Greyhound Lines

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Greyhound Lines
logo
image
Greyhound Lines #8879, a Prevost X3-45, in the new blue-and-silver livery, departs New York City on Schedule 8535.
SloganGo Greyhound and leave the driving to us
ParentFirstGroup
Founded1914 by Carl Wickman
HeadquartersDallas, Texas, U.S.
Service areaUnited States, Canada, Mexico
Service typeIntercity coach service
Routes130 regular routes
1 NeOn route
Destinations3,700+
Stations2,400+
FleetMCI MC-12, 102D(L)3, G4500, D4505
Prevost X3-45
Van Hool C2045L
Chief executiveDavid Leach
Web sitewww.greyhound.com
 
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Greyhound Lines
logo
image
Greyhound Lines #8879, a Prevost X3-45, in the new blue-and-silver livery, departs New York City on Schedule 8535.
SloganGo Greyhound and leave the driving to us
ParentFirstGroup
Founded1914 by Carl Wickman
HeadquartersDallas, Texas, U.S.
Service areaUnited States, Canada, Mexico
Service typeIntercity coach service
Routes130 regular routes
1 NeOn route
Destinations3,700+
Stations2,400+
FleetMCI MC-12, 102D(L)3, G4500, D4505
Prevost X3-45
Van Hool C2045L
Chief executiveDavid Leach
Web sitewww.greyhound.com

Greyhound Lines, Inc., based in Dallas, Texas, is an intercity common carrier of passengers by bus serving over 3,700 destinations in the United States, Canada and Mexico, operating under the well-known logo of a leaping greyhound. It was founded in Hibbing, Minnesota, in 1914 and incorporated as "Greyhound Corporation" in 1929. Today, it is headquartered at 350 North St. Paul Street in Downtown Dallas, Texas,[1] and under the ownership of British transport firm FirstGroup, which operates Greyhound as an independent subsidiary, and a division of FirstGroup America.

Contents

History

Former logo of Greyhound Lines

Early years

Carl Eric Wickman was born in Sweden in 1887. In 1905 he moved to the United States where he was working in a mine as a drill operator in Alice, Minnesota, until he was laid off in 1914. In the same year, he became a Hupmobile salesman in Hibbing, Minnesota.[2] He proved unable to sell the car. In 1914, using his remaining vehicle, a 7-passenger car,[3] he began a bus service with Andy (Bus Andy) Anderson and C. A. A. (Arvid) Heed,[4] by transporting iron ore miners from Hibbing to Alice (known for its saloons)[3] at 15 cents a ride.[5]

In 1915, Wickman joined forces with Ralph Bogan, who was running a similar service from Hibbing to Duluth. The name of the new organization was the Mesaba Transportation Company, and it made US$8,000 in profit in its first year.

By the end of World War I Wickman owned 18 buses, and was making an annual profit of $40,000. In 1922, Wickman joined forces with Orville Caesar, the owner of the Superior White Bus Lines. Four years later, Wickman reached an agreement with two West Coast operations, the Pickwick Lines and the Pioneer Yelloway System.[clarification needed]

In 1926, Wickman's bus operations became known as the Greyhound Lines. Ed Stone, who set up a new addition from Superior to Wausau, Wisconsin - during his inaugural run, passing through a small northern Wisconsin town saw the reflection of the 1920s era bus in a store window - it reminded him of a greyhound dog and he adopted that name for that segment of the "Blue Goose Lines", as the Wickman lines were known: later the entire system became Greyhound. Stone later became General Sales Manager of GM's Yellow Truck and Coach division, which built Greyhound buses. (At the Greyhound Bus Museum in Hibbing, a plaque displays this information.) Wickman, who was president of the company, continued to expand it, and, by 1927, his buses were making transcontinental trips from California to New York. In 1928, Greyhound had a gross annual income of US$6 million.[3]

Wickman's business suffered during the Great Depression, and, by 1931, was over US$1 million in debt. However, with the improvement in the economy, the Greyhound Corporation began to prosper again. In 1935, Wickman was able to announce record profits of US$8 million. By the outbreak of World War II, the company had 4,750 stations and nearly 10,000 employees.

1936 stock certificate #0000

Wickman retired as president of the Greyhound Corporation in 1946, being replaced by his long-time partner, Orville Caesar. Wickman died at the age of 67 in 1954.

