On tuesday, november 16, 2010, I went to the memphis greyhound bus station on union avenue to wait for the 10 p.M. Bus to dallas, tx. I had traveled greyhound quite frequently before from this station and although service has never been great, it has also never been as awful as what happened to me that night. First of all, the station was freeing cold. And the station smelled. The memphis, tn greyhound station is one of the very few with open door restrooms and the cleanup person is always off of work. The place smelled awful and I have filed a complaint with greyhound before about this. They have a restaurant on the inside of the station and the people sit there and eat while the smell of feces and urine is overpowering.
It was also freezing inside this station as it was outside. It is always like this. If it is freezing outside, it is freezing inside. If it is hot outside, it is hot inside. So I went up to a man behind the counter at the information desk. I asked him if he could adjust the heat since it was so many women with very small children in there and it was so cold. He looked at me and said that the manager had gone home for the evening and there was no way he could adjust the heat.
I continued to wait for about 2 hours until my bus arrived (once again it was over an hour late and terribly off schedule). When the bus arrived I took my place in line and waited. As we were waiting for the doors to open, the two security guards wearing loud, green shirts that said asap staffing came up and brought two tables. They immediately begin yelling at people to place their bags on the table. When I placed my bags on the table, the woman security guard immediately opened up my bag and started to roughly go through all of my belongings, pulling many of them out right on the table in front of others in line. I had underwear and all types of personal private things in the bag and I felt this was inappropriate the way in which she did this. However, I said nothing.
Then she yelled that she would need to see my purse. I placed my purse on the table and she began rummaging all through it and then she pulled out my prescription medicine and yelled "you will need to show me your license or you won't be taking this with you". I was shocked. It was my prescription medicine. Why would I need to show my license for my own medicine. However, I pulled out my license and showed it to her. This is when the guy standing beside me commented how he felt the way they were treating us and our belongings was somewhat innappropriate and I turned and looked at him and stated "well, I can understand why greyhound checks the baggage, especially with this being memphis with such a high crime rate" and that's when all hell broke loose.
The security guard suddenly looked at me and yelled "what did you say"! I told him that I said I understood why greyhound would check the baggage, especially in memphis. I stated I had traveled through several greyhound bus stations and had never seen such a rough check like the one that was being done in memphis. He then shouted "you must not want to catch your bus because you have a big mouth". This comment caught me off guard and I was confused. I further tried to clarify my statement and at this point he yelled to me to "get out of line.. Now!".
I stepped out of line and asked to speak with a supervisor. At this point he turned his back on me and ignored me. I then walked over to the information counter and asked the gentleman behind the counter if he was a supervisor. He said yes. I then explained to him what had occurred and advised him that according to the supervisor I was in danger of missing my bus. He then looked at me and stated "you don't know when to"shut up"do you. I then stated I didn't know what was wrong with what I had said. He then said the manager was gone and I would have to"apologize"to the security guard for saying"memphis had a crime problem".
There were other greyhound personnel standing around and they thought the entire situation was so funny. They kept saying"just shut up""be quiet""don't say anything". However, I had not said anything wrong. It seemed like a terribly overblown power trip. Then they said,"go... Run and catch the security guard and apologize for saying memphis has a crime problem". When I approached the security guard, he continued to turn his back on me. Finally, as no one could tell me what to do, I gathered my belongings and went and took my place back in line.
As soon as I took my place back in line, the female security guard walked over to me and yelled, literally screamed,"get out of line.. Now! You ain't going nowhere until darrel? Says you can go". You may have to wait on the next bus"! Once more I stepped out of line.
At this point, I called the 1.800 number and begged the representative to let me talk to her manager. A manager named maria was placed on the phone and I explained the entire situation to her.
After I had explained the situation to her, she stated that it was against company policy for these temporary staffing security guards to prohibit me from catching my bus especially when I was not carrying anything illegal or doing anything wrong. She advised me that only the bus driver could tell me not to ride and to speak with him. He was outside the building and I advised her that every time I tried to go towards the door one of the security guards would run up acting aggressive and yelling and screaming. As these security guards were carrying guns, I was afraid. So she advised I call the police. At this point, I walked over to the customer service counter again and advised the man who had previously stated he was an information officer of what the supervisor on the phone had stated and he looked at me with the female security guard laughing right beside him and said "I don't care, that's between you and god"... Between me and god?
Finally, some gentlemen in the front of the line who had been watching the entire spectacle told me to get back in line. I told them I was afraid. They both stated they would get my bags for me and stand in front and behind me and if the security guards tried anything they would have to go through them both. These men were complete strangers and I am grateful for their actions. The male security guard happened to overhear their statements and turned and looked at me and stated "you can go ahead and ride". He knew he had been wrong all along.
When I made it back to dallas, I spent half the day on wednesday trying in vain to reach someone at the memphis station. No one ever picked up. I also spoke to several different greyhound bus personnel at the 214 number and they were more interested in finding out who I was and keeping a record of the person filing the complaint than what had actually occurred. They seemed to simply not care.
Why is greyhound allowing its customers to be mistreated in this manner. Why is greyhound so oblivious to the memphis tn station who has even made the news recently for their lack of customer service. It was a news story not long ago about several people who were delayed over for about two days there and the people there would not even offer these folks a courtesy cup of coffee. Here in dallas, they give out courtesy meal tickets for those individuals who are exceptionally delayed because a driver called off, bad weather, etc.
Why is greyhound looking the other way when so many of its passengers get so mistreated especially by the memphis tn location. Don't you guys think its time for new management?
Is it because memphis is a city with a 78% black population that greyhound simply lets it have its way? Is it because the primary people who put up with greyhound are poor and usually minorities with no other way to travel?
Well, guess what greyhound. There is a company called turimex that runs many of your same routes and for the trip to memphis I paid you $165.00 round trip for, they only charge $72.00 round trip. Yep. You heard right. Their round trip ticket is less than your one way.
And I think I will take them next time.
However, for those passengers who don't know of turimex or other competing bus lines, please address the continued problems with your memphis tn location. Don't look the other way because the people are poor and black. Blacks deserve good customer service too. Ironically, the "blacks" in memphis don't know that. They should be informed.