Greyhound, what gives?

backstory: I took a long trip on Greyhound
[10/7/01, three weeks after 9/11 and a few days after a bus crash where an unstable
passenger had shot the driver and the bus had gone off the road killing six
Greyhound issued lengthy press releases about how they were heightening security]
my experience was less than pleasant,
this is my letter

Dear Mr. Lentzsch,

I took a 23 hour Greyhound bus ride from Milwaukee Wisconsin to Boston Massachusetts on October 7th. I have concluded that the only way Greyhound could possibly be safer now -- as you have claimed in statements to the press -- than before the regrettable bus crash is if you had been handing out knives to passengers in the months beforehand. Restated, I saw no evidence of additional security measures being implemented or enforced. In fact, I saw very few attempts at security at all. Allow me to explain.

I arrived at the bus station an hour early as suggested by your web site, in order to account for "extra security precautions." Not only wasn't my bag checked, no one's bag was checked, no ID was checked and no security other than the bus driver and baggage handler was in evidence. My bags were never inspected and I brought them on and off the bus with me several times. When I was in Cleveland, I checked my bag instead of carrying it and received no claim check and showed neither my ticket nor my identification. I did notice, however, that when I had transferred busses in Chicago, the elderly man with a turban was hassled before being allowed on the bus. This did not make me feel safer.

When I was on the bus, the bus driver, while being friendly and cordial, made me extremely nervous. She drove at 85 miles an hour, listening to a CD player with headphones on, for several hours in the middle of the night. At one point she picked up a hitchhiker -- I am not kidding here, I wish I were -- and gave him a lift to his car which was out of gas. While I appreciate the humanitarian gesture, her helpfulness could have endangered us as passengers. I tell people my bus driver picked up a hitchhiker and they laugh like hell, then they shudder. I have consistently been a supporter of Greyhound among my friends, saying that low-cost travel does not necessarily have to be lousy, unsafe or slipshod. I feel that I have misled them. You should be ashamed of yourself and the way you conduct your business.

Travelling is never 100% safe, but people rely on your company, and others like you, to be taking our safety seriously, especially in light of recent events. If I "leave the driving" to you, I expect you to do so responsibly. While I understand there are market forces at work, and also realize that it is more expensive to provide security than to not provide security, I would hope that in light of Greyhound's recent fatal accident, it might decide to make the effort, and absorb the cost, of keeping its passengers safe. Besides your smooth words to the press, I saw no other attempts to make my travelling safer. The favor of your reply, or an attempt at an explanation, would be appreciated.


Jessamyn West
PO Box 14
West Topsham Vermont

p.s. As I searched your website for a mailing address for this letter, I noticed that you have removed all links to information concerning the accident and your response to it, including the information that I read regarding the planned security upgrades. The press release that I had read concerning the accident is not listed in your news section. I find this curious, if not downright deceptive.