes down. I have used them a few times, and always felt a thrill to board a Greyhound bus.

    No idea about the management competence, but "First" are a big train and bus operator this side of the pond:

    https://www.firstgroupplc.com/~/med...st-documents/working-with-FirstGroup-2017.pdf

    This "budget" traveller has fingers crossed that they survive in some shape or other!

    Ed
     
  6. May 31, 2019 #6

    dogbert617

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    Sadly, this is so true that one is often SOL for traveling, if they don't have access to a car. Especially if you want to travel to rural areas, there's much less of a likelihood you can travel there via bus, if the smaller city or town you want to visit isn't right off of an expressway. :( Granted there are some exceptions, i.e. the bus that goes up to Traverse City, MI, or the bus that goes up to Marquette, MI and Escanaba, MI.

    Greyhound does serve a role in transportation in the US, so I'd hate to see them bite the dust. And on a side note, it's too bad that last year Greyhound cut most of their Canadian bus service, except in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.
     
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  7. May 31, 2019 #7

    frequentflyer

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    Greyhound bought new Prevost buses, imitated Megabus and started wifi (poor), added leather seats and took on that hideous blue livery. Even got a major bump in ridership when gas shot up under Obama just like Amtrak did. The millennials do not mind riding buses as other lines are thriving. The reason Greyhound was not able to take advantage of the bump will be studied in business schools for years to come.
     
  8. Jun 1, 2019 #8

    JRR

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    I rode the Greyhound once from Chicago to Escanaba Mi. and then Hitchhiked to Powers where my father picked me up and brought me the rest of the way to Iron Mountain Mi. An interesting part of the trip home from ROTC summer camp at Indiantown Gap Military Reservation.
     
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  9. Jun 1, 2019 #9

    dogbert617

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    Just looked up the distance between those towns, and I'm impressed you walked that far(23 miles, per google maps) to get to Powers, MI! I do wonder if in the pre-Amtrak days, if places like Escanaba, Marquette, and Iron Mountain ever had any sort of passenger rail service? Even if for all I know, it was short lived?
     
  10. Jun 1, 2019 #10

    AlamoWye

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    Here in Texas the busses based in Mexico are much preferred. From San Antonio you can reach almost any city in Mexico on a clean nice bus for a very reasonable fee. I made a trip to Monterrey and Saltillo and back about five years ago. There were at least 5 different bus lines, meaning lots of competition, so they make sure they are nice with Spanish-language movies the whole way and reasonable stops. My Spanish is not so good so it does help to have someone along that does to explain border-crossing formalities and such. Of course there are the problems in Mexico to deal with in safety so a daytime trip would be my preference, but I can see them filling the void in most states around Texas rather quickly if the Greyhound runs away.
     
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  11. Jun 1, 2019 #11

    Willbridge

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    Actually Greyhound made a number of improvements under (British) First Group control. However, their efforts were subverted by the corporate culture they inherited and public image that they inherited.
     
  12. Jun 1, 2019 #12

    Willbridge

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    Greyhound's image is kind of a double-edged sword. On one side a purchaser will take on a lot of cultural baggage, so to speak. On the other side, when there is an emergency they are the carrier of last resort. Authorities, charity groups, newcomers to the U.S. all think of Greyhound first.

    Memorial Day travel overlapped with the flow of asylum seekers riding Greyhound Lines away from the Mexican border to create a sell-out on the corridor leading from El Paso to the Richmond, VA bus hub (where GL sorts out passengers bound for the Northeast). Most of these trips go through Dallas and Atlanta.

    At 8 p.m. MDT, Saturday, 25 May, 2019 all of the direct itineraries for Sunday were sold out. One seat was shown on one trip as available on Monday. The rest of Monday was sold out. Their one-way fare on Monday was $303. At the same time Amtrak still had coach seats on Monday for El Paso – Richmond via an overnight layover in New Orleans for $277. Because of the layover and express trips, the Greyhound itineraries are faster. As a result of shifting buses and operators to the southern tier, Greyhound east-west headways through Dallas are better than any Amtrak corridor service aside from California and the NEC.

