This blog post is based off of our experience shipping Greyhound for the past 5 years from terminals mostly in Ohio and Tennessee. I want it to be known that we have respect for the employees of Greyhound and even greater respect for those employees that remain employees for more than a few weeks. In order to be a long term Greyhound employee you have to have a thick skin, can't take anything personally, need an amazing sense of humor plus an enormous amount of patience. Hats off to the ones that can stick it out knowing they will be cussed out and treated like crap pretty much every single day by people who are rude and more often than not under the influence of something.
With that said, the first couple years of shipping Greyhound out of Ohio was fairly painless for us as we had a great relationship with the woman that worked the package counter at our local Greyhound terminal. She knew why we were there, she was on top of things and was great to us. Then she left. The manager at that terminal was an amazing woman as well....and then she left. Greyhound was bought out during this time period and a lot of changes happened, none for the better.
So, if you are thinking of shipping something Greyhound - this is basically an outline of what you can expect from the view of the shipper:
1) No two Greyhound employees ever give you the same answer....about anything.
2) Greyhound employees do not like you, they do not like their job, they would rather be anywhere else than looking at your stupid face and the last thing they want to do is "help you".
3) Majority of the information on the Package Express website is wrong. You cannot track a package, you cannot ship door to door, they don't insure anything, and open 24hrs 365....not even remotely close. You are lucky to get someone on the phone period...no matter the time.
Here's an example:
You've gotten a quote for your customer, they agreed, you took your item to be packed (or packed it yourself), it's boxed up and ready to go....great! You go to the Ship Greyhound website and click on "Obtain a quote". Note that there is also (currently) a box on the home screen that says "receive up to 40% off when you order online" - this is not true because the cost is the same no matter if you call the 800# or go to the terminal. So, you click on "obtain a quote", enter the required information and hit "next". The only option you can really entertain is the top one "station to station", because the other 3 options (door to station, station to door, door to door) don't really exist. In some cities they "might" but only if the employees working that day feel like it and have a big enough car - which they never do. So those 3 options are not really options. At the bottom of the page is "walk up pricing" that shows higher prices, again, I think these are made up numbers because in our experience the walk up counter pricing is more often than not cheaper than the online rate we get (by a couple of dollars).
The next screen gives you origin and destination terminal options. Depending on the area of the country your customer is in, this screen could show you a bunch of locations that you can't actually ship to. Here's the thing, for some reason this screen as well as the "find a location" screen populates bus drop points (for humans), such as McDonalds, gas stations, etc....but you can't ship packages there. Why are those options on the package express website? We have no idea. However you can select those locations, continue with the ordering process, take your package to the terminal and ship it out......and there it goes....into never never land. Your customer never gets a phone call, and no one seems to know where your package is. Basically, make sure you are shipping to an actual bus terminal that accepts packages, otherwise you're in for a world of hurt.
Ok, you've selected both terminals, put in all the info, given your credit card information and hit submit. You instantly get a receipt on the screen as well as one emailed to you. You would think you would also get the shipping label, but no. That takes 1-2 hours to receive, and if you submit a 2nd order in the same day - expect 2-6 hours to get that shipping label. Basically if you are shipping anything Greyhound expect the entire experience from start to finish to take an entire day of your life from you.
So now you have your labels, taped them to the box....off you go to Greyhound to drop off your package...easy peasy, right? Wrong! At Greyhound terminals there is usually 1 parking space (at the back of the building) reserved for Package Express customers....this parking space (as well as all the other spaces around it) is ALWAYS filled with employee cars. So you can either park illegally or just put on your flashers and piss off the buses trying to get in and out. Once you "park" you need to find a cart (if you have a large package). This can be easy or hard depending on the day. At our local terminal there is a back double door for packages that leads to the scale and where packages sit and wait for their bus. However (depending on the day and the employee) if you take your packages in that door you will be rudely told to go to the front. So you go around to the front and try to get the large cart into the "people" door - which obviously doesn't work very well but now you have an audience of everyone in the terminal looking at you while you wrestle with your box and the cart. Then the employee that just yelled at you in the back has walked 5 steps to the front counter and is now glaring at you attempting to bring the cart in the front door.
