Dear Greyhound – a letter to address a concern

Dear Greyhound,

I’m writing to you, mostly on behalf of my brother’s friend, but also out of my own frustration.  Are you aware that you have bus terminals over-booking your buses on the Friday night of Thanksgiving weekend, and repeatedly bumping passengers as a result?  If you’re not aware, please allow this letter to inform you.  If you are aware, shame on you.

Let me start by clarifying — I’m not mad.  No, I’m disappointed.  I’m disappointed that a mega company such as yours would place so little value on the customers they serve that the following story could even come to pass.

You see, Friday evening, I battled long weekend traffic to make it to Barrie, Ontario from Brantford, Ontario… which, on Thanksgiving weekend Friday, leaving Brantford at 4 pm, is a chore.  I took back roads with my car to completely avoid touching a highway… not because I was in a super big rush to get to my final destination, but because I was picking people up in Barrie, one of whom was a passenger scheduled to arrive at 7:30 on a bus from Yorkdale.  He had a pre-paid ticket.

When the bus arrived at the Yorkdale terminal, however, your passenger found that the bus had been oversold, and since it stopped in Toronto first, he wasn’t able to get onto that bus because it was already full.  And he couldn’t get on the next bus.  Or the bus after that.  Finally, after waiting an hour and a half, he thought he’d be able to get onto a 6:30 bus, but that one was canceled.  He wasn’t given a reason.  A 7:15 and a 7:45 rolled on past, neither time allowing him to board.  The next bus, he was told, would be an 8:30, and that would be the last.  Later, he was told it was a 9:00 bus.  If this was to be the last bus, and he were unable to board, his ride further North for Thanksgiving weekend would leave without him, leaving him stuck, and still at the bus terminal, after being there 4.5 hours already.  His only other option was to hope to catch an Ontario Northland headed for Burk’s Falls, arriving at 8am the following morning.

Thankfully, he did manage to get on the bus at 9:00.  That meant that he arrived in Barrie at 11 pm (remember how he was supposed to arrive at 7:30?), which also meant that I drove, exhausted, another two hours North until 1:00 am.  We were supposed to arrive at 9:30 pm.

I understand that travelling during the holidays can be tough, but the point of reserving a ticket in advance, in my mind, is so that you know you have a place on whatever method of transit you’re using.  When you overbook a bus, I imagine you do this because you assume that not everyone who pays for a ticket will show up, and you can stipulate no refunds and make money on people that don’t even use your service, because you’ve charged more people than you can fit on a bus.

There is no excuse for this kind of greed and poor customer service.  Your passenger wasn’t offered any refunds, any compensation… he was offered nothing, even though he held in his hand a bus ticket to Barrie arriving at 7:30 pm.

I see that customer service is not high priority here.  Personally, I find the idea of overbooking anything abhorrent to begin with.  When airlines do it, people miss connecting flights, cruises… many of these things are non-refundable.  However, when airlines bump someone off of a flight for which they already held a ticket, they are legally required to generously compensate the traveller for their inconvenience, as well as get them on another flight.  Your passenger was simply told that he could try for the 9pm bus, but that that would be the last bus.

I consider it highly irresponsible at best that you can’t foresee heavy traffic on a holiday weekend, and that you don’t plan accordingly in order to have enough buses.  Moreover, I find it shocking and, to be truthful, indicative of a major ‘value of customers’ deficit that nothing was done to try to compensate passengers who’d worked or sat in classes all day, only to sit in your terminal for four and a half hours before finally being able to catch a bus… that they had to sit on for another two hours or more, depending where their end destination would have been.

How dare you?

Is Greyhound that hard up for capital income that they have to rob people of their holidays?

I expected better from a company that services so many people all over the country year long.

Personally, I’ve only ever traveled with Greyhound once in my life.  I assure you that after the way my brother’s friend was treated yesterday, I will not make that mistake a second time.  I can also assure you that once I have posted this letter on my blog,, (which has a reach of 800 people, many of whom will likely pass it on among their readers), there will be many others who will make the choice to find an alternative themselves.

It is absurd that you’re legally allowed to pull this off, but even more disconcerting  to me is the fact that Greyhound is a-ok with paying customers being treated in this manner, especially on a holiday weekend.


A really disappointed family.


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