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> You want to plan for failure? Start by not caring about your customers. Be just like Greyhound and you’ll achieve failure soon enough.

> Quality and service matter.

> Those who care, win.

Well, maybe. I mean I see his point, but the fact remains that Greyhound is probably the most successful bus company in the U.S. Could it be that customer service is not as critical to business success as the writer claims it is? I mean I wish it were, but this is reality we're talking about.




I would guess most customers just buy their tickets in the bus station. Website, e-commerce, phone support, all fairly irrelevant to that group.

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Having traveled by Greyhound a few times, that is definitely the case. Most travelers are poor, and many of them don't even have credit cards (either because they are poor, or illegals, or both).

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The minimum capital I can think of for entering the bus transportation market is well, big long comfortable bus with all the whistle and doodads, fuels, a driver who doesn't crash the bus, and a machine to receive money. Then you need money for paying mechanics, accountants, and gods know what else.

So it might be that Greyhound just doesn't have a whole lot of competition due to high barrier of entry.

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Well in the DC-NYC-Boston corridor they have a ton of competition. Because all you really need is one bus you can drive yourself (or you and your extended family). Google "Chinatown Bus."

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Fung Wah, from Boston <-> NY for something like $15. For a while, it seemed like every week there was news of another Fung Wah accident, whether it be hitting the Mass Pike toll booths or tipping over on the on ramp. They should have advertised "$15 for an ADVENTURE"

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Even better, there was a period of time (somewhere around 2003-2004 IIRC) when the CT police decided that shaking down the Fung Wah bus would be a great way to make their narcotics quota. Supposedly it was being used by drug mules. They were stopping the (northbound only?) busses just south of Sturbridge MA seemingly daily, and about once a week there'd be a story of "$LARGEQUANTITY of $NARCOTIC confiscated from Boston-NYC Bus".

I'm not quite sure what the MO of the drug transporters was; I never heard of any arrests so I think they must have been using it basically as a moving dead drop.

The few times I took it though were, sadly, uneventful. One lady did have a live chicken with her, but that was about it.

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I spent 3 hours sitting on the side of the Jersey turnpike thanks to Fung Wah, but $15 for DC -> NY I might do it again.

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Some of these do LA->SF too since there's no good train option for that. It's retarded to take Greyhound because the Chinatown buses will go direct.

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I wouldn't mind knowing what's more expensive: all that you mentioned; or the public liability insurance.

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I've looked into this.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1476718

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For high-volume routes the Chinatown busses compete very successfully, but Greyhound's real competition is Southwest, Spirit Air, Amtrak, or just driving yourself. Greyhound has become so bad that their clientele is down to folks who literally have no other option.

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It probably depends a lot on the industry. If your ticket purchase works, you never need to speak to a human being to ride a bus. Contrast this with cable companies - to sign up, you must have at least two customer service experiences: one to schedule the appointment, one to have the service installed. I think this accounts for their generally poor public opinion. They're not actually worse than most companies, but their customer service footprint is frontloaded and big.

I bet Greyhound receives an extremely low call volume in comparison. After all, by default, you don't talk to a human. Most callers with special complaints are probably routed to people with scripts that have most arrows point to "I'm sorry, but I can't help you. Do you have any other issues today?", and Greyhound has made the calculation that this will not impact their bottom line.

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