Yes. It is now official. So you may have heard me mention how bad Greydog has been in my experience in Canada. If not I am going to recap a bit for you.
The biggest problem with Greydog seems to be that they don’t actually have any customer service. Why? They are a virtual monopoly. Even up in Canada. So like all good monopolies they do pretty much what ever the hell they feel like and this attitude filters down from the man at the top to the lowliest bus or delivery driver. I know this because I have experienced it again and again.
My first encounter was with their website which I found to be a bit painful to use. So I sent the webmaster an email suggesting they added a drop down for location (useful for non Canadians who are not sure of exactly how to spell some crazy names), a save destination option for current visit (very painful to go back to screen one to re-enter them in every time) and finally how about a next day, previous day button for browsing the availability.
Now if you know anything about web development then you will understand that all of these options are relatively trivial. Nothing major involved and they probably already had code snippets lying about the place with this functionality in them.
I got no response to my email. Not even an auto generated message. OK. I can live with that. You suck Mr. Webmaster – but I can live with it.
So the next time I came to actually book a couple of tickets. I went through the rigmarole of going back and forwards through the screens to see what fares were possible. OK found one that looks good. Where is the book option? Weird. Who heard of a website in 2006 that didn’t have the option to book fares?
So there is a number listed for the call centre, I’ll give that a try then. When I got through to an agent (yes I know my call is important, but do you?) I told them I would like to book a couple of tickets from Calgary to Vancouver. She checked up for the date I had in mind and yes there were tickets available. But was I aware that there was a higher price for booking tickets more than seven days in advance? What ?!!? I asked politely. No it is true. The maximum you can book in advance is 14 days. That price is more expensive than the seven day advance ticket. When I asked why this might be she unfortunately couldn’t give me an answer. OK. So I should call back exactly seven days before I want to go?
Well not exactly she replied. Oh and why is that? Well you can’t actually book tickets through the call centre. I laughed out loud at this point. Stunned. Hey so what do you actually do then? OK so in this modern age of the
Internet and telephone how exactly should I go about booking a ticket. Oh simple – just call in at one of our booking agents offices. Hey cool. Why not make it easy for these poor schmucks who obviously don’t have their own transport. Just come to our office. Twice. Once to book a ticket, the other to get on the bus.
I asked her to pass on my regards to her bosses about what an efficient system than ran. A real tight ship. Streamlined. Efficient. Modern.
So I gave up on them for a time. Not long enough as it turned out. My next attempt was to go from a small town through the Rockies to Vancouver. I rang the call centre and chatted to a nice lady who pointed out that instead of messing about with cheap 14 day and 7 day tickets, if I wanted to take a companion then I simply had to buy a full price fare and the second fare was half price. Hey sounds great. What’s the catch?
Well you have to take the bus from the City to City. You can’t get on at the smaller towns with the Companion City to City fare. Even if they were on the route. So in spite of the fact that they didn’t have to lug my ass and bags that extra hundred kilometres I had to pay more for the privilege? What happens if we buy a ticket and don’t get on the bus until our stop. You can’t do that.
You guys suck!!!
Eventually I gave in (because they are a virtual monopoly remember?) and we got two tickets at the local (15km away) booking office and jumped on the bus, Vancouver bound a few days later.
We had three different drivers that day. The first one who was running 15 minutes late, never said a word. The other two were both Nazis suffering from little man syndromes. I had a run in with one driver regarding my lack of shoes and another driver because he wouldn’t open the door for a guy who was banging on them just as the bus was about to leave a station. Madness that this company has no customer service what so ever. Maybe your average blue collar Greyhound passenger just doesn’t have the energy to complain or something so the customer service never improves. Or maybe it is because they only care about profits?
The latest installment has been using Greydog to ship some boxes out from Alberta. You would have thought I would have told them to shove it by now – but there is no one else who goes to places like Olds, or maybe there is but at nothing like the price Greydog charges.
So our stuff was shipped on Saturday for deliver Tuesday. Wednesday they still hadn’t arrived so I gave them a call and after phoning a few places talked to a dispatcher who checked the details and [actually] phoned me back to let me know they hadn’t made it on that days deliveries so would be here Thursday morning. At 2pm Thursday I was phoned to be told that they would be here on Friday morning. I just laughed and asked her to pass on my regards to her manager about the top class service Greydog provides.
It remainds to be seen whether they will arrive tomorrow or not. I like surprises so I am not too concerned although I could sure use a can opener.