After nearly 14 hours of bus rides and bus stops, you would think I would be pretty tired by now, and you would be correct. I left Wednesday around 3:00pm and arrived at my friend’s house around 9:00am Thursday morning. Quite the little adventure, but it was not really as bad as I thought it might be. There were some not so nice moments but overall, riding the Greyhound was a decent experience. Here is how it went down.
I started out on KWTransit, making my way over to the Greyhound station at KW International. The bus station is located in the building to the right of the terminal as you enter the airport. It’s sits on the second floor beside the Border Patrol and Sheriff station. The bus station is about what you would expect, a small dirty old room, very musty smelling. It has some odd hours, opening in the morning from 7 to 11 and afternoon 4 to 6. I got there early and noticed there were no outlets to charge up electrical devices, and only and old soda machine for drinks. So I went over to the airport terminal and got something there instead. Around about 4:00 more people started to trickle in. At 4:30 the ticket attendant showed up and we all started getting booked.
I bought my ticket online at the Greyhound website, using the app. It’s pretty simple to use but if possible, print out your ticket ahead of time. Some unhappy passengers on a later bus found out the hard way if you don’t have a physical ticket, you don’t get on the bus. I was able to get my ticket at the counter and was all set.
The bus showed up around 5:00 and we boarded at 5:30 or so. Unlike the airlines, everything was smooth and easy. No groping security, you handled your own bags, not even an ID check. Just give the ticket to the driver and grab a seat, first come, first served. The entire process was hassle free.
This bus, I come to find out later, was a bit smaller, given there were only about 20 passengers. It was comfortable inside and quiet. The seats were ok but the really nice thing was lots of legroom. Your knees weren’t up around your ears. Even if the person in front of you moved their seat back, you still had plenty of room.
The bus was clean and the windows were big allowing a good view of the world as you passed it by. The driver was courteous, at least the one on this trip was, and he let you know when and where the stops were.
Most of the busses now come with power outlets and free wifi. The outlets are on the side by the window seat so if someone beside you wants to plug in, you have to work around their cables as well. I had the entire aisle to myself so it wasn’t an issue.
The wifi was marginal. It runs off the cell networks so it comes and goes as the bus moves along. Even when the signal was strong, there was not much you could do beyond some email and light web surfing. Don’t plan on being able to download big files or stream video. I found it not quite good enough for working but it was there and free if needed.
The first leg went smooth and we arrived in time at the transfer station in Miami. Here I found out some interesting things. The station in Miami is new, built close to the airport. It’s clean and shiny, nice restrooms, and a few vending machines for snacks. It is also located next door to the future Amtrak station. Currently the Tri Rail system is using the station and goes all the way to West Palm before connecting to Amtrak. But eventually, you will be able to ride the bus to the station and switch to rail if you wanted to go by train. Very cool.
Around 11:00 we boarded the more larger bus for Orlando and Daytona. It held a lot more people and was nearly full when we left. The driver, while mostly courteous, was not as friendly. He told everyone to keep quiet so others could sleep, and argued intensely with some passengers at another stop who had neglected to print out their tickets. But, we got going without further delay.
The only problem I had on this ride was I had some guy sitting in the seat next to me who immediately fell asleep and was constantly spreading out all over the place. I couldn’t get comfortable the entire trip and slept only a little bit.
When we got to Orlando at 3:30 in the morning, they made everyone get off the bus and wait in the station for an hour and a half before the bus left. The Orlando station was larger and even had a small cafe open. Still, it was a long wait and I was getting tired. Finally we boarded for the last leg, at least for me. This bus would continue on all the way to Richmond, Virginia. It got me to Daytona by 6:30 without delay. It was cold and I was tired and hungry, but I managed to make to the Votran and eventually to my friend’s house, tired, cold, and now starving.
Overall, it was not a bad ride. The Greyhound cost me $90 with a little discount. (Join the road rewards program if you think you might be using them a lot.) Had I been able to book a couple weeks in advance I would have gotten the trip for $44. We did make at least one food stop coming out of the Keys, but I wasn’t hungry then. As long as the bus isn’t too crowded it’s a pleasant way to go. It’s real nice to not be the one doing the driving. I didn’t have to deal with traffic nor fuel, nor anything else. Just sit back and ride.
The people who rode were about what you would expect. Mostly those who couldn’t afford to fly. But given the fewer hassles, less rules, no security, no obnoxious stewardesses, it was well worth the money. If you are not in a hurry, and don’t mind the ride, the bus is a nice way to get from point A to Point B. I can see me using it more down the road.