Fine....here you are, cart, box, standing at the counter. The person behind the counter will do pretty much anything except help you. I'm not kidding. If there is nothing to fidget with, they will literally just sit there glaring at you. If you speak to them, you will get glared at more and some kind of rude response back. Ok, so 10 minutes later.....something happens. Again, depending on the day and the employee - you might have to take the box to the back (where you tried to take it in the first place), or you might have to pick up the insanely large box and shove it over the counter so they can see the label, or you might be able (if you're lucky) to just tell the person at the counter who the recipient of the package is and what terminal it's going to so they can look it up in their system (our favorite method......verbal communication). There are A LOT of different things that can happen during this moment. Sometimes they need to verify weight (even though the packer just weighed it, you already paid for the shipment and printed the label) plus the scale in the back of Greyhound is from 1948 and hasn't been calibrated since so it's notoriously 10lbs off. All I can say is we have never and I mean NEVER had the same Greyhound counter experience twice. Sometimes we just immediately take the boxes in the front door (because we got yelled at last time when we took them to the back door) only to be yelled at to take them to the back door when we go in the front. The employees are never the same and speaking to a manager is the exact same experience as speaking to an employee. So no matter what you choose to do or which door you choose that day, expect to be treated like an idiot.
Ok...they have the info, they have your package and you have a card with a GLI number on it...shoo....you are done at the terminal, another hour of your life is gone. You email your customer the GLI number and "thanks for your purchase".
Other things to note:
-The "track a package" link does nothing. You cannot track Greyhound packages.
- The size and weight requirements for their cargo area is 29in x 47in x 82in, 100lbs per package....and they mean it. If your package is 29.2", it isn't going anywhere.
-If your package contains glass, don't tell them or it won't be going anywhere.
-I'd say on average 60% of the time the receiving terminal does not notify the recipient their package has arrived. They forget, don't want to, I don't know - but they don't call customers most of the time.
-They used to have a policy that stated they would hold a package for up to 48 hours after notifying the recipient before charging storage fees. We have no idea if that is still a policy or not but it's always been void anyway because they don't notify anyone. We never had a customer charged a storage fee. In fact in one instance - 3 months after a shipment arrived (where a customer picked up the item but the box was too big to fit in their car so they left the empty box)....Greyhound calls to tell us a package we shipped was still in the terminal.
-If you have a problem, you are on your own. The terminals don't answer the phone, pretty much ever. If they actually do answer, they rudely can't help you. The 800# helps you by putting you on hold and trying to call the terminals...and you see where that goes. So, even though the 800# people actually try to help, they can't really help.
-When you go to the terminal expect to be asked for money or other things (by people loitering) before you go inside. Once inside expect to be treated rudely or witness to a very rude or awkward event happening somewhere in the terminal.
-Lastly, we received an email with our label today stating: "Shipments containing used furniture WILL be accepted for transportation subject to a Zero Released Value (i.e. zero declared value no matter if fee paid) and provided the shipper will assume full risk for damage and the carrier(s) shall NOT be liable for damages." This also relates to everything they ship. Aka they can beat the hell out of your package, drop it from a building, run over it with the bus and the person that shipped the item is the one that is responsible for it, not Greyhound. So....we are actually quite happy to say that as of today we are no long offering Greyhound as a possible shipping method. No insurance = no shipments.
We had a mini celebration when we left the terminal today knowing that was the last time we ever have to deal with Greyhound shipping. Yes it is cheap shipping, but it's really not much less than standard LTL shipping that delivers to your customer's door. Plus your customer doesn't have to deal with going to a Greyhound terminal to pickup their package, have the experience we mentioned above and then give you a bad review because they somehow think your business is associated with Greyhound.
For those that still choose to ship Greyhound....Cheers and good luck!