More Greyhound cutbacks and comparison with airlines

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
2,182
Location
Denver
In November 2022, as reported in "Various Short Trips Around the Willamette Valley," Greyhound Lines discontinued serving Salem, Oregon. Salem is the state's capital city and ODOT had recently renovated a station for them. Four buses a day now call at Woodburn, half an hour north of Salem.

In other Oregon news, Greyhound has lost its last schedule between PDX and SPK. Amtrak Trains 27 and 28 are now the only direct surface route. The truck stop location at Stanfield was not pretty but permitted SEA<>Stanfield<>BOI and PDX<>Stanfield<>SPK connections. The lone I-84 Greyhound trip (PDX<>BOI) now diverges to Pasco for connections and no longer stops in Stanfield. The new arrangement keeps connections SEA<PSC>BOI but requires an overnight layover in Pasco for PDX<PSC>SPK. At Pasco they are in the publicly provided intermodal station.

Pasco, Washington
P1040615.JPG
P1040616.JPG
 

Trollopian

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
411
Location
Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA
My Austrian grandmother, who immigrated to America 100 years ago this summer, developed a love of travel in the post-WWII years, always by bus, preferably by Scenicruiser. I inherited a great collection of postcards. Some of scenic wonders, others of very ordinary (but now-vanished) small-town "attractions" and bus terminals. We always joked that grandma would go to the moon if Greyhound went there. We understand the economic and demographic forces behind the decline of long-distance bus travel but it would've saddened her.
 

Attachments

  • Grandma, Vienna, 1914.jpg
    Grandma, Vienna, 1914.jpg
    225.7 KB · Views: 0

railiner

Engineer
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
10,130
Location
X
Did any posters eat at greyhound bus stations? Not fun!
The few remaining Greyhound terminal's that have cafeteria's operated by "Greyhound Food Management", leave a lot to be desired, in both selection and quality. Going back into the '50's and '60's, most Company operated terminal's had a "Greyhound Post House" restaurant and/or cafeteria, and sometimes even a cocktail lounge. The selection, and quality was better then, but not great. They depended on a "captive audience" of passenger's, that were too timid to venture outside the terminal during rest stops, to seek a better venue for meals.
Actually, the best of these were the Post Houses that were in highway rest stops, away from cities, such as the one in Breezewood, PA.

In the mid '70's, John Teets, who led a subsidiary catering company for Greyhound, came up with the idea of converting a couple of downtown Post Houses into franchise fast food operations, a Burger King, and a Hardee's. For the first time, workers in nearby office buildings actually came into the terminal's to patronize these, and the idea was so successful, that they converted nearly all of the Post Houses, Eventually Teet's was elevated to CEO of Greyhound Corp.
 

jis

Chief Dispatcher
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
AU Supporting Member
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
35,192
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Did any posters eat at greyhound bus stations? Not fun!
In the '70s during my grad student days I traveled a lot by Greyhound since I could not afford Amtrak. At that time I did eat quite a bit at the Greyhound station cafes. They were OK then. I have no idea what the situation is now since I have not ridden Greyhound 30+ years.
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
5,341
Location
Baltimore. MD
In the '70s during my grad student days I traveled a lot by Greyhound since I could not afford Amtrak. At that time I did eat quite a bit at the Greyhound station cafes. They were OK then. I have no idea what the situation is now since I have not ridden Greyhound 30+ years.
I used to ride Greyhound as part of my trip to and from college. Transferred to/from a flight into O'Hare. I could have just waited in Jefferson Park, but usually the schedule was such that it was more convenient to take the L downtown and go to the downtown terminal (which at the time was near Clark and Lake Sts. I never actually ate at the bus station, as I always made sure to book a flight serving a meal, but the station was quite an experience, just as nice as a big-city Amtrak station. The thing I remember is they had these little TVs mounted by some of the seats in the waiting area. You could put some coin into the TV, and watch something to pass the time. I never did that, but it was sort of interesting, and I don't think I ever say anything like that in a train station. It sure beats the big TV monitors they have in airports nowadays, where you're forced to watch cable news channels you'd really rather not wtach.
 

