Horrible Bus Ride Las Vegas-Reno

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Swadian Hardcore

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Here are some pictures from my awful bus ride on November 11th, 2014, Veteran's Day. I rode Silver State Trailways Schedule 100 from Las Vegas to Reno. The motorcoach was a Van Hool T2140 (no wheelchair lift) leased by the operator. The suspension was extraordinarily bad and the Van Hool rode very rough. The HVAC coughed up and died. The seats did not recline and had massive dips in the back. Some of the interior lights were out. The lavatory had no sink or sanitizer.

The ticket cost $80.50, far too much for such a horrible ride. Greyhound's only $52 but you have to go through Los Angeles and Sacramento. I will never be using Silver State again.

Thankfully, I did read the Carrier Code before booking and I knew this would be a Silver State. Fair warning to all: when booking Greyhound tickets, ALWAYS read the Carrier Code! GLI and GLC are Greyhound, anything else is NOT Greyhound!

Click on the photos to see the entire photos. Notice the upper windshield wipers are broken and flipped up. I've ridden White G4500s (aka Greyhound Dirty Dogs / Ghetto Hounds) that were in equally bad condition but at least rode much smoother due to its much longer wheelbase.

I have tons more scenery shots if you guys want to see them.

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greatcats

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I like the drive between Las Vegas and Reno and am glad to know that there is a bus available, however mediocre. I enjoy driving even more US50 east-westr across Nevada, the Loneliest Highway. Drove east in August, and camped in the forest campground east of Austin, which is beautifuyl, but the facilities there left something to be desired. I wrote a letter of complaint to the Forest Service, and received a letter of apology!
 

Swadian Hardcore

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I like the drive too, but Silver State isn't just mediocre, it's HORRIBLE! I mean, if anybody though Greyhound was bad, this one is like, oh my God, that much worse!

No bus service on US 50 anymore, unfortunately. Nevada Central used to run it.
 

greatcats

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Swadian - I punched up the Silver State website and it said that daily service is no longer operating, but you seem to have ridden it just recently. This outfit mainly seems to be a charter operation. The bus you rose looks fairly nice from the outside, but not in gods repair inside
 

seat38a

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Actually that armrest picture you posted is NOT broken. That is how it functions to go all the way down to allow easy access for people. Its a little funky to operate but it is designed to go all the way down, all the way up or locked into the regular horizontal position. On my recent trip on the LAX Fly Away bus had those type of armrest.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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Swadian - I punched up the Silver State website and it said that daily service is no longer operating, but you seem to have ridden it just recently. This outfit mainly seems to be a charter operation. The bus you rose looks fairly nice from the outside, but not in gods repair inside
I'll admit it don't look too bad from the outside, but on the inside, no air-conditioning, no seat recline, no sink or sanitizer in the lavatory, and the biggest problem: an extremely rough ride. I'll also admit the seats didn't sag like the Painful Premiers on Greyhound's newest toys, but the seat back had a massive dip in it which was equally painful.

Actually, now that I look at my interior pic, it's looks like one of the seats is reclined but for some reason, I could not get mine to recline. Though reclining might have made it more painful because of the dip in the seat back; I don't know if that's a design feature or poor maintenance.

Actually that armrest picture you posted is NOT broken. That is how it functions to go all the way down to allow easy access for people. Its a little funky to operate but it is designed to go all the way down, all the way up or locked into the regular horizontal position. On my recent trip on the LAX Fly Away bus had those type of armrest.
I know, I didn't say the armrest was broken I just said the seats didn't recline. I've played with FAINSAs enough to figure out the armrest, but man, FAINSAs are much better than these. Some people don't like the FAINSAs, I think they're fine. Those are the seats on Spanish trains and Greyhound also has some of them.

Having no air-conditioning combined with a very rough ride basically sealed it for me. My worst Greyhound ride was on a vehicle that smelled like burning plastic but the ride was smoother (much longer wheelbase) and the FAINSAs were more comfortable. Not that it was a good ride, but that burning plastic unit has now been rehabbed.
 
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Swadian Hardcore

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A bus is a bus but there's some buses that are awesome and other buses that are far, far, far, far, far, far worse.

That's why I'm extremely picky about buses. I have very high standards when it comes to them, and I only regard a few bus models as being superior to all the rest. To me, a MCI is a motorcoach, and a motorcoach is not a bus. A Van Hool is also not a bus, it's also a motorcoach, but it's a much worse motorcoach. Nevertheless, a good old DL3 is most definitely not sub-standard, it is the best of the best.

One reason I posted this is to show the immense differences between different motorcoaches, and that one should not jump to conclusions about them. Even a hardcore fan like me doesn't like most buses and motorcoaches. I posted this in the first place to counter the "a bus is a bus" stereotype, which is of course wrong because there's so many different models out there and the model and the difference between each model is what it's all about.
 
