Gray Line Bus ToursHorrible Customer Service Ruined our Day!!!

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Verified customer

The following is a letter I sent to the president of Gray Line (Brad Weber) who never bothered to even send a get lost letter. What a bunch of Jerks! Gray Line Sucks! Customer Service is awful.

On June 19th we visited New York City and prior to that we pre-ordered/purchased an “All Loops” pass on your double decker buses. We were excited to have this opportunity to visit New York and it was even a more special occasion because our two daughters (age 6 & 13) were with us on this visit. On June 20th at 11:13 AM we redeemed our voucher for your service. We took our place in line (Avenue of the America's by your offices) to begin what we thought would be pleasant and memorable adventure for our daughters. Unfortunately, it was very busy this day on your bus tours. We boarded bus number 71335 hoping if we rode it far enough people would get off at one of the scheduled stops. People trickled off, we understand you operate a popular service and it’s first come first served. After waiting our turn (after numerous stops) our two daughters were able to go up to the top level. At this time your tour guide (described as a white female mid to upper 60’s in age) yelled at my 13 year old daughter “on her microphone” stating “that’s my seat... unless of course you can do my job...get out of my seat, your seat is in back”, this was the first occurrence which my daughter (and both of us) were embarrassed. In fact, the seat my daughters took were the very first seats in the first row. I learned later by another passenger who stated “that was totally uncalled for, embarrassing little girls like that, they must have been terrified”. This same passenger pointed our a bright yellow seat which was the seat reserved for the tour guide. The seating wasn’t the problem, it was what she did.

After several more stops, my wife was able to obtain a seat on the upper level, things were actually looking up for us, we were determined to see as much of New York as we possible could, it’s a beautiful city with too much history to miss, that’s why we bought your service for $63.00 each.

Approximately 2-3 stops later, I was able to get up to the top deck of the bus. I had a stroller, which was folded and compact, I was sweating and nervous because this turned out to be more than we bargained for but still, I thought “what an opportunity for the children.” As I was going up the steps with the stroller, your tour guide spoke loudly in the microphone stating “NO strollers up here... you go back down those steps and put it down there... some people, we don’t even have room for people up here and he wants to bring a stroller.” That was the second time she embarrassed us, especially me, I felt like crawling in a hole. I’m a police officer and I don’t talk to criminals like she spoke to me. I then made my way back up the stairs and looked towards the back of the bus for my seat. Your tour guide “yes” got back on the microphone and actually screamed at me (I’m not exaggerating) “up here, hurry up, not back there” and started shaking her head from side to side. Then she leaned back to the male passenger sitting right behind her stating “unbelievable, I love my job” and shook her head from side to side once again. I confronted her asking her to stop being so mean. That was it, the war was on... she gave it to me with both barrels, sat with her mouth open and stared me down, she then shook her head again (side to side) mumbled, unreal and told me “sit down now.” I’m not making this stuff up, I don’t think anybody could. The male that she seemed to bond with yelled out to me “get used to it, this is New York! If you don’t like it, get off the bus.” This angered some other passengers who started making comments such as “it’s about time somebody went up against her” an elderly couple told my wife that they had her as a tour guide their last time on the bus and the elderly male said in a loud tone to his wife “how did you let me get on the bus with this lady... I thought I told you I would never go on the same bus as her again.” So now this is the third embarrassing moment.

I then sat in my seat with my head straight forward, there was no place to go... we didn’t even know where we were, we were stuck! I felt like a little child that was just scolded.


Approximately 3 stops later she announced “China Town, anybody want to get off at China Town”, so we did... I know from being in New York before when I visited China Town there was a Subway there we could catch.

She made an announcement before we departed saying “please be considerate, your tips are the only way we make our money”, “be courteous, give generously, we provided a service to you, this is your way to say thank you.” I just about puked - I couldn’t believe her... this was the most miserable experience I’ve ever had. And no excuse that this is New York... I’ve visited New York many times and never was treated like this. This was supposed to be special, my girls (my wife too) were never so embarrassed and it literally ruined the rest of our day, this wasn’t fair. We tried to recoup and make the best out of it but it didn’t happen.