Postwar expansion and diversification

A Greyhound GMC PD-3751 "Silversides" in the 1950s livery
A GMC PD-4106, ready for boarding in Salem, Oregon for a trip north on new Interstate 5 in Autumn 1965

After World War II, and the building of the Interstate Highway System beginning in 1956, automobile ownership and travel became a preferred mode of travel in the United States. Along with a similar downward trend in public transportation in general, ridership on Greyhound and Trailways bus routes began a long decline.

Greyhound leadership saw the trend, and began significant changes including using the profitable bus operations to invest in other industries. By the 1970s, Greyhound had moved its headquarters to Phoenix, Arizona, and was a large and diversified company, with holdings in everything from the Armour meat-packing company (which in turn owned the popular Dial deodorant soap brand), acquired in 1970; Traveller's Express money orders, MCI bus manufacturing company, and even airliner leasing. Indeed, Greyhound had entered a time of great change, even beginning to hire African American and female drivers in the late seventies.[6]

For many young people from Europe, Greyhound was the way they got to know America because of a special unlimited mileage offer: "99 days for US$99" (equal to $777.75 today) or, in other words, a dollar a day (equal to $7.86 today), anytime, anyplace, and anywhere.

Greyhound established the Premier Cruise Line in 1983. It would last until 2000, and at one time billed itself as the "Official Cruise Line of Walt Disney World".

In late 1984, Greyhound had a major driver's strike, typified as bitter, with one fatality in Zanesville, Ohio.[citation needed] By the time contract negotiations were due again, three years later, the bus line had been spun off from the parent company to new owners. This resulted in Greyhound Lines becoming solely a bus transportation company headed by Fred Currey, a former executive with the largest member of the National Trailways Bus System. Greyhound's corporate headquarters then relocated to Dallas, Texas. The old parent changed its name to the Dial Corporation.

Spin-off from Dial Corporation

Greyhound MCI MC-12 Americruiser #2119 in Indiana, summer 2003
Greyhound station in Columbia, South Carolina, built in 1938–1939 and shot here in November 1986. Greyhound stopped using it the next year.

Under new ownership in 1987, led by Currey, Greyhound Lines acquired Trailways, Inc. in June of that year (formerly Continental Trailways), the largest member of the rival National Trailways Bus System, effectively consolidating a national bus service. Greyhound was required by the ICC in their action approving the merger, to maintain coordinated schedules with other scheduled service operators in the U.S.

Three years later, there was another costly strike beginning in March 1990. It was during this strike, combined with the loss of diversification and strength of the former parent company, and labor-law violations, that Greyhound had to file for bankruptcy, in June 1990. This strike was as bitter as the strike of the 1980s, with violence against both strikers and their replacement workers. One striker in California was killed by a Greyhound bus hired by a strikebreaker.[7] At the same time, Greyhound was having to contend with the rise of low-cost airlines like Southwest Airlines, which reduced further the market for long-distance inter-city bus transportation. The strike would not be settled for 38 months, under terms favorable to Greyhound. While the National Labor Relations Board had awarded damages for unfair labor practices to the strikers, this liability was discharged during bankruptcy reorganization.[7][8]

In 1997, Greyhound Lines acquired Carolina Trailways, one of the largest members of the National Trailways Bus System. Following the acquisition, most of the other independent members of the Trailways System began interlining cooperatively with Greyhound, discontinued their regular route services, diversified into charters and tours or went out of business.

Laidlaw ownership and reorganization of the route network

A Greyhound MCI G4500 in the early 2000s livery

In 1999, Burlington, Ontario-based transportation conglomerate Laidlaw Inc. acquired Greyhound Lines, Inc. (U.S. operations) including Carolina Trailways and other Greyhound affiliates. It had previously acquired Greyhound Canada.

After incurring heavy losses through its investments in Greyhound Lines and other parts of its diversified business, Laidlaw Inc. filed for protection under both U.S. and Canadian Bankruptcy laws in June 2001 .

