On Saturday, Sept. 26th at 6:00pm, I boarded a Canada Greyhound bus in Saskatoon, SK headed to Cranbrook, BC. I was aware prior to my boarding that there would be four transfers during my 19 hour journey: Swiftcurrent, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, and Fort McLeod. The first transfer was to be at 9:30pm; there was a two hour fifteen-minute layover scheduled there in Swiftcurrent, and the bus was to pick us up at 11:45pm to continue the trip.
Upon arriving in Swiftcurrent, the driver informed me and a kind elderly woman who was also traveling my way that there had been some changes. The Swiftcurrent terminal was now closed at night, and so customers wouldn't be waiting outside, they now dropped travellers off at a Tim Hortons across town. We both found this strange, but Greyhound's done stranger things before. He assured us that the driver would come inside the Tim Hortons at 11:45pm to check for passengers. The lady and I were dropped off and we chatted away the time as we enjoyed a hot cup of soup.
I believe in being a conscientous traveler, so at 11:30pm I stood outside to wait for the bus. And waited. And waited. When 12:00am rolled around, I began to get nervous. Without having the benefit of an agent or internet access, I had no way of knowing if the bus was delayed or simply not coming. The elderly woman was becoming upset, so I assured her I would call Greyhound and figure out what was happening. Upon asking the Tim Hortons manager if I could use the phone, she informed me that Greyhound commonly forgot to pick up travllers, and that just that morning, a group of people had been stranded for nine hours.
This was such a frequent occurence that they had the cell phone number of one of the Greyhound drivers. I called him to explain my situation. He said that he wasn't driving that route this evening, and to call 1-800-661-8747, which is Canada's Greyhound information line. I did so.
The agent I spoke with was extremely disinterested. Upon explaining the situation, he informed me I would have to call the local terminal. I blinked, and explained again that the TERMINAL WAS CLOSED and that's the reason why I'm at a Tim Hortons across town. He said there was nothing he could do, but that the next bus arrived in Swiftcurrent at 7:30am. Seven hours from now.
I explained again that I was stranded here, along with an elderly woman suffering from spinal stenosis, and that she had no cell phone, no alternate way to get home, and was in large amounts of pain. He again said that there was nothing he could do. He said that this number only handled scheduling, and so I was instructed to call the Vancouver terminal for further information.
The Vancouver terminal. Two provinces away.
Angry, I hung up and called Vancouver. No answer. No answer for twenty minutes. By now, it's 12:30am and I'm beginning to panic. Clearly the bus isn't coming, and I'm eight hours from home. The elderly woman is also beginning to grow upset, and so I calm her down and call back the 1-800 number, this time asking to speak with a supervisor. I explain again what's happening. I ask for the phone numbers of the drivers in this area so I can find out where they are. He admits he has this information but will not share it.
Will. Not. Share. It.
By now I'm furious. I'm lucky; I'm twenty-three, healthy and strong. I can pick up my 70lbs+ luggage and haul it to the nearest hotel. This kind old lady is in a kind of pain I can't imagine and has no hope of walking in the intense wind and rain now storming outside Tim Hortons. I explain this, and yet again I get the same answer: There's nothing we can do, but there's a bus coming at 10:55am.
...What? I thought it was 7:30am. And how the hell am I to trust a bus that's already forgotten me once?
I hang up. I call my mother, explain the situation. She suggests that the lady and I get a hotel for the night and she'll come drive us home in the morning. I thank her dearly and tell this to the lady. The lady shakes her head and says she's too upset to sleep; she'll stay here and keep trying to call her family. I try to convince her to come with me, but she wishes me well, and so I leave.
My awesome mother and her awesome boyfriend left home at 5:30am to come pick me up in Swiftcurrent. My original bus was supposed to drop me off in Cranbrook at 1:00pm Sept. 27th. As a result of their negligence. I didn't get home until 10:00pm, my mother lost a day of work, put three tanks of gas in the truck, and I paid $107 for a hotel room.
And it doesn't stop there.
Today I called Greyhound asking for compensation. My round trip ticket cost me $355. They offered me $85 for the portion of the ticket after Swiftcurrent. I refused. Ten minutes ago, a supervisor called me back and offered $171 for the full half of the ticket, and a travel voucher in the amount that I spent out of pocket. Better, but I explained that my mother and I are out roughly $230 as a direct result of their miscommunication and negligence. We aren't rich people; we live together and are below the poverty line. I'm repaying student loans and credit cards; she's suffered major expenses this year and has no disposable income. Also, I will never be traveling with Greyhound again after this madness, so a travel voucher is less than useless to me. Their response? Not their policy to refund out of pocket expenses. I was told their corporate head office doesn't accept phone calls, and I was given an address to write a letter. An address in Texas.
What the hell do I do now?
I'm absolutely furious. This is beyond bad service to me. What if I had been travelling with children? Or to a funeral, or a wedding? They offered no help whatsoever and literally left me there to fend for myself. Please, I would love some advice on how to proceed from here. I want my money back. And I don't believe I'm being unfair. I'm not asking them to pay for food, or for pain and suffering; I want compensation only for what they directly cost me and my mother.
Thank you for any input anyone can provide.
TL;DR: Bus leaves me and an elderly lady with spinal stenosis stranded in a Tim Hortons, then refuses to help.