Unbeknown to most of us, the bus is making a comeback. I’m not talking about the school bus, but about the Greyhound. When you see a Greyhound bus these days, or a private tour bus, they tend to be big, new and shiny.
They’re also comfortable. You ride up high so you can see the traffic through big windows. They are air-conditioned and heated, depending on the needs of the day. The seats are more comfortable than those you find on the typical airliner, and the fares are considerably cheaper.
If you have the time and the patience, you can go almost anywhere in the country on a bus. A bus doesn’t need an airport, only a stop. A bus stop may be a big station in a large city, or it may be a restaurant in a small town, where the owner picks up a little money selling bus tickets and offering other services. Some big-city bus stops have large restaurants attached to them, so travelers can sit, drink coffee and read a local newspaper if they have a layover.
Buses generally have more frequent schedules than Amtrak or airlines. Of course, the airplanes get wherever they’re going faster than a bus might, although getting from the airport to the final destination might make that trip a little longer.
Why are buses regaining their popularity? It’s mainly a result of airlines treating coach passengers like sheep on the way to the shearing barn. The sheep are packed so tight, they literally pop out onto the shearing floor when the gate is pulled open. The sensation is not unlike standing in an airliner aisle while some idiot tries to hammer his oversized suitcase into an overhead rack. The passengers behind the dang fool just move forward until everybody is in a foul mood.
Taking a plane once was a pleasure. Now, it’s the bus that provides that possibility at a price most of us can afford.