Naperville, Illinois-based Laidlaw International, Inc. listed its common shares on the New York Stock Exchange (Ticker: LI), on February 10, 2003, and emerged from re-organization on June 23, 2003, as the successor to Laidlaw Inc. In the wake of this bankruptcy filing, Greyhound would exit a number of areas, particularly rural areas, turning routes in those areas over to local operators (often with government subsidies), particularly in the Plains states,[9] parts of the upper Midwest such as Wisconsin, and the Pacific Northwest.[10] During these route changes in 2004 and 2005, a number of routes were eliminated altogether, most notably the Interstate 90 route between Chicago and Seattle.[11][12]

The company competes with California Shuttle Bus and Megabus among other US bus operators. It also competes with Amtrak and the airlines.

FirstGroup ownership

A Greyhound MCI 102DL3 in the Western United States. The latest branding has not yet been introduced outside of the Northeast and Midwest.

On February 7, 2007, FirstGroup plc of Aberdeen, Scotland, agreed to purchase Laidlaw International for US$3.6 billion (£1.9 billion). The deal closed on September 30, 2007.[13] Although its original intention was merely to buy the school bus part of Laidlaw, it later decided to retain the Greyhound part, too. The Greyhound name has been retained by FirstGroup; the brands of its subsidiaries, however, are not being retained and will disappear as buses are retired.[14]

Under the ownership of FirstGroup, other concerns have also been addressed. Greyhound had come under criticism for its bus assignment practices. Although bus tickets have times and dates printed on them, seating is not guaranteed, and is 'first-come, first-served'. Greyhound will add additional "sections" (buses) in periods of high demand, but the threshold required to trigger an additional section varies. Passengers may have to wait for the next bus departure time.[15] Shortly after the sale to FirstGroup closed, Greyhound began a program in select markets, most notably in the northeastern United States, where riders could reserve a seat for an additional US$5. However, the US$5 fee would have to be paid at the terminal, even if the ticket was bought online, and only a limited number of seats could be reserved.[16]

Also under FirstGroup ownership, Greyhound has sought to improve its image, spending US$60 million to refurbish many terminals, add new buses, and staff terminals with associates who are able to help those who have questions about the bus system. Greyhound is initiating an advertising campaign with Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners aimed at attracting 18-24 year olds and Hispanics.[17] As a result, after the FirstGroup acquisition, Greyhound began advertising as "The New Greyhound".

The "New Greyhound" also saw the introduction of a new livery, with a navy blue and dark gray base (such as #8879 at the top of the article), with no white in the livery, which is currently in use on the Prevost fleet originating from New York City on routes to Toronto, Montreal, Boston, and Washington, D.C. (and in Canada within the province of Ontario), and which will be introduced in the rest of the United States in the future. In addition, the service saw a change in the logo for Greyhound. Buses in the new livery, like those in the BoltBus service, also in the Northeast, are also equipped with Wi-Fi, power outlets, and larger seat pitches, which reduce the seat count to 51, like buses in BoltBus service, making the livery the only material difference between those buses.

In 2009, the Greyhound brand, along with the new livery introduced out of New York, was exported to the United Kingdom, with parent FirstGroup using the Greyhound nameplate name for services designed to compete against its primary competitors in the British intercity bus travel market, National Express and Stagecoach's Megabus. The first routes there operated from London to Southampton and Portsmouth.[18]

Partnership and competition

Greyhound's scheduled services compete with the private automobile, low-cost airlines and other intercity coach companies. Greyhound is one of the major operators of Amtrak's Thruway Motorcoach service even though the two are competitors in some markets. The service compensates for lost intercity rail service in many instances and provides access to locations away from Amtrak's rail lines. In some cases the added convenience of through-ticketing is available for connecting passengers.

Discount services

Since the purchase of Greyhound Lines by FirstGroup, Greyhound has initiated two discount bus services, both radiating from New York City and servicing major cities in the northeastern United States, both of which began operations in 2008 and are operated in conjunction with other traditional operators. These services are designed to compete with Chinatown bus carriers, and more directly with Megabus. Both services offer Wi-Fi and outlets into which equipment can be plugged at every seat. Each service is offered in conjunction with another local bus carrier.

NeOn branding

NeOn

On May 29, 2008, a service based on the Megabus model used in the United Kingdom and United States and also the BoltBus service used by Greyhound in the US, was initiated to and from Toronto in association with Trailways of New York, operating between street stops at Penn Station in Manhattan and the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. The service was originally designed to attract a new demographic of traveler who had long ago stopped taking intercity buses but who had grown comfortable with the low cost and convenience of the Chinatown bus services in the northeastern US. NeOn was initially set up to directly compete with the Megabus M24 and M26 routes operating twice daily between New York and Toronto making very few stops (Buffalo twice-daily, and to Syracuse once-daily).