Trollopian

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
411
Location
Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA
Did any posters eat at greyhound bus stations? Not fun!
Probably a dozen times, at the Post House in Breezewood, which as railiner notes was the best-known in the system. It's approximately the halfway point in the Pennsylvania Turnpike between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. With the expansion of the interstate highway system it was also "where the Midwest turned South and the South turned West," a key connection to Washington DC. Powerful legislators actually opposed improving the interchanges because the restaurants and motels and gas stations of Breezewood thrived on the cars and trucks forced to slow down and crawl through the town (if you can call it a town). A deliberate choke point. The Post House operated between 1935 and 2004. I googled "Breezewood Post House" and found lots of paywalled articles, but here's an open-access piece:

 

railiner

Engineer
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
10,130
Location
X
Probably a dozen times, at the Post House in Breezewood, which as railiner notes was the best-known in the system. It's approximately the halfway point in the Pennsylvania Turnpike between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. With the expansion of the interstate highway system it was also "where the Midwest turned South and the South turned West," a key connection to Washington DC. Powerful legislators actually opposed improving the interchanges because the restaurants and motels and gas stations of Breezewood thrived on the cars and trucks forced to slow down and crawl through the town (if you can call it a town). A deliberate choke point. The Post House operated between 1935 and 2004. I googled "Breezewood Post House" and found lots of paywalled articles, but here's an open-access piece:

Good article...thanks for posting. Here's a view of the Breezewood Post House...



Not shown is the two bay garage to the left side, and close to camera.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
2,182
Location
Denver
In my three years in the U.S. Army, the only place where I got food-poisoning was on my way home in 1971 in the Greyhound Post House in Cleveland.

In 1975 I worked on the Oregon Intercity Bus Study and we surveyed passengers. We had no question about the food, so people wrote long diatribes in the margins about the Greyhound station restaurant in Umatilla. Greyhound no longer stops in Umatilla. On the other hand, the Trailways station restaurant in Salem was nice.
 

Skyline

OBS Chief
Joined
Feb 19, 2016
Messages
807
Many memories here re: the cafeteria at the Greyhound station in Pittsburgh, circa 1965. I was a young teenager, hung out in the Gameroom on weekends, became "expert" enough on a particular pinball machine to be able to play all day for a quarter if I wanted. Sometimes spectators would gather!

The cafeteria served real food. Lots of it. Affordably. Back then it operated 24 hours. Many years later it was converted to a Burger King. Boo!

In my later teens I spent weekends in DC, traveling by bus, and recall the stopover in Breezewood at the Post House. That was quite a busy operation when multiple buses all showed up at the same time. Enough to warrant two food lines if I'm recalling correctly.

I didn't hate the Dog back then. It hadn't degraded to what it is today and the price was right. Kinda wish I had discovered train travel but that didn't happen until 1976.
 

Bob Dylan

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
25,402
Location
Austin Texas
I too rode many a mile on Greyhound ( and Trailways too)back in my youth.

I ate in many Post Houses all over the US,with the one in the San Antonio Station being the one I remember as having the best food.( my favorite was the Hamburger Steak with Gravy,Mashed Potatoes,Texas Toast ,"Salad" and Tea for around 85 cents!)
 

Trollopian

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
411
Location
Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA
Powerful legislators actually opposed improving the interchanges because the restaurants and motels and gas stations of Breezewood thrived on the cars and trucks forced to slow down and crawl through the town (if you can call it a town). A deliberate choke point.
Ah, even in my dotage, my memory seems to be functioning okay. I remember friends who worked on budget stuff in the U.S. House of Representatives telling me that improvements to the notorious Breezewood interchange were systematically blocked by then-Rep. Bud Shuster, powerful member of a public-works committee. "Millions of people who travel between the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest each year fight through Breezewood, Pa., a strange gap in the Interstate System...Although Mr. Shuster was a leading member of the House Transportation Committee and was known for steering taxpayer funds to local highway projects, he made clear that he would never permit funding for a Breezewood bypass, [Democratic state senator] Mr. Dawida recalled. (Mr. Shuster’s son, Bill Shuster, now represents that same district; his office did not respond to requests for comment.)"

Well, young Shuster finally stepped down after redistricting, and after four years without an Infrastructure Week it finally happened in a new Administration, but I have no idea whether the Breezewood Boondoggle will change.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/06/...n-at-the-junction-of-politics-and-policy.html (no paywall)

Capitalism and Breezewood
 

railiner

Engineer
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
10,130
Location
X
Here’s an interesting link on Post House’s, including a 1955 menu.
I worked in that Omaha terminal from 1971-1973.😎
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
5,341
Location
Baltimore. MD
Ah, even in my dotage, my memory seems to be functioning okay. I remember friends who worked on budget stuff in the U.S. House of Representatives telling me that improvements to the notorious Breezewood interchange were systematically blocked by then-Rep. Bud Shuster, powerful member of a public-works committee. "Millions of people who travel between the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest each year fight through Breezewood, Pa., a strange gap in the Interstate System...Although Mr. Shuster was a leading member of the House Transportation Committee and was known for steering taxpayer funds to local highway projects, he made clear that he would never permit funding for a Breezewood bypass, [Democratic state senator] Mr. Dawida recalled. (Mr. Shuster’s son, Bill Shuster, now represents that same district; his office did not respond to requests for comment.)"