There was no way I would give her one penny, she was an absolute nightmare and I think she should be fired. I don’t know if anybody else has taken the time to write a letter, but I’m still mad over it... every time we look at pictures and see one of your buses in it, the story gets told over and over, that’s the first thing my 13 year old told her friends of her New York experience... isn’t that sad, it should have been how exciting the city is, the food, the excitement, the view from our beautiful hotel, anything but the “tour guide from hell” experience.

We did not, would not get on another Grayline bus for the rest of our trip even though we had a 48 hour pass, this was a total waste of time and money and an entire ruined day out of our very expensive vacation that we saved a long time for. I tried to tell the station where we redeemed our voucher and they didn’t care to hear about it, your representative said “you still have time left on your ticket”, she nor anybody else could care a less which makes me believe they deal with this often, (probably from the same tour guide).

I did take a picture of the bus which reflects the bus number... I’m hoping you can gain the tour guides identity from this along with the date and time I provided. I am also sending this letter to the New York Mayor’s office, New York Consumer affairs, and New York Office of Tourism Board to start with. We can’t get back the miserable day we had but I do want my money back for all four tickets (copy of tickets & photo of bus attached). We paid for a service and we didn’t get it. There’s no excuse for anybody to treat other people, especially people who are on their vacation this way. I won’t except “get used to it, this is New York”, if this is how it was, I trust your tourism business would be a negative 0.


  • Je
    Jennifer Dec 18, 2008

    We also had a horrific experience with this company. We arrived in New York on November 19th and purchased two 3 day passes for in excess of $100.00 each. The first bus we boarded had a tour guide who thought he was the guide to end all guides. He also was very rude and inconsiderate and told everyone on the bus that if we wanted to have a great NY experience then we had to listen to him and watch him because he would point out attractions. When one of the other passengers on the bus looked at something he was not talking about he rudely announced to the whole bus "what do you think you are doing, why did you pay for the tour if you don't care about what I am showing you" then I opened my guide book and was also given the same embarassing response. What came later was much, much worse. We got off the bus to go to the Empire State Building and when we bought our tickets were told buses would be around every 15 minutes. We waited for over 45 minutes and NOT ONE bus showed up. It was freezing cold outside and one of the passengers continually called on her cell phone to try to locate a bus or find out when a bus would be arriving, to which she kept being told that a bus would be showing up shortly. Finally when a bus did arrive, the driver stopped and informed us that Gray Line did it again...they did not put enough buses on the roads and the bus was packed and no one else was allowed on. We continued to wait and after over an hour of waiting a bus that had room (only on the bottom level) arrived. The staff did not apologise or achknowledge our wait. We wasted over an hour of our vacation waiting for a bus and so instead decided to use the city cabs to get around. The next day we hopped on a bus to Rockefeller Centre once again were left waiting out in the cold for a bus, this time we had it. We walked 7 or 8 long blocks to the Gray Line office and demanded a refund. The customer service rep assured us the money would be refunded to our credit card in 2 weeks. We have not received any compensation and it is the end of December. We did get a letter template from the company blaming the lack of room on the buses on the City of New York and advising us no refunds would be considered because we had used the service (paid for 3 days and road 2 times..that's a mighty expensive bus ride). I will NEVER EVER deal with Gray Line Sightseeing anywhere in the world EVER AGAIN!