Poor performance led Greyhound to make adjustments to the service until the NeOn name became purely superficial, a marketing name for what was otherwise exactly the same intercity local bus service that had always existed. Many departure times are now available as a result, though travel times have increased considerably. A "NeOn" bus will often physically be a New York Trailways bus, albeit with Wifi, making stops in, for example, Scranton, Binghamton, Ithaca, Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo Airport, Buffalo, Customs/Border, Fort Erie, St. Catharines, Mississauga and finally Toronto. The name NeOn is now even used on completely different routes such as to Plattsburgh and Montreal, further reducing the brand differentiation. Many runs also terminate at the Trailways gates at the Port Authority rather than the former streetside drop off at Penn Station. With the loss of more direct, customized travel has come a reversion to the more traditional demographic of local bus traveler, the very sort of traveler that NeOn was supposed to grow beyond.

The service continues to be a joint operation between sister companies Greyhound Lines and Greyhound Canada, and Trailways of New York, the major inter-city bus carrier within most of New York State.

BoltBus

In March 2008, Greyhound announced a new service titled BoltBus into the Boston-NYC-DC megalopolis, modeled on the Megabus system in use at the time in Chicago metropolitan area and in the United Kingdom, offering fares as low as US$1, with lowest fares depending on how far in advance a trip is booked and demand for the trip, with fares increasing for trips booked closer to departure. On each trip, one seat is sold for US$1, with prices increasing up to a maximum of US$25 for a one way trip.[19] The service began on March 27, 2008, with a New York City-Washington, D.C. route, with service to Boston and Philadelphia following soon after. Offered in partnership with Peter Pan Bus Lines, it (along with NeOn described above, offered in conjunction with Trailways of New York) competes directly with Coach USA's own discount express bus service, Megabus.

At the time of its introduction, the BoltBus fleet had features not on mainline Greyhound buses. Greyhound buses in the Northeast United States that are painted navy blue have been reformatted to match the BoltBus fleet (except for the paint).

Notable incidents and accidents

Inside a Greyhound Lines station in Nashville, Tennessee, during the morning of May 24, 2010

Below is a list of major incidents and accidents on Greyhound buses and buses of subsidiaries in the United States.

Security

Inside a Greyhound station in St. Louis, Missouri on the afternoon of 26 May 2010. A bus in the background is on its way to pick up passengers in another gate at this bus station to Los Angeles, California.

Increasingly, concern has been given to bus security. As a result of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, train and airplane security have been substantially increased, but this increase has not been provided to bus security. Baggage is neither inspected, nor identification checked. Greyhound says that security wands have been deployed on buses, but they do not appear to be routinely used.[25]

Greyhound announced in a press conference, in 2007, that a pilot program to test various security measures would be implemented at select stations and on select coaches starting later in the year.

Greyhound Community Reflections Mural Program

"The Heart of Tex Mex," a mural that is a part of the Greyhound Community Reflections Mural Program. It is located in the Austin Greyhound Station in Austin, Texas.

Greyhound Lines and the National Council for La Raza (NCLR) sponsor the Greyhound Community Reflections Mural Program, in which Latino American student artists paint murals reflecting the contributions of Latino Americans. These are posted in Greyhound Stations across the United States.[26] The bus line has had three painted in Texas by 2003.[27]

Fleet

Past coaches with nicknames

Greyhound ticket kiosk in the Houston Station in Midtown, Houston, Texas

Later models such as the A series and the MC-12 bore only the Americruiser name. MCI D and G series, Prevost, and Van Hool coaches do not carry nicknames. For several years after the purchase of Trailways, Inc., by Greyhound Lines, Inc., in 1987, Greyhound operated also a number of Eagles, the signature Trailways coach, which had come from the Trailways fleet.[citation needed] Since the transition period after the merger, Greyhound has no longer operated Eagle coaches.[citation needed] Photos show Eagles with Greyhound paint schemes,[28][29] a Trailways paint scheme with a dog logo,[30][31][32][33] and a Trailways paint scheme with the required Greyhound legal lettering.[34] Foreign examples are for unaffiliated Greyhound Australia[35] and apparently Costa Rica.[36]

Stations

Greyhound has stations in most major cities in the counties where it operates and in many towns. The Greyhound stations often function also as rail stations and/or terminals for other intercity bus lines and municipal bus services, often with Greyhound's services being secondary to other services provided in the same location.