    In following this over the past month, there are few trips sold out for more than a day or two into the future. That suggests that most of the customers are walking into the station and just buying tickets on the next available trip. This fits with NPR reports that migrants are being dropped off at Greyhound stations to figure out what to do next. Amtrak (try-weakly) and Flix (new German entry) are only indirectly being affected by customers who can't get seats on Greyhound.
     
  13. Jun 2, 2019 #13

    jloewen

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    "I do wonder if in the pre-Amtrak days, if places like Escanaba, Marquette, and Iron Mountain ever had any sort of passenger rail service?"
    Yes indeed! The Northwestern ran two trains/day, as I recall, from Chicago to Rhinelander, Woodruff, and ending in Duluth/Superior, as of 1962. At least one had a dome car. On the southbound run, a perplexity was that the day train stopped for lunch for 20 minutes in Antigo, WI, as I recall, and then at the very next stop, the NW added a diner!
    The Milwaukee Road also boasted a route map that still showed vestiges of ITS route, which also curved toward Ironwood, MI, and I think ended there. Certainly it did not get to Duluth/Superior. The map showed all the stops, and there were many, but no connecting line, because by 1962 it no longer ran.
    I think Amtrak still runs a bus connecting Milwaukee to Green Bay and then all the way to Marquette, and if so, that probably parallels a train route prior to Amtrak.
     
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  14. Jun 2, 2019 #14

    jloewen

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    On one occasion, c.1964, a friend and I missed the southbound evening train at Woodruff, so our friend drove us at high speed to Rhinelander. We were heartened by the fact that we beat the train to an overpass just W of Rhinelander, and indeed, we got to the station a few minutes before the train. We then enjoyed 2 days in Chicago, seeing classic Eisenstein movies at the fabled Chicago Theater and going to Ravinia Park to hear Beethoven's Ninth with the Chicago Symphony, before taking the overnight train back to our jobs at Region Seven Explorer Canoe Base in Boulder Jct., WI, just N of Woodruff.
     
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  15. Jun 2, 2019 #15

    JRR

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    I didn’t walk, I hitch hiked. A family picked me up outside the bus terminal(I had my army duffle and didn’t even have my thumb out!). They asked me where I was going and said they’d take me to the outskirts of town where it would be easier to get a ride. They dropped me off and a Canadian couple, out for a Sunday drive, picked me up and took me all the way to Powers.

    I don’t think that would happen today and I’m not sure how safe it would be for either the hitchhiker or driver!
     
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  16. Jun 2, 2019 #16

    Radvlad

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    Back in the 80's I hitch hiked in Europe. Probably not safe to do that today. I think that's too bad for today's young people. It was a great way to meet the locals.
     
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  17. Jun 2, 2019 #17

    COTraveler

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    Ah, the memories. Took my first train ride on the C&NW from Woodruff to Rhinelander. I was just a kid and my parents took us on one of the last runs before they shut down the line in 1971.
     
  18. Jun 3, 2019 #18

    jebr

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    I don't see a buyer out there who would buy Greyhound wholesale and work to keep most/all of its service and try to improve/expand service. Greyhound currently tries to cater to three sets of customers:

    1. Travelers with no other option for traveling nationally/across country (or traveling within their budget.)
    2. Travelers who want an affordable option to get between two cities that are within an 8-12 hour or less drive
    3. Rural town residents where Greyhound is the only option to get out of town at all.

    Out of these, Greyhound really only does #1 well, but it's not exactly a growing segment. They may do #3 okay, but in the Midwest they have no presence in that market (all of the services are either run by local transit agencies or a regional carrier like Jefferson Lines.) With the advent of low-cost airlines and ultra-low-cost carriers for flying, #1 starts having less and less people where budget is the primary concern, which only leaves people who cannot or are unwilling to fly (a much smaller market.) With its reputation, #2 is difficult for them to gain market share in, and other carriers are competing aggressively as well to try and capture that market.

    I don't see any of the current bus or transportation companies really wanting to buy Greyhound. Their operations are still fairly capital-intensive (I believe they still own a fair amount of their stations, though that number may be dwindling) and it still requires managing a basically nationwide presence. There's very few other bus companies that have scheduled service in multiple separate regions (Coach USA/Megabus is the only one that comes to mind, though Flixbus seems to be growing rapidly in the express market.) Best-case scenario, in my view, is that the company's route assets/market is sold off regionally to different regional bus companies, but a national ticketing network remains (either through a consortium of regional bus companies or through a third-party provider.) It's likely that most of the bus stations will be sold off, either to municipalities that will run them and lease out space in them, or to real estate investors who will try to convert them to other uses.
     
