In the USA, generally, there are two groups that take the coach:
1. People who can't afford to fly, drive, or take the train.
2. A group of senior citizens who have chartered one to go to Branson, Missouri or an Indian casino.
Coach stations that I've been to are dirty. There are homeless people camped out around them. There are drunks passed out under newspapers in the waiting room.
Here's a description I found online...
The stations are so shabby it's almost an art, so stuck in time that its oldness completes a cycle of fashion, becoming retro-hip, like when your Grandpa suddenly looks cool because his clothes are 20 years old. Most of the stations aren't of a 70s décor, more like 50s and 60s. Pittsburgh, New York (which is bigger than the Raleigh-Durham airport), Cleveland and Durham, NC all take pride in keeping furniture, floor tiling, toilets, and signs as long as they'll last. There are some modern looking ones though, namely in Chicago, DC and Salt Lake City. Then there are some as big as your downtown 7-11: Cheyenne, WY (where we were stranded for several hours in a snowstorm with 200 other travelers), Amarillo, TX, and Des Moines, IA to name a few.
The consistant thing about the stations is the people. You always have your four staples: drunks, Amish, dudes with huge beards, and someone that stinks really bad... and of course, those amiable Greyhound bus drivers.
You flighties are used to the grey haired, groomed and professional brass of the airline industry. A typical Greyhound driver is usually in his middle ages, often times with a five o'clock shadow and full of coffee, untucked shirt, lookes like he probably did some hard time in his day. An airline pilot has a polite little speech delivered about sitting back, relaxing, and enjoying your flight.
Here's a Greyhound driver speech, sounding like he drank a 5th of whiskey the night before after his wife left him.
**ppphh**taptaptap**ppphh**(checks the mic). "Alright. I'm only gonna say this once. There will be NO SMOKING on my bus. Even in the bathroom. If you smoke or drink alcohol, I'll leave you on the side of the road. You ain't gonna like it on the side of the highway in the middle of nowhere. I don't wanna hear your music neither. If you have a walkman, turn it DOWN. And if you have something to say to me, like you wanna turn the heat down or something, come to THE FRONT OF THE BUS AND ASK ME. If you yell from the back I'LL IGNORE YOU. Uh, what else, oh yeah thanks for goin Greyhound **grumble grumble**snort into the mic**.
Actually they don't do that come to the front of the bus anymore since that foreigner psycho prick sucker stabbed that driver. In fact, unless the bus is really crowded like it was last weekend, they don't even let people sit in the front seats anymore.
A typical Greyhound voyage goes like this: When you buy the tickets 7 days in advance the clerks always tell you to show up a half hour early. That's a funny joke. Because if the buses leave a half hour late, that's on time. On Greyhound time. You get there and the bus is outside parked at your gate. You stand in line behind 100 worn out, tired and dirty looking people (you tend to get grimey riding Greyhound). The only dressed up people are foreigners. You stand for an hour. You see the bus driver outside bullshitting with another bus driver. The laugh and look at the line. This is their one power in life - to make people wait. Finally they decide to open the door. He lets ten people in. Then some jerk-off degenerate has the wrong ticket and has to argue with the driver for 10 minutes. Then after him there's some college kid or flighty that's at the wrong gate. Then they stop and have to count people. Then they find out some people are on the wrong bus. So they regroup. Then they have to count everybody and send half the people to another gate. Then someone rips off his own ticket which pisses the driver off something terrible. So there's another 5 minute argument about that. You finally get on the bus. Two people in the front are fighting over a seat. You sit there another half hour while the driver bullshits some more with the baggage handlers. Every single baggage handler I've ever seen on Greyhound uses body language that screams to people "I HATE MY FUCKING JOB, I DON'T GIVE A SHIT ABOUT YOUR STUPID VALUABLE LUGGAGE AND IF I HAVE TO DO THIS ANY LONGER I'LL BLOW MY BRAINS OUT." Then the driver gets in and starts up the bus. Then he gets out and goes God Knows Where for another 5 minutes. Then your on your way.
By this time you're formulating nasty letters of complaint to the President of Greyhound and vowing never to ride Greyhound again. The seat's uncomfortable and it's hurting your neck. There's a big fat guy sitting next to you with his legs spread wider than the Mississippi and there's a sick Mexican kid behind you who won't stop crying and some black people in the back talking louder than Motorhead, making fun of the poor Amish.
And all you wanna be is drunk or sleeping.
[Edited 2006-07-10 00:56:53]
Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Red tail...Damned MSP...Red tail...Red tail