Greyhound Canada, Go Green at What Cost?

Greyhound Canada, Go Green at What Cost?

With the constant concern of being environmentally friendly, more and more people have chosen public transportation as a means of doing their part. Up until now, Greyhound Canada has been a leader in ground-travel but with competitors like Via Rail and Go Transit, our choices are becoming glaringly obvious.

In Kitchener, the Greyhound employees sit outside, year round. They cannot accept cash, only debit or credit; they may or may not wear a uniform, other than a reflective vest and have been seen on shift, smoking casually while dealing with customers. During the week, busses come and go, almost empty but Greyhound continues to offer services each hour. Weekend students and commuters, specifically headed to Toronto, are sure to see armed security guards, easily mistaken for Police Officers, stationed, just in case; they can expect to wait outside, in all the elements for extended periods of time, in a monstrous line up. Most know that they must arrive at least an hour early to make their intended bus, due to congestion along one sidewalk at the Kitchener Charles St. Bus Terminal. Once on the road, each bus, carrying likely full with 50 passengers, has to detour to a make-shift, remote Greyhound Canada shelter at Sportsworld. Here, those passengers who did not have debit or credit available, disembark and pay inside in cash, the rest wait on the bus.

The roads are unpredictable but human traffic can be managed efficiently if we take notice, especially if that is our industry. Being a melting pot of educational establishments and high tech industry leaders, Kitchener Waterloo has a large number of people who live in Toronto, commute to or from Toronto, or just need to make the trip more easily than in up to 4 hours. I have compiled options for the public, such as Go Transit, which is expanding in Kitchener, Via Rail, the seemingly forgotten, yet affordable, comfortable way to travel and carpooling options. Also included is a diary of my travels between Kitchener and Toronto, between Sept 23rd and Nov 18th, and quotes from a survey taken online, by me, from others who have used the Greyhound Service.

Greyhound Canada claims to have plans in the works to better their services. This is not to sully the name of a company that has been around, reliably, for a long time. Still, this is to let the public know that they do have choices, each with their own ‘glitch’, but different than waiting outside in the cold of winter, with their thousand dollar laptop, saving their last fifteen dollars on their debit card to catch a bus that may or may not get them to their meeting on time.

THE NUMBERS
(Kitchener- Toronto)

600 liters of fuel – 1.15/liter is the cost = $690 to fill the tank (approximate tank size from Google for full passenger bus)

http://www.ontariogasprices.com

Greyhound makes:
By filling a bus w/ passengers, approx. 50 passengers – $700 @ $14 (approx.) student prices
$1300 @ $26 (approx.) adult prices

Greyhound boasts of being a better choice for the environment. Yet busses run, next to empty, many hours during the day and when they are needed on weekends, there seems to be a lack of them.
• “Intercity bus, like Greyhound, is the safest mode of transportation over cars, trucks, trains, planes and other commercial vehicles, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
• The Greyhound active fleet consists of about 1,775 buses, with an average age of 9.4 years. One Greyhound bus takes an average of 19 cars off the road, and achieves 170 passenger miles per gallon of fuel.”

http://www.greyhound.com/en/about/factsandfigures.aspx

THE DIARY

Sept 23 – got there at 2:10 for express at 2:30, bus did not come until 3:10 – waited in rain for almost an hour w electronics. 

Oct 13 arrives at 1140 for 1230 express. 6th in line. – left at 12:25 

Nov 4 – arrived at 1:55, had pre purchased ticket, got immediately on bus that left, full, at 2:11, an unadvertised time. – arrived 337

Nov 5- leaving toronto, got there at 4:25, got on 4:30 bus, luckily. Bus left at 4:40. Missed exit for cambridge, had to backtrack from kitchener to cambridge – 6:20 started detour. Got home at 6:55. 

Nov 11- snowing. Arrived at 3 for 330 bus. Bus arrived at 3:37. Not going to union, going downtown, bay n dundas only leaves 3:47. Stopped in cambridge to pay fare but dispute going on in terminal. 

Leaving toronto, bus on time for arriving, Greyhound had 2 busses ready for trip to KW. 3:30pm. 

Nov 18, arrived 1205 for 1230. Left on time. Was supposed to be express as per online, stopped at sportsworld n cambridge. Accident on 401, gridlock from 130- 3:00pm

QUOTES FROM COMMUTERS

Samantha Dolly Brazeau-Wilson: You may quote me: My experiences over the last two years with Greyhound have not been completely satisfying. I’d travel from Ottawa to Sudbury and back. Many times by buses have been late or break down. I’m a student and don’t have a vehicle and cannot afford to fly home and the train does not go direct so Greyhound is really my only option. If I could teleport and forget about the skinny dog bus line company, I would in a heart beat.

Ryan Mackinnon: Travelled between guelph and kitchener ( same bus as the Toronto) for a year. Never once was it on time.

Adm Shedden: I only had to do it once while living in Kitchener, and found it to be too long (I believe there was no express and we stopped at square one mall etc.) I was spoiled by GO at an early age living in Hamilton.

Troy Larabie: Totally not the easiest route to tavel for either of them…. Both are somewhat Unreliable and cumbersome. Cost does play a roll with the frustration for sure. For such a high ticket price the reliability side lacks tremendously. Quote that sister !!

Tim Knight: Takes forever. Very confused as to why there isn’t service between here and hamilton(for any bus), but that’s a digression.

Trisha Nakagawa: Omg tell me about it! U should try taking the bus from waterloo campus. So far its always been on time for me and I manage to get a seat as long as I’m there 15min before

Robert Johnstone: It’s like they assume everyone’s time has no value. Bad company image.

OTHER OPTIONS

Via Rail
3 trains daily to Toronto, Union Station, from Kitchener.
Approximately $26/adult ~ 1hr, 45 mins, not affected by traffic on the 401.
Also offers wifi and more comfortable seating, station available to wait in.
http://www.viarail.ca/en

Go Transit
Busses all day
Approximately $14/adult, 2hrs, 45mins – 3 hours, can be affected by traffic, usually never as busy as Greyhound weekend hours.
http://gotransit.com

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