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Do you have pictures of the best mother coach? What is the difference between a motor coach and a bus? My assumption is that bus refers to a City bus and motor coach refers to a long distance bus.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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Do you have pictures of the best mother coach? What is the difference between a motor coach and a bus? My assumption is that bus refers to a City bus and motor coach refers to a long distance bus.
Officially, a motorcoach is an "integral passenger vehicle characterized by a passenger deck over a baggage compartment". It's a sub-category of a bus. The DOT name for the motorcoach is "over-the-road-bus". Using the same logic you used in "sub standard", I could also say an "over-the-road-bus" is "over-expectations" even though this terrible Van Hool is also an OTRB.

For passengers, I currently rate buses based on 13 Aspects: Reliability, Speed, Interior Design, Lavatory, Parcel Racks, Cargo Hold, Noise Level, Seat Comfort, Seat Legroom, Seat Recline, Ride Quality, Air Quality, Window Design, and Emissions.

Each Aspect is given a max of 5 Points. I can also rate buses based on different Aspects when the target audience is a bus operator rather than the passenger. For the operator, I would rate based on things like fuel efficiency as well, which is omitted in the ratings for passengers.

The T2140 here gets a total of 25 points. Whereas my favorite, the 102DL3 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15305573244/) gets a total of 60 points. Greyhound's worst bus, the White G4500, gets 44 points, but the same model run by subsidiary Americanos gets only 39 points due to Americanos' terrible maintenance. Greyhound Canada's G4500, also their worst bus, gets 46 points due to having adjustable winged headrests on their seats.

Unfortunately, luxury buses, like the Irizar PB used in Latin America, are mechanically poor vehicles with short wheelbases and often body-on-frame construction. Thus, while they would score extremely high on seating Aspects and on the Lavatory, they would score very poorly on Reliability, Speed, and other equipment-related Aspects that still directly affect passengers.

Im not an entertainer.
You don't need to be an entertainer. But you know what's better than a XLII entertainer? A H3-45 entertainer!

In my opinion, it is far better to learn about buses than to brush buses aside and say, "They're all sub standard $hit that I don't want to ride!"

Like me, I don't just know about buses, I know some stuff about trains, planes, and ships even. I'm no expert on those, but I sure as heck know more than the average Joe, which allows me to make better, fairer judgments without stereotypes. When I'm going to fly on a 757, I don't think of it as flying on a plane, I think of it as flying on a 757.
 
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This is interesting. I think there have been improvement since my last motor coach ride which was an amtrak bustitution. In these situation one would not get the best equipment.

It would be interesting to ride a good one just to see improvement.
 
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The Greyhpund that I rode recently from Denver to Raton to connect with SWC was definitely not horrible.
 

chakk

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From my experience in both cities, traveling by any means between Las Vegas and The Biggest Little City in the World is like going from the frypan into the fire.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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I'll be honest with you, that Greyhound doesn't operate much out here in Reno. And yeah, I'm not very happy at all that they don't use the DL3 out of Reno unless one gets super lucky. Most of the time, out here, they use this: https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15893698291/.

That bus is a good bus, but Greyhound ordered the WRONG seats for it. The seats in those new toys are PAINFUL, especially the seat bottoms! So, I have to sit on something to counter the hip pain. I so wish Greyhound would send better seats over here or replace those PAINFUL seats! Good thing is, the new toys have virtually no emissions, you can stand behind them when they're idling and smell nothing. The bad part is that they guzzle fuel, don't go very fast, and are unreliable (and horrible seats).

See, I'm a practical guy. There's great buses out there, but most buses are still meh. Especially the new toys. If Greyhound put better seats in them, I probably wouldn't be so mad. And even worse, the new seats are low to the ground and block up your legroom. They left out one row for extra legroom, thank God. If they hadn't, I could see it being unbearable for the average American.

Now, of course, the DL3 has a good amount of legroom, though this one has the most (but is slightly worse at some other Aspects so only get 56 points): https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14603667207/.

Oh yeah, DL3 now has 61 Points. Not that it's perfect; nothing's perfect, DL3 has very poor maneuverability that the driver will have to deal with.
 
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My issue with busses is legroom and predictability. It sounds like there have been some improvements in seating in some busses. This is good.

I had a really poor experience with greyhound in chicago a few years ago. I was meeting a friend coming in from stl. I advised her to let me know when the bus left 95th street. She called and I timed my arrival so that I would be in the bus station a few minutes before arrival.

The monitors were not clear to me, and I asked s greyhound person which gate the bus was arriving at. She brushed me off telling me to wait wait in an area away from the gates. I explained that I wanted to assist with luggage. She was was ruder the second time around. I told her that the hsr to stl would put greyhound out of business if people like her didnt straighten up. I walked away. She sent a police officer over to scold me. He threatened to remove me from the terminal. I explained my original request and asked him to help me with deciphering the monitors. He at least then tried to help.

I told my friend I would pay for her amtrak ticket to avoid having to return to the bus station. I know this is one experience but I have butted heads with amtrak emplyees and have been threatened by the police.

