Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bus Trip to Denver

So after trying the Mexican Bus (which is one of the earliest posts on this blog), I decided to take the trip to Denver via Greyhound basically because it was not too bad of a walk from the house to the bus station.   I think I knew this, but I technically rode a Los Americanos Bus and I believe the two companies are owned by the same parent company (one being an "American" bus and the other being a "Mexican" bus).  Not that I noticed the difference.



There were only 3 options and since I actually want to get to Denver in a reasonable amount of time, I chose the bus that left at 2 AM. 

Now some observations:  The 3 options for leaving is really not surprising.   In my air travels to Denver there is a pretty limited selection as well.

1) The quality of the bus station (the bathrooms were disgusting) shows either that the traffic they get is incredible or their cleaning/maintenance crew needs more help or is incompetent.   Now it would be too easy to say that maybe the clientele doesn't know to respect public infrastructure.   And to that I'm calling, "Bullshit."  I doubt that your political affiliation, size of your pocket book, religious affiliation, even choice of addiction really matters when it comes to how you use the bathroom.   Sometimes, defecating is messy.   Thus, the disgusting bathrooms suggest that the management just basically doesn't care.   And why should they care?  The bus riding clientele probably isn't going to complain.

2)  Now I generally felt safe, but the bus needed some work too.   I didn't have an armrest, there was no soap or sanitizer in the on-board restroom, the sink didn't function, and the engine made this loud whine that would've drowned out any headphones if I'd bothered to bring any.  

3) At one point, I was actually surprised to see two men actually sleeping on the floor of the bus as we were travelling.   Given the limited leg room and uncomfortable seats it was pretty easy to think that maybe they had a good idea.  

4) I was clearly a minority on this trip, which is actually refreshing, but it does strike me as strange when all the little kids persist in staring at you.   My guess is that they don't get too many white folks on this thing?  

Now I'm not going to draw too many conclusions because they all seem pretty obvious, but I do want to propose some questions.

What message are we sending when we fail to maintain public facilities?   When the relative comfort of our customers is disregarded?   Why are the people riding the bus (myself included) valued less than a person who would fly?  

2 comments:

  1. This blog post brings up good points, Don!

    Sometimes bathroom fixtures leak. I have found that, in an institution I frequent, there will be a puddle on the floor in one stall constantly - hence my deduction - so I agree with you, it's not the clientele, tho some might make that judgement. The custodians can clean and clean and it doesn't change the puddle that happens every day. It takes money to get a new toilet.

    I have taken the ABQ to Denver bus a lot back in the 70's and 80's, and I think that the buses were kept up better then than how you describe now. Course, they were the same buses probably, just a few decades younger.

    When we took Amtrak to Chicago in 03, we were dismayed at Albuquerque's shabby depot - the ruins of the burned down depot sat behind a chain link fence, waiting to be cleaned up. Old floors and edges of walls were what passengers saw when they stopped in ABQ. Stuff waits for funding ... low priority. People speaking up probably helps.

    One of my Greyhound bus trips, in late December when a huge snowfall had occurred, had the bus sliding around the little roads of Springer like a sled. The bus did not get canceled from the deep snow, it kept on its route, plowing through the deep, unscraped powder.
    -Cirrelda

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