Greyhound and Trailways
Greyhound is a registered trade mark of the Greyhound, Incorporated
Greyhound and Trailways are not exactly household words these days. I would bet that no one in my neighborhood, unless they were in the Army many years ago, has ever been on a Greyhound or a Trailways bus. Like many things that once were an important item or service in days past, the big interstate buses have been replaced in the lives of most of us. Cars, mostly, did that for the closer-by locations and airplanes took over the coast to coast and major destinations.
I would also bet that most people are not aware that there is a bus terminal in Marietta, Ga for Greyhound. I looked up a ticket from Marietta to Bozeman, Montana ( in case I want to go fishing ) and the trip is about 55 hours and 20 minutes and cost from about $234 up.
When I was small and my father was in the Army, my mother and I traveled on Greyhound and Trailways often from Sandy Point to Macon and back. She would go to the dentist, doctor, shopping and buy groceries…..yes….buy groceries using one of the bus lines that traveled several times a day from Macon, about 25 miles, on US 80. US 80 then went from coast to coast and the buses made several trips a day over toward Columbus and westward.
My grandfather would take us “up to the highway” and we would wait, sometimes on the porch at “Miss Bertha’s” until we saw the bus coming and my mom would “flag them down”. They would actually stop by the road in those days and you could pay the driver. The Greyhound and Trailways terminals in Macon were busy with passengers and soldiers often traveled by bus. We might go to Macon on Trailways and come back on Greyhound based on their schedules and my mom had their route and schedule books so she knew what to expect. They would put the packages in the baggage compartment if the bus was crowded.
UPS and FedEx are the big guys in package delivery today and Amazon is now delivering their packages, too, and you can get some items the same day now. Wow! How great is that? Well, Greyhound was doing that years ago!
There may be a day when everything we order is printed out on our 3D printer! Far fetched? I’m not too sure. Drones are coming we hear, for sure.
My company shipped small items on Trailways and Greyhound in the ‘60’s and the great thing was we could get our items to the dealer (customer) the same day! Greyhound Package Express. Take that, Amazon! That was common place. They still do it today but the frequency of buses is not as great as it was back in those days when buses were pulling out every few minutes. A job as a Greyhound or Trailways driver was an envied and sought after position.
Greyhound and Trailways use service stations and other places, some 3800 destinations, as pick up and drop off locations and fewer actual terminals exist. They say they have 1200 buses in the US, they have WIFI and restrooms and have 5.5 billion passenger miles a year.
Back in the day, the bus stations were big places with waiting rooms, lockers, and 24 hour restaurants. They might have ten buses lined up in arriving and departure stages and even more in the big cities. Seeing them then, you would have never dreamed they would fade away. What was is not anymore. But, that leads one to expect that what is, won’t be forever either.
Riding on a bus for fifty five hours+, well that might not be very appealing to many. But, you can see a lot of country that way. And if that’s what you have to do to get to a good fishing hole, so be it!
Buses are everywhere in the city and at least they all don’t belch black diesel smoke, now. That natural gas smell is much better. I hope they don’t find a natural gas causes some new incurable disease. When I first came to Atlanta they had electric trolleys and they ripped them out and now everyone would like electric vehicles. You just can’t please some people.
Cobb County put in some new buses on what they call the Circulator route. They interviewed a driver last week on TV. He said the buses were pretty and nice but they had zero ridership. When coupled with the Atlanta Trolley cost, a fellow could buy a nice bass boat…..and a lake to run it on and a lake house and…..well…. you get the picture.
I caught a bus over on Spring Road in Smyrna one day a few years back with the intention of going to Grant Park. That is a trip of about 19.2 miles. It was a day off and I just wanted to see if I could do it. I made it to Grant Park and saw the Cyclorama in a little over four hours. If I had known the right routes and transfers, who knows how long it would have taken. Not four hours, I hope. I could have walked it in five hours. I caught a cab home.
I rode some trains when I was little and can remember riding a train from Louisiana to Macon. What I remember was the bathroom. The commode was not connected to anything underneath and you could see the crossties flying by under the train as you did your business. How’s that for a memory? I rode the Nancy Hanks from Macon to Atlanta a couple of times.
I once took a group from Atlanta to New York and on to Lancaster, Pennsylvania on the Amtrak. There were buses involved after we got to Lancaster and we rode the bus to Philadelphia to catch the plane home. It took about seventeen hours going up on the Amtrak Train and when we arrived one of my customers came over to me. He was about six foot six and weighed about three hundred pounds. He looked at me and said very seriously, “It’s a good thing we are flying back because another hour on that train and I would have to kill you.”
But, as my Grandfather always said, “A poor ride beats a good walk any day.”