Megabus is intriguing, but standing outside with no way of determing bus status is a turn off. In general its hard to get accurate info on cta busses even with tracking. .
 

Swadian Hardcore

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I've had my share of poor experiences with Greyhound. One time I was in Sacramento taking pictures and the security guard stopped me then prepared to kick me out. I explained that I was on the vehicle that I was taking a picture of (it was going to Reno) and he just told me not to take pictures and walked away.

That's my biggest complaint against Greyhound: the stupid anti-photography policy. The second-biggest complaint has got to be those painful new seats.

I had a worse experience with Orange Belt Stages (not Greyhound) on the outbound leg of the Las Vegas trip. The driver saw me taking pictures and made me delete them even though Orange Belt Stages has no anti-photography policy. I held the right to refuse deletion but the driver seemed eager to eject me so I decided to play it safe.

Orange Belt also further f--ked me up by having a sink in the lavatory that was not stocked with water. So only a tiny trickle came out when I pushed either handle to the max. And there was no hand sanitizer.

I complained to both Orange Belt and Silver State but have never gotten any response from either.

I am glad that Greyhound Reno allows roaming which is definitely better than Chicago. Whenever I pick anyone up, I can just stand there and watch the motorcoach pull in. The terminal manager in Reno is meh, not too bad but not great either. One guy (older) working the counter is great, the other one, not so professional, though not mean, either. Same goes for the two women, the older one is nicer, the younger one is mean. There's another guy too, the guy that cleans the buses and refuels them. He never seems to man to counter. The drivers are nice, but they get paid much more.

These men generally do all kinds of work from manning the counter, to cleaning, to refueling, to baggage handling. Generally, they're paid poorly, though the older, friendlier one never does the dirty work and always wears a clean blue polo shirt. I think he could be a dispatcher or maybe even an extra driver. I don't chitchat with the station guys because there's always a mean or unprofessional one on duty alongside a friendly one. The drivers are much better but there's a few bad ones too, generally the extra drivers and/or the rookies just trying to make some cash.

Also, they NEVER pick up the phone. That's no biggie for me, since I know what to do anyway, but I can see that being a big problem.

This bus of my OP, BTW, is the same thing Megabus uses except single-deck. It's also what the Chinatown buses were/are. They're cheap and readily-available. I heard these Van Hools are like "fast food buses"; if you need a cheap bus and you need it right now, get a Van Hool. This one's leased but everything Silver State has is a Van Hool.
 
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Since you are a motorcoach enthusiast you know your way around and dont need the help of emplyees. And overlook some of the bs. It is similar with me. My gf notices that I can be pretty tolerant of some parts of amtrak.
 

Swadian Hardcore

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True. That photography ban is really horrible BS though. And those horrible new seats. Those are pretty big problems IMO. The photography ban is useless because of the proliferation of smartphones and only does to deter enthusiast photographers like me. The new seats are significantly worse than the old seats, almost as bad as school bus seats, and makes me want to run away from Greyhound's new buses that are in all those ads.

Too bad the DL3's probably never going to be used for a bustitution since most bustitutions are charter buses and charter buses require maneuverability for those school and event charters. DL3s have the biggest turning circle around, akin to a tractor-trailer, and are unpopular with charter operators. OTOH, this horrible Van Hool turns on a dime and is very popular with charters, so in turn, they are very popular with bustitutions.

That being said, there's some great buses out there that are both maneuverable and comfortable, one being the President's motorhome LOL.
 
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TVRM610

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Once when picking up my tickets, a Greyhound agent wanted to see my ID, the credit card used to purchase tickets, and my friends ID (the name on the second ticket).. just to pick up tickets at will call. I thought that was a little much but I complied... then when I had to sign for my ticket, the agent told me he couldn't read my signature. I said.. well that's my signature though... and he said "it has to be legible" and I said "I can print my name, or I can give you my signature, which do you want?" - I just printed my name next to my signature but that whole experience really turned me off on greyhound... especially when all I have to do is show my phone to the mega bus driver and hop on.

As for regional lines.. Jefferson Lines runs from Kansas City - Omaha - Fargo - with some sort of decent connections to Amtrak trains. Jefferson Lines has served me really well.. decent busses, friendly drivers and ticket agents, and decent waiting areas with free wi-fi.
 
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Your experience sums up my expectations of greyhound. Pathetic ignorance paired with crappy attitudes.

The people make or break a company. The bus driver on my bustitution between Pittsburg and washington was polite. He did get lost on the way into Washington, D.C. He had a gps, but a combination of his not following it, and it being slow to reroute complicated the situation.

I could see that he was struggling and offered to help navigate using google maps. I made a point of being discrete. At first he was guarded, but after I proved myself as desiring to help rather then complain we worked together. Nobody missed connections on this trip. So no real harm. He thanked me. Several other passengers on the bus did too. The driver explained that this was a last minute assignment.

This guy was pretty decent and left me with a favorable impression of that bus company.
 
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