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  19. Jun 3, 2019 #19

    MARC Rider

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    I wonder if there's an ADA-style reasoning to justify using some public support to maintain at least a basic nationwide bus network. Not everyone is medically fit to fly. I had a former co-worker who had eye surgery and would have been unable to join his family for a long-planned trip without the availability of train service. Having our passenger transportation system rely almost entirely on private automobiles and and air travel restricts mobility to people with disabilities in ways similar to the other barriers addressed by the ADA. Not to mention people who are aging out of being able to drive. (I'm dealing with this issue with one of my parents. It's not quite time to pull the license yet, but it's getting there.) How are these people supposed to have access to mobility without affordable ground transportation?

    Also, some redundancy in transportation modes is probably a good idea. Remember when all the planes were grounded after 9/11? Good thing there was a national train and bus network.
     
  20. Jul 13, 2019 at 2:55 AM #20

    Willbridge

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    Here's an overview of recent GL service changes. They've been struggling to handle the walk-in traffic at stations near the Rio Grande border crossings, but most of those customers are paying cash at the highest same-day fare rates. (Relatives send money for travel to cities with large Central American populations. The flow of passengers is focused on six of the top seven cities. See list below.) Amtrak and Flix are not getting much of this because of not having daily service in that area, and with the exception of Amtrak El Paso, no agency stations.

    Subject: Greyhound giveth and taketh away - April 2019 changes

    GREYHOUND ADDS EVEN MORE SERVICE TO HANDLE MIGRANT RUSH

    Greyhound Lines service changes in recent years have mainly been reductions, but now the flood of migrants being dropped off at Greyhound stations has resulted in a build-up of the already well-served transcontinental corridor through El Paso, Texas. Following a pattern previously seen during energy and other crises, the biggest demand increase has occurred on the heaviest traveled routes.

    To corral the needed resources (staff and buses) that forced a hard look at other routes, with service cuts resulting. In most April examples, the cuts affected trips that were run for weekend surges, but one long-time main line – Las Vegas <> Salt Lake City -- lost one of its two daily trips. That route paralleled the former Amtrak Desert Wind.

    Several of the new Greyhound Lines services will compete with the newest Flixbus service in the Southeast. The cutbacks in California, Nevada and Utah are on routes also served by Flixbus.

    In April 2019, the veteran bus operator added:
    • 1 Dallas – Atlanta – New York City round-trip daily replaces a Friday & Holiday Only trip from NYC to Dallas.
    • 1 Dallas – Memphis – Nashville – Richmond round-trip extending the previous Dallas – Memphis – Nashville service.
    • 1 Dallas – Memphis – Nashville – to Detroit and 1 Detroit – Nashville – to Memphis.
    • Dallas from Nashville via Memphis trip.
    • 1 Dallas from Memphis trip.
    • 1 Dallas – McAllen round-trip.
    • 1 Dallas – El Paso round-trip.
    • 1 El Paso – Amarillo – Memphis – Nashville round-trip (This is a new through route.) replacing a quad-weekly El Paso – Amarillo turn.
    • 1 Mobile to Houston trip.
    • 1 Houston – San Antonio – El Paso round-trip.
    • 1 Houston – Orlando – Miami round-trip, replaces a Friday, Sunday & Holiday trip from Orlando to Miami.
    • 1 Harlingen – Houston – Atlanta – Richmond round-trip. (Another new through route.)
    In April 2019, the veteran bus operator deleted:
    • 1 Dallas – Amarillo round-trip (which previously was a Dallas – Amarillo – Denver turn).
    • 1 Dallas from Fort Worth trip that ran Monday through Friday.
    • 1 Huntsville – Dallas – to Fort Worth trip that ran Monday through Friday.
    • 1 Las Vegas – Salt Lake City round-trip.
    • 1 Las Vegas from Los Angeles trip on Fridays & Holidays.
    • 1 Las Vegas to Los Angeles trip on Fridays, Sundays & Holidays.
    • 1 Las Vegas to Los Angeles trip on Sundays & Holidays.
    • 1 Los Angeles – via I-5 – to San Francisco trip on Mondays, Saturdays & Holidays.
    • 1 Los Angeles – via I-5 – to San Francisco trip on Sundays & Holidays.
    Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Nashville and Richmond are hubs in the Greyhound Lines network offering numerous onward connections.