In mass media

See also

References

  1. ^ "Route Map" Greyhound Lines. Retrieved on May 4, 2009.
  2. ^ Lewis, Mary Beth. "Ten Best First Facts", in Car and Driver, 1/88, p.92.
  3. ^ a b c Lewis, p.92.
  4. ^ Tracing the Hound: The Minnesota Roots of the Greyhound Bus Corporation
  5. ^ Greyhound Bus Museum
  6. ^ Jackson, Carlton. Hounds of the Road: a history of the Greyhound Bus Company. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1984.
  7. ^ a b The Great Greyhound Strikes, accessed 2008-11-22
  8. ^ Greyhound Bus Drivers End 3-Year Strike With New Pact, New York Times, 1993-05-09, accessed 2008-11-22
  9. ^ USA Today – Some left in lurch as Greyhound cuts stops, July 19, 2004, accessed 2008-11-22
  10. ^ " New York Times – As Greyhound Cuts Back, The Middle of Nowhere Means Going Nowhere, 2004-09-06, accessed 2008-11-22
  11. ^ The Greyhound doesn't stop here anymore, Mike Bucsko and Cindi Lash, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, November 13, 2005
  12. ^ Doghouse On Wheels, Emily Lambert, Forbes.com, January 31, 2005
  13. ^ Laidlaw International Announces Agreement to Be Acquired by FirstGroup, SEC filing
  14. ^ FirstGroup intro page regarding acquisition
  15. ^ News-Leader.com | Sarah Overstreet[dead link]
  16. ^ Reserve seat on Greyhound for $5 – Yahoo! News
  17. ^ "Greyhound Gets A Makeover". CBS News (CBS Corporation). 2007-11-12. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/11/12/business/main3488817.shtml. Retrieved 2007-11-12.
  18. ^ Greyhound UK | Coach travel to London, Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth | Greyhound UK
  19. ^ "Beating $4 Gas with a $1 Bus". Time, Inc.. 2008-06-06. http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1812012,00.html?imw=Y. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
  20. ^ Hounds of the Road, by Carlton Jackson, accessed November 2, 2008
  21. ^ My Turn: He's still walking tall, and grateful to be alive, by Allen Richards from the Daily Breeze, Oct. 21, 2008, accessed Nov. 2, 2008
  22. ^ FBI say bus attack wasn't terrorism, CNN.com, October 4, 2001; date accessed: July 9, 2007
  23. ^ Knife attack on California bus BBC.co.uk, October 1, 2002, date accessed: May 28, 2008
  24. ^ Greyhound faces lawsuits over '01 wreck Passengers say line kept quiet about attacks on drivers, from the Atlanta Journal Constitution, accessed May 28, 2008
  25. ^ Cleveland.com's Printer-Friendly Page
  26. ^ "Mural Created by UTB/TSC Student Artists is Unveiled" (Press release). University of Texas at Brownsville and Southmost College. 19 September 2002. http://blue.utb.edu/newsandinfo/news/archive/2002/2002_9_19mural.htm. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  27. ^ Robert Faires (22 August 2003). "Greyhound Mural". The Austin Chronicle. http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Issue/story?oid=oid%3A174028. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  28. ^ http://www.silvereaglebus.com/photos/trailways/eagleddd.jpg
  29. ^ http://www.silvereaglebus.com/photos/trailways/eagle10.jpg
  30. ^ http://www.silvereaglebus.com/photos/trailways/reddog.jpg
  31. ^ http://www.silvereaglebus.com/photos/trailways/464.jpg
  32. ^ http://www.silvereaglebus.com/photos/trailways/440.jpg
  33. ^ [1] (Greyhound 1989 Eagle Model 15)
  34. ^ [2] (big bus)
  35. ^ http://www.silvereaglebus.com/photos/trailways/australia.jpg
  36. ^ [3][dead link]
  37. ^ "Ramblin' Man Lyrics by The Allman Brothers". stlyrics.com. http://www.stlyrics.com/lyrics/bigfish/ramblinman.htm. Retrieved 10 November 2012.

Further reading

External links