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  • To
    Tom Hox Sep 23, 2009

    This company stinks -the only reason they are in business is because they and another company have an oligopoly in Times Square. Eight of us were left stranded at a pick-up site because the company does not pick people up on the downtown loop after 6:00. We each read, then reread, their brochure and could not figure out when the downtown loop stops. The brochure is written in purposefully vague language (as a teacher, I see this all the time). Even the bus announcer never said to be at the bus stops by 6:00. A family with several small children was forced to sit on the sidewalk while we waited, in vain, for the next bus to arrive. I can only imagine how many thousands of trips to New York City are ruined each year because of this deviant business practice. Additionally, the map on their brochure purposefully misleads you into thinking you are driving around the entire perimeter of the island -you don't drive anywhere near the perimeter of the island. Our trip was ruined due to the unscroupulous business practices of the Gray Line Bus Thugs. The manager should be put behind bars.

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  • Ik
    I-K Jul 15, 2011

    We had a horrible experience with them and I will fight to get my money back.
    it was one of the hottest days in july and the bus driver refused to turn the air-conditioner on in the lower level. We had to get off in the middle of nowhere or i was going to pass out.
    I called their hotline and asked to speak to manager. they refused, yelled that they don't do refunds and hung up.
    I already raised a complaint with consumer protection agency and I will be calling my credit card reporting a fraud.

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  • Ve
    Very Angry Aussie Oct 03, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    My wife and I had a terrible experience with Gray Line in both Hong Kong and Singapore. We paid for a “Luxury Vehicle” and a chauffeur to meet us at Hong Kong airport, we were advised that the chauffer would be holding a sign with our name as we exited the customs area, yeah right, there were numerous signs but none with our name on them. It was only after searching the whole airport for 45 minutes that we finally found the driver, who had apparently forgotten? OK, so now we experience the ride from hell, albeit in a Mercedes. The driver had no respect for the speed limits, other drivers, or our safety, he was a maniac to say the least.

    Ok, now onto Singapore, once again we paid for a deluxe vehicle from our hotel to Changi airport, and what arrives, but a worn out Mazda MPV with vinyl seats. At least we had a Mercedes with the maniac driver previously. The driver was not what I would call a chauffeur by any stretch of the imagination, he was more keen on telling us that it was not his fault and he was only doing what Gray Line had instructed him to do.

    After three frustrating months of trying to get a refund or at the least an apology from the Gray Line Representative in Australia, we are still without either.

    So be it Gray Line, we gave you a fair go, and you still did not respond, you deserve every bit of bad publicity you get. We will be travelling to Asia next year, and guess what? Your services will not be required.

    My advice is simple, if you want what you pay for, avoid Gray Line...

    0 Votes
  • Di
    DisgustedCustomer0804 Aug 07, 2012

    This is frightening and disgusting to think that this customer service has been tolerated for years. It appears to be the company culture. See my letter below that was emailed to the corporate headquarters in CO. After reading the complaints above, I doubt that I will get a reply either.

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I am writing this letter to express my disappointment with the level and/or lack of customer service that I witnessed and experienced during my trip to New York on Saturday, August 4, 2012. I am hopeful that my letter will not fall between the cracks and that corrective action is taken to remedy this conduct by one of your employees.

    This past weekend, I took my 14-year old daughter and (2) friends to New York for a weekend getaway. Immediately upon arriving we were greeted by one of your salesmen who sold us tickets to an "All Loops 48-Hour Tour" for $54 each. We were told that the bus ran every 15 minutes along the highlighted routes throughout New York. Since we had planned to take a tour after seeing our matinee, we felt this would be a great opportunity to see the city. After we finished our show, we waited outside at one of the designated stops while several Gray Line buses passed without stopping. After approximately 15 minutes passed, we walked to a stop just before Times Square, where we noticed (3) buses parked on the side of the road. The driver directed us to walk to the Times Square stop and they would be able to help us.
    When we arrived at Times Square there was a gentleman in a white Gray Line shirt shouting at everyone in line saying, "Enough is Enough. 6 O'Clock means 6 O'Clock!!" He went on rambling to say, "No one else is getting on any buses today"!! He continued by saying, "This is ridiculous, you people wouldn't show up at an airport like, this. You're late!!! As he walked past me, I stopped to ask him if I was in the correct location based on the tickets that I purchased and he yelled, "Don't ask me no questions, that lady in the green shirt can speak for me". He continued ranting and referring to everyone in the line as "you people". I had no idea what I had done wrong, if anything. I also had no idea as to whether or not I had just wasted money on a bus tour that was not available. Fortunately, the young lady in the green shirt directed me to stand in the line and she would help us get on the next bus.

