Monday, July 18, 2011

Greyhound vs Via Rail

Interesting experience I had this week. So, I needed to book a last minute trip from Ottawa to Kingston. Stupidly I listened to advice and booked on Greyhound as opposed to Via Rail, as I normally do. So, I book a ticket for a particular day and time on Greyhound from Ottawa to Kingston. The price was negligibly lower than Via's would have been. Bizarrely on their website Greyhound tells you that just because you have a ticket for a particular service does not mean you will actually get on that service. It's first come first served. In other words, they might sell the 100 seats on a particular bus 20,000 times and leave 19,900 people in the lurch, they'd find out at the bus station, and Greyhound would try to put them on a 'later service'. Suffice it to say, there was no later service on the day that I planned to travel.

Well, I decided to take my chances. Expecting disastrous service at that stage I wasn't too surprised that the ticket did not actually print when I clicked the relevant weblink (the link was 'broken'). I tried on and off throughout the day, it never worked. Eventually I called Greyound's call centre where some smartie pants told me that I must print off the ticket. I asked him to try himself. He tried (me patiently waiting on my mobile phone), and eventually advised that they had a 'technical problem' (sounds like Air Canada, doesn't it?).

Incredibly, he then told me that he had to cancel my booking. I asked what that meant and he enlightened me me by telling me that he would cancel the ticket and I would get my credit card reimbursed during the next 7-14 days (!!!!), and that I would have to go to the bus station and purchase a new ticket. I asked whether that would mean a higher price, he confirmed that that likely would be the case.

So, everything here is Greyhound's fault. Their technical fault, their ticket cancellation, their requirement to purchase a more expensive ticket while having to wait 7-14 days to get the money back for the ticket they never issued. Does that strike you as possibly a fraudulent business practice? You sell on-line tickets you don't actually have, you eventually cancel them last minute and force customers to purchase a higher-priced ticket. Herewith added to my 'no go' list: Greyhound.

Compare this to Via Rail. I called them and asked whether I could use my Via points (Preference) to book a complimentary ticket for the next train available from Ottawa to Kingston. A pleasant person picked up the phone next to instantly (not the useless 'pick 1 for', 'pick 2 for', 'pick 3 for' that Greyhound keeps you occupied with), confirmed my details, booked my ticket, voila I had a valid booking, all in less than 5 minutes. No hassles, delightfully competent service. Another excellent experience with Via Rail. Love these people!

1 comment:

  1. No more Greyhound, just grey service. This needs to be reported to the official authorities. It is unacceptable.


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