When the five people who ranged from an R& B singer moving to NYC to seek her fortune– to a young man trying to get to Hartford, Connecticut and his sick grandmother as quickly as possible, sidled up to the Greyhound ticket counter in Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan, they weren’t itching for a fight. What they wanted was some compensation for their Greyhound induced travel woes.
See, the bus they had taken from Cleveland had arrived two hours late. It’s not unusual for a bus to be late. Traffic, weather and a bus breakdown can occur. Their bus’s lateness was due to driver error. The driver, after a scheduled rest stop, had headed the bus back towards Cleveland for more than 70 miles.
What made this snafu feel worse is that they would have arrived earlier than the scheduled arrival time if it wasn’t for the driver’s mistake. If you’ve ever been on a road trip that has been lengthened by the wrong way, perhaps you’ll recall that jumpy nervous twitch that ensues–the kind of feeling where any moment you could LOSE YOUR MIND.
As written in the previous post, Gadling knows these details because Gadling was there. Here’s the rest of the story. What happens when a passenger does complain? Airlines take notice.
First, as these five people found out from the helpful ticket agent, the place to head to file a complaint is the Greyhound customer service office near the ticket office in Port Authority.
In this non-descriptive office without so much as a plant to pep up the ambiance, was one lone man. Let’s call him John. John, who looked up from his desk several feet from the counter where he was typing at a computer, pleasantly informed this band of travelers who had vowed to complain together while still en-route that the person in charge–let’s call her Rachel, had stepped out for a moment but would be right back.
Indeed, John was not fibbing. Rachel appeared in minutes. Yours truly, this Gadling blogger, taking on the initial spokesperson role, explained our situation to Rachel who lent a sympathetic, concerned ear, looked us directly in the eyes, and passed out complaint forms. As she explained, she’d have to get back to us about any monetary compensation after she reviewed the story. It wasn’t that she didn’t believe us, but there’s protocol.
This is what she was able to do in the meantime:
Hurry off with one of the passengers to help him make an immediate connection to another bus. As they hustled out of the office, she asked the rest of us to please wait since she could offer him help right away.
When Rachel returned, she offered to store the R&B woman’s luggage for free until the woman could get friends of hers to come and help her carry it to her new apartment. They had been at the bus terminal earlier but had to leave to go to work.
As for the man trying to get to Hartford, I’m not sure what Rachel was able to do for him since we left before his problems were resolved. Hopefully, he was able to take the train, something he was vying for.
There was one young woman who started to leave the office in a huff once she heard there was not to be immediate compensation and she’d most likely be stuck for a couple more hours in Port Authority before a connecting bus could get her to her final destination. I cajoled her to fill out the form, explaining that she deserves some compensation for her inconvenience and that she’d most likely get something. She agreed to stay and picked up the pen.
With complaint forms filled out, off my daughter and I went to enjoy our Halloween weekend in Manhattan.
Within eight days, we each received a wonderful letter from Greyhound customer service with a $40 ticket voucher that can be used within a year. (That’s $40 a piece.)
As the letter says, “We want to apologize for the recent inconvenience you experienced while using our service. At Greyhound, we strive to make every trip fast, affordable and convenient…Again, we value your business and thank you for your service. We look forward to seeing you on the road.”
Rachel personally signed the letter.
Is this Greyhound bus rider satisfied? You bet. I’m hopping on a Greyhound with my son in December. With a 21-day advanced purchase and my voucher, the trip for the two of us will only be $172. That’s what I call affordable. And unless the driver heads the wrong way, it won’t take much longer than driving to Manhattan ourselves.
As for my daughter, I may send her to Pittsburgh on a solo trip to visit her cousin who’s going to college there–something I wouldn’t have thought to do otherwise.
Greyhound’s actions made sure we’d keep coming back. It seems to me, that makes good business sense. It doesn’t take a lot to make customers satisfied. Really.