    In May 2019:
    • 1 new trip Houston to New York City via Atlanta.
    • 1 new trip New York City to Atlanta and 1 new trip Atlanta to Houston.
    • 1 new round-trip El Paso – Houston.
    • 2 round-trips Dallas – Phoenix extended to Los Angeles.
    • 1 express trip added stops at Deming and Las Cruces.
    • 1 round-trip San Diego – Calexico extended to El Paso, added stops in Deming and Las Cruces.
    The same day that I noticed the added Deming service I heard an NPR story about Deming coping with the flow of migrants dropped off by the federal officials.

    Here are the top seven U.S. cities for “born in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras” population estimates in the 2013-2017 American Community Survey, listed in descending order. Of the top seven, only San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward has not drawn GL service increases.

    Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metro Area

    New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area

    Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area

    Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX Metro Area

    Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL Metro Area

    San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA Metro Area

    Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX Metro Area

    As the flow of migrants into Greyhound stations in the Southwest continued, the carrier added more service in June. However, a look at reservations suggests that the service increases and border policies are balancing with demand. (I.e., same day tickets are available on some trips where previously all trips were sold out for same day travel). Some trips added in the Southern Tier in early June were then discontinued in late June. They are omitted from the list below. Looking ahead into July, Greyhound turned attention to other parts of the country.

    Changes in June:
    • 1 new round-trip Nashville – Memphis.
    • 1 new trip Dallas to Nashville.
    • 1 El Paso – San Diego round-trip discontinued.
    • 1 new round-trip except Tuesdays and Wednesdays Calexico – San Diego.
    • 2 new trips Houston to Mobile.
    • 1 new trip except Sundays and Mondays Houston to Mobile.
    • 1 new trip except Mondays and Tuesdays Mobile to Dallas.
    Greyhound Lines is offering a $10,000 bonus to new hire operators.

    -- rwr
     
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  21. Jul 13, 2019 at 5:17 AM #21

    dogbert617

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    Heh, fun story to read that you barely made a train(Milwaukee Road? I wonder if it was that railroad, or Chicago NorthWestern Railroad that ran this train), and did those things in Chicago! Thanks for sharing this story.

    Sigh, I see I was born in the wrong period, to learn that places like Rhinelander, Woodruff, and Ironwood used to have train service to/from Chicago, but sadly no longer do. :( I knew about that thruway bus(not sure if CoachUSA or which company runs it? I forget, but I remember looking through all the stops and times in the past) going north to Green Bay and Marquette, of course. And I suspect decades ago, that probably a train did run going through Green Bay and probably Escanaba too, en route to Marquette.

    Too bad Amtrak's train that used to run between St. Paul and Duluth(at one point called the Arrowhead), was cut sometime in the 1980s or 1990s. :( Wish that could be brought back into service. At least for now, one can take a bus from either Minneapolis or St. Paul(forget which of these 2 cities), north to Duluth and back.
     
  22. Jul 13, 2019 at 2:25 PM #22

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    Just as an aside. Yesterday heard from a French neighbour that the French government are considering banning all internal flights due to the climate change situation that I think Europe is taking more seriously than the US. Admittedly the French rail network is pretty extensive and transport times city to city are fairly similar whether high speed train or plane, so it would be an easy transfer from flying to riding.

    Cars are starting to feel like bad news in Europe now, for electric cars there are not enough charge points by a long long way to make them attractive to the average person, but with greater battery life that will change though. I do think over the next 20 years there will be some radical transport changes here.

    Have ridden Greyhound from 2002 if not often maybe 2 or 3 times each year. The reduction in service level has been very noticeable in the last 2 years in particular, but up until then I thought the service was a bit better than ok. On long distance trips it was always an adventure though.
    The First group as current owners seem to do fairly well in the UK, but my view is they have no understanding of the US market so are not suitable owners.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 6:49 PM
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