Charlottesville Greyhound customers thrown to the curb

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A local man walking down Ridge Street on Monday afternoon appeared to notice the new bus stop sign and stopped to ask the young couple if they were really waiting for the Greyhound. Yes, they confirmed as he pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket, lifted his blue baseball cap and wiped the top of his bald head. He wants to go visit his grandchildren, he says, but can he get a ticket now?

Yes, the young couple explained, but he must have done it online. “It’s a good thing I didn’t expect to print my ticket at the kiosk,” said half of the couple, who explained that they instead had their ticket on their phone and the bus driver could. to scan.

The man asked a few more questions before continuing on his way, his forehead creased under his blue cap.

If passengers have to buy tickets online, it means people who don’t have internet or device access, or those who need to pay in cash, can’t get their ticket to travel.

Another passenger was glad he printed his ticket: his phone ran out of battery about 30 minutes after he started waiting in the parking lot, and he would not have been able to show the driver a digital ticket. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” he repeated, shaking his head. He couldn’t believe he had just been dropped on the sidewalk to wait over an hour for another bus, and he worried about the heat.

A passenger who boarded in Dallas, Texas had been on the road for more than 24 hours and had to take a bus to Washington, DC Unable to cool off in a bathroom, he brushed his teeth in the car park with a bottle of water from the Food Master nearby. He said a few other stations they had passed through on the 1,200-mile journey were also closed. He understood that they could be closed due to the pandemic and he appreciated the safety, but he wished Greyhound let him know to bring enough food and water with him.

Only one of the dozen or so passengers Charlottesville Tomorrow spoke with at the stop was local. Everyone was in Charlottesville just to transfer the buses (and yes, we asked with some concern if it was “that Charlottesville”). They did not all know the area, had no idea where they could get food, water or use a bathroom. They were concerned that venturing too far from the stop could mean missing their buses.

A worried employee at an adjacent business said he first noticed people gathering at the stop last week, and it was terrible to see people standing outside in the heat, wondering if they were were in the right place, where they could use a bathroom or look for food, where they would stay if their bus didn’t show up on time or at all.

A passenger, who is legally blind, asked Charlottesville Tomorrow to help him read the little text on his printed ticket – he was concerned that without any audible announcements like those usually made at bus stations, he would end up on the wrong bus , returning to Wytheville in southwest Virginia, instead of its destination of Baltimore. Next time, he said, he hoped to afford the train.

When their buses finally arrived, after nearly four hours of waiting for some, over an hour for others, the passengers were understandably irritated and relieved.

– Finally, said the passenger who had brushed his teeth in the parking lot.

“I still can’t believe they dropped us off to wait on the damn sidewalk,” said another after putting out a cigarette and picking up his bags before heading for the bus door. “The sidewalk. In this heat. Unreal.”


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