    As if this were not embarrassing enough, my friend in front of me asked the man, "Sir, who are you talking to"? He responded by saying, "No, who are you talking to"? This is my bus and I will see to it that you don't get on MY BUS. He went on to say, "obviously you don't know who I am". My friend responded by saying, "I'm going to report you to information. He in turn replied, "I am a citizen, I will sue you!! I am a citizen of the United States of America and I will not put up with people like you". The entire time, he was shouting at anyone who asked a question, including innocent people who were walking by talking on the cell phone. My 14-year old daughter and her friend were humiliated. They wanted to take the tour but quite frankly they were confused and embarrassed by the representatives comments. Although we did make our way on the next bus, none of us enjoyed ourselves because we had just been treated like criminals on the side of the trip. The tour guide did his best to lighten up the trip but everyone on the top of the bus was quiet after watching such a spectacle at the bus stop.

    What's equally disappointing about the entire matter is that I will not use your service in the future. I am a Principal of a high school in Pennsylvania that had planned a trip with our (250) students during the Spring. Unfortunately, we will be cancelling our reservation and booking with another company. As expensive as the tour was, I will not pay any amount of money and be treated in that manner again. I will also not subject children to that kind of humiliation.

    I regret that I was not able to get the man's name who behaved in this manner but quite frankly I had no intentions of asking him anything to make matters worse. He was wearing a white shirt which was clearly marked Gray Line and was located at the Times Square location at 6pm. The other representatives that were there were either in green or red shirts. Based on his comments and my experience, I am left with the impression that he is a representative in authority and he is permitted to behave in that manner.

    I sincerely hope that you address this situation with your employees who are working with the public. Each of us paid for our tickets with our hard earned money and did not deserve to be treated in that manner.

    0 Votes
  • Ba
    babybaby12 Aug 07, 2012

    Why are you here? You should have file a lawsuit.

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  • De
    Deirdre Dickson Dec 02, 2016
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    My senior parents purchased a tour package through Grayline to go to Disneyland. They called the contact number as the documentation required before the actual service render date. The number was disconnected. What happened is Gray Line contacted out the tour package to what they deemed as "their sister company" Amazing LA Tours. Gray Line informed us that the sister company had water damage. Well if a reputable company has water damage I understand things can happen but are you telling me in this modern day era the phones could not be forwarded to an actual customer service center or even a voice message recording provided an alternative number for help and assistance? Gray Line did nothing to help solve the problem. The Disneyland park tickets and transportation fee's already paid 6 months in advance of this trip were now gone and here 48 hours before the actual trip we have no transportation and no park tickets. Gray Line said they would request a refund and the refund would take a couple of weeks - how does that help having to fork out the cash to re-purchase goods/services that were already paid for and have to come up with over $400 out of the blue less than 48 hours before the planned trip and how does that help find some alternative transportation and option. I mean they didn't even so much as offer a phone number of a transportation service that could assist.

    I hope that anyone reads this knows that if you purchase Gray Line tours/services in advance you very well may never even be provided the service and DO NOT book with this company if it is a tour or service you really are expecting and interested in...unless you are willing to wait for a refund and just skip that tour on your trip...DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT use Gray Line.

    The key here is things can happen whether it is water damage or a vehicle issue etc. we all understand that but what it is HOW a company handles and deals with these types of situations that make for customer service and I am here to tell you Gray Line does NOT offer customer service!

    0 Votes

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