Well, young Shuster finally stepped down after redistricting, and after four years without an Infrastructure Week it finally happened in a new Administration, but I have no idea whether the Breezewood Boondoggle will change.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/06/...n-at-the-junction-of-politics-and-policy.html (no paywall)

Capitalism and Breezewood
There's at least one other "Breezewood" on the PA Turnpike, it's at the next exit at Bedford, where you have to exit on to US 220 for a short distance before you can get on to I 99. I-99, by the way was another brainchild of Bud Shuster.

At least, both at Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the Turnpike exits feed you directly to the connecting Interstate.
 

railiner

Engineer
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
10,130
Location
X
Many memories here re: the cafeteria at the Greyhound station in Pittsburgh, circa 1965. I was a young teenager, hung out in the Gameroom on weekends, became "expert" enough on a particular pinball machine to be able to play all day for a quarter if I wanted. Sometimes spectators would gather!

The cafeteria served real food. Lots of it. Affordably. Back then it operated 24 hours. Many years later it was converted to a Burger King. Boo!

In my later teens I spent weekends in DC, traveling by bus, and recall the stopover in Breezewood at the Post House. That was quite a busy operation when multiple buses all showed up at the same time. Enough to warrant two food lines if I'm recalling correctly.

I didn't hate the Dog back then. It hadn't degraded to what it is today and the price was right. Kinda wish I had discovered train travel but that didn't happen until 1976.
The Pittsburgh PA Post House was definitely one of the better downtown ones.
BTW, Pittsburgh had the only one of its kind, fine dining restaurants, that was an experiment by the Post House subsidiary that lasted just a few years...
It was a top floor, windowed restaurant with great views, called "The Top of The Towers", located in the Gateway Towers condo building near The Point.

I always liked the "highway" post houses, that were not in downtown terminals, but in rural areas spaced to serve long distance routes with periodic rest stops...places like Breezewood, PA, Belvidere, NJ, Findlay, and Cambridge, OH, Effingham, and Gilman, IL, Mackinaw City, MI, Somerset, KY, etc.
These had often interesting architectural features, reflecting the area they were located, and were staffed by friendly small town staffs. There were many more...
 
Last edited:

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
2,182
Location
Denver
As Greyhound withdraws from its own stations, that's gone better in some cities than others. Knoxville which was important to both Greyhound and Trailways has had some difficulties.


In Cincinnati they're not.


In Jackson, MS they solved the problem by suspending service. Meridian is picking up, an interesting difference in attitude vs. Knoxville.

 
Last edited:

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
3,855
Location
SW ATL airport
One Christmas eve arrived at Ft. Wayne. Got to hotel at 1900. All restaurants closed after hotel had checked for us except Greyhound station restaurant diagonally across street. Went there against better judgment and finally gave up as food not edible. Starved until about 1400 and joined a Hilton Christmas lunch that was beyond belief. We had to take late time due to all city folk had earlier reservations. That reinforced my hate of post resturants.
 

railiner

Engineer
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
10,130
Location
X
I blame the overall degradation of the intercity bus industry to deregulation. It wouldn't have happened under the old system, at least not this bad.
The newest owner's of Greyhound, FlixBus, has accelerated this, if nothing else....☹️
 
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
5,341
Location
Baltimore. MD
I blame the overall degradation of the intercity bus industry to deregulation. It wouldn't have happened under the old system, at least not this bad.
The newest owner's of Greyhound, FlixBus, has accelerated this, if nothing else....☹️
Do you mean bus industry deregulation or airline deregulation? I think the long-distance bus companies got hammered when it became really cheap to fly. The remaining really strong markets for bus travel is for really short trips, sold really cheap. They don't even need to bother with terminals, just a bus stop on the sidewalk. And they're doing good business, too. Why should they spend the money for frills their passengers aren't demanding?

20210414_160411.jpg
The New York Terminal for Megabus.

20210624_132706.jpg
The New York Terminal for FlixBus, right across the street from Moynihan Train Hall.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
2,903
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
As Greyhound withdraws from its own stations, that's gone better in some cities than others. Knoxville which was important to both Greyhound and Trailways has had some difficulties.


In Cincinnati they're not.


In Jackson, MS they solved the problem by suspending service. Meridian is picking up, an interesting difference in attitude vs. Knoxville.

In Kissimmee FL they abandoned their station at the Intermodal Station in the historic gentrified downtown, with connections to Amtrak, SunRail, and several county bus routes, for a gas station off the Turnpike surrounded by not much more than a bunch of fast food restaurants. That's one less mode at the intermodal.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
2,182
Location
Denver
In Kissimmee FL they abandoned their station at the Intermodal Station in the historic gentrified downtown, with connections to Amtrak, SunRail, and several county bus routes, for a gas station off the Turnpike surrounded by not much more than a bunch of fast food restaurants. That's one less mode at the intermodal.
That sort of thing has been going on for about three decades, since the end of Continental Trailways. but I don't know if anyone has done a study of whether the saving in operating costs is greater than the loss in revenue from smaller centers versus revenue earned in big cities by faster endpoint travel times. Recently, after First Transit gave up, the moves have accelerated. It's first year high school algebra, but that doesn't mean in a large corporation that they're looking beyond operating costs.

The funny thing is that GL just has thrown Trailways out of the Albany, NY station because they now consider it a competitor. Greyhound over its life has swung back and forth between the "good dog" and "bad dog" approach, but this seems like a gunfight in a lifeboat.

 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
2,182
Location
Denver
Do you mean bus industry deregulation or airline deregulation? I think the long-distance bus companies got hammered when it became really cheap to fly. The remaining really strong markets for bus travel is for really short trips, sold really cheap. They don't even need to bother with terminals, just a bus stop on the sidewalk. And they're doing good business, too. Why should they spend the money for frills their passengers aren't demanding?

The New York Terminal for Megabus.

The New York Terminal for FlixBus, right across the street from Moynihan Train Hall.
Actually, there are still long-haul customers and Greyhound's problem is that they have most of them. On a Denver<>Las Vegas trip a couple of years ago I met a passenger from Newark, NJ who was traveling with his wheelchair to Vegas. He was on the northernmost transcontinental Greyhound schedule (New York City > Denver > Las Vegas > Los Angeles.).

The station problem is that not everything can connect in time with everything. The curbside carriers -- a status to which GL aspires -- can't run a network unless they can sponge off of a public facility at connecting points. If it has limited hours of operation (see Knoxville story), then there still is a problem.

The station problem was going on since the 1970's. In the mid-1970's, as an economy measure, they began getting rid of the field representatives who worked to set up local agents. In that period, they got rid of at least the Oregon part of their Teletype network -- long before e-mail could substitute for it. Way back, we touched on the downward trajectory of the intercity bus industry as politely as we could in the 1975 Oregon Intercity Bus Study.

At the time, they were still tightly regulated. There were state and federal differences, but one of the reasons for the regulation in the first place was the terminal problem. It's not surprising that the Union Bus Depot in Portland, Oregon opened in 1937, when federal regulation was taking hold. Before that there were Knoxville-style fights all over the country.

The regulatory system began to break down before deregulation, thanks to the interstate highway system. The regulatory concept was used to cross-subsidize small town service with revenue from linking big cities. That revenue was cut into by the new ease of operation for irregular services, legal or illegal. It became easier for regulated independent charter companies to operate over a much larger range under their existing authority without needing relief drivers. The expanding services of truck stops made it easier for unregulated charters to eat into the business. It made it easier for lower income folks to drive a round-trip to drop someone off and then return deadheading to home.

All of that was going on without the help of discount airlines, which added to the problems. I also should mention package express, which bloomed dramatically with the end of railway mail service and the bankruptcy of Railway Express and then lost out to better service offered by FedEx and UPS. Deregulation in some cases just recognized what was going on. By the time we did the Oregon study we had concluded that it would be more honest to say that society needed to subsidize some defined essential services rather than expect cross-subsidization to survive. (I'm sorry that I did not save the information, but there was a British libertarian economist who supported the same idea.)

Regarding stations, the Knoxville and Meridian examples illustrate choices for municipalities. They can either punish the traveling public by not tackling the issues or they can try to take advantage of it to become a better city. Well, there's also Albany, NY - do studies and then wait.

In this 1977 photo at the Portland Union Bus Depot, the Special in the background is a solid package express trip.

PDXGLdepotNov77